Casino. The very word conjures up images of luxurious surroundings in glamorous locations like Monaco, Macau and Las Vegas. Places where high rollers meet to show off their wealth, not to mention their breath-taking skills at the tables.
James Bond is often found in one and it’s perhaps this timeless hero who best personifies most people’s image of a typical denizen of these exclusive locations.
But the casino world has changed over the last couple of decades. Like so many areas of life, there has been a shift online and this is where many people now choose to indulge in their gaming entertainment.
In the early days, online casinos were decidedly basic in appearance and function. But the last few years have seen great leaps forward in capturing at least some of the exclusivity of their “bricks and mortar” equivalents.
This has been achieved in a number of ways, as we’ll explore below.
An Eye For Design
While there’s very little scope for precisely recreating the aesthetic of casino interiors with plush fabrics, rich colours and eye-catching lighting, online casinos have another tool at their disposal – design.
The use of colour is key online, with many casino sites focusing on a palette of black, gold and purple, all of which are traditionally associated with luxury and wealth. Others, going for a more contemporary styling, use more eye-catching and even clashing shades, aimed at attracting a different kind of player altogether.
Think of these alternatives as being either like a large and formal hotel or a smaller boutique establishment. Both are exclusive in their own way but are aimed at very different types of clientele.
The Live Casino Experience
While the design is a fairly subtle signifier of the casino atmosphere, many of the leading sites go much further with recreating it through the inclusion of a number of “live casino” games.
Typically involving table games like roulette and blackjack, live casino is precisely what the name suggests. Instead of games being computer-generated, these are live games that are run by real dealers, with all the action streamed directly to the player’s PC or mobile device.
Top dealers play in a TV-style set that has been dressed to look like a plush casino. The dealers themselves are hand-picked for their style and professionalism. Many may even have gained their experience in real casinos around the world.
Some clever technology converts the physical action of the games to digitised information – in much the same way that ANPR cameras recognise car number plates. This allows the game to be played online.
Because dealers also act as a sort of host for the session, there are even opportunities to communicate with them through the site’s chat function. This is a feature that helps to add some genuine personal interaction to the overall experience. So, with just a little imagination, it’s not hard to imagine yourself at a physical table trying your luck at a favourite game.
Very Important Players
The true measure of any place’s exclusivity is just how important it makes its most valued customers feel. So, not surprisingly, most online casinos go to great lengths to show players how important they are.
This begins by offering a welcome bonus of some kind. Generally, this takes the form of matching an initial deposit, up to a specified maximum level, so some of a player’s initial games are essentially free.
Often this is also topped up with a certain number of free spins on a selection of slots games. There is great competition between the many online casinos operating today, so these bonuses can be very generous indeed.
Following the well-known principle that gaining new players is relatively easy but retaining them is much harder, most sites also run loyalty schemes to keep players interested.
This is also often linked to a tiered system, which can lead to selected players becoming VIP members and subject to some very special and exclusive offers. In some cases, these players are also given a personal account manager who has the power to offer a whole range of awards. These can include travel gifts, tickets to major sporting events or simply cash bonuses.
Of course, not everyone gets to achieve VIP status. This is usually an honour only granted to the most regular and loyal players who have worked their way up through the various tiers of the membership scheme.
Sublime Customer Service
Whether or not a player has achieved the lofty status of becoming a VIP, all members can expect a very high level of service from the best of the online casinos. Typically, this is during working hours. But those that believe in going the extra mile offer a 24-hour concierge-style service to attend to players’ every need. In many cases, this takes the form of automated chatbots that have been specially designed and developed to deal with the most frequently asked questions quickly and efficiently.
Those lucky enough to have achieved VIP status will be able to receive an even more personal service from their account manager – something that many players aspire to.
So, as you can see, there are a number of ways in which online casinos are trying, and succeeding, to emulate the atmosphere and service of the more traditional casino. In some cases they even exceed it – and these are the sites that will be worth seeking out next time you want to play online.