If you’ve been paying any attention to advertising over the past 10 or so years, you’d be aware that there are plenty of online casinos where you can throw down your chips and start playing.

While casinos have traditionally been an establishment that you visit on a night out, the rise of online casinos means zero dressing up and the ability to play wherever and whenever you want.

As online casinos gain in popularity, does this mean that Irish land-based casinos are upping the ante to compete? We take a closer look.

Land-based casinos in Ireland

Yes, there are casinos around the country where you can step inside the facility and check out the games to play. They are usually equipped with the standard casino fare: tables, slot machines, and at least one bar and food place.

Carlton Casino Club in O’Connell Street Upper in Dublin calls itself “Ireland’s Most Beautiful Casino, A Casino Like No Other,” which is all well and good if it actually lives up to the name. Originally opened as an art deco cinema in 1938, the building itself and stylings have a rich history, with the cinema itself only closing in 1994. The Carlton Casino Club opened its doors in late 2018 and brings the old-world charm and high-end sophistication of the art deco era back to gambling.

As is the tradition in finer casino establishments, the Carlton Casino Club offers complimentary alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, and tea and coffee to players with membership

Like other casinos before it, the Carlton Casino Club’s allure is in its glamour (and freebies). Those who want to be sophisticated, have a night out, impress clients, etc. will be drawn to such a place for the spectacle. Others may sign up to be members for the freebies, who just like to play for fun. This really is no different from the type of incentives for customers in the years gone past.

Fitzpatrick’s casinos

A familiar name to some, Fitzpatrick’s casinos are a chain of six different casinos in Dublin and Limerick City. Because of the number of different locations, Fitzpatrick’s is able to offer customers more benefits than standalone casinos; a go-anywhere loyalty program for members, events at different casinos for players to attend, and promotions on. Promotions at the casinos include things like monthly draws for members (where you’ll need to be present to win the prize/s, daily draws, and more. 

However, the type of promotions, styling, games, and events on at the casinos hasn’t much changed over the past 20 or so years. Food specials and free drinks are still big drawcards for the casinos.

The rise of online casinos

Online casinos have quickly gained popularity, while land-based casinos appear to be still tactics for drawing punters as they always did. Online casinos appeal to the player who doesn’t really want to have to travel to the casino to play - they’d rather skip the ‘experience’ and just play.

As such, online casinos appeal to regular players who don’t care about the food and beverage perks of going to a casino or would frankly rather just play in their underwear on the couch. They may also appeal to younger players who have grown up with video games and like the gambling element of play.

There is also another thing: online casinos have a distinct advantage in that they can offer no deposit bonuses and control how they are used. This ability to control the data behind the freebies means online casinos can be a lot more alluring to customers, even if digging down into the T&Cs shows that there is hardly any benefit in a bonus besides a bit of free play (although lucky punters can, of course, manage to strike it rich).

How land-based casinos can compete with online casinos

As such, to capture back more of an audience, land-based casinos really need to change their marketing tactics and image. While sophisticated glamour will being a certain set to a casino, other promotions could get those gamers off the couch, and a Gen Z consultancy might be a good idea if that’s the type of audience a casino is trying to capture - perhaps with an eGaming arena, like HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas.

Hyperx Esports Arena was a game-changer for the Luxor

It is difficult to do traditional-style advertising of casinos, so social media needs to play a bigger part in casinos’ marketing efforts, and exciting events that receive news coverage or word of mouth coverage to go the distance.

The landscape of gambling has changed, and land-based casinos need to rethink strategy before they become obsolete. Is it time to take it back to the stylings of tiny, niche, prohibition-style boutique playrooms? Or time to draw in the new crowd of players who already play on their phones? Land-based casinos need to use their membership data and compare it to available online casino gambling data to see where they could be gaining traction. As with most disrupted industries, it’s a case rethink or you might just sink.

Are Irish casinos upping their game? Getty