Online casinos and real casinos are pretty much identical in every way. Of course one can always argue that online casinos have the advantage of not being subject to space or even time, hence making them much bigger and more available than their “real world” counterparts. Another difference between both versions of a casino is that online casinos usually offer higher payout percentages than land based casinos, but only on certain games. One must realize that these claims are only valid on games where the payouts are determined by factors other than game rules. Games like Blackjack for example, offer set payout percentages independently of online versions or not, since the house edge is determined by the rules of the game.
There are basically 3 categories (or platforms) of online casinos: in-browser or web-based, downloadable casinos and live casinos. Some online casinos sites offer even a mix or all of these types of platforms:
The main feature here is the fact that you can make use of the online casino without having to download anything to your computer. You may use your browser or a separate (shockwave, flash or java) window will be launched with all the virtual games and services, but in any case, nothing will be downloaded to your hard drive. Another great advantage of this type of casino is that you can choose not to leave any traces of your gaming in the computer, but of course you will sacrifice graphic details and performance.
Using this platform will require you to download and store a software package unto your hard drive, install it and launch it from within your computer. The software package, once installed will connect to the casino via an internet connection but not necessarily using a browser (except maybe for certain services). The greatest advantage perhaps is the speed of the software, higher quality graphics and media support. Of course you will have to install the software on any computer you might be using at the moment and you will leave a trace of your activity (unless you uninstall after every session.
Live casinos are basically casinos games which are carried out live in real world environments but that are brought to you over the internet and you can interact with the games over a platform. You will be able to participate in a real time, real life game using software to dictate instructions to a real human dealer. The use of video/audio capture and transmission software is what makes this platform possible. This is the newest yet least popular type of online casino gaming available.