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Specialist vs Sportsbook Casinos

Despite the worst fears of some of those in the industry, the introduction of the UK Gambling Commission and the creation of a highly regulated online gambling market in the UK has not, in fact, significantly impacted on either player numbers or revenues.

In particular, it was thought that the introduction of a 15% point of consumption tax, which requires online gaming operators, wherever in the world they’re based, to pay what is known as remote gaming duty (RGD) on every wager, would lead to international operators leaving the UK, choosing to operate instead in less regulated ‘grey’ jurisdictions.

However, this has not been the case, and the online casino and sports betting markets continue to grow. In fact, the 2016 Annual Report & Financial Statements from the UK Gambling Commission showed that online gambling in Britain generated £3.48 billion in 2015 and is now the biggest sector in the UK gambling market.

This upwards trend has therefore led to significant expansion not just in the number of online gaming operators who offer services to UK punters, but also in the type of services they provide.

Perhaps the most significant of these has been the rise of the multi-channel gaming operator i.e., brands that offer a variety of gaming services, such as an online casino and online sports book, under the same banner. Some major brands do continue to specialise solely in ether online casinos or sports betting, and there are new names coming online in both sectors all the time, but the omni-channel approach of a combined casino/sportsbetting brand is one that more and more operators are adopting.

This expansion is good new for punters and players, as it means they have growing and greater gaming choice, and can increasingly choose between specialist casino sites, and those that offer casino games combined with sports betting. Gaming sites such as feature casinos of both types with each category offering some clear advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of casinos on sportsbooks
Online sports books that also have a selection of casino games do have several advantages for punters, not least of which is the convenience of only being required to manage one account, username, log in, etc. Most multi-channel sites enable you to move easily between sports and casino, and to use the same funds for both playing casino games and punting. This not only saves time, but also enables you to keep a better check on your bankroll and finances, as you're not having to keep track of separate gaming accounts..

The disadvantages of casinos on sportbooks
Generally speaking, although the shift to HTML5 and web-based games has meant that the number of online slots and other casino games that online sports books offer its players has grown, it is usually the case that sports betting remains the primary focus. This will mean that the selection of games will have less variety and offer less choice than a specialist casino site. For those who are punters first, and play casino games on the side rather than this being their main gaming activity, this isn't necessarily an issue, but for the dedicated slots or blackjack player, some will find the more limited ranges of games doesn’t give them sufficient variety or choice.
The advantages of specialist online casinos
The quality and range of online casino games in general, and slots in particular, is expanding rapidly. There is now far greater choice when it comes to gameplay and themes than ever before, and so for the dedicated casino games player, this is ultimately the biggest advantage to playing at a specialist online casino.

In addition, online casinos today increasingly are able to offer the games of several leading international developers all at the one site, so this means you can play Microgaming slots alongside games by NetEnt, for instance, further expanding your choice and options. At most sports book casino sites, the number of slots and other games will be more limited, and this is compounded by the fact that they often only offer games by a single developer.

The same is true of mobile casino games, where specialist sites will usually have a far greater offering in their mobile casinos than you will find when you play on a handheld device via a sports betting app.

The disadvantages of specialist casinos
If you play at an online casino that doesn’t have a sports betting platform, there is the disadvantage of having to maintain a separate account for your sports betting, and the inconvenience of having to switch constantly between platforms. This makes it harder to keep a close eye on both your bets and your bankroll, as well as making it more difficult to take advantage of in-play betting and Cash Out features if you’re not always logged in to your account or on the site.

Playing at a specialist online casino site that doesn't offer sports betting can also mean that you miss out on a lot of the other special features that online sports books are able to offer punters today. For instance, many sports betting sites now offer live streaming of racing and other sporting events in real time to your PC, smartphone or tablet, and so even if you’re not a huge sports punter, the ability to watch live sports is a great feature that you can take advantage of and one which comes as part of the package with many sports book accounts.

Bottom Line
In the end, the way in which you spend the majority of your time gaming online will determine whether a combined sports book/casino or a specialist online casino account will offer you the most. If your gaming priorities are having a first goalscorer bet plus a fivefold acca on the latest round of Premier League fixtures, and you just like to dabble with slots and online casino games, then you’ll probably find that the gaming offered by most sports betting sites is sufficient, while the added convenience of just having one account will also mean that a sports book with its own casino is the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you're a dedicated slots and casino game player who likes to play the latest release games alongside old favourites by different producers, then a specialist casino site is more likely to be able to give you what you want. So if slots are your main priority and you only have a punt on racing and football occasionally, then you should probably consider playing at separate sites and having separate accounts for each.
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