Online casinos are not a new phenomenon. They go back to the early years of the internet — as far back as the mid- to late-1990s. Despite their considerable history, it took a while for them to attract large numbers of players. That has changed in recent years as those who grew up in the digital era have come of age, and high speed internet access approaches global ubiquity.
Even though online casinos allow you to play whenever you like from the comfort of your home, or on your mobile, no one has unlimited time to play. You have to determine a timeframe that’s best for your gameplay. So how do you identify this time window? We’ll cover that in this article.
Understanding Online Casino Operations
Your average brick-and-mortar casino in NZ has opening and closing hours. This is primarily an efficiency decision; there's no need to open 24 hours when there are hardly any customers in the wee hours of the morning. For a physical casino, extended opening hours means extra personnel costs, utility expenses and other overheads.
Online casinos have hardly any such concerns, making it far easier to maintain 24 hour operations. In any case, an online casino is not limited to customers within its geographical location — anyone can participate from anywhere in the world as long as it is permitted in their country, and they have internet access. This continuous access is a key advantage over their brick-and-mortar counterparts and allows them to have a more global player base.
That said, online casinos will have their peak moments often depending on where the bulk of their customers come from. Given the disproportionate numbers of customers based in Europe and North America, these peak times will often coincide with the evening hours of 8 PM to 2 AM in these two regions. That’s because this is the time most players are likely to be free from work and family commitments.
Does Timing Matter?
That’s the big question. Some believe that playing at a specific time of the day or certain day of the week, or even during a particular time of the year, increases chances of winning. There are a number of theories typically revolving around player traffic, payroll times, progressive jackpots, availability of bonuses and promotions, and access to seats at live dealer tables.
As with a lot of theories, there is some element of truth in each. Still, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that casino games are primarily driven by chance. For example, outcomes on games such as online slots and online roulette are determined by random number generators (RNGs). As their name suggests, RNGs introduce randomness to gameplay thus ensuring outcomes are unpredictable, unbiased and fair for all players irrespective of time of day.
Peak Hours vs Off-Peak Hours
Peak hours are the times when there is the largest number of active players online. This is usually between 8 PM and 2 AM. Weekends also have more user traffic than weekdays. Conversely, off-peak hours is when there is the lowest user traffic. The volume of player traffic can have an impact on gaming experience resulting in the following pros and cons for either scenario.
Playing During Peak Hours
Playing During Off-Peak Hours
Personal Considerations for Choosing the Best Time to Play
So far, we have looked at how the traffic at your favourite online casino can determine the most appropriate time for you to engage. But that should not be the only factor you look at when thinking about gameplay. Personal considerations are key, and arguably more important.
Your everyday routine matters. That encompasses time dedicated to work, school, home and your social circle. If you only work nights, then the only time available for you to play is during the day. Being a ‘morning person’ or ‘night owl’ is a factor as well as this will affect your enthusiasm for play.
Irrespective of the times you eventually settle on playing, practise responsible gambling. Set a budget and time limits that you do not breach no matter what. Reach out to your closest family or friends if you sense a loss of control. Alternatively, contact a professional counselling body such as Gambling Helpline NZ.
Promotional Offers and Timing
Just like any other business, online casinos run seasonal and/or time-bound offers to keep current players loyal and new players engaged. These campaigns will include promotions and bonuses.
If you keep track of the email notifications you receive from your favourite online casino over time, you will notice a pattern on when these marketing campaigns are more likely to occur. Where your daily routine allows, develop a playing schedule that maximises your use of these time-bound offers to enhance your gaming experience.
Wrapping up, we have established there are a number of mostly traffic-driven factors that could determine the best time to play online casino games.
That is, bonuses and promotions, jackpot size/growth, competition for live dealer games seats, competition in multiplayer games, website speed/performance and customer service wait times. These combined with considerations on limits imposed by your everyday routine can help you identify your sweet spot for online casino play.
As you leverage timing to maximise your opportunities to win, gamble responsibly. It’s entertainment. Control it — Don’t let it control you.