Online casinos can be divided into three groups based on their interface: web-based casinos, download-based casinos, and more recently live casinos. Some casinos offer multiple interfaces.
Web-based online casinos
Web-based online casinos are websites where users may play casino games without downloading software to the local computer. Games are mainly represented in the browser plugins Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Shockwave, or Java and require browser support for these plugins. Also, bandwidth is needed since all graphics, sounds and animations are loaded through the web via the plugin. Some online casinos also allow gameplay through a plain HTML interface.
Download-based online casinos
Download-based online casinos require the download of the software client in order to play and wager on the casino games offered. The online casino software connects to the casino service provider and handles contact without browser support. Download-based online casinos generally run faster than web-based online casinos since the graphics and sound programs are located within the software client, rather than having to be loaded from the Internet. On the other hand, the initial download and installation of a download-based online casino client does take time. As with any download from the Internet, the risk of the program containing malware does exist.
Live-based casino gaming is a way to interface with a real world casino while playing online. Recent advancments in communication technology now allow land-based casinos to open a real-time window via the web for players to game tables in an interactive, live environment. With live gaming players can see, hear, and interact with live dealers at tables in brick and mortar casinos worldwide.