With every day, online casino game developers are coming up with ideas that are more entertaining and exciting, attracting an increasing number of people to the industry. Interesting games, an engaging experience, and, of course, the chance to win money, are all factors that come into play. With the increased popularity and demand, it is only natural for the offer to grow as well. Today, the number of top online casinos available on the web is probably ten times bigger than what it was a few years ago – and there are new virtual casinos opening their doors almost every day.
With so many options, how does one go about choosing the best online casino site for gambling? If you aren’t experienced in the industry and are someone just looking to have some fun, all these casinos may seem identical. So, we’ve come up with this online gambling guide, which will help you choose the best option and have a pleasant experience playing online.
If you have no idea about online gambling and have never played at an online casino, what should you do as your first step? This is a bit tricky because there isn’t a one-fit-all answer to the dilemma. It will significantly depend on what exactly you’re looking for, i.e., are you interested in playing slots or you prefer table games, whether or not you’d like to have a big welcome bonus to go along with your initial deposit or this isn’t as important, etc. All of these aspects will be looked at in detail later on in this online gambling guide, but the very first thing you need to know about your casino site of choice is if they are an honest and trustworthy business operation. You will be able to determine this looking at a couple of factors.
Online casinos, at least the reputable ones, are licensed by independent and/or governmental authorities. There are several such authorities out there, and you can find more details about it online. However, without knowing anything about them, suffices to say that you’ll want to play at an online casino that displays a license by an organization such as the Malta Gambling Authority, UK Gambling Commission, or Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. These are some of the best and strictest permissions out there and an excellent first step towards finding a reliable place for online gambling.
b. User experience
While online casinos themselves usually don’t have a section for player comments on the site, there are many reputable casino review sites where players will leave their comments and share their experiences. While most casinos will have some players complaining about this or that (due to the nature of the business), be very careful if the casino you’re looking into has many complaints concerning cashouts, confiscated funds, and similar ones. With so many options out there, you’re probably better of steering clear of such places.
c. Deposits & withdrawals
Some of the biggest concerns most people have when it comes to online gambling have to do with money. On one side, the question is – how are you going to fund your account and if it is safe to do so. On the other, many are concerned about actually getting their money when and if they happen to win. On the funding side of things, the best online casinos have made it so that it is unbelievably easy to get money in your account. It can be transferred from credit and debit cards (which most people own these days), numerous e-wallets, straight from bank accounts, etc.
And, if you’re concerned about your information is safe, you shouldn’t be. Properly licensed casinos, which we talked about earlier, have to stick to very strict rules and regulations when it comes to handling your sensitive data, especially with the new GDPR coming into play. When it comes to withdrawing, as long as you’re playing with a reputable online casino operator, you can rest assured your fund will be made available to you in the shortest time possible.
Serious businesses are happy to pay your winnings because it is an essential part of the business model, and makes everyone happy. You’d never walk into your local casino if they’d confiscated your winnings for no good reason, and you’ll never see it happen. The same thing applies to well-regulated and serious online sites. They want you to come back and play more, so they will not scam you out of your winnings.
Another common concern with people when considering online gambling sites has to do with the fairness of it all. How can you be sure that the games you’re playing are fair and that the casino isn’t rigging the play in some way to make you lose more than you should and win less frequently? Of course, nothing in life is 100% guaranteed, and it wouldn’t be fair to say that there’s never been an online casino trying to cheat on their customers.
However, in most instances, you’re probably better off playing online than in your local casino venue if fairness is your primary concern. All the games you’ll encounter at an online casino run based on independently verified and regularly checked Random Number Generators (RNG). This is the software that ensures the games are fully randomized and not influenced by any outside or inside factors. For the most part, casino owners and employees don’t even have the means necessary to tamper with the RNG even if they wanted.
If somehow, a casino manages to change the RNG and doesn’t disclose the fact, this wouldn’t last long, because regulators are there to check on these things and the moment any tampering was to be discovered, the casino would probably immediately lose its license and potentially face legal ramifications. If we take online slots, for example, most of it comes with a Return to Player figure publically announced on the site. It is the amount of money that slots are paying back the player compared to the total amount that was collected before.
So, if the RTP stands at 96%, this means that, over the long run, the slot will take $4 for every $100 put in. This RTP number is often not disclosed with land-based machines, at least not in most jurisdictions, so you’re much safer gambling online, even if it doesn’t appear so at first glance. On top of that, landed-based casinos take a much bigger cut for themself, so even your odds of winning are bigger online.
Top online casino bonuses and programs
There are many different bonuses you can get for playing online, and learning how to take advantage of these offers can instantly fill your pockets.
a. Loyalty programs
Best online gambling sites run specific loyalty schemes where players are rewarded for their play. These days, there are so many different models. However, you should always check out what’s on offer and see if it tickles your fancy. For small-time players, the value of these programs is often not found in cash returns but rather in the fun element, which is something more and more top online casinos are starting to do. Many of them have setups where players have a feeling they’re playing a video game of sorts, progressing through different levels, uncovering new places, and earning modest but entertaining rewards along the way.
b. Races, leaderboards, etc.
On top of all this, many places run regular races and leaderboards of different shapes and sizes. These add extra value to your play as you can win additional rewards by simply playing your favorite games. The general rule of thumb here is – the more, the merrier, as every such promo can be of interest at some point down the line even if you aren’t interested in it at the moment. Plus, these can be a lot of fun as you’re pitched against other players, trying to achieve a better score than them.
c. Free offers
It is one of the best options for you because you do not need to deposit any money and the casino gives you free cash to try their games with the hope that you like them. Of course, they are not just giving their money away for nothing, so naturally have some restrictions, so that players would not be taking advantage of these offers. The goal for online casinos offering these bonuses is to let players try their new games, with the hope that they would like and decide to deposit later on. And that my friends, leads to much more serious bonuses.
d. First deposit bonuses
Without a doubt, the first deposit bonus is going to give you the most value, so if you are looking to play more than once, this is probably the best option. As the name suggests, this is a bonus that is offered for new players who deposit real money for the first time. Since the end goal of a casino is to make a profit, just like in any other business, the real money players are the most valuable clients to them, and top online casinos offer great bonuses so that you would play at their site.
When you make the first deposit, you will be offered to double or triple the amount of money you are depositing. On top of that, you are likely to get free slot spins so that you could try all new fancy games that casinos are offering and fall in love with their platform. Of course, there are always some additional requirements to clear the bonus, but we will surely discuss it at the end of this section, so stay tuned.
e. Free slot spins
You will often get some free spins as an addition to your first deposit bonus, but sometimes online gambling real money sites are offering this as a standalone bonus. Since these free spins come free of charge, it is a great way to try new games, and if you are lucky enough, you can even cash in a decent sum of money. However, just like with all bonuses, nothing comes free of charge, so before choosing where to play online casino games, make sure to understand wagering requirements.
One thing that makes the online gambling industry different from its land-based counterpart is the number of various promotions offered to players, from generous welcome bonuses to all sorts of player loyalty programs, which can be both rewarding and entertaining. Casino welcome bonuses usually work in a way that the casino matches a part or all of the money you deposit and gives you extra cash to play with. So, for example, you might have an offer to deposit $200 and instantly get $200 more to play with.
If you’re new to online gambling, this may seem too good to be true, but it is actually a fairly standard offer for a new player at many casinos. Checking out the welcome bonus package is one of the first things you should look at when choosing your online casino. These offers can really boost your gambling bankroll and increase your winning chances, in addition to providing you with more entertainment. However, you need to know that not everything is as straightforward as it seems at a first glance.
Understanding wagering requirements & other restrictions in online casinos
The only gambling industry may be fairly generous when compared to the land-based casino industry but they’re still in the business of making money, not giving it away. This means that bonuses (welcome and otherwise) always come with certain restrictions that apply to them and you need to be aware of these. Wagering requirements are the term you’ll encounter most frequently when talking about casino bonuses. In simple words, this is the turnover you need to achieve before the bonus cash is released to you and you’re allowed to cash it out.
For example, a 30x wagering on that $200 bonus would mean you need to place $6,000 worth of bets before whatever is left of that money actually becomes yours. It is hard to fully understand wagering requirements without getting the actual first-hand feel for them but as a general rule of thumb, anything that goes beyond 40x the bonus amount or 25x the full amount (bonus + deposit) is a raw deal.
There are some exceptions, of course, but if you’re someone just starting, you’ll be able to find plenty of offers in the 30x bonus region, so you should probably stick with those. With most welcome bonuses, there will be other restrictions in place. Most often, there is the maximum bet in place, so while you have a bonus active, you won’t be allowed to wager more than a certain amount on a single go. For example, you might be limited to $5 per slot spin or a hand of blackjack.
Finally, not all wagers are counted the same towards meeting these wagering requirements. Usually, all your play on slots is counted at 100% but your roulette or blackjack play might only count at 5% or 10% (or not at all). This is definitely something to consider if you’re planning on playing table games as with most casinos you’re probably best off going at it without a bonus.
Top online casinos games
Even if you’re new to online gambling, you’re probably not new to casinos in general and have an idea what they’re all about. One thing to look at when you want to compare online gambling sites is the variety of different games in offer. In general, you’ll find several large groups of games at most top online casinos, but some just offer more than others.
Slots are by far the most played type of games at online and land-based venues alike. Simple and easy to play, yet very exciting and entertaining, with a potential to produce big wins, it isn’t hard to see why slots capture the imagination of casino players of all shapes and sizes. If you’re someone with a land-based casino background, you’re probably used to having access to a somewhat limited number of games as land-based venues have a limited floor space to use for the machines.
Online, however, these problems don’t exist so you’ll find online casinos offering hundreds and even thousands of different casino slots, all in one place. If slots are your cup of tea, you’ll be delighted by what the world of online gambling has to offer. There is practically an unlimited number of slot machines to try, with new ones being added regularly. Some of these games even offer huge progressive jackpots, where you can win seven and eight-figure amounts if you get lucky – all from the comfort of your own home.
There are quite a few online casinos that made it their mission to offer their players access to as many slots as possible. You should have no problem finding these casinos with very little effort if this is what you’re interested in and feel like you need access to a couple of thousands of slot machines. There are games with every theme under the sky, featuring a number of pay lines from just one all the way to hundreds of thousands and even millions. You’ll find all sorts of features and mini-games embedded in these slots so it is really a never-ending source of entertainment.
b. Table games machines
Of course, slots aren’t the only thing available at online casinos, even if they are the most popular. Most casinos feature electronic versions of popular table games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, Caribbean Stud, Casino Hold’em, and much more. Unlike slots, however, some casinos might be richer in this department than the other, so if you’re interested in this particular segment, check it out before signing up, just to make sure the casino meets your expectations.
The same applies to video pokers. In today’s day and age, video poker machines have become somewhat outdated, so casinos offer only a limited number of these. That said, you’ll still be able to find online casinos offering the full scope of video poker variations, from Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild to All American, Aces & Eights, Aces & Faces, Joker Wild, Bonus Poker, and more. You also can find good old table games that are featured in top live online casinos all over the world.
This game lets you experience a real casino atmosphere and try the most popular game in the world. If you manage to guess a number where the ball lands, you will win 35 to 1, meaning you can quickly fill your pockets if the luck is on your side. Of course, you can always choose a less risky option and try to guess the color of the field where the ball lands or one of many other options. Whatever you choose, you can have a great time playing this game and experience a lot of thrill.
It is one of a few games in the casino where you can actually influence the result by making strategic decisions and not purely relying on luck. Your goal is to get 21 points or as close to this amount as you possibly can by not going over the top. If you manage to reach that number or finish closer than he dealer, you win the hand and take down the money. Of course, since this is a game of skill, make sure to learn how to play blackjack before sitting down at the table if you are new to this game.
This popular game has many variations that is played in online casinos and poker rooms all over the world. However, unlike other games in the casino, poker requires learning the rules and studying the game if you want to have positive results, and put cash in your pocket. The good news here is that you will be playing against other players instead of the casino, so only your skill will determine who is going to win at the end.
It is the only game where you can constantly be winning in the long run and one I really love to play. If you want to take it seriously, I highly recommend checking out one of the best poker training sites to learn advanced strategies, so that you could go to the table knowing how to play. Of course, you can also find options where you play poker against the casino and test your luck over there if you prefer a quick game.
f. Live Dealer Casino
The development of new technologies has taken the world of online gambling to a whole new level, making possible things that were hard to even imagine a decade or so ago. The live dealer casino is one such invention, which will probably appeal to you if you’re coming from the brick and mortar casino background. The live dealer casino is exactly what the name suggests, i.e. live dealer tables with an actual dealer, real cards, and proper roulette wheels, but the play happens over the internet instead of you having to go to a casino.
So, everything is pretty much the same as if you were sitting at that blackjack table making your choices but instead of having to physically move your chips and announce your actions, it is all done through an interactive online interface. These days, you can find a variety of popular games in live casinos provided by a number of companies, including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, Three Card Poker, Pai Gow, Caribbean Stud, Casino Hold’em, and much more.
Benefits of online casinos
Firstly, you have to understand why playing online is a far superior option. If you are somehow not yes convinced with advantages that online casinos have over land-based locations, the following list will change your mind.
a. You can save a lot of time
It is quite evident that it is even hard to compare online gambling sites and local casinos in regards to how much time it takes for you to get the games going. If you want to visit a land-based casino you need to get ready, dress-up, go to that place, park your car, register before entering, wait in line to buy some chips, then search for an empty seat in the game you want to play, and only then you can actually begin playing. And all of this is just if you do have a casino next to your location or in your city, which is not always the case.
So just getting to the casino can take you an hour or more, and you will need to repeat the whole process when getting back home. It sounds ridiculous when you compare it to playing at one of the top online casinos, which usually takes less than a minute to launch. As a result, you can save a lot of time by choosing an online alternative over a real location, and invest that time in doing something that you like, or even extending your playing session.
b. You can play anytime and anywhere
If you want to play in a local casino, you might even need to go to another city, since surely not every location has one. Even if you have a casino near your place, you are still going to waste a lot of time just to get there, which is not very convenient. Either way, with land-based casinos, you are tied to their actual place and have no other option to enjoy the games than to go there. However, you have a completely different situation with legit online casinos.
No matter where you are, even if you just want to relax on a train while traveling home or just lying on the beach and want some action, top online casinos are always available for you no matter where you are, and they are open 24/7. All of the biggest gambling site operators have their websites optimized for all mobile devices, which assures that you can enjoy games whenever you choose to, which brings us to the next point.
c. It is more convenient
Likely, you are not going to waste your time and visit your local casino just to play one hand of blackjack or enjoy poker for half an hour, since the trip alone will take you more time than that. The good news is that online casinos let you access games via their mobile apps or websites almost instantly. So even if you want to play a game for 10 minutes, you can easily and quickly find some action online. So once again, it is not even close if we compare the convenience of these two options, and top online gambling websites triumphs here every single day.
d. Much bigger bonuses and promotions
If you visit your local casino near you, you might get a free drink or special offer designed to make you feel better, but these things are never worth much, and most likely, you not even going to get it. However, all of this makes complete sense. There is no need for the casino to spend additional money on attracting you because they already did this job since you at their place.
Contrary to this, live online casinos are always racing to attract new players and even compete who can offer better first deposit bonuses, more free spins, or even cash so that you would be convinced to choose them. As a player, you can benefit from this a lot and get additional value just because you decided to play at a legit online casino instead of the local one.
e. Greater game selection
Another huge advantage of choosing an online gambling destination is the variety of games you can find in one place. Even though you can find many popular games in land-based casinos, the options that are available online outweigh those hundreds of times. Here you can find not only standard versions of games such as blackjack or roulette but also plenty of different variations. On top of that, you can find countless slots options, live betting, and many other games. It lets you find everything in one place online, from the newest options to good old games.
f. Cutting edge innovations
Last but not least is the introduction of new games and innovations. In order to launch a new game, the land-based casino needs to invest a considerable sum of money to buy it. Therefore, these sites only choose time-tested options and stick with standard games that are the same in every single place. Contrary to this, top online casino sites tend to continually introduce new games and launch updated versions of older ones just to attract new players and keep them happy.
The online gambling industry often plays a leading part in innovations, just because this is an excellent way to attract new players and offer them a better experience. So as soon as something good shows up, it will be quickly introduced in online casinos, but it could take years or even decades for the same thing to reach land-based gambling spots. To be honest, that is one of the most significant online gambling advantages. It helps you enjoy the games and have even more fun at the same time.
With everything discussed online gambling guide, you should have a pretty good idea of what to look for if you want to get started playing online and what you can expect to find. While this is a vast subject that can be discussed at even more length, these tips should help to get the ball rolling. The most important takeaway is always to stay safe and play on top online casinos sites you can trust. This is something you can conclude based on their licenses and general user reviews, and if you get this right, the rest should be fine.
Welcome bonuses and promos are there to make your stay more pleasant, so don’t be shy about taking advantage of these. However, always make sure to get familiar with relevant terms and conditions, so you know where you’re at all times. Try various games and find what you like. You can try slots, blackjack, roulette, or even learn strategy tips and try poker or all of it at once. It’s up to you. Most importantly, have fun!
You can’t beat the casinos, but you can find the ones where your time and money will be well-spent, and you’ll feel the entertainment you got was well worth it. Of course, every now and then, you will walk away as the winner. When this happens, make sure to get some of the money out and treat yourself with the winnings because that will make the whole gambling experience so much better.