There has been a real boom in the popularity of casinos in the past two decades. Much of that is being driven by the rise to prominence of online casinos, which have a range of advantages over land-based ones.
They are easier and more convenient for people to visit for one thing. For another they allow inexperienced gamblers to try out casino games without the sometimes intimidating atmosphere found at a land-based venue.
All of this has led to younger people, particularly women, discovering the pleasures of casino gaming. Even more people would probably start playing if they knew how to go about it.
Therefore, this guide will cover everything you need to know before getting started at an online casino.
How to Choose the Right Casino Site
Before any gaming can begin, a casino site needs to be chosen and there are things to be aware of when making that choice. They represent the essential requirements and indicators that the site is legitimate.
The online casino sector is regulated by a number of organizations. They include the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission. A reputable casino will have a license from one of these prominently displayed at the foot of the main page, as well as full information about its licensing elsewhere on the site.
Cyber-crime is a very real issue and playing at online casinos means transacting money over the internet. That greatly increases the risk, but high quality casino sites will be aware of that and will have security measures such as SSL encryption protocols in place to protect the information shared by their users.
People often leave reviews of online businesses after using them and casinos are no exception. If you are considering playing at a site for the first time, look for customer reviews to see if they are positive before creating an account at the casino.
The Casino Games
Of course, any casino site you choose should have a varied selection of games too. There are standbys that you would expect to find at any decent site. They are:
Beyond those staples though, some sites also have more obscure games that can be a fun alternative. One example is Pai Gow Poker, which mixes classic Poker with Pai Gow, a popular betting game from China. Sic Bo and Keno are among the other Eastern games that can occasionally be found at online casinos.
It is not essential for a casino to have those sorts of games, but it should offer live casino alongside the standard online options. That means games of poker, roulette and blackjack that feature live dealers and opponents via video streams. These make for a more engaging and atmospheric gaming experience.
How Online Casinos Operate
All online casinos work in essentially the same way. The games run on algorithms and legitimate sites deploy Random Number Generators to guarantee that the results do not follow any set patterns and are therefore fair to the user.
Online casino games feature a house edge, but that is true of land-based venues too and it is nothing to do with the fairness of the games. The edge in favor of the casino is determined by the return-to-player (if the game is a slot) or the version of the game (American, European or French) if it is roulette.
A good piece of advice for new players is to try to pick slots with a return-to-player of at least 97%. If playing roulette, stick with the European or French versions, as the house edge is lower than it is with American roulette, due to the presence of one green 0 pocket on the wheel instead of two.
Finally, if you are playing on a mobile phone, choose the mobile app for the casino rather than browser play. It will provide a smoother experience.
Methods of Payment
The top online casinos provide their customers with a variety of ways to deposit money in their accounts and withdraw any winnings.
- Credit or debit card
- E-wallet (PayPal, Neteller)
- Bank transfer
These are all safe to use as long as the site has SSL encryption software. Deposits should be processed within minutes and winnings received within 48 hours of withdrawing them from your casino account.
Lastly, it is also worth considering the promotional offers. Do not sign up to a casino that does not offer a welcome bonus as well as some form of long-term loyalty program. Promotions of this sort are the lifeblood of the industry and something you should expect.
These are the basic things that a beginner needs to be aware of when choosing an online casino to play at.