Online casinos are big business, with casino fans across the world choosing to spend some of their leisure time gambling online. Whether you are an old hand or brand new to the game, our Ultimate Online Casino Gambling Guide is here to shine the light on what you need to know!
From what to look for, how to find the best places to play, what to play and lastly, how to make sure it stays fun!
The growth of online casinos has been one of the wonders of the modern age with newer technologies opening doors to more advanced casinos and graphics. It’s not just online casinos that have come on leaps and bounds either. Online slots and casino games are now more realistic and exciting than ever before. And with a game to suit every player preference, it’s easy to see why online gambling has captured the attention of casino fans around the world!
It all began back in the mid-nineties when the internet was starting to become more accessible with many households owning home computers. The internet managed to open up a whole world of knowledge and entertainment! It might have been unreliable and a bit slow at times (ok, all the time)! But who doesn’t secretly miss the anticipation and noise of connecting to the internet with the sound of a 56k modem!
The first online casinos
The first online casinos began to appear in 1994 with technology developed by Microgaming and Cryptologic. From then on, things moved quickly with more casinos appearing and other software providers jumping on the bandwagon. This was clearly an industry on a one-way journey to being a global phenomenon!
Legislation and licensing have changed the face of online gambling over the years. With new casinos came new laws banning online gambling in many countries. Still, to this day, the majority of countries have an outright ban on gambling online. However, in certain jurisdictions, gambling regulatory bodies have been created to govern and regulate the market. This, in turn, has opened up opportunities to play online safely.
Nowadays, a day doesn’t go by when we don’t see a new casino popping up online. Online casino gaming is continuing to grow in popularity, and we don’t see this slowing down any time soon. So where do you start? Some of the most popular online casinos are ones that take care of their players long term rather than just wafting an attractive looking bonus in their direction without the goods to back it up. Our next section will reveal some of the things to look for when choosing a place to play online casino games.
So we’ve established that there’s a whole lot of choice out there for casino fans which is excellent news. The bad news is you are going to have to do the leg work to find the best place to play online. Finding a casino to suit your requirements as well as ensuring it’s trustworthy, safe and fair can be a tall order!
Our online casino gambling guide highlights some of the key things to watch out for before you sign over your cash and personal details!
- Is it secure? – Make sure the casino site is secure and encrypted. You should see a padlock at the left of the URL which will tell you that a website is encrypted and has not been intercepted. If you have any doubts, it’s probably best to steer clear.
- Are they licensed and regulated? – One of the best indications if a casino is above board is to check they have a gambling license in place? Look for the logos of your local gambling authority on their casino home page.
- Secure transactions and payments – check if the casino uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption technology to ensure your deposits and withdrawals are safe. Also, find out if they accept your chosen payment method and currency.
- Player support – check they have daily live chat and or telephone support available? You don’t want to find you can’t get hold of anyone if you run into any problems.
- Deposits and withdrawals – find out what the minimum is you need to deposit to play and also when it comes to withdrawing your winnings. Some casinos have exceptionally high deposits and withdrawals. You can usually find this information in the casino terms and conditions.
- What are other players saying? – Probably the best guide to a casino’s credibility is seeing what other casino fans think of them. There are plenty of good and honest casino forums and review sites out there which will tell you what you need to know and probably a whole lot more!
- What kind of casino bonuses do they offer? A lot of casinos will offer a welcome bonus as well as ongoing bonuses for regular players. Look out for decent offers, no deposit bonuses, free spins and cashback deals.
- Wagering terms – the majority of bonuses will come with wagering requirements and bonus terms. Make sure you read all the fine print and pay attention to the offer details before you sign up to anything.
There’s no doubt that playing casino games is exciting and thrilling. But where do you start if you haven’t played before? With that in mind, let’s move on to the next part of our online casino gambling guide: our games guide!
For more on the types of games available, top tips and what to play at online casinos, you can check out our Online Gambling Guide for the in’s and out’s of the industry’s best-loved casino games!
Most casino these days focus on providing a vast range of video slots. The more, the merrier! Slot machines are one of the most popular games both at online casinos and also land-based casinos. The variety of themes, bonus features, styles and storylines is limitless, making them a popular choice for a quick and entertaining game.
The most popular game to play is video slots. The object is to match up symbols in sequence on an active payline to win money. Each game will have a paytable which will show you the most valuable symbols and winning combinations that will earn you the most. There aren’t usually many controls to worry about when playing, making them a simple option for casino fans.
Just set the amount you want to bet by toggling the coin value and bet size, and away you go! Remember, in all cases, the house edge is stacked in favour of the casino! Each game will have an RTP (return to player) which you can view in the game information. The higher the percentage, the lower the house edge. Online slots tend to be around 95-97% RTP.
When it comes to graphics and styles, there is a game for every imaginable theme! Irish, sci-fi, horror, fairytale, wild west are some popular themes, but really it’s a case of anything goes! You can also find stacks of games based on movies and TV shows too!
You’ll find that you can play slots at every online casino, the only hard part is knowing which game to choose. Try them out by playing for free in the demo mode first.
Jackpot slots or as they are also known, progressive slots work in a similar way to video slots. However, in these games, there is also a progressive prize pot that is continuously climbing. What makes a progressive slot so attractive is that the jackpot can sometimes be won on the smallest bet size. It has happened! Some progressive games require a more substantial bet size to have a stab at the big prize so should be played with caution.
The games are part of a network, so the jackpot keeps on ticking up even when it is played at different casinos. Each play is topping up the jackpot that bit higher until, BOOM, it drops, and you’ve got yourself an instant millionaire in some cases!
Table games are traditional games of chance that use either cards or dice. There are multiple versions of games including blackjack, baccarat, roulette and craps. Table games have a long history, with some dating back many centuries. The games can be played at a land-based casino and also at online casinos where you can enjoy them from the comfort of home.
With advancements in technology and the introduction of live dealer games, you can now interact with real-life croupiers and get an authentic casino experience without ever having to leave home.
Here are just a few of the most popular table games:
Roulette is one of the most popular traditional casino games and is one that is potentially the easiest to play. The tension of the spinning wheel, creating palpable excitement about where that little ball will land!
The game has many versions with the most common being European Roulette which has a wheel with red or black slots containing the numbers 1 to 36. Then there’s American Roulette which has two extra segments containing zeros.
There are different ways in which you can bet on a game of roulette such as choosing whether the ball will land in a red or black segment, the number slot, odd or even numbers or high or low numbers. Players place real money bets on their chosen criteria and wait for that little ball to stop!
The game of blackjack dates back to the 18th century, and in fact, many people have played it just for fun at home as it’s a straightforward game to play. I even played it as a kid on holidays (no money exchanged hands though)! It is also known as 21 as the aim is to try and get a hand as close to 21 without going over (bust).
The game is hugely popular thanks to being relatively simple to play. The game starts with the dealer dealing two cards to each player and themselves. There are several choices the player can make based on the cards they have been dealt. They include ‘stand’, which will end their turn and ‘hit’, to get another card. Getting an Ace and a picture card or 10 gets you an instant 21, and you’ll win that round.
Baccarat or as it’s also known, Punto Banco is a high stakes table game. The card game is relatively simple with the primary aim that the winning hand totals closest to nine. The hand can be made up of two or three cards, but if the total goes over nine, then ten is subtracted. For instance, if the hand was a 7 + 6 = 13 so 13 – 10 makes that a hand of 3.
The player chooses to gamble on which hand they think is going to be closest to nine or if they believe it will be a tie. If you correctly guess the winning hand, you win. It’s as simple as that! The payout is higher if you correctly guess a tie!
Probably one of the most alluring of casino games but perhaps the most intimidating to a newcomer. This is often a game you might see being played in the movies, with onlookers cheering on from the sidelines as the ‘Shooter’ (the person throwing the dice) aims to help them win big!
The game usually results in quite a lively table! The players choose if they want to back the Shooter as to whether they will roll a total of seven or eleven with their two dice. This bet is called a ‘Pass Line’ bet. If the Shooter rolls a two, three or twelve, players that bet on a Pass Line lose their bets.
If the Shooter rolls any other number, they then have to try and roll this number again before they roll a seven. Rolling a seven would end the game at this point, and mean those who backed the Shooter (made a ‘Pass Line’ bet) would lose their bet. The winners, in this case, being anyone who bet against the Shooter (‘Don’t Pass’ bet).
You can find out more by checking out some of our casino game guides!
The majority of people who gamble online do so because it’s a fun pastime. However, many also attempt to gamble as a way of making money. They can spend more than they can afford and get into debt and in severe cases, develop a gambling addiction.
Reputable casinos will provide ways in which you can help control how much you spend and how long you are spending gambling. These ‘account controls’ can be set up to avoid overspending. They also allow you to establish times outs or to self exclude entirely so you can’t log in and gamble during a moment of weakness.
Here are some tips to help you gamble more safely:
- Avoid thinking of gambling as a way to make money – play the games because you enjoy them rather than thinking it’s a way to make money. Playing long term, you will lose more money than you win. Remember, the house always has the edge!
- Only play with what you can afford to lose – if you set aside a gambling budget and think of it as an entertainment fund. When it’s gone, it’s gone!
- Set deposit or wager limits – help stick to your budget but setting up account controls with how much you can deposit or wager within a specific timeframe. This way, even if you wanted to cheat your budget, you wouldn’t be able to!
- Set a time limit for your gambling session – we all know that Vegas casinos don’t have any clocks to keep you playing for longer, but at home, you don’t have that excuse! The more you play, the more you are likely to lose! Establish a time limit and set reminders to keep track of time while you play.
- Don’t chase your losses – chasing your losses will usually lead to even bigger losses so stick to your budget and walk away when it’s gone.
- Don’t gamble when you are upset or depressed – don’t try and use gambling as a way of lifting your mood if you are feeling emotionally distressed or upset. You won’t make good decisions when your mind is clouded, and chances are you’ll feel worse when you lose.
- Don’t gamble under the influence of alcohol or drugs – your judgement will be clouded, and you may make rash decisions that you wouldn’t make while sober.
- Take a break and do something else – enjoy other activities away from gambling. It might be a form of entertainment, but it shouldn’t be your only pastime. Explore other hobbies and activities.
The positive news is that many organisations have been set up with the sole purpose of helping people with problem gambling and addiction. They can provide helpful support and guidance and also advice to prevent problems arising in the first instance.
For further support and advice, please visit www.begambleaware.org
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Remember, always gamble responsibly!