The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Online Casino
Welcome to your ultimate beginner’s guide to USA online casinos! We’ve put countless hours into creating this useful guide is designed for quick and easy reference, allowing you to have the answers you need at your fingertips, as you take your first steps into the exciting world of online casino gaming.
Whether it’s because most of your friends can’t seem to stop talking about the fun that they are having playing online, or because you just can’t resist those alluring online banners promising you a life-changing experience, we’re here to help you get the most out of your imminent online casino adventure!
It’s a bit like taking a long sea voyage of discovery. You’re excited because you just don’t know what what’s out there for you to discover. But, at the same time, you know there’s plenty of danger too (which is why it is exciting) so you need to be as prepared as possible.
Each section of our ultimate beginner’s guide to online casinos is a complete unit, which means that you do not have to read this guide in order. Simply use our table of contents below to instantly navigate to the section that interests you the most. If you’re not the reading type, that’s cool too, simply consult the section that you need to, while setting up your online casino account or playing your first few casino games. Our guide is here always, as your trusty companion that you can refer to for advice whenever you need to.
You may have heard a few horror stories here and there about people getting taken for a ride by unscrupulous online casino operators, but like everything in life, as long as you use your common sense and our checklist, you’ll be fine.
Here’s what you should know before signing up with any US online casino:
- What characteristics set one best casino site apart from another?
- Which jurisdictions the casino you are interested in operates?
- Their track record online
- What do real people say about them?
- Are they licensed and regulated through recognised authorities?
- Software brands that different casinos use
- Do they offer a mobile platform?
- Banking options and speed of withdrawals
- Available customer support options, hours of availability, quality in response.
- Online safety and security, the use of SSL encryption and other web security features
The online casino gaming industry is one of the biggest web-based industries in the world today, with millions and millions of members around the world. When you consider that online casinos have only really been around since the late nineties, this is quite a remarkable achievement.
Playing online casino games is the number one pastime of most internet-savvy adults in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. Of course, it all really depends on what is legally available in each country but most places now have access to decent online casino options.
So pack your bags, stack the life rafts, get the snacks and supplies and get ready to set sail as we guide you through the essentials, including how to open your account, how to take advantage of bonus offers, making deposits, withdrawals, getting help when you need it most, and much more!
In This Guide:
- Getting Started: Opening Your Player Account
- Sign up Bonuses and Promotions
- Should You Play with Real Money?
- Getting Your Banking Together
- How Licensing Works
- Game Platforms, Casino platforms and “white labels”
- Game Providers: An Overview
- How Different Casino Games Work
- Customer Support – What You Need to Know
- In Closing
Getting Started: Opening Your Player Account
If you’re excited and eager to get started with playing casino games online, the first step in the process is opening an account, also known as signing up with a casino. Of course, it is best to only commit to starting this process after careful consideration. Once you are absolutely sure that the online casino that you would like to sign up with has a solid reputation backed up by opinions and experiences from real players. It is also a good idea to first check out a potential casino’s games, support, payment options and other features, essentially everything that we cover in this guide.
Once you are sure of the casino, simply visit their homepage, which can be done from your home computer or from your mobile device. Most online casinos will have both their login and sign up buttons situated at the top right-hand side of their homepage screen. Click on the Join Now or Register button to get the process rolling.
The next step will happen in one of two ways. You’ll either be taken to a new separate page containing the casinos registration form, or you will see a simple pop up appear on your screen. In either case, the following process is almost always the same. You will be required to enter several required details which will help the casino to know who you are and where you are from. While the required fields may be different in how they are laid out, most will include these fields:
- A username and password combination
- Your actual name and surname
- Your regular email address
- Your residential address
- Your mobile phone number, which also require your country dialing code
- Your date of birth
- Country of origin
- You may be required to select your preferred payment option
- If selecting credit card, you may be required to enter it now
- Tick the box if you wish to receive further emails from the casino
- Tick the box that confirms that you have read all of the casinos T’s & C’s and that you agree with them
Certain online casinos may also ask you if you would like to deposit now and, at the same time, opt in for their welcome bonus offer during the registration process. You can choose to do so but if you choose not to, it does not mean that you won’t be able to take advantage of their bonus offer at a later stage, so don’t worry too much about it. Some new players simply prefer to get all of these things out of the way as quickly as possible, so they can start playing casino games for real money right away.
Another important consideration has to do with giving the casino permission to send you marketing information via the email address that you submitted during your application. Now, with most other types of websites, most people choose to opt out of getting email updates and marketing, since these are often very spammy by nature.
However, with your online casino, you may wish to make the exception. The reasoning behind this is rather simple. When online casinos come up with new promotions or add new games to their platforms, they will usually let their customers know via email. In this way, you can often take advantage of specials that are usually not available to regular players or non-members. These will often come with exclusive promo codes which you need to add the next time you log in to make a fresh deposit and score a few freebies such as free spins, cashbacks or player points.
So, when you get to the end of your registration form, we suggest that you rather tick the box giving your casino permission to send you additional marketing information, bonuses and promotions, announcements of new games and other useful information.
Either way, the last step in the sign-up process is to read through the casino’s terms and conditions page (which we absolutely recommend that you really do) before ticking the box that says that you have read the terms and conditions and agree with them. Depending on the casino, you will either be granted access to your new account (and the casinos games) right away, or will need to verify your info by adding a special code know as an OTP (One Time PIN) in a pop-up box before being allowed to proceed. Some older online casinos still use your email to send you a verification email containing a code or link for you to sign in with, so you may need to look out for that (check your spam filters as well).
That’s it! Signing up with a casino online is a simple and painless procedure and there is absolutely nothing to be worried about.
Sign Up Bonuses and Packages
Aside from knowing how to sign up with an online casino and create your own account, knowing how the best UK casino bonus offers (also known as a sign-up bonus) work is just as important. In fact, aside from the range of games like slots, table games, poker and huge jackpots, casino bonuses are the items that most attract people to join online casinos.
All members of an online casino will start off with a welcome bonus when they decide to sign up with the casino. When it comes to these types of bonus offers, there are no hard and fast rules, and each casino operator will create their own unique package, designed to suit their particular target market. While some casinos like to keep it simple with a basic cash match on your first deposit, others throw in everything including the kitchen sink in an effort to outdo their competitors.
When it comes to picking your welcome bonus, or any other subsequent bonus for that matter, it is always advisable to exercise caution, use common sense and put in your due diligence. This means closely examining the bonus offer to see how well it matches your needs or goals and always read the terms and conditions related to that particular bonus.
That said, exploring the world of casino bonuses can be exciting and, if done right, can set you up to do very well with your casino gaming campaigns. Since online casinos use a variety of bonus types as a way to recruit new members, as well as keep existing members happy, you’ll be able to take advantage of all sorts of offers. In fact, you’ll even find bonus offers that don’t even need you to make a cash deposit of your own in order to take advantage of them. Actually, that’s a really great place to start as we break down all of the most popular bonus options and types that you are likely to come across as you explore your online casino options.
Bonus With No Deposit
As the name may imply, the bonus with no deposit means that you can get your hands on some free casino cash, without having to first make a cash deposit of your own, which is what you would need to do to qualify for a regular welcome bonus. The bonus with no deposit is used by online casinos to attract new players by giving them a bit of free cash to spend on some of their games. Now, it’s also worth mentioning that not all bonus with no deposit offers are cash-based, some also take the form of free spins.
It really boils down to what you like to do at an online casino, do you like to play slots or table games, or maybe a bit of both? If the free spins bonus with no deposit only consists of free spins, this indicates that the bonus is specifically aimed at attracting slots players to the casino. On the other hand, a mix or a strict cash bonus does not exclude slot fans, as casinos will try and accommodate as diverse a range of players as possible.
From a player perspective, getting a bonus with no deposit is a great way to shop around in a much more ‘hand-on’ sort of way. What we mean by that is, instead of only scrolling through an online casino’s games or flicking through the various pages on the site, you can actually try the games out in real-time. The way this works is quite simple. As soon as you’ve signed up with the online casino offering the bonus with no deposit, you’ll find your new free bonus waiting for you in your account. All you have to do is look for a few games that you can spend it on.
How to get your own bonus with no deposit right now:
- First, sign up with the online casino making the offer
- Be sure to complete all required fields
- Once you’ve completed the registration, be sure to opt-in for the offer
- You’ll now be able to play a range of select games essentially for free
More about bonuses with no deposit offers
It is important at this point to understand that the bonus with no deposit isn’t exactly going to blow you away with huge amounts of cash deposited in your account. Since this is, in reality, free money that the casino is giving you, the amount you can expect will always be quite low. Think of the bonus with no deposit as a taster or as a teaser for what is possible. By not expecting too much, you won’t be disappointed and can enjoy the bonus for what it is, and what it is intended for.
Aside from the low amount of cash inherent in the bonus with no deposit, the other factor worth considering is the conditions and terms associated with it. All casino bonus offers, no matter how big or small will always include conditions that must be followed to the letter. So, don’t just be dazzled by the idea of a bit of free money, always read the terms (T’s & C’s) to ensure you are not being misled in any way, or that you may end up biting off more than you can chew.
Something else to think about. Not all bonus with no deposit offers will actually let you keep the money that you win and will instead, transfer your winnings to your account as a cash bonus, which will also include its own set of terms and conditions. It all depends on the casino at the end of the day, some will let you take your winnings as cash, others will convert your winnings into a cash bonus, and some will even let you withdraw without wagering conditions attached.
Ultimately the humble bonus with no deposit can be a great way to thoroughly audit casinos before depositing real cash with them first. However, as with any product on the net (or in the real world), shopping around first is always a good idea. Don’t just grab the first one that you come across. If you find a good bonus with no deposit that allows you to explore the features of an online casino, and you’re happy with them, you can move on to something a bit more substantial, the cash deposit bonus.
Deposit bonuses are the most ubiquitous form of casino bonus you will come across at virtually every online casino on the web. In fact, in most instances, the real welcome bonus or sign-up bonus that an online casino offers will be made up, at least in part, by the deposit bonus which requires you to inject cash into your new account. When it comes to bonus packages, you can expect a portion dedicated to the cash bonus, along with a portion dedicated to another type of bonus offers such as free spins, future cashbacks, golden chips (for table games) and so forth.
You’ll also find that, with most cash deposit bonus offers, the minimum amount that you are required to deposit is quite reasonable, and is often Under $20, an amount that most would-be casino gamers can manage quite easily.
Pretty much all cash deposit bonuses work on a percentage basis or match percentage. In a nutshell, the casino will match whatever amount you decide to deposit, by a certain percentage. The size of the percentage will vary from one casino to another as well as from one deposit to another within the same casino.
Naturally, the best type of cash deposit bonus to get is the 100% cash match. You’ll often find that most welcome bonuses, particularly either single bonus or first deposit bonus offers, will feature a 100% match on your deposit up front. With multiple cash deposit bonuses within the same package, the percentage strength tends to drop off from the initial 100% and can consist of a 50% match on your second deposit, a 25% match on your third deposit and so on.
Deciding which type of cash deposit bonus to take will largely depend on your individual needs or goals. If you are more of a casual sort of casino player, you’ll probably do just fine with a single cash deposit bonus on your first deposit. This is especially so if that cash deposit bonus offers a 100% cash match. However, if you are the sort of player looking to make the most out of your time at the casino, taking a deposit bonus package that offers a range of match percentages over several of your cash deposits may be the best way to go. This way you will inevitably end up with a more sustained bankroll that is boosted every time you decide to replenish it with some cash.
Using Promo Codes
Promo codes are an interesting feature employed by many of the top online casino brands. You won’t find them with every operator, it all depends again on the casino and how it wants to go about things. Promo codes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be collected at the casino itself, or from one of its affiliated sites.
Usually, when the casino offers promo codes it is because they generally tend to offer a larger range of bonus offers than other operators do. If each bonus offer includes its own specific bonus code, there is little to no chance of there being any confusion or mix up when it comes time for you to make your relevant deposit. This is because the deposit for that specific bonus offer must include the bonus code, so the casino knows which bonus you are effectively purchasing.
Promo codes are also a handy way of taking advantage of special offers that include a limited time. These can be collected from affiliated sites, giving you an additional bonus boost, or can be emailed to you by the casino. Getting a special bonus code in your inbox can be one of the most uplifting and exciting experiences when you log into your email account.
The Nitty Gritty: Getting to Grips With Wagering Requirements
Remember when we kept mentioning how each and every bonus offer that you’ll come across will include certain terms and conditions? Well, out of all those T’s and C’s, few are as important to understand as the bonus wagering or ‘playthrough’ requirements stipulated with every bonus offer. The reason for this is simple, if you fail to meet the prescribed playthrough requirements set out by your bonus offer, you will inevitably end up forfeiting both your bonus money and your winnings to boot!
Now, before you go running for the hills in sheer terror, let’s reassure you that these requirements are not scary at all, and are not that complicated to understand. The reason why they exist in the first place is so that casinos are assured that you aren’t just there for the free money. By implementing certain playthrough requirements, online casinos know that you will at least stick around long enough to complete them and, at the same time, make it worthwhile for the casino to give you a bonus in the first place. It is essentially a win-win sort of relationship.
The best (and fastest) way to understand how they work is by looking at an actual example of one:
Let’s assume that you’ve just signed up with Casino A, and have decided to take their cash deposit bonus. You’ve read the basic terms and conditions that are printed (in really small print) at the bottom of the offer and understand that you need to deposit at least $10 to unlock the offer. However, you’re feeling good right now and decide that you’ll get the ball rolling in splendid fashion be depositing a full $100, which turns out to be the maximum for that particular offer.
Now, this offer of a 100% match up to $100 does include playthrough requirements of 30x, which by most casino standards is on the low side (they can go as high as 50x and sometimes even higher). This boils down to betting your total bonus amount ($100) at least thirty times before the casino will let you draw any of your winnings out of your casino account.
So, in other words, you’re looking at a total amount to be wagered of $3000 (30x$100) before seeing any actual profits leaving your account and jumping into your back pocket. For some, this might be a bridge too far, for others, it might be fine. It all depends on your own budgetary circumstances and your goals. You can of course mitigate this high hurdle by taking a smaller bonus amount. While the 30x playthrough requirement will still apply, the actual amount that you have to playthrough, will be a lot less, and therefore a lot more achievable.
Another factor to keep in mind is that every bonus offer will include a specific time frame. There are usually two components to this time frame. The one is the amount of time given for you to take advantage of the offer, while the other is the time given for you to complete your playthrough requirements. This is why you’ll often find that a typical bonus offer stipulates 7 days to accept the offer and 30 days in which to complete the requirements for the offer. Of course, this isn’t true of all offers and is yet another reason for you to always read the accompanying terms and conditions of every single bonus offer you consider.
Finally, the last component that is crucial to understand right off the bat before you take up any bonus offer, is the gaming restrictions that go with them. Now, you’re probably thinking how much more could there be to cram into your brain, but these are actually quite easy to understand, we promise!
In order to complete your requirements, you obviously need to gamble on games that the casino offers. However, since not all casino games and not all wagers are created equally, there are certain games that would give the player far too much of an advantage. For example, even money bets, which are considered to be ‘safe bets’ such as betting on black (or red) at the roulette table, are not allowed.
Since every casino has their own interpretation of game restrictions, based on the games that they offer, it is important for you to actually take the time and go check out their published list of game restrictions. You’ll usually find a table of game restrictions in their terms and conditions page. If you can’t find them there, be sure to contact their customer support and ask them to email them to you for your own records.
The following will give you an idea of game restrictions in the real world. This example is taken from Mr Green Casino, so you can get an idea of what to look for:
3.5. Casino Games are contributing towards the wagering requirement as following:
- Slots: 100%
- Live Dream Catcher: 50%
- MONOPOLY Live: 50%
- DEAL OR NO DEAL Live: 50%
- All Live Roulette and Live Blackjack: 10%
- All Other Live Casino Games: 10%
- All Non-Live Table Games: 5%
As you can see from the above table, Mr Green Casino lists the game restrictions as they apply to their specific range of games and features.
By following the game restriction table, not only will you ensure that you do not run afoul of your playthrough requirements, you can also quickly find the games that actually help you get through your terms quicker. For example, you’ll notice that slots contribute 100% to your playthrough. What this means is that every wager on slots is its full value, allowing you to potentially fly through your requirements playing easy and fun games.
Should You Play With Actual Cash?
The question of whether or not you should play online casino games for cash is possibly the most frequently asked questions relating to casinos of all. The fact is, at the end of the day, the answer will always be dependent on the individual. Of course, to determine the right answer for you, you need to answer a few basic questions:
- Do you have enough disposable income to set some aside for real money casino gaming?
- Are you fully aware of the risks that are associated with gambling with real money?
- Would you be putting anyone else, such as spouse or dependents at risk by gambling with real money?
- Are you aware of, or do you currently have any addiction issues that could cause problems for you further down the road?
- Have you thoroughly researched real money casinos, and are you sure that the one you choose is reputable?
- Have you made sure that the terms and conditions of your chosen casino are fair and legitimate?
Answering these questions (and others that you may have) is a responsible first step that you should take when deciding to gamble for real money. Once you are certain of your position, this will either give you the confidence to go ahead and take the risks associated with real money gambling or will help you to decide that playing for fun is more your thing.
Of course, starting out playing just for fun is a great way see if you enjoy gambling at all, as well as which games best suit your personality and your playing style. The majority of games found at top online casinos can be played for free. However, when it comes to live casino table games, you will more than likely only be able to play with actual cash.
Once you have learned the ropes by playing different casino games, and have found the games that you are naturally good at, adding the real money element gradually is the ideal approach to take. By adding real money gambling in gradually, that is to say, placing small, low risk bets, will also help you to build up a robust bankroll. This will then neatly set you up for more adventurous real money gambling involving larger stakes, playing at high limit tables, or chasing those big progressive jackpot prizes.
Here are a few great real money tips and tricks to help keep your bankroll healthy:
- Choose your real money games wisely and according to your bankroll.
- Always try out games that catch your eye in a free or demo mode before playing the real money version.
- Be your own bookkeeper and keep strict control on your playing budget.
- Before you start playing for real money, set a limit on how long you intend to play for, this will help you stay in control.
- Not all sessions will be good ones and when you experience a string of losses, never chase them with more money. Learn to walk away and come back the next day or in a few hours and start from scratch.
- Never wager above what you are able to lose comfortably.
- Always separate your playing allowance (money for your bankroll) from your other money. That way you will avoid the risk of going into your grocery or rent money.
- Unless the game specifically demands it, rather start out with a smaller chip size or stake and build yourself up during the game. There is no rush in most instances.
- If the offers are good and sound, taking a bonus can help enhance your bankroll. Also, consider other specials or incentives
Getting Your Banking Together
After signing up and closely examining the casinos bonus offers, getting your banking together is the next most important step. This is obviously important if you intend to gamble for real money. However, if you are only interested in playing online casino games for fun, please feel free to skip this section.
Unless it is specifically a ‘for fun only’ casino (such as the social casinos you find on Facebook), every online casino will feature a banking section, also known as a cashier. This is where you will safely and securely deposit funds into your account to feed your bankroll, and where you will draw out your winnings from over time.
Most online casinos nowadays feature a wide range of banking options to suit the widest range of needs or preferences. This is also another way in which online casinos compete for their customer base. Usually, the casinos that feature the widest selection of payment options will draw the most attention.
Most banking pages will feature a healthy selection of:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Prepaid cards
- Pay by Phone Bill
- Instant Banking
- Wire transfers
- Mobile banking
This pretty much covers every conceivable need or preference and you can even mix them up when needed. However, it is also important to note that most online casinos will stipulate that you must use the same method for withdrawals as you did to deposit your funds into your account with. There are of course some exceptions to this general rule. For example, if you choose to use a prepaid card method such as Paysafe Card to make your deposits to your player account, you will not be able to use this method for withdrawing your winnings. This is because prepaid cards like Paysafe Card do not, by nature of their design, offer a withdrawal option. In this case, combining your Paysafe Card with your debit card or an eWallet such as PayPal for your withdrawals will work.
Other than that, picking a payment option that best suits your particular needs is a very simple process which anyone can complete within just a few minutes. It is also important to note that, depending on your chosen payment option, you may have to first get it set up outside of your casinos banking page. In other words, if you are using your online banking facilities in any way to fund your online casino account, you may have to set them up as a beneficiary, depending on how your bank works. Other services such as PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and so on, require you to create an account with them first, and then link them to your casino by clicking on their logo on your casinos banking page.
While it is also natural to be concerned with the safety and security of your transactions, as well as your money stored with the casino, as long as your casino is reputable, this shouldn’t be an issue. This is because all good online casinos feature sophisticated digital encryption protocols that are designed to encrypt all user data stored on their servers. This includes your personal details, banking details, transaction history, PIN numbers, passwords and other related data.
More about data encryption
There are two main types of data encryption protocols used by online casinos here in the US and around the world:
- Secure Socket Later or SSL Certificate encryption
- Transport Layer Security or TLS Certificate encryption
TLS is the latest version of encryption that is used by all sorts of financial institutions, web stores and any entity that deals with client’s money, including of course, our online casinos. TLS is the newer of the two and is actually intended to replace SSL certificates over the long term. However, this is not to say that SSL encryption isn’t effective, on the contrary, you’ll find that the vast majority of online casinos still use SSL to safeguard their servers with prefect results.
The way SSL or TLS works is quite simple. Your browser will send a request to the server you are trying to connect to (in this case your online casino) to identify itself. In response, the server will then send your browser a copy of its SSL Certificate along with its public key. It is actually possible to recognise any site that uses SSL or TSL encryption based on its IP address. You will see the IP address of the site in your browsers search bar. Any secure site will feature the https prefix, indicating a secure site (as opposed to just HTTP prefix).
Credit, Debit Cards, Prepaid Cards
Credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards are among the most popular options for people to fund their online casino accounts. Again, which one you choose to use will be influenced by your personal financial circumstances, as well as your personal preferences.
Credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are hugely popular for making all sorts of online purchases due to their reliability and inherent safety. However, not everyone can qualify for a credit card as applying for them requires a credit check and other procedures that your bank will undertake when you apply for one. If you are a successful candidate for a credit card, it can be a quick, safe and convenient way to fund your online casino gaming. However, it is also important to realise that, since using a credit card amounts to spending money that technically isn’t yours, the chances of running into some trouble with overspending on your casino gaming are quite high.
On the flip side, getting a debit card is very easy to obtain since it relies on you having actual cash in your bank account first. If you have don’t have any funds available in your bank account, your debit card simply will not work. So, a debit card has good and bad points. On the one hand, it is easy to qualify for (virtually anyone can) but, if you don’t have available funds, it is useless on the other. However, you’ll find that most experienced casino gamblers will prefer a debit card over a credit card since it affords them the ability to control their bankroll very effectively, as the risk of overspending on credit is impossible.
Prepaid cards give you a third option and are similar in some respects to debit cards, which is why you’ll notice more and more branded prepaid cards from both Visa and MasterCard. However, prepaid cards like Paysafe Card and EntroPay do not require you to have or use a bank account in order to make use of their services. In fact, Paysafe Card is one of the most popular prepaid services in the world because you can buy the prepaid vouchers from just about anywhere including local malls, service stations, kiosks, participating retailers and online. You purchase the prepaid voucher with cash and upload the PIN-protected voucher number to your online casino account. Simple, fast, safe and effective.
If you’re interested in going the prepaid route, try one of these:
- Paysafe Card
- Prepaid card from MasterCard
- Visa Prepaid
Prepaid vouchers and cards have become so popular with online casino users, that you will even find a number of well-known online casinos now starting to offer their own branded gift cards and prepaid cards. Look out for these as they provide a quick and convenient way to get funds into your online casino account without using your bank account.
The so-called electronic wallet or e-Wallet is massively popular with internet users, as it allows them to make instant purchases from a wide variety of online websites including e-retailers like Amazon and Walmart and global sites like eBay and Apple. In fact, virtually any online site that has anything to do with the financial transaction is buying or selling will support any number of eWallet options.
This naturally includes online casinos and just about every online casino in the world will feature at least half a dozen of the biggest and best eWallet options available today. These include:
E-wallets are easy to set up and are extremely safe to use. To set one up for online casino gaming, simply visit any one of the eWallet brands mentioned above (or any other that you fancy) and fill in the required registration data. Once you’ve set up your eWallet, you can link it to your bank account and fund it from there. This eliminates the need to divulge your banking details to any online casino, adding one more layer of safety to your online profile.
Wire transfers work by transferring your money from your bank directly to your online casino account. The transfer is completely electronic and does not require you to do anything other than authorising the transfer from your online casino banking page. While wire transfers are incredibly safe and effective, they are notably slower than eWallets and some other payment options.
Instant banking works in a similar way to wire transfers as described above. In order to use instant banking, your online casino needs to support the option. The way to find out if your casino does indeed support your specific bank is to visit your casino’s banking page, scroll down to the instant banking option and find your bank from the available options. If your bank happens to be on the list, you can use instant banking to instantly transfer funds from your bank to your casino account.
Banking On Your Mobile
Being able to bank from your mobile device is one of the newest ways in which you can fund your online casino account. This gives you the maximum convenience, whilst still incorporating the all-important elements of safety and efficiency. Most mobile banking options are merely extensions of your standard desktop casino banking options, as they work equally on normal pc or on mobile.
However, you do find specialised mobile banking options now, such as the enormously popular pay by phone or pay by mobile phone bill options. These options allow you to fund your account simply by just authorizing the debit of your phone bill. The service works for both prepaid and pay as you go mobile users and you’ll find the service at most top online casinos under service providers such as Boku. The only drawback to the pay by phone bill service, is that it limits your deposit amount to just $30 per transaction.
Quick Guide to Depositing Funds
Making secure deposits to your casino account needn’t be a point of stress. The process is dead easy, takes a few seconds to complete and is extremely safe and secure. As long as you choose an online casino with a solid reputation that employs the latest versions of SSL or TSL encryption.
Simply follow these easy steps to make your first cash deposit in your new player account:
- Create an account and sign in.
- Once you’ve logged in, click on your casinos’ banking or payment options tab to get started.
- Scroll through the available list of options until you get to the one that you wish to use.
- Once you’ve got it, click on the logo of the payment option to open further options.
- Each option will include its own specific set of instructions or steps. Simply follow these to complete the process.
- Some options will redirect you out of your account and into your payment option account. In this case, check that everything is correct and click on proceed.
- Log back into your casino and return to the banking page. Check again that everything is in order before clicking to confirm the amount and complete the deposit process.
Withdrawals – What You Need to Know!
Withdrawal options and how to go about them is an area that, perhaps surprisingly, many new casino websites players underestimate. While withdrawing your winnings is, in and of itself, a simple process, there are a few important factors that you need to have in place first.
We already know about making sure to meet all your obligations as far as playthrough requirements and other terms and conditions are concerned, but what else do you need to be aware of before making your first withdrawal from your casino account?
Aside from ensuring that you’ve picked the best possible withdrawal option for your needs, having all of your ducks in a row as far as paperwork is concerned, is crucial. Your correct KYC documentation and compliance is at the top of the list since without it you will not be able to get any withdrawals completed.
What Is “KYC” And How Does It Work?
The acronym “KYC” stands for Know Your Customer and it is a process used by all sorts of financial institutions, online casinos and so forth, to accurately document their customer’s particulars. KYC is a legal requirement and includes your proof of address as well as your proof of identification. These can be in the form of a recent utility bill or similar document containing your residential address, along with a copy of your driver’s license, passport or photo ID. KYC documentation is designed to eliminate the potential for fraud and/or money laundering and you’ll need to make sure you have all of this in order if you intend to play casino games for real money.
How Licensing Works
For any online casino to be considered legitimate, it needs to be licensed through one of a number of different international licensing and regulatory bodies. Depending on where you live in the world, the online casinos that are available to you will be licensed and regulated by the relevant authority. For example, in the UK, all online casinos that are licensed to operate in that jurisdiction do so through the Gambling Commission. Most international-facing online casinos will either feature licensing through the Malta Gambling Authority, Kahnawake, or a number of other licensing bodies with international scope and jurisdiction. These licensing bodies will thoroughly inspect prospective online casinos to ensure that they follow safe and fair gaming practices, are not involved in money laundering, treat their customers fairly and possess all the necessary features and accoutrements of a modern online casino.
Some examples of online casino licensing bodies that you are most likely to come across include:
- The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
- Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA)
- The Malta Gambling Authority (MGA)
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC)
As we briefly touched upon earlier, all UK online casinos are licensed and regulated through the UK Gambling Commission, which took over from the previous regulatory body in 2007. The new and improved licensing body included new powers and a wider scope of influence which included all land-based gambling as well as online gambling and betting on sports. The UKGC ensures that all online casinos adhere to a very strict code of conduct, practice open and fair gaming, are regularly audited to ensure that everything remains above board, and that all players have access to fair mediation in the event of a dispute.
Types of Licences Issued By The Gambling Commission
The UKGC is designed to cover a great deal of ground and, as such, is able to issue a wide variety of licenses covering:
- All UK lotto gaming
- All UK online (and offline) bingo gaming
- UK online casino platforms
- High street betting shops
- Online sportsbooks
- Mobile casinos and sportsbooks
Game Platforms, Casino platforms and "White Labels"
Essentially, game platforms are the lifeblood of an online casino and can be constructed by one or more software providers to deliver an intensive and immersive online casino gaming experience. For example, Evolution Gaming has created one of the most intensive live dealer casino platforms available on the web today, which is why most US online casinos that offer live dealer games, use the Evolution Gaming Platform. However, you will also find very high quality platforms from the likes of NetEnt and Microgaming, both of whom are known for producing diverse and intensive gaming platforms.
Back in the earliest days of the online casino industry, players had to download a casinos entire platform to their desktops in order to play their games. While this process was initially a slow and cumbersome affair, as web technology improved, downloading casino platforms became a smooth and quick process.
After a few years, the landscape had changed a great deal, thanks to the evolution of browser technology which began to feature the option to play graphically complex games directly within your browser window. Thus, online casinos could now offer two platforms to suit the needs of different players. You could choose to still download the platform to your desktop, or simply play from your preferred browser window. The downside to the latter option, at least initially, was that the number of games that you could access was fairly limited when compared to the full desktop download edition.
Fast forward to today and the introduction of HTML5 has allowed online casinos to offer the same range of games and features in their Flash or Instant Play version as they do in their download platform. In fact, most new online casinos don’t even bother with the download option anymore, giving you everything you need right in your browser. Mobile casino platforms are a direct extension of this, with the first mobile casinos requiring the downloading of an app to your device, and the newer mobile casinos offering direct play from your mobile browser.
White labels are an interesting concept and one that is becoming more and more popular. You may have noticed that there are far more online casinos popping up over the last two years or so than ever before. These ‘new generation’ online casinos all share the same traits; they are ultra-sleek, look amazing and offer an astounding range of games. But how is this possible?
The answer is really quite simple and it’s called white label casino platforming. In a nutshell, if you want to own an online casino, you can do so without having any previous experience in the online casino industry whatsoever. Top online casino software developers like SoftSwiss and others; create an entire platform which includes everything from gaming platforms to customer support modules and back-office elements, essentially the entire casino package. All you need to do is hire their full platform and they’ll stick your branding on it, creating your very own ready to go online casino that is white label casinos.
Game providers are often thought of as the backbone of the online casino industry, which is true since they are the ones that create the games that casinos provide to you. In fact, the first online casino that launched on the web in the mid-nineties was actually created and operated by a software provider, none other than the venerable Microgaming.
Today there is an incredible number of casino software providers, designing and creating some of the most advanced casino games that have ever been seen by the casino gaming public. While some software providers like Evolution Gaming, Betsoft and Yggdrasil tend to specialise in what they do, others like NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, IGT and others, try to cover as much ground as possible.
Once you get used to the games at your chosen online casino, you will begin to distinguish between different software providers, based on their particular way of design, animation, gaming features and so forth. You’ll even find some online casinos that will categorize their games based on the software brands that provided them, making it easy for you to find the games you really love to play.
Software providers that you are likely to come across include:
- Evolution Gaming
- Elk Studio
- NextGen Gaming
- 1×2 Gaming
- Play ‘n Go
Know Your Options: Casino Games by Type
Casinos are complex affairs with hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of different casino games to choose from. If you are new to online casinos and casino games, jumping in the deep end can often be a bit overwhelming. The following is designed to give you a better understanding of the most popular casino games that you will encounter during your online casino adventures.
For many, slot games are the ultimate casino games, and are often the driving reason for them to open an online casino account in the first place. Slots have always traditionally been at the top of the casino food chain, from the golden age of Las Vegas, to today’s sleek and high-tech online casinos. You will always find more slots to choose from than any other type of casino game.
Most good online casinos will categorise their collection slots based on certain features or characteristics. This makes it easier for players to quickly find the sort of slots that they enjoy playing the most. While categorization is largely up to the individual casino operator.
Some of the more common categories include:
- 3-reel or ‘classic’ slots
- 5-reel video slots
- Fixed jackpot wins
- Progressive jackpot wins
- Fixed payline games
- Variable payline games
- Ways to win (different to paylines such as 243 Ways to Win etc)
Slots can also be categorized under different themes for players that enjoy a specific type of genres such as action or comedy.
Popular themes and style can include:
- TV shows
- Comic books – Marvel, DC etc
- Fairy tale
Most slot games will include some sort of a jackpot which you can play for. In fact, trying to hit the jackpot is what makes playing the best online slot sites so much fun! In terms of jackpot type, slot games come in two main types:
- Jackpots with a fixed value or total
- Jackpots with a progressive value or total
The most common type is the fixed jackpot as this is the one that you will find in the vast majority of slot games. As the name implies, the amount that you can win does not change based on how often you or other people play that particular slot game. Some fixed jackpots are high while others are low; it all depends on the design of the game.
On the flipside, jackpots with a progressive value feature a jackpot amount that is always changing. While any progressive jackpot will always have a minimum amount that you can win, there is no set limit on how much you can win on the top end of the spectrum. It is worth noting that, in most instances, the risk involved in pursuing a progressive jackpot is considerably higher than that of the fixed jackpot as the amount of money or stake level is generally higher.
Different Types of Progressive Jackpot Games:
These are usually contained within a single jackpot game at one casino and are, more often than not, relatively small in jackpot size. However, these are also often the easiest progressive jackpot types to win.
Local area progressive
A group of machines are connected within the same casino (or network of same branded casinos), they are referred to as local area progressives. These often produce a higher jackpot total than standalones do, but can be harder to hit due to the increased volume of play.
The biggest of all progressive jackpot types, these are where the big money lies as the same game is played all over the world, at the same time. Global progressives, like Mega Moolah from Microgaming or Mega Fortune from NetEnt, often run into the millions and, when triggered can turn the lucky player into an overnight millionaire with very little stake needed to trigger the win.
In most online casinos, table games generally refer to a variety of traditional casino games such as roulette, blackjack, poker, craps and baccarat. However, since the introduction of the live dealer casino platform, casinos will generally group the virtual versions of table games under this tab. If you enjoy table games and also prefer playing against an AI dealer, then these table games are certainly the way to go. You’ll find plenty of variety here too, including multiple versions of roulette, blackjack and baccarat. Other options include a variety of virtual poker (not video poker), craps, pontoon and so forth.
Video poker combines elements of slot machines and standard five card table poker into a unique and thrilling game that is easy to play and that offers incredible winning opportunities. If you enjoy the simplicity and fun that slots provide, but are also looking for something with a bit more bite, video poker is worth checking out. You still get that easy gameplay but can employ some basic poker strategy to come up with the best possible winning hand at the end of two rounds.
Video poker comes in an array of interesting variations including:
- Deuces Wild
- Aces and Faces
- Tens or Better
- Joker Wild
- All American Poker
- Bonus Poker
- Joker Poke
Scratch cards have become incredibly popular at UK online casinos because, like their real-world cousins, online scratch cards represent a fun game, and can often provide quite a good windfall. Online scratch cards work in exactly the same way as the scratch cards that you buy at your local grocer, service station or mall kiosk.
Aside from the regular casino favorites, you can also enjoy a variety of lesser known or slightly more novel casino games that offer a refreshing break from the intensity often associated with other casino games. This includes old favourites like bingo and keno, as well as other interesting and often quirky games that you will find under the general heading of ‘arcade games.’
Live Casino Games
Live dealer casino gaming is quickly becoming the number one way in which UK table game fans are now enjoying their favourite versions of roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat. The beauty of the live dealer platform is that it perfectly mimics an actual (real world) casino floor, right down to the stunning dealers and croupiers. Live dealer casino games are fully interactive, which means that you can communicate with your dealer as well as other players at the table. In fact, if you’re in the mood, you can even banter with your dealer and give them a tip or two on a winning round. Getting into live dealer casino games is as easy as getting into any other casino game and can be accomplished from the same single user account. Keep in mind however, that live dealer casino games can only be played with real money.
Table poker has been around for centuries and is instantly familiar to just about anyone, even if you’ve never played the game in your life before. The game in its basic form is easy to learn and there are plenty of online poker schools that will teach you how to play the game in all its variations. Most good UK online casinos will offer a variety of both virtual and live dealer versions of poker, including the following styles:
- Casino Hold’em
- Texas Hold’em
- Omaha Hi-Lo
- 5 Card Draw
- Red Dog Poker
- Caribbean Stud Poker
- Pai Gow Pokers
Betting On Sports
While betting on sports is traditionally a separate form of gambling to casino gaming, a number of online platforms have now merged these two forms of gambling into one single convenient platform. You can now, with a single account, spend some of your time playing the latest slots and table games and, just as easily, switch over to betting on sports. Betting on sports online comes with its own perks and promotions and there is a wide variety of betting options to choose from, including football betting, basketball, betting on horses, UFC and others.
Mobile Casino Games
When mobile casinos first began to appear on the scene, the number of available games that were suited to the smaller mobile screen was fairly limited. They consisted mainly of classic and video slots and maybe one or two other game types such as roulette or blackjack. However, today’s mobile casino is a far cry from its parent app-based platforms, and features a stunning variety of games to choose from including slots of all kinds, virtual table games, live casino, jackpots, bingo, scratch cards and much more. In fact, most new generation online casinos will have exactly the same platform available via desktop or mobile, for use on smartphones and tablets powered by iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry.
Customer Support - What You Need to Know
Customer support is often one of the most underrated and overlooked features of an online casino. Most people are so focused on the number of games an online casino has to offer, or the size of its welcome bonus, that they don’t even consider what sort of customer support is available to them. You can enjoy as many games as you like, or take the biggest bonuses available, but none of them will do you any good if you can’t get questions answered or sort out a problem that you are experiencing.
Good customer support is vital to a good and positive overall online casino experience. So, before you decide to sign up with an online casino, always check to see what sort of customer support they offer. Do they feature live chat facilities? Not all online casinos do! Do they offer an email service or phone in service? Is toll-free if you live in the UK? Answering these questions will go a long way in helping you to determine which online casino will best serve your needs in the long run.
Types of Customer Support Available
As we just mentioned, online casinos offer a variety of support mechanisms to their customers. These are intended to make your enjoyment of their casino a reality, and keep you coming back as a loyal, repeat customer. This is why you will often see that the most successful online casinos on the web will feature at least a few of the following customer support options:
- 24-hour live chat facilities
- 24-hour email contact
- Toll free phone support for US players
- A thorough and comprehensive FAQ (frequently asked questions) section
- Support via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
We hope that you have enjoyed our ultimate beginners guide to online casinos and feel equipped to really make your online casino adventure a meaningful and lasting one. Once you understand how online casinos work, what to look for and what to avoid, the scary part of online casino gaming simply disappears. Remember to keep this guide handy in case you need to refer to any of its sections, so that you never feel lost or at your wits end. In closing, we leave you with a few essential do’s and don’ts to remember.
- Checkout our in-depth reviews covering all the best
online casinos for the UK market.
- Contact the casinos customer support and ask
important questions that may be on your mind.
This will also give you a good indication of how the
casino treats its players in general.
- Check for the UKGC seal of approval and click on the
logo to be sure it is legitimate.
- Test out as many games as you can before playing them
for real money
- Take advantage of bonus offers, provided that they are
worthwhile and contain reasonable terms
- Sign up to the first online casino you see, do your
homework, read reviews and test them out first.
- Accept any bonus offers if you are not sure you will
be able to meet the wagering requirements in time.
- Gamble with money that you can’t afford to lose.
- Falsify documents or submit misleading info on your
- Play at an online casino that is not legitimately
licensed by the UKGC or MGA.