Online Casino Guidelines

A Complete Overview of Online Casinos

Online casinos are much more convenient than playing in land-based establishments, but there are a ton of different options to choose from. If you're new to gambling online, then you might have trouble deciding what's really important or even knowing the basics when it comes to things like bonus offers and software providers. We're going to give you a total and complete overview of everything you need to know to get started off on the right foot when it comes to playing in an online casino with what amounts to the A-Z of this industry.

Banking, Deposits and Withdrawals

First thing's first: You have to be able to move money to your online casino account with deposits and cash it out when you win if there's going to be any point in playing. The two main types of banking methods are electronic wallets and credit cards, though some other methods are also available. MasterCard, Visa, Maestro and Solo are the most popular credit cards, and the most popular electronic wallets are Skrill, Neteller, Click2Pay and PayPal. Note that not all of these methods are available in every country, but they are all very reliable.

Casino Bonuses

To give you an incentive and to be competitive, almost all casino sites offer bonuses. For example, you could have a welcome bonus which would match your first deposit up to a certain amount at a given percentage. For example, you might get a 150 percent match worth up to $450. A deposit of $50 would then get a bonus of $75. Alternatively, a deposit of $400 would get a bonus of $450 since 150 percent of $400 is $600 which breaks the $450 maximum. Other offers are also available along similar lines like reload bonuses that are given to players with already-established accounts.

To help prevent abuse from players who would cash in on these offers with no intention of actually playing the casino games, these sites use what are known as wagering requirements or play-through requirements. Essentially, you'll be asked to put in a total number of real money wagers before you'll be allowed to cash out. This is usually a multiple of the bonus and/or deposit. For an example, a 20x play-through requirement on a deposit of $100 and a bonus of $150 would be 20 * $250 which is $5,000 that the player will have to wager total (from any combination of real money and bonus money) before being able to cash out.

Casino Software

A number of different companies make casino software, and there are a few different platforms that can be used. Microgaming has been around the longest and generally has the largest library of any individual developer. On the other hand, companies like Net Entertainment and BetSoft haven't been around as long, but they have some of the most high-quality games with excellent 3D graphics. Playtech, Realtime Gaming and Rival Gaming are also well-known software providers. You can play in online casinos with a regular downloadable program, an instant play/no-download platform that runs inside of an Internet browser, or on a mobile app. Not all casino sites will have all three platform options available, but many do.

Types of Games Available in Online Casinos

Several different types of casino games are available online. The most popular in terms of numbers are the slots. These games are easy to learn to play, they offer great chances for payouts of all sizes, and they're very visually pleasing. There are classic slots which have the three-reel interface like older land-based slots, video slots with five reels and a larger set of bonus features, and progressive slots which offer massive lottery-style prizes that get larger and larger until someone wins.

Aside from the slots, you'll also find a complete selection of games like video poker, casino poker and blackjack that require a definite level of skill. Being better at these games means that you can get a higher payout rate on average, so they're great for competitive players. Casino classics like roulette, Baccarat and craps are also available, and you can find some atypical variations of these games with special bets and rules that you wouldn't be able to find in a landbased establishment. Mini roulette and Baccarat games with special side bets are great examples of this.

Reputation, Trust and Licensing

Because there are no international standards for licensing online casino sites, you have to take various licenses into consideration along with a site's reputation for being trustworthy and any certifications they have from independent auditing groups. Some licenses mean more than others with all else considered equal. For example, a license to operate in the United Kingdom means a lot because those sites have to really have their ducks in a row with transparent business practices required to keep their licenses. A license in Malta or Curacao is also fairly meaningful.

eCOGRA and TST (Technical Systems Testing) are probably the two most important independent testing and auditing groups in this industry. They give out seals and certifications to different online casinos, casino software developers and other types of businesses in this industry when they meet important levels of standards, and that helps you to show which sites can be trusted the most.

Support and Customer Service

If you run into some kind of trouble with your online casino experience, then you need someone who can help you right away. This is exactly what you'll get with the support staff at your online casino. You can typically use three methods to contact them: telephone, live chat and email. Live chat is almost universally the most popular form of communication because it's available straight from the casino software and also from their website.

Live chat support consists of a window that works like a chat room or instant messaging client between yourself and the customer service agent. They can walk you through fixing your issue in real time and have you ready to go quickly and easily with a minimal amount of fuss.