How do I know if a casino is safe?
Something that newcomers in particular have to be mindful of is that the world of online gaming unfortunately contains so-called rogue casinos, which will do little except take your money for no return. You might think you have fair chances when playing their games – but they’ll be rigged against you. Or if you do win, unscrupulous operators will refuse to process your cashout, and use vague terms and conditions as an excuse.
And this is why it’s important to consider casino licenses. All legitimate casinos will have a single or multiple licenses issued by gambling authorities in various jurisdictions. You will read about some of the biggest authorities in the field of online casino licensing in the next section. Suffice to say for now that one of the best predictors of the legitimacy of an online casino is whether it’s licensed by a known and reputable authority.
You should also consider reading reviews and forum comments about online casinos. If you find that most people’s feedback is that it’s legit, then this is a green flag for you to test the casino yourself. But if most people say that they consistently lose money, it might mean something is suspect about their operation. And remember, when it comes to online opinions, people are more likely to post their experiences when they have something to complain about. So above all else, you should also trust your own judgment. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a poorly reviewed casino is rogue – nor does it necessarily mean that a casino with great reviews is completely legit. Maintain caution at all times and you’ll do fine in terms of being secure.
Online casino license jurisdictions
If you want to learn more about the biggest issuers of licenses for online casinos, you’ve come to the right place. There are many of these bodies – but the best-known are the Malta Gaming Authority, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the Curacao Gaming Commission, and the Anjouan Government, part of the Union of the Comoros.
So, if you see the logo of these authorities on a casino’s website, you can usually confidence it upholds certain standards of operation. Without going into detail here about the specific regulations these jurisdictions impose as a condition of their license, what you need to know for now is that these are well-known authorities that help to ensure your gaming experience is a fair one, if you play at one of their licensed casinos.
Casino website usability
A casino’s functionality is also an important factor when it comes to picking one to play at. Nobody would enjoy using a mess of a website, whether in terms of its looks or of its functionality. So, what you should look out for is whether everything is easy to use. If you have trouble finding your way around a casino website, this can be a red flag. Online casinos should be simple and easy to use. And it shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes on average from the moment you first land on its website to the moment you start playing their games for real money. There’s no need to struggle using a casino that takes more time for you to accomplish anything. Registering an account, making deposits, using the bonuses (if any), playing the games, making withdrawals, contacting customer support – all of these should be within easy reach at all times, on desktop as well as mobile, for a casino to maintain a high level of functionality.
And now we come to the most exciting part of online casinos – the games. There are many different kinds of games – but they typically fall into a handful of different categories: slots, table games, video poker, live games, and more. And this is one of the most important factors in which online casinos differ from one another. The games that you will find in one online casino won’t be available in some others – and vice-versa.
The main reason for that, and another factor you should consider, is the different game software providers for online casinos. Typically, casinos don’t create their own games, but license them from game software developers. Some of the highest quality casino games are made by well established providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech, among others. Their titles are used by many online casinos around the web, and include a huge variety of slots as well as other types of games.
What’s the deal with RTP?
If you’re a first time online casino user, you might not know the meaning of the RTP abbreviation. It stands for Return to Player. What RTP means, in layman’s terms, is how much the game is programmed to give out in winnings as opposed to how much the game is programmed to take. So, if the RTP rate is 96%, it means that for every £/$100 you bet, you will get £/$96 in return as winnings. The house edge over the player is 4% in this case. RTP an important factor in online gaming – especially slots. Most online slots have an RTP rate of around 96%. There is a general rule that games with higher production values will have lower RTP rates – and vice-versa.
But of course, this statistic only shows in the long run. It doesn’t necessarily mean that for every £/$10 wager you will get £/$9.6 in return. It’s closer to the truth to say that for every £/$1.000.000 you will get £/$9.600.000 in return – if the RTP rate is 96%. In the short run, the RTP rate is not something that will make a big difference. However, we still maintain that it’s in your best interest to play slots with higher RTP rates.
Online casino customer service is one of the most important factors that often gets overlooked. The first thing to note is whether there are different approaches that you can take to contacting customer support. A good online casino will give you email addresses, phone numbers, and live chat options. A not-so-good online casino will have less choice, usually missing the option of speaking to a support person via phone.
Response time is also important. You shouldn’t wait for days for the casino to reply – no gambler deserves this. And finally, the quality of the customer support’s answer to your enquiry also counts. These are the main factors that you should consider when evaluating an online casino’s customer service.
Mobile gambling is newer but increasingly widespread phenomenon, made popular by the rise of smartphones, tablets and mobile data connections. Any self-respecting casino ought to feature mobile support. Typically, the top online casinos will give you the option to download an application – in most cases for Android and iOS devices. Once you install the app, you’ll get access to the online casino’s gaming library and you’ll then be able to gamble on the go, as long as you have internet access. Alternatively, if an online casino doesn’t have its own mobile app, it will normally still provide a mobile-friendly website that automatically adjusts its layout when you visit with a mobile device, and have games that are fully playable on mobile screens.
Casino payment methods
No guide on online casinos would be complete without considering the payment methods in online casinos. Luckily, most online casinos offer a range of options for deposits and withdrawals. These include Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, Maestro, Skrill, PayPal, bank transfer – all of these are legit payment methods you can use. Some casinos even provide cryptocurrency support, such as Bitcoin.
You’ll find that deposits are typically free of charge, and instant. The withdrawals are also typically free – but they will take a while longer to complete, depending on the cashout method that you use. Just make sure that the casino you choose supports the payment or cashout method you prefer to use, before you sign up.
Online casino bonuses
After games, bonuses are probably the second-most interesting topic for most casino enthusiasts. There are many different kinds of bonuses that casinos offer a player to entice him or her to play. Some of them are:
- Welcome deposit match bonuses – there are cases when the match is 1.000% up to incredibly high sums of money;
- Free spins;
- Free merchandise;
- Cashback bonuses;
- No-deposit bonuses;
- High-roller bonuses
Be sure to read the terms and conditions for any casino bonus before you sign up. Typically, it’s simple to obtain a welcome bonus as long as you follow their requirements. For example, you might have to wager (or ‘play through’) your own deposit before you can access a welcome bonus amount. When used sensibly, online casino bonuses offer a nice way for you to get a risk-free sample of what the experience at a particular online casino would be like.