Publish: 2020-10-15 18:29:41
Online casino gaming has evolved from a shady existence on the fringes of the world wide web a decade ago to being one of the most popular sub-genres of gaming today. The world of the casino has always had a certain allure – where else can you enjoy top gaming entertainment and also stand a chance of making some serious money?
Yet in the pre-internet days, casinos were seen as places of mystery and intrigue, an image perpetuated by movie characters like James Bond and Danny Ocean. Taking that experience online has made it accessible to a vastly wider audience. Today, anyone and everyone can visit a casino site and try out classics like blackjack, or the latest innovations in slot games.
The growth of the sector has also led to the arrival of plenty of new online casinos. The result is a hugely competitive marketplace, with dozens of sites competing to get you through their virtual doors. On the face of it, that’s good news for the gamer. It makes for a buyer’s market, and there are some amazing deals and promotions out there. However, there is also a darker side.
Online businesses are far more stringently regulated today than they were in years gone by. But the fact remains that launching an online casino site is something that can be done with relative ease and speed, certainly compared to opening a physical casino. How can you be sure that the new online casino offering mouth-watering free bets is the real thing? Will your money be safe? Run through the following checks to find out.
Any casino needs to be licensed by an appropriate regulatory body in order to operate. This applies to online casinos, just the same as land-based ones. Common licensing bodies include the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the UK Gambling Commission.
An online casino must provide information regarding the license or licenses it holds. Reputable ones will want to shout about their licenses from the rooftops, and most commonly, you will see the license information somewhere on the homepage. If you have to start searching around the site for this information, alarm bells should start ringing and it might be time to walk slowly away.
A precondition of being licensed is that the games on offer at the casino are regularly checked and audited. This gives you confidence that the games are fair, payout percentages are as they should be and so on. Licensing bodies require the casino to have internal processes that constantly monitor factors like RTP.
In addition, there are independent third party organisations that carry out spot audits. Gaming Laboratories International and eCOGRA are two such companies. Again, you can check for the accreditation logos, which will typically be displayed in pride of place on the casino’s homepage.
1000 free spins! $500 no deposit bonus! If you take a look at the new online casino sites appearing on the scene, you will see offers like these all the time. They sound amazing, almost too good to be true. After all, with a no deposit bonus or a free spin, you are effectively gambling with someone else’s money. If you win, great, and if you lose, you’re no worse off. What can go wrong?
With offers like these, the devil is always in the detail. An online casino is a business that needs to make a profit, just like any other, so intuitively you know they won’t just give you $500. Read the small print closely, and specifically look at the wagering requirement. This essentially ringfences your “free money” and states that even if you win, you must reinvest those winnings a set number of times before you can withdraw anything.
Typically, the more generous the promotion looks, the more outrageous the wagering requirement. The risk to you is that you might initially win something, but then get onto a losing trajectory. If that happens, there is the temptation to “chase the loss,” adding more from your own pocket as you search for that big win.
In short, the promotions that represent the best deals are not necessarily the ones shouting the biggest numbers. It’s always worth looking at independent review sites like CasinoBlox or AskGamblers, which provide a non-partisan appraisal of what’s currently being offered by both established and new casinos.
Wagering requirements relating to special promotions are one thing. In regular gameplay, however, a fundamental rule of any casino is that you can put money into and out of your gambling account whenever you want to.
In this age of online transactions, there are dozens of possibilities here. A reputable casino will want to make deposits and withdrawals simple, so check what transaction methods they can accommodate. Card payments and bank transfers are fine, although the latter can mean delays and fees. In general, today’s casino gamers tend to prefer digital wallets like PayPal or Skrill. A growing number of casinos even work with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
With all these factors, transparency is key. Any casino that is vague about licensing, payment methods or how its promotions work is one that should arouse suspicion. Carry out a few basic checks of your own, and play with confidence. Good luck!