How to Choose an Online Casino
Online casinos are some of the most lucrative businesses on the internet right now. Some rise and fall almost every month, which means that as a new casino player, you probably have to select among over 2,000 online casinos to start your gambling adventure. This number is quite hefty, and using trial and error may not exactly help. In fact, you may end up getting scammed and waste time that could otherwise be spent in the right casino, winning money while you unwind.
To get the right casino, you need to look at a wide variety of factors that the average layman may not find at first glance. Many factors go into finding the right online casino, including its reputation for fair play, customer support, and reliable payouts. This piece will help you decipher them, so you start your gambling on the right foot.
The casino must accept players from your country
Many countries and specific states have firm regulations governing or even banning outright the operation of online casinos. You must ensure that the casino you are looking into accepts players from the country you reside in or are planning to play in. Other countries may have restrictions towards specific casinos. Many casinos prefer to back away from these countries rather than risk the repercussions of accepting players from such countries. Such casinos may require you to use GPS to confirm your location as you sign in, or provide proof of residence in case you win. To determine if this is a casino with location restrictions, read through the terms and conditions.
If you are not sure or find the terms and conditions rather vague, you can find assistance regarding the issue through the live chat or email to customer support. You can ask "Hello, I'm a player residing in (your country or state of residence). I would like to know if you accept players from my location and whether I can register, play, deposit, and withdraw from your casino." If you get a positive response, get a screenshot of the message, then save it.
The casino’s reputation
An online casino, just like any other service or goods, can have its quality verified through the experiences previous clients have had. Moreover, just like an insurance company that pays out after years of paying premiums, you will only know the quality of your casino when you are able to withdraw your winnings without excess hassle. There are numerous cases where fake casinos outrightly cheat their players. Some of the cheating practices that you may fall victim to include:
- Refusal by a casino to pay out winnings that you have accrued fairly. Casinos often use subtle methods to deny you these payments, like marking them out as a software error so that you are no longer entitled to them. The casino may push you to accept a certain percentage of the total payout, for instance, 10-20%. You may also encounter an additional condition to withdraw the funds that are not stipulated in the wagering requirement. The casino may also hold payments out for months, and stall by having you verify your details multiple times, or impose very low withdrawal limits so that you cannot withdraw large amounts. A casino will use all manner of excuses to delay or even prevent you from obtaining your deserved winnings.
- Some casinos offer unlicensed games at a lower payout ratio. Such games are usually copies of honest software developers and are often impossible to distinguish from the originals because they look exactly the same.
- Unfair bonus terms. Other casinos use a bonus clause to deny you winnings got from the use of any bonus they offer. If you manage to get any significant winnings from a bonus, you are labelled a bonus abuser, and all the winnings cancelled. Such practices make it critical for you to check your casino’s reputation before you sign up. You can check sites like TrustPilot or the reviews on Google Play Store to determine what current and previous clients think of an online casino.
You need to realize that a casino may have any of the practices above or even worse even though there is no record of negative experiences on review sites. Considering the subtlety of the behaviour above, it may take time for players to realize that they are being exploited. However, you can still raise a complaint and be the first to take action. Again, the reverse can be true; you may find casinos having bad reviews even though they are honest.
Read through the terms and conditions
Every casino has a set of terms and conditions that will help you identify the rules and wagering requirements for each bonus. They may be tedious and long, but you must go through these conditions carefully. The fine print will help you decide whether the rules and conditions are reasonable before you commit your funds. Check especially for withdrawal limits, cash out periods, and wagering restrictions. The conditions should also be original and clear; you do not want to deposit money with a casino that cannot write their terms.
Your casino should have a respectable regulator
Every online casino has a country that serves as its base of operations. These headquarters are situated in states or countries that are friendly towards online gambling, and that readily offer licenses. Some casinos are offered licenses in various jurisdictions that allow international gambling brands to operate, for instance, Malta and Gibraltar.
Finding a casino that is regulated is essential because you have a place to launch a complaint in case of any misconduct, like refusal to offer your fairly-acquired winnings. A responsible and respectable regulator will stand on the side of fair gambling and will assess your complaints. If the casino is found to have violated any serious rules, they may revoke their license and save you and many others the hassle of having to complain to get their dues.
Reliable regulators include those in Malta, Isle of Man, and Alderney; they give you a relatively good chance of getting justice. However, on the other end, are Panama, Seychelles, and Costa Rica- these regulators will not offer you even a complaint sheet. You do not have a shot at justice with them.
All players love bonuses; they help you make an additional win or help you get an idea of what the casino is like. Many casinos will also use bonuses to entice new players to deposit and start playing, and existing players to remain excited about gaming. Bonuses will help you reduce the cost of gambling, and if well applied, can help you make a significant profit.
If you are a veteran, you may know that you need to identify the terms and conditions that often accompany the dazzling bonuses even though you are not interested in bonus abuse. Some bonuses crop up during your sign up, and you need to determine which of the two to choose, e.g., a match-up deposit or a payment method deposit. You should especially look out for wagering requirements that bind the deposit and associated winnings. Extremely high requirements will make it impossible for you to make the rollover within the stipulated deadline, and may even ruin your gambling experience.
We help you identify beneficial bonuses by color-coding them according to their level of benefit.
Reasonable withdrawal limits
A comparison with an insurance company may help you understand why a high withdrawal limit is so crucial in a casino. You would choose an insurance company with a substantial financial base so that if you incur risk and make a claim, you are sure that they will pay you. A practically bankrupt company may take months, if not years, to pay you. Suing them would make matters worse, as they would register as bankrupt and you would never receive any money.
The same concept applies to an online casino; if you win and withdraw a huge amount of money, you cause a significant disruption to its cash flow. The casino, in an attempt to preserve itself, will most likely want to act dishonestly. Some online slots, for instance, have such a high variance that you can take home as much as 7000x your bet. Such casinos will not set betting limits, otherwise they will turn away the high rollers. They instead use a maximum withdrawal limit.
The withdrawal limit of a casino is a strong indicator of its financial stability. When looking for an online slot, find one that can at least pay out 5000x your max bet so you do not take years to withdraw it. The longer it takes for a casino to pay out massive amounts, the higher the probability that you may never get the entire amount as the casino may become insolvent any time.
To make it easier for you to determine a casino’s financial stability, we show you the withdrawal limits of all the casinos on our list. We also indicate the amounts that will likely cause the least problems.
The casino website should be easy to navigate
The first impression of your casino is often made by its website appearance. Another critical aspect of your casino website should be its navigability. You can still play on a bland, practically opaque website, but it will not be as much fun, and may ruin your eyesight.
The biggest advantage of selecting a big casino with thousands of revellers is the amazing graphics, animations, and soundtracks they provide on their games. All reputable casinos compete over website and software design which is ultimately a benefit for you. As mentioned earlier, finding a financially stable casino is important, and a dazzling casino website with incredible soundtracks and other features is a indicator of a casino with enough funds for website designers’ fees.
Deposit and withdrawal methods
When choosing an online casino, you want one that offers a wide range of common payment methods that are convenient, safe, reputable, and have low transaction fees. You also need a payment method that will not make you have to wait days to withdraw. Using bank transfers can take as many as 7 days. Many players find it easier to use e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill or prepaid cards like Paysafecard. Other casinos use mobile operators to make deposits.
Your casino will request for identification before your first withdrawal. You therefore want to have a scanned copy of your ID and a document no older than three months confirming your residence (bank statement, telephone bill, etc.) find out what documents you casino will require as proof of your residence and prepare them before you deposit money and start playing.
The casino should offer you your favourite games
If you are a huge gambling fan, you most likely have a game you prefer among the many that exist, e.g., baccarat, roulette, slots, and blackjack. You need to find a casino that not only offers your favourite games but one that sources them from reputable software providers. You will also have a better experience if you choose a casino that offers various variations of your favourite game. Other casinos offer you live games, which are a more common trend. If you are more of a slots player, find you a casino that has a massive array of slots. You can look for specific classics like Book of Ra or the all-famous Mega Moolah.
If you do not have any favourite games, consider checking out our list of best online casino games to help you find a great casino game without committing any real money. For every game, you will find all the casinos that offer it. Our online casinos page also has a sophisticated filter to help you pick a casino.
Type of online casinos
Online casinos are divided into three classes:
- Instant Play Casinos
These casinos are available to play without having to download any software or files to your computer.
- Download Casinos
These are the reverse of instant play; they require you to download files and the software client to facilitate play. The casino software connects to the service provider via the internet without browser support.
- Mobile Casinos
Today, many people want to be able to play on the go. You should not have to sit on a hard chair to play on a desktop while you can curl up on a better seat or bed and play. Mobile casinos are online casinos that are available to play through your smartphone. Many casinos are equipped to function via instant play, which made transition from desktop to mobile browsers even faster. Other casinos are so advanced that they have a dedicated website for smart devices.
Supports mobile casino games
As mentioned above, there are three types of casinos; but the most effective ones have all three versions. Mobile-responsive games are more of a necessity than an option. You need an online casino that works great on both iOS and Android mobile devices and does not hang or consume excessive space.
A helpful, polite, and reliable customer support function
A customer support team is essential when using an online service, especially one that involves your funds. You may need clarification regarding bonuses, terms and conditions, wagering requirements, and other features. You will agree that the faster the customer support is in offering feedback, the more effective it is. This way, you will not endure the frustration or hassle of feeling stuck.
Look for a casino that offers support via live chat 24/7 and that has friendly and helpful staff. The last thing you want is to rely solely on an email address where you may have to wait anywhere between 2 days to three months to get a reply or a phone number that has a one-hour long background tune.
The casino should offer a vast range of languages
All effective casinos let you select a language at the beginning, and the language you understand best should be one of its options. The casino should also offer a customer support team that speaks your language, as well as terms and conditions that are easy to understand. This way, you will understand the rules of the casino without having to use Google Translate or having a friend do all the work for you. You also do not want anything to get lost in translation!
Selecting the right online casino is incredibly important. Compared to their brick-and-mortar versions, online casinos are relatively unregulated, which makes you vulnerable to scammers and cybercrime. As a beginner, you may not even realize it when a casino is using stall tactics and other rogue practices to deny you your winnings. Before you sign up for any casino or even deposit money, you must make an adequately informed decision. The tips above will help you formulate a robust checklist that will help you identify a casino that will give you a fun gambling experience and online safety.