Online Casino Guide | How to Choose a US Online Casino
For those of you who love gambling or the thrill of casino gaming, but don’t have the time to go to a real casino and play (or perhaps there is not one in your area), online casinos have brought the best of casino games to your fingertips. In essence, online casinos offers Internet-based services that allows users to place virtual bets on game of chance in real-time, using real money.
Online casinos are nothing new since online gambling was one of the first industries that took advantage of the digital age by establishing itself via the Internet. With a gradual rise in popularity and competition, new technology has successfully propelled gambling into the digital age. There are now several hundred or even thousands of websites that offer online casinos services, which are backed by numerous software companies, professional casinos, and management groups. That’s good news and bad news. Good – because of the range of options offered to gamers. Bad – because beginners have no idea which casino to choose!
What’s all the fuss about online casinos?
Finding an online casino is much more than about simply finding a place to spend all your money on or winning some, if you’re lucky. While choosing the right one can lead to hours of endless fun, choosing the wrong one can lead to serious short and even long term consequences.
• For example, if you visit an online casino and experience poor or below-average service and other unnecessary inconveniences, you’re likely to get discouraged from playing online and might drop the idea of online gambling altogether, especially if you’re a newbie.
• Not exactly a challenge, but it is still quite difficult to find the perfect online casino since there are so many choices. The fact that there are plenty of bad casinos out there is enough reason to do your homework. It’s equally important to choose an online casino that meets a standard of quality and customer service, as well your personal needs.
• There are over 1,000 online casinos all that accept new customers from all over the world, and the only redeeming factor is that casinos are trying every trick in the book in an effort to win over potential customers.
The big question, then – how do you choose an online casino? We have the answers, here’s everything you need to know.
Types of Online Casinos
In today’s digital age, you have two options to pick from, depending on the kind of device you want to play on:
1. Instant Play Casinos – These are sites where users can play casino games directly via an Internet browser, without downloading any software onto their local computer. That, or you could download online casino software that requires installation and client registration in order to play and make a wager on the games offered. This online casino software connects to a casino service provider of your choice, and will manage your activities without any web browser support.
2. Mobile Casinos – Mobile casinos are app-based online casino games for hand-held devices and specialized for users who are always on the move. The development of the smartphone has mitigated the use of handheld devices to play casino games. And since most big names in online game are already equipped to offer instant-play versions of their games, they also prioritized the task of porting their website’s most popular games to mobile-based casino platforms.
A lot of the more advanced and popular online casinos even feature a dedicated mobile page that enables users to play almost all their games via their smartphone or tablet devices.
Finding an online casino is pretty tough, especially considering all the legal and security concerns regarding online transactions. But here’s a list of tips, tricks, and factors to consider to help you narrow down your search for your online casino partner, allowing you to compare the best and the worst.
While there has been no reported arrests made solely on the basis of online gambling online in the United States, there are numerous laws that ban the use of online transactions with gambling sites. These same laws also make banks weary about transacting with such gambling websites.
The consequence of this is that all the big casino players around the world have pulled their operations out of the US, including a lot if back-end software developers. This has left US residents with only a handful of online casinos to choose from, but this list fortunately includes some of the best, most exciting and reputable casinos in the world.
These casinos use the latest cutting-edge software platforms from big players like BetSoft and Real-Time Gaming (RTG). So, it’s best to ensure that the online casino you choose is US-friendly or you might end up losing money or get into legal trouble.
As mentioned earlier, users can choose from two broad choices of playing online casino games; instant-play or mobile-based. And while it is possible for users to experience the enjoyment of real money casino games, not all casinos provide you with software that is compatible for all devices.
The best online casinos would ideally provide software that is compatible with both computer operating systems (Mac and Windows) and apps for both Android and iOS platforms. Not only does it make it convenient for you to play games via any device, either at home or on the move, but investing in a multi-platform online casino will save you any headaches when you’re looking to switch devices or change platforms.
Some casinos offer in-browser gaming via Flash or HTML5 technology, which is not generally compatible with Apple devices. Other casinos website might not be configured to adapt to smaller screen sizes, limiting their use to a desktop or laptop.
In the world of dubious casino names and online thieves, the most important factor to consider is a websites reputation. What most gamblers fail to understand is that despite high risk of the gambling business in general, there are a number of additional risks that wouldn’t have to be bothered with in a live casino.
The most reassuring method of researching a gambling site’s reliability and credibility is to read as many user reviews as you can get your hands on. With every person having their own perceptions, biases, and standards of quality and customer service, reading a minimum of 30-40 reviews will help you average out their reviews, giving you a clearer picture of how the website actually is. There are also a number of “watchdog” websites that give you detailed and honest opinions regarding a casino's policies, rules & regulations, products, and customer service records.
2. Licensing & Registration
Players need to verify that a gambling website possess the necessary licenses and is registered with the appropriate authorities because there are plenty of dubious websites that are running without the requisite licenses. There are several administrations that commonly house many of the top gambling sites, mainly because of their relaxed licensing norms.
These include the jurisdictions of Gibraltar, Malta, Alderney, and the Isle of Man. You don’t need to hire a lawyer to get these sites’ licensing details since this information is typically displayed on the website, along with license and registration numbers. It is pretty obvious that you should if any website that is shown to originate from unfamiliar areas with dubious licensing information.
3. Site Security
Now this is the important part as it concerns your money. All players should ensure that the casinos they are dealing with offer safety, security, and fairness in dealing with payments. The easiest way to find out how secure an online casino is would be to find out the names of the companies that were responsible for the development and provision of the site's security software platform.
Those from the likes of NetEnt, Microgamming Playtech, and so on are reputed enough to deal with your eyes closed because they provide websites and games are developed with embedded security features including firewall protection and 128-bit SSL encryption, both designed to ensure maximum site security. Users should also check whether the casino site’s random number generator software's is been certified by an impressive independent certification organization.
4. Promotions & Bonuses
Assuming that all things fair, online users should consider the casinos that have the best rewards programs or offers the best promotions and player bonuses. With cut-throat competition on the online gaming industry, almost every casino offers a sign-up bonus. Many sites even offer free bets, exclusive VIP bonuses, and even have a rebate system in place. It is critical that one read all the terms & conditions and rules & regulations regarding a casino’s promotions.
This will not only help you understand the various “rollover” parameters and restrictions, but will help you avoid unnecessary disappointment in the future. All casinos offer an initial registration bonus, which is usually displayed as a flashing banner, with the standard bonus being 100% of your first initial deposit, all though casinos cover up to first five deposits with a bonus. But before you jump into the site that offers the “seemingly” best promotions, compare their clearance rates first. Will some clear smaller amounts at lightning speed, others might require you to play and spend so much that the bonus doesn’t even seem to make any sense!
Also, lookout for the company’s policy for ongoing player rewards including reload bonuses, promotions and comps. Comps are complimentary gifts and services offered by casinos, including free drinks, food vouchers, and even hotel stays.
5. The Actual Games
Although every online casino offers the same basic set of games and a similar gaming experience across all platforms, you’re still going to have to decide on the type of games and intensity of gaming that they are looking for. Some sites offer only casino gambling, poker or sports, while others might offer full service.
This is the fun part, as all you need to do is make the right match of your gaming requirements with the fitting casino. While almost every site grants access to the gaming list of options and an occasional free-mode, while some sites go further by offering deposit-free bonuses, which allow you to play a game or two of your choice before actually having to pay your initial deposit.
6. Banking & Pay-outs
Another critical factor to consider is the banking options provided by the online casino. While almost every site offers a number of payment and deposit gateways, their withdrawal systems are usually always more unreceptive. The first thing you need to ascertain is whether you live in an area that is eligible for a pay-out.
While it’s obvious that the most financially secure websites are those that are owned by large holding corporations in places like Great Britain because they are strictly regulated and have more than enough financial resources, you might have access to very limited or restrictive payment services. So, always ensure that you are transacting via trust worthy and reliable payment service provider. Reputable sites only redirect users to trusted gaming establishments that have multiple payment service providers like AmEx, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, or Neteller.
Tips & Tricks
1. Reliability – No one wants to spend money online and waste hours playing games, only to find out that the site they’ve been playing on is a scam. Check for reviews where all the winnings were given to customers without any hiccups and on time. Look for the mark of the eCOGRA, which is an organization that advises on the regulation of the online gambling industry. Their certifications add to a casino’s reliability.
2. Customer Service – Remember that although it’s a gambling website, it is still part of the hospitality industry and you are entitled to the highest quality of customer service and satisfaction. The best thing to do is call up their customer support team and check how quickly and courteously they respond to your questions and queries. Although chargeable, it’s still better than gambling larger sums of money and getting nothing in return.
3. Pay-out Ratio – This is the average percentage of money that users actually win back. A stellar casino that doesn’t cheat should ideally have a pay-out ratio that is as close to 100% as possible.
4. Special Games – Although there are only “that many” games offered by online casinos, some of them do feature the occasional “special games” that offer a unique or unusual gaming experience. So, if you’re bored of playing the same old game of slots, poker or roulette, you’ll definitely enjoy playing some of the newer, more inventive games like scratchers or virtual horse racing.
Online casinos – It’s a problem of plenty
To most casino or Internet gambling newbies, the world of online casinos can be a confusing place and frustrating place, with every casino flashing banners and big welcome bonuses, and employing a slew of other marketing tactics in order to get your money and entice you to gamble.
The biggest confusion is choosing the right online casino, since all of them pretty much have all the same or similar games. That being said, choosing the right online casino is not the same as choosing what kind of sandwich you’d like to have. This is because most professionally run casinos have various differences when it comes to critical factors such as reputation, money deposit, and banking methods, as well as the kind of software they use.
When choosing a sandwich, the differences are not as profound.