Since its inception several years ago, the online gaming industry has gone from strength to strength and attracts thousands of players all over the world every day. Although some are professional and/or regular players, many are visiting casino sites for the first time and are unsure of what to look out for. With so many casinos to choose from it is important to do a bit of research first. There are some wonderful operators out there who operate a fair and honest business, but as with any industry, there are others who are less than reputable. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are new to online casinos and games.
What Software does the casino use?
Once you begin visiting a number of online casinos, you will start to see the names of particular software providers appearing over and over. There are currently five main players in the online casino software market – Microgaming, RealTime Gaming, Wagerlogic (also known as Cryptologic) and Playtech. Any casino that uses these brands of software to power their games is usually of a certain standard. The software companies themselves also do not want to be associated with unreliable and shonky casinos, so often go to great lengths to ensure the legitimacy of a casino before branding them with their software. If the software the casino is using is unfamiliar, do some more research and ask questions before registering your details.
What Kind of Support does the Casino Offer?
Any casino worth their weight will provide excellent 24/7 support to their customers. This might be in the form of either phone or email support and there may even be a link to Frequently Asked Questions on their site. It is very important that you feel confident with the level of support you are going to receive as there will be nothing more frustrating than waiting for a cheque to arrive in the mail or your bank account and not having a direct way of following up your inquiry.
What are the Terms and Conditions of the Casino?
Every casino that you visit is bound by law to publish their Terms and Conditions clearly on their site. It is worth taking the time to read these before you start playing as you will by bound by them if a dispute between yourself and the casino is raised. Privacy is probably the most important clause players are interested in and its always good to know if the casino intends to keep your details secure, or whether they might be made available to a third party (e.g.: their sponsors or advertisers).
What about security?
How do I deposit money and get paid should I win?
In the last few years many banks and credit card providers have made the decision not to process financial transactions made via online casinos. There are however a number of other effective methods, many of which are extremely reliable and secure. These mainly consist of third party ‘brokers’ who keep your financial details secure and handle all your transactions both in and out of the account. A few of the more popular providers include Netteller, Firepay and Paypal. All you need to do is register your personal and financial details along with a user name and password in order to access you account.
Some casinos will also pay any winnings direct to your bank savings account or via a cheque in the mail.
It is also a good idea to be clear on the turnaround times for payouts. Some casinos are very reliable and pay quickly, but there are some horror stories of players waiting months for payments, which is obviously very frustrating.
I’ve heard about online forums. What are they and how can they help?
One of the great things about the Internet is that it is very easy to connect with like-minded people and swap both ideas and information. You’ll find if you look around, there are some fantastic player organizations and online forums where regular online casino players meet. Many of these sites will monitor which casinos are operating fairly, while they may also contain a blacklist of which ones to avoid. You will also find lots of useful tips and strategies discussed which may be use. Keep in mind that most players have a favorite game they like to play, which means that the player organizations are usually devoted to a particular type of online game – for example, slots, blackjack or poker. Look for the one with the types of games you want to play.
There’s so many games? How do I choose which one?
The question of which games to play really is a very personal one but the great thing about online casinos is the choice between literally hundreds of games. Casino and games reviews are often a good place to start and can take the hard work out of choosing the right casino for you.
Many casinos will also let you ‘play for free’ for a short time, so if you can try out new games and get a feel for the ones you are unsure about. Offers to ‘play for free’ are definitely worth taking up and are widely available.
Probably the most important thing to remember with online gaming is that it is a form of entertainment and there to be enjoyed. Take your time to look around and work out what best suits you. Like millions of other players you’re sure to soon find out just how much fun online gaming can be!