Getting Started with Online Casinos

The biggest single difference between online casinos and real, land-based ones is that you, the player, are in control. There is never any waiting for a seat at your favourite table. You determine how quickly or slowly games are played. Take a long break, and the entire casino floor will wait on hold until you return. You are the center of everything that happens, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to get there.

For that reason, online casinos have to work extra hard to gain your patronage. They have to make it as easy as possible for you to get into the action. They will shower you with promotions and bonus offers, reward you generously for your loyalty, and give you an incredible variety of games to play.

One way in which online casinos have made play easy is by moving away from platforms that have to be downloaded. Prior to 2000, almost all Internet casinos required that their software be installed on your computer in order to access games. Now, most gaming web sites offer “flash versions” of their attractions so that you can play instantly from any location. What’s more, they offer the ability to play in “For Free” or “For Fun” mode, allowing you to try out their games without registration or risking a penny.

So take your time and shop around a bit. Play as many games as you like for free. See which ones entertain you and what kind of pay outs they make. If you are going to be spending your time and money at an online casino, you want to make sure you will enjoy the experience.

Some of the things you may want to consider when evaluating an online casino are how appealing the graphics and audio are, the variety of games offered, how easy the game rules and operations are to follow, and how frequently you win. Look for sites where games are already plentiful and lots of new ones are being added all the time.

You will also want to see if the site is well established. When an online casino has been around for five years or more, it has proven its staying power. You can also find reviews and user feedback on the Internet to use as references. Any research you conduct before registering as a new player will be rewarded by the confidence of knowing that the site can be trusted.

From a financial point of view, two aspects of playing at an online casino are even more important than whether or not you win. First and foremost, you need to be able to move funds into and out of your account. Check to see what the casino’s deposit and withdrawal options are. Typically, there are many. Some will allow you to add funds by credit card, but then make you use another channel, such as bank transfer, to get paid. Ideally, you want to use just one method for both types of transactions. And make sure there are no hidden fees involved. It’s your money; you shouldn’t have to pay extra to access it.

A second big factor regarding finances is promotional cash. Almost all online casinos feature some form of “Welcome Bonus.” They may offer to double the amount of your initial deposit. It’s great to start playing with house money rather than your own. But be aware of the fine print. The terms and conditions attached to such bonuses usually require a minimum amount of play before any winnings can be withdrawn, and the requirement often applies to your deposited amount as well as the “free bonus cash.”

Security and privacy are big concerns for online casinos. The most reliable operators always display credentials from the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), the non-profit Interactive Gaming Council (IGC), and eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA). Such “Seals of Approval” are awarded only to sites whose games have been tested as fair, who operate honestly and responsibly, and whose financial transactions are secure.

Other things to be aware of as you get started at an online casino include ease of access to customer service and the existence of a loyalty scheme that rewards you for regular play. Some gaming web sites will give you cash back, like a rebate on losses. Others have frequent “free rolls” and lucky draws. Many sponsor tournaments or track play on weekly “leader boards,” leading to rewards from a prize pool. Again, the more research you do prior to joining, the more likely you will be in for a satisfying experience.

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