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There are literally thousands of online casinos out there. Choosing the right one that fits your personal needs can be quite tricky. If you are new to online gaming, this guide will assist you. And help you make a decision and share some secrets about gambling industry with you. So before start playing with real money, read this guide!
Online gaming and gambling is becoming more and more popular in many countries across the globe. eSports is about to overtake traditional sports. And we can see a similar development in the gambling and casino world. The days where people were dressing up fancy and looking for a fun night out in a land-based casino have passed a long time ago. But one thing hasn’t changed, players are craving for new exciting slot machines and casino games. Actually, slots are popular as never before with countless new slot game releases every month by some of the top game providers.
According to a research paper from the International Center For Responsible Gaming (ICFRG) there are about 3,000 online websites which offer casino or betting games. To be honest, I think there must be even more! On Statista, they expect the size of the online gambling market to be valued at more than 92.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. And I believe we have reasons to believe that this trend will continue. More online casinos will start business in the future.
Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. Probably you are asking yourself whether it’s legal to gamble online or not. Most countries have some kind of rules when it comes to gambling.
Casinos which want to operate in a certain jurisdiction need a government-issued gaming licence. Many countries in the world restrict or ban online gambling for different reasons – in some countries it’s kind of a grey area. And I strongly advise you to check the rules and laws in your country to understand if playing online is legal or not.
Gambling itself is not illegal in the US. But there is the so-called The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 which addresses online gambling. In a nutshell, this law forbids payment processors in the US to transfer funds to “unlawful” online gambling websites abroad.
Due to this law most big casino websites have stopped their operations in the US.
Competition in the gambling industry is a good thing. Casinos need to continuously improve to keep players on their platform. However, players are faced with the difficult situation to pick the best casino among many. It can be tricky for new players to understand the differences between all these companies. When you look at casinos, you can check the following things to understand what they are all about.
Understanding casino licences
Every serious online gaming site nowadays needs a license before it can start to operate. When money is involved, banks or payment processors won’t accept gaming companies that do not have a proper license. Depending on where you live, the regulations and laws for online gambling might be very different.
Some countries prohibit online gambling services while others show great support in the gambling industry. The best online casinos and gaming sites are not based where you think they might be. In the USA or Australia for example, you will not be able to find a thriving online gambling industry.
Many of the best online casinos are licensed in quite remote locations like Malta, Curaçao or Isle of Man. For you as a player, it is very important to check if the casino is offering their services to players from your country. Otherwise, you might get into trouble when cashing out. Good casinos will have this type of information published on their website which brings us to the next important topic…
For casinos to operate in a certain jurisdiction, they need a licence from a government-recognized regulator. And there are some off-shore locations in the world who become quite accommodating for casinos. So there are a few locations where all these casinos are incorporated.
Most casinos which I am reviewing here on my website are regulated by one of the following bodies.
So a lot of casinos for European players are based in Malta. And these casinos obtain a licence by the Malta Gaming Authority. According to the MGA, in 2020 players visited MGA casinos 257,617 times. This type of information can be found easily on the MGA website along with other key figures such as the revenues of these casinos and much more.
This is just one example that shows how transparent the MGA is. That’s why the MGA licence is extremely popular amongst casinos and players. In fact, most casinos and betting companies which operate in Europe are licenced by the MGA, even the well-established brands like Bwin, Tipico or Unibet.
Another really popular licence is the one issued by the UK Gambling Commission. The UKGC have three principles: 1) Preventing illegal activities, 2) Ensuring gambling is fair for the players and 3) Protecting children. And based on these three principles, there are several rules and requirements for casinos to operate in the UK and target British players.
Overall, the licence issued by the UKGC means high protection for players. Players can utilise various platforms such as www.resolver.co.uk in case there are any issues with a casino and the UKGC will follow up.
Curaçao is a Caribbean island, formerly known as the Dutch Antilles, and famous for its incredible beaches and coral reefs. And for several online casinos which obtain a gaming licence from the Caribbean island. Curaçao was one of the first countries who created a framework for regulating online gambling. Since 1996 casinos can obtain a licence from the island state. Today, the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) got the mandate to overlook the regulatory framework for online casinos. Licences itself are directly issued from the Minister of Finance.
There are a couple of reasons why this licence became so popular. The main reason I suspect is the simplicity of the licence. The e-Gaming license is covering all kinds of online gambling activities no matter if it’s sports betting, poker, casino games or even eSports.
Regulated and licensed casinos will ask you to verify your account. Therefore, I recommend you check first if the casino will accept players from your country. Account verification after you have submitted a cash-out request can be very annoying. My advice is that you prepare these documents before signing up so you don’t need to stress about them later on.
So regulated online casinos with gaming licenses have one thing in common: they might ask you to verify your identity before you can start to play with real money or when trying to withdraw any funds. But what exactly is the purpose of it? Are you concerned to share your personal details and do you fear security issues? Do you think it’s an annoying delay caused by the casinos to hold you back from withdrawing funds? Let’s have a deep dive on the topic of online casino verification and see what it is all about.
Depending on where the casino is based and which gaming licence it holds, different requirements for the verification process may apply. For example, casinos like CasinoLand or CasinoNile are licenced by The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and by the UK Gambling Commission. There can be differences in what it means in terms of verification, and it is not easy to know the exact requirements in each jurisdiction. All verification processes follow some basic rules though which makes it easy for you as a player.
Companies which perform financial transactions and process payments are required by law to make an effort to understand who they are dealing with. Is the individual really the person he or she pretends to be? Are the funds legit? Are there any conflicts of interests? These are important questions for companies which process funds internationally. For you as a customer these checks are a good sign. You can be assured that companies who are doing their due diligence are more trustworthy than those who will just accept your money and don’t ask any questions.
So the process is called Know your Customer (KYC) and has some basic requirements which are very similar across the globe.
So usually you are asked for a couple of identification documents. So when signing up to any casino website, I am advising you to have the following documents at hand to avoid any troubles.
You can simply use your phone and take photos of both sides of your ID or passport. Your document should be valid, and you need to make sure that all details can be seen clearly and that the edges are not cut off. That’s very important. If the corners are cut off, your documents will be automatically rejected. Do not use flash on your camera as it can cause reflections on your document and some data might be difficult to read. Also, your name needs to match with the company’s records. I am mentioning this as some people prefer to shorten their name or use an alternative version of their actual name.
So after your identity is verified, they want to see your address, and usually they will ask for a recent utility bill (not older than 6 month).
What is a utility bill? A utility bill should be from an electricity, gas or water provider and your recent address, your name and the date should be included. Phone bills cause problems usually, unless it’s a landline phone. Alternative documents such as bank account statements, letters from the city hall, insurance papers etc. might be accepted as well as long as they show the date, your name and your address. This comes down to the compliance departments and regulations in the jurisdiction.
This is the part where most people really get a bit sensitive… Understandably, but if we take a closer look at things it becomes less concerning. Bottom line here is that the company can not do anything with your credit card details if you follow some security precautions.
They are asking for this information as they want to see that the credit card is actually in your possession — so again, these measures are designed also for your protection.
It’s enough if they can read your name on the credit card, expiry dates and the last 4 digits of your credit card number. They do not need the full details!
On the back side you should cover the CVV code and only show your signature. By this, you are not providing the company with any additional personal data. The only thing you do is to confirm the already delivered credit card information once again by showing that you physically possess the card.
And that’s it, basically. If you have all these documents at hand and prepared before starting to play, it can be a very quick and easy process that you do not need to worry about.
Before you start searching, you should ask yourself a really simple question. What do you like about online casinos? While you are answering this question, you will understand what is important for you when picking an online casino.
And as we do everything with our phones these days, it is not surprising that players are looking for Mobile Games and Mobile Casinos in particular. The gaming industry has massively benefitted from the surge of mobile casinos. However, with increasing popularity of mobile gaming and the sheer endless amount of available iOS, Android and Web Apps for gambling, picking the right casinos has become a real challenge.
Here are a few things you can do to find a good online casino:
Most beginners do a lot of research before choosing an online casino. It’s true, online casinos control things like game selection, bonus policy and platform design. But let me introduce you to a little secret. Your actual gaming experience relies mostly on a few big software providers. This is often overlooked. Software providers are as important as online casino platforms as they are those who actually create the gaming experiences.
So most casinos use casino games developed by a few big software providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming or Elk Studios. If you click on any casino in the list below this article, you will see detailed information on the available games including game developers and software providers. If you are already familiar with some of the biggest gaming providers, you can also filter by the software provider. Simply select one of the providers in the navigation bar on top.
If you are not familiar with any game developer, here are 5 popular Online Casino software providers you need to know:
International Game Technology has its roots in Las Vegas. Even today they still provide traditional slot machines within the gambling capital of the world. On top of that, people around the globe also can enjoy online slot games such as Family Guy, Ghostbusters, Cleopatra I and Cleopatra II, Wheel of Fortune, to name only a few. In total IGT offers more than 1000 online slot games nowadays.
Over the years, IGT has undergone numerous transformations. But one thing has remained consistent throughout all this time. They have built up a serious reputation as one of the leading slot manufacturers in the world, both for traditional slot punters and online players. IGT is widely recognized as being the biggest slots manufacturer in the world –if you ever have the chance to visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City, you can be sure to play on one of their machines in the casinos.
Playtech was founded in Estonia in 1999 and has gone far from there – in 2006 the company went public and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Since the global covid19 pandemic started the price almost doubled in the last 12 months.
It demonstrates that Playtech has become one of the most important gaming software providers in the world. Being listed at one of the most prestigious stock exchanges in the world and the fact that Playtech operates in regulated markets only, is showing a serious dedication to responsible gaming.
With more than 5,000 employees, they are what you can call an industry giant. One of their main selling points is Playtech’s attention to exclusive and high quality graphics. Each game usually tends to have superb quality graphics and sounds which really makes it stand out if you compare their games to the competition. That’s one of the reasons why Playtech games are favoured and loved by players around the globe.
Founded in 1994 on the Isle of Man, Microgaming is one of the oldest online casino software providers in the world. How can a company be so successful over so many years? The answer is simple, Microgaming is continuously developing stand-out slots and games. Microgaming is responsible for creating numerous legendary slot titles including classics like Immortal Romance, Avalon or Thunderstruck.
One of their games is responsible for the largest online jackpot payout in history. The Guinness World Records has certified in 2018 that a 18 Million Euro jackpot had been paid out by an anonymous player, who hit the jackpot with a 75 cent bet on a mobile phone.
Net Entertainment – or more commonly referred to as NetEnt – is one of the leading online casino software providers with no doubt! Their roots go back as far as 1996 when the company was founded in Sweden. Today they are traded on the Nasdaq Stockholm AB exchange under the ticker NETB:SS.
NetEnt is responsible for a wide range of classic slots, video slots, video poker and other mini games. Probably you have come across one of their most famous slot games: Starburst.
Players usually have the chance to play those games in the free play mode first before risking real money which is a great way to discover new games. Usually, multiple new games per month are released by NetEnt each month.
And here comes another famous gaming company from Sweden. Play’n GO was founded in 1997 and has grown to one of the leading online casino software providers in the world.
I would say Play’n GO is mostly famous for their slot games, combining thrilling action and fantastic bonuses.
Play’n GO slots really tick all the boxes and in most cases you don’t have to play for real cash straight away. You can try most Play’n Go online slots first for free to check if you like the game or not.
Most likely you have heard about plenty game times but one of them achieved particular fame recently: the ancient Egypt themed slot game Book of Dead.
As many players, you probably already have your favorite games. On most casino sites, you do not have to deposit straight away. You can see all available games before. So you can easily check out everything and make up your mind if you like the offered games, or you want to look somewhere else. A lot of casinos are using the same technology and software providers. While searching for a casino, you will see the same kind of brands popping up all the time — which is great, so it’s easier for you to compare.
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games. It is quite simple and it works like this: You need to place a bet on a field on the roulette table. And then wait for the result of the spin and hope that your field will show up!
One thing you need to know is that there is an important difference between European roulette and American roulette.
This changes your chances to win dramatically. The Return-to-Player (RTP) rate for American roulette is only 94,74% while European roulette has a RTP rate of 97.3%.
So if I were you, I’d choose European Roulette if you are interested in this type of game!
Another really popular casino game is Blackjack. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. First thing to know: colors don’t matter with this game.
The cards from 2 to 10 have the value displayed on the card. The face cards (King, Jack, Queen) count 10. And any Ace is either 1 or 11, whatever is better for you!
The objective of the game: the value of your cards need to be as high as possible but not more than 21. An Ace and any other face card beats all other combinations of cards and is called a Blackjack.
Whether you are new to online gambling or have already experience with casino games. Slots are a perfect game to play at online casinos because they are easy to understand.
The complexity of online slots have increased significantly though over the last couple of years. They don’t have much in common anymore with the one you may have played previously in a land-based casino.
Most slot games today offer 25 or 50 paylines, multiple reels and many different symbols.
Before you can start to play, you usually have to fund your account. While there are some casinos that offer a No Deposit Bonus, let me tell you that these casinos are like unicorns.
Signing up at a casino and the registration should not take more than a few minutes. Picking the right payment method that suits you the best for you is absolutely crucial. It will massively impact your gaming experience.
So before you can start playing, you need to deposit funds. While this is usually a very straightforward process, you should invest some time, and you should see what kind of deposit and withdrawal options are offered, and in particular — what are the fees? And another very important but often overlooked thing: How long does it take for them to process your transaction? Withdrawals can take between 0 and 7 business days, depending on the involved payment processors or banks. Before casinos can confirm your withdrawal they usually have to verify your identity.
That’s a standard procedure. To speed things up, you should have a clear copy of your ID or passport ready and a recent utility bill as well. You can save a lot of time, so you don’t have to go back and forth with the customer service representatives. There are limits on how much you can withdraw per week or month with some casinos. Beware of these limits or choose a casino without a maximum withdrawal amount.
Most Online Casinos offer a wide selection of different payment methods. As a beginner it can be quite tricky to understand the differences between those payment methods. Let me introduce you to the most popular options and give you some helpful advice on what to consider before depositing or cashing out. So if you have ever asked yourself questions like “How long will it take until the funds are in my account?” or “Can I use Bitcoin to fund my account?”, look no further.
Some words on security first. You should do your due diligence and check if the casino has a good reputation. Here on Casinocheff.com we are constantly reviewing online casinos and investigating whether it’s safe to play there or not. You can search online for reviews of other players and see what kind of information is published on the websites of the casinos. You should pay attention that you are only playing at online casinos with a legitimate gaming licence.
Once you have picked your casino, make sure you are actually on the correct website and that the SSL encryption protocol is activated. You can check this in the address bar of your browser, next to the URL you will see a small lock and if you hover on it, you can see further information on the type of connection to this site. Most sites use 128-bit encryption these days.
The most commonly used payment methods are regular direct bank wire transfers. These are proven to be very safe and secure and, therefore, are amongst the most accepted payment methods globally. You will receive the banking details of your chosen online casino and set up the wire to transfer the funds. Simple like this! I am sure you have used this payment method before. The main advantage for using this payment method is the lack of third parties involved. If something goes wrong, you can speak to your bank directly and don’t have to contact another company. The downside of this is that the bank will usually charge you fees that are higher than with other payment options. Another thing to consider is that wire transfer can take longer than other payment methods. Banks usually have strict protocols and transactions to online gaming companies are monitored thoroughly. It can happen that your transfer does not get approved straight away and you have to call your bank to confirm the transactions. All this can be quite annoying, especially if you want your funds in your account quickly or if you are on the go and using your mobile phone.
I am assuming you are not using the internet for the first time so I guess you have a very good understanding of how these work, right? The same way you are using your credit cards to shop on Amazon, you can use these for online casinos as well. This banking method should be available at all well-known and trusted online casinos. If you see options to deposit via Visa & Mastercard, you can see this as a sign of legitimacy as both credit card companies work only with companies that meet certain requirements and follow regulations. The really good thing about using credit cards is the super-fast execution! Your funds can arrive at your account almost instantly. One click and you can start playing with real money.
Although PayPal is a very secure and user-friendly service for online transactions, not every online casino will accept PayPap as a payment method, unfortunately. This is due to the fact that PayPal was completely restricting online gambling websites a couple of years ago. This seems to change a little bit but it remains tricky so still a big chunk of online casinos prefer not to deal with the US based company. It really comes down to where you live and what’s the legal situation in your region when it comes to online gaming. If you really would like to use this payment option, I strongly recommend checking with your online casino first if they have experiences with players from your country. Paypal does not reveal any private details such as card number or bank account details with merchants. That makes it one of the safest methods.
I am sure you have heard about Bitcoins already. I won’t get into the details of how it all works as this payment method should only be used by those who are already familiar with cryptocurrencies. As Bitcoin remains a huge topic in the news, an increasing number of online casinos have started to allow players to use Bitcoin to fund their accounts. That’s great news!
Basically, there are different types of Bitcoin casinos. Most of them are so-called Hybrid casinos. They will allow you to deposit and withdraw in Bitcoin. However, they will convert Bitcoin into a fiat currency before you start playing or vice versa when cashing out.
There are a few casinos that exclusively operate in Bitcoin. For those types of casinos, Bitcoins are used in the same way as you would use other currencies e.g. £, € or $. What’s worth mentioning here is that you can also transfer just a fraction of Bitcoin, e.g. 0.0003 BTC. Almost every bitcoin casino needs to run their own gaming software which they often have developed completely on their own.
If you think the website looks very informative, and you don’t see any issues in the beginning, at some point, you might need to have someone to speak to. And ideally, you want to contact them in your language. As many casinos serve a global audience, 24/7 support is not unusual. So that’s what you want to look out for! Beware, some companies use automated bots to reply to your queries. So you can try to ask them a few basic questions before signing up, so you get a better understanding of the quality of the customer support. It should not be difficult for you to contact them in the first place. Whether it’s via live chat, phone or email — whatever you prefer.
Most players choose a casino with a bonus. Bonuses have been around since the start of gambling. And this is how they work in a nutshell: you make a first deposit with a casino and the casino will grant you a certain amount as a bonus to play with. Some casinos even give you free spins to play with their slot machines.
Different type of casino bonuses
Almost all of them offer a first time deposit bonus to welcome new players. Some casinos even give away bonuses for the following deposits but that’s not usual.
However, there are casinos that do frequent promotions — once you are signed up with them, you will get this type of information to your mail inbox.
The one most common doubles your initial deposit by 100%. So in case you are planning to start with $100, they will top up your available funds by another $100, and you will end up having $200 in your account. That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Usually there is a limit for that, for some casinos it’s $500, $1000 or even $5000. No rule of thumb here.
In Addition to the deposit bonus, most likely you’ll get some free spins, too, which is a great way to try out slot machines. So by now, you are probably asking yourself what’s the catch? Now you should read carefully as this part is confusing a lot of new players.
These bonuses are being added to your account instantly, but you can not withdraw these bonus funds straight away. In order to cash out parts of the bonus, you have to meet the wagering requirements.
What’s important about these bonuses is that you can not cash them out immediately. Instead, certain wager requirements apply for these bonuses, e.g. Wagering x40. What does it mean?
Let’s say you deposited $100 and received $100 as a bonus. You need to play with these $100 at least 40 times until you can cash out any winnings.
Each provider has their own rules — you can read them up in the terms and conditions or just ask the customer services representatives.
Usually it works like this: you need to wager the bonus amount a specific number of times until the funds are unlocked.
These bonuses are a great way to hit the ground running without spending too much money in the beginning — however, keep in mind that you can’t withdraw it straight ahead.
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