Whether gambling online is a serious pastime for you or a casual hobby, choosing between the hundreds of online casinos available online today can be rather intimidating. After all, every online gamer has their own unique personality, likes, dislikes and preferred games. Just as every player is different, so are online casinos. Below are the basics to consider when shopping around for an online casino that will meet your gambling needs and then some.
It's All About the Games
When it comes to online casinos, I come to play and I play to win. But first and foremost, I come to play. That means that you're not going to stick around playing a game you do not enjoy. Even if you play a game common to all casinos like poker, if the interface is weak you are all but guaranteed to make a fast "exit."
Because online casinos only feature games where wagers are involved, you might think your choices are limited, but you could not be farther from the truth. Many companies pride themselves on thinking outside the box and offering new and innovative games that raise the bar in terms of graphics, sound and playability. It is a good idea to get an idea of which online casinos carry games that you are interested in playing. Companies like Rival and Cryptologic are just two of the many top online casino software providers that push the envelope with every game they put out.
Also know that each software provider has their own style. Rival, as I mentioned above, has stellar games, but tends to cater to the younger crowd of online casino players. They focus more on graphics and games that appeal to "video gamers" more than anyone else. Where as Cryptologic has a knack for taking classic games and making them fresh and exciting again.
Naturally people when playing online, one wants to make sure that they are able to access their money as quickly and conveniently as possible. Most online casinos offer simple depositing processes wheree you deposit money into an account for use within that particular online casino. Still, not every casino operates the same way. RTG and Playtech incorporate their own software methods to manage money while Cryptologic uses "Ecash."
Look for Peer Reviews
An online casino will tell you anything and everything to get you to gamble at their online casino. Can you blame them? They want to make money. It is in their best interest to sell their online casino as the largest and the best. Therefore, your best bet on researching an online casino is to search for customer reviews on gambling review websites.
Online gamers are passionate about the casinos they love and venomous towards those they hate. Before spending a dime, it behooves you to read some reviews and benefit from the experience of others. There are so many sites out there offering top-notch, third party reviews of online casinos. Even though you'll be gambling at the casino, it's best not to gamble on a casino.
Beware of Sign Up Bonuses
Sign up bonuses as far as I'm concerned are the candy that a shady stranger uses to lure a kid into a van. They say nothing for the online casino's game-play or customer service. I will use another simile. They are like an ad incentive from a car dealership put out there to draw suckers into the clutches of salesman. Bottom line, there's always a catch. In the above scenarios you either get kidnapped or have the old "switcharoo" rolled on you and end up paying way more than you wanted for a car.
Online casinos are no different. Often the sign up bonus will offer some exorbitant amount of free money. That's what it says on the surface. But what they do not tell you is that if you want that money to pay off, you will have to pay an even more exorbitant amount in wagers until you meet your minimum that lets you cash out ... if you have any wins that is.
Are you a Mac or a PC?
While every online casino is PC friendly, the same can not be said for Macintosh computers. However, online casino bosses are not blind and many have developed platforms that are compatible with both PC and the rising number of Mac users. So if you're on a Mac, your choice is fairly limited. If you're on a PC, the online casino world is your oyster.
ECOGRA Certified Casinos
There are a number of third-party online casino watchdogs out there, all of them monitoring the casinos to see that they are playing fair. The most trusted of them all is eCogra (short for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance). There is no way to ensure that any online casino is absolutely fair 100% of the time. However, seeing that a casino is certified by eCogra is the best way to know that play is as fair as it can be.
There are other names out there, but none as universally trusted as eCogra. While others may certainly do their job as well as if not better than eCogra, their reputation is certainly stronger. In theory, anyone could start a watchdog company and create a seal. By going with an eCogra certified casino, you know that they stake their reputation on the fact that your gaming experience will be a fair one.
Know the Law
Even though it should not be, online gambling is largely prohibited in many places, the United States included. In those places where it is legal, it is highly regulated. Therefore, whether online gambling is legal in your area or not, it is important to know the law before you start spending. An online casino allowing you access does not necessarily mean that their services are legal where you are. It is difficult for governments to regulate the internet and often the player is the one at risk. If your funds are located, the casino has their money already since it is legal for most casinos to accept deposits. So before making a deposit, look into online gambling laws specific to where you live for a hassle-free gaming experience.