If you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to online casino, then look no further. Please allow us to share our expertise, acquired through years of working at the best casino sites and other online gambling platforms.
Beginner's Guide to Online Gambling
Our comprehensive guide to online casino gambling will talk you through the following topics.
- How to find the best online casino. It’s never a good idea to dive in and sign up with the first site that you see. The best gambling sites have a lot of things in common that you should look out for.
- Online casino games. There’s more to online casino games than a beginner may realise. We’ll explain live dealer games, including online roulette and blackjack, as well how to spot if the games are really fair.
- Online casino bonuses. No beginner’s guide to casino would be complete without a comprehensive guide to welcome bonuses and other promotions.
- How do online casinos work? We’ll explore casino gaming software, for both desktop and mobile casinos, as well as taking a look at other online casino functions, such as fraud and customer services.
How To Find The Best Online Casino
It can be hard to define the term “best”, since different people are looking for different things. Some players care about specific types of game. Others are more interested in simply getting their money in and out of the casino.
But one thing is for sure. All of the top casino sites share some common factors. Let’s take an in-depth look at exactly what those building blocks of the best online casinos look like.
Probably the most important factor to consider when choosing your online casino, is the license. All of the best online casinos and real money gambling sites have a license from a trusted gaming board, such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority.
Why is the casino license so important? First of all, not just anybody can acquire one. The casino owners must prove that they are of good character, with no criminal record. They must also show that they have money. In addition, when a casino is licensed by a proper gaming regulator, you can be sure that they are working to the highest standards.
Whether we are talking about KYC controls and identity fraud, responsible gambling measures, or data protection, a reputable casino license ensures that players are as well protected as possible.
Although a casino license does reduce the need for background checks somewhat, it never hurts to do a little digging. The best gambling sites will have no fear about publishing the name of the holding company on the site. With that at your disposal, you will easily be able to check the history of the owners and the names of any senior figures involved. If anything even vaguely questionable turns up in the search history, it’s time to look elsewhere!
Often, a company will own multiple casino brands. They may be powered by the same platform and share the same resources, such as customer services. If you can see that your chosen casino is owned by a company that is successfully operating multiple casino or betting sites, with no signs of trouble, then you’ll have a little extra peace of mind.
Casino security comes in two different flavors. First, there is the technological security, such as making sure that banking details and personal data are safe. But there is also the issue of protecting vulnerable players.
When choosing the best online casino, we need to ensure that the website makes use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. This is a form of encryption, that scrambles data when transactions are taking place. So if a hacker were ever to intercept your transaction, they would not end up with your credit card details, they would simply see a bunch of meaningless gibberish.
The best casino sites also have a broad range of player protection tools. First of all, they should have good KYC (Know Your Customer) controls. The casino’s fraud team should be confirming everyone’s identity, to make sure that they are above the legal age to play and to prevent any payments fraud.
On top of that, there should be strong responsible gambling measures in place, to protect vulnerable players such as problem gamblers. These include:
- Reality Check. A pop up appears at fixed intervals to remind players of how long they have been gambling, and to show any losses.
- Timeout. This allows players to take a temporary break, without closing their casino account completely.
- Deposit Limits. The player can set an upper limit on the value of deposits in their chosen time frame, to help minimise losses.
- Loss Limits. The casino will automatically block the player from further play, once they hit the limit imposed by the player.
Self-Exclusion. The casino will close the account for the amount of time specified by the player. A self-exclusion lasts anywhere from 6 months to five years and cannot be reversed.
The selection of online casino games is another important consideration in determining which site is the best. Even if you only care about one specific game, you may still grow tired of playing. You might wish to mix it up with a variation of that game, or simply try something new.
But it’s not only the range of casino games that matters. It’s equally important to make sure that the games have been independently verified by a testing lab. Companies such as GLI, iTech labs and BMM Testlabs are used by all of the top online casinos to prove that the games are not rigged in any way.
They test the random number generator used in slots and look into the physical equipment used, such as roulette wheels, dealing shoes and even playing cards. If a casino is using games that have not been properly tested and verified, they should be avoided.
All of the best slot sites found online feature a wide range of video slots. It’s not uncommon for the best casino sites to feature thousands of different titles, from dozens of different software providers.
Online Slots Developers
Here’s a list of some of the most creative slots providers in the industry, whose titles have revolutionised online slots gaming:
There are many more online slots providers than this list, but these software developers are responsible for games and technology that changed the face of slots gaming for the top casino sites.
From Big Time Gaming’s innovative Megaways™ slots mechanic, to Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot slot, which holds the world record for the biggest ever payout by a slot machine.
If you would also like to try and win life changing sums of money, like the €19.4 million won by one lucky player, Mega Moolah can be found at all of the best progressive jackpot casino sites, such as Slots.GG.
RTP and Volatility
Something to consider when looking for the best slots sites, is the Return To Player (RTP) percentage. Every single slot game found at an online casino has an RTP value. This is a theoretical amount that, when the game is played over an infinite period of time, will be paid out by the game.
Let’s look at Crystal Fruits Reversed, a popular game produced by Tom Horn Gaming. It is a high volatility slot, whose RTP is 96.00%. This means that for every $100 taken in by the machine, $96 is paid back to players, while $4 is retained for the casino.
Online slots are still random, of course. So there is always variance regarding exactly when prizes are paid out, and you need to be lucky in order to win. But the longer one plays a slot, the closer your returns will be to the theoretical RTP.
Volatility concerns how frequently a slot pays out a prize. Some online slots players are impatient, and prefer to win more often. These players will prefer a low volatility slot. High volatility slots pay out much less frequently, but when they do award a prize, they tend to be much bigger than average slots. These games can be extremely rewarding
Increasingly popular all around the world, live dealer brings a refreshing twist to more traditional online casino games. They utilise real equipment and rely on human dealers to interact with the players. Using multiple camera angles, filmed in high definition, and with genuine casino sounds in the background, live dealer games offer a much more immersive experience.
Online roulette, for example, is already a casino classic, but the best casino sites make it much more enjoyable by offering live dealer variations, such as Lightning Roulette. Live blackjack is another traditional game offered by top casino sites, which has several live dealer variants. Examples include Pragmatic Play’s ONE Blackjack, as well as several Evolution Gaming variations, such as Power Blackjack.
Casino Bonuses for Beginners
All of the best casino sites offer casino bonuses. It is extremely rare, in what is such a competitive industry, for gambling sites not to use bonuses to either attract or retain players. Let’s take a look at the most common casino bonuses found at top casino sites.
The classic casino welcome bonus is a deposit match. Whatever you deposit the first time you use the casino, they will match it in bonus money. Sometimes a deposit match bonuses is more than 100%, which can lead to some really big bonuses. For example, let’s say the casino welcome bonus is 250%. In that case, a deposit of $100 would earn you $250 worth of casino bonuses to play with, along with your own $100 worth of real money.
Casino welcome bonuses are sometimes bundled as part of a package. So in addition to the first deposit bonus, there may be a second, third or even fourth reload bonus. There may be free spins awarded in the welcome bonus too, which you can use on designated casino slots.
Sometimes awarded as part of a casino welcome bonus, but more commonly issued as part of a loyalty program, free spins are brilliant for online slots lovers. They are exactly what the name implies. Play a slot as normal, without needing to risk any of your own real money, but anything you win, you can keep. Terms and conditions will likely apply, so be sure to check them avoid potential frustration.
As previously stated, casino reload bonuses sometimes feature as part of a welcome package. But more commonly, they are awarded to existing customers as a reward for their continued loyalty. They work much the same way as a deposit match bonus, but they tend to a little less generous on the whole. It’s common to see online casino sites awarding reload bonuses of anywhere between 25% and 100%.
No Deposit Bonus
A no deposit bonus is a different type of welcome bonus. These are not as common as deposit matches, but they represent a chance for the player to, quite literally, get something for nothing. A no deposit bonus casino site will give you a bonus simply for registering. You don’t need to do anything else. Just sign up, collect your bonus, start playing and keep any winnings!
There are two ways a no deposit bonus casino site can issue a bonus. Newer casinos using better technology can automatically apply the bonus. The player simply has to register and their bonus will be waiting for them straight away.
Slightly older sites though, rely on no deposit bonus codes. At some point during the registration process, there will be a field in which you must enter the no deposit bonus code in order to qualify. So keep your eyes peeled, to avoid disappointment.
How Do Online Casinos Work?
Let’s look a little deeper into just how the best online casino sites actually operate.
Without casino platforms, there are no online casinos. A platform is a piece of aggregation software that allows the owner to plug in various slots and casino games, as well as customer service tools, payment platforms and other pieces of software that an online casino may require to operate.
Top casino platform providers include:
Mobile Casino & Apps
These days, all of the best gambling sites offer a mobile option to their players. People simply love the convenience of being able to play their favorite games on the go. As such, mobile gaming apps are on the rise.
Casino apps are great for helping to save data, in areas where Wi-Fi may not be freely available. They are also specifically tailored to your device, which means they can offer a slick user interface, with speedy navigation and loading times. But they are not for everyone, and many people prefer to use a mobile casino in their phone’s browser.
Most mobile casino sites are fully responsive and will work on any device. With no download necessary, there is no risk of accidentally installing malware and no valuable storage space will be wasted on your device. Many people find mobile casino sites to simply be more convenient.
Behind the scenes of all top online casino sites, there are various teams working away to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
- Marketing. Every online casino will have player acquisition and retention specialists, who devise casino bonuses, as well as any VIP and loyalty schemes.
- Payments and risk. These guys help to ensure that no fraud occurs, and that player data and payments processing is all treated with due care and attention.
- Customer services. It’s not only beginners who have issues in the casino, and this team is here to help you. The best online casino sites operate live customer support 24/7.