Online casinos can be an incredible amount of fun. From live table games alongside other players, to system-based games like progressive slots, video poker and more, there’s something for every level and kind of player. However, the online casino environment is somewhat different from a bricks and mortar establishment, and there are a few traps you can easily fall into if you’re not careful. With that in mind, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to online casino gaming that will help you make the most of your gaming time and soon have you gambling like a pro.
The tips in this section are broken up into two parts. First, we take a look at some tips for managing yourself and your game play habits, and in the second part, we talk about what to watch out for in the online casino environment.
A casino is a casino is a casino, right? How different can one casino be from another? All they do is exchange money for chips, offer games, and then exchange chips for money.
Well, no. No story goes, “Once upon a time, everything was simple, everything was the same, and everyone was happy. The end.”
Every casino – both brick and mortar and online – is unique. Yes, there are similarities, both legislative and game based, but there’s no way to summarise all casinos with just a few simple sentences.
Luckily for you, we have taken the time and effort to really get into the foundations of online gambling: what makes it tick, how it works, what players can expect, and so much more. Here, we offer you all the in-depth guides to online casinos and gambling you’ll need. And we take that promise seriously, which is why we are constantly working to add more guides that cover every aspect of the online casino experience.
In this series of guides, you will find information about jackpots, variance and volatility, online casinos, casino bonuses, withdrawals and deposits, and more.
Casino guides like these can really help enhance your online casino experience. For example, jackpot guides don’t just tell you what a jackpot is; they explain the various types of jackpot, how they work, how to play to win, where to find games with different jackpots, and even who the game developers are.
Casino bonus guides are another super useful way to figure out which online casinos will work best for you. We don’t only look at the types of bonus offered, but explain how they work, the hidden pitfalls to look out for, and ways to make the most of your wagering requirements.
You’ll find enough information here to keep you busy longer than a great game of poker, so dig in, and come out the other side a little more knowledgeable. And if there’s anything you’d like to learn more about that you don’t find here on CasinoPlay, let us know. Happy reading!
It all began with a legal bill in a small Caribbean nation named Antigua and Barbuda. In 1994, South Africa was experiencing the beginnings of its democracy, while, across the Atlantic Ocean, the Free Trade and Processing Act was established in Antigua and Barbuda, granting licenses to businesses to operate online casinos.
Around the same time, Isle of Man-based Microgaming – still one of the most trusted software providers to online gaming – were busy developing the first real gambling software. Online security software company CryptoLogic sealed the deal by developing software that enables safe online transactions. These three factors combined to give birth to the first online casinos, bringing the thrills of slots, roulette, poker, blackjack and more straight into your living room.
Today, online gambling is a trillion-dollar industry with ever improving innovations in functionality and design – what you can experience from your sofa is a mind-blowing testament to the brilliance behind some of your favourite online casino games.
The biggest disruptors that online casinos brought to the industry were convenience and variety.
Land-based casinos (those brick-and-mortar buildings with physical machines and tables and dealers, etc.) are amazing places of opulence and anticipation and excitement – but they are often quite far from where the players are. Online casinos bring all the thrills of casino games straight to you, whether you’re on the sofa at home or sitting late at the office or even (thanks to mobile) on holiday or at a conference. There’s no need to travel, the casino comes to you.
The second innovation that makes online casinos so popular is the variety. Sure, there are mega-entertainment complexes like Montecasino, Sun City, WinStar World Casino or Venetian Macau and have literally thousands of entertainment options over and above the casino but most gamblers are there to hit the casino floor and flirt with Lady Luck. In general, you will probably be at smaller casinos in outlying areas like Mmabatho or Bethlehem and your gaming options are going to be limited. Even the giants like WinStar (the biggest casino in the world) can only fit so many games into their floor space.
Online casinos don’t need to worry about space – the digital world is endless and it’s only their server capacity that may limit them. For this reason, online casinos can offer thousands more games than land-based casinos, and hundreds of different varieties and flavours and innovations that physical casinos just do not have the capacity for.
And there’s no waiting for a slot or a table – everything is instant and available.
One of the lesser-known benefits of online casinos is the cost-saving. No paying for travel, no paying for parking, no paying for food and drinks, and often smaller minimum bets than you would find in a land-based casino.
Newbie or seasoned pro, we can all use a reminder about why and how we gamble. Sometimes we get caught up in the rush and forget that what we are doing has real world implications, especially on our finances. Here are some tips to help manage your online casino play:
> Set a budget
Be responsible. Only play with money you can afford to lose. Work your casino play into your monthly household and expenses routine. This will give you something to look forward to and also stop you worrying about getting in over your head. Set a budget. Stick to it!
> Manage your bankroll
Once you’ve got your budget, use it to create a bankroll for your play. And keep an eye on that bankroll. If you burn through it too quickly, your gaming will be over and so will your fun. Set limits and play smart and you’ll have hours of thrilling gameplay ahead.
> Watch the time
Don’t let the comfort of your surroundings make you forget how long you’ve been online. Take breaks, stop after a while. The online casino and all its games will always be waiting.
Every gambler has, at some point, been attracted to the idea that there is a casino-beating ‘system’ – that if they tap into this trove of secrets, they will tap into a great vault of untold treasures by learning how to predict or manipulate outcomes.
While there may be one or two real-life examples of card counting or suchlike, the general consensus among experienced gamblers is that there is no system. Don’t waste your time and money on books, lessons and other sources that promise way to beat the house. In an online casino, where every game is controlled by an algorithm, the possibility of outwitting the casino to find winning shortcuts is even more far-fetched.
Take each game you play at face value, accept that most games are based on luck, and focus on having fun. You’d be much better served by learning how each individual game is played and tweak your bets to maximise winnings and minimise risk.
We know you’re big enough to look after yourself when it comes to online gambling, and our job is all about helping you have the most fun you can. With that in mind, we share a few tips here on what to consider as you enter the world of the online casino.
> Check for licenses
There are thousands of online casinos out there and not all of them re there for your good playing. ALWAYS CHECK FOR THE CASINO LICENSE! Licensed casinos are legitimate casinos that are bound by laws and regulations. Without a license the online or mobile casino can operate as they want and this means that they can rip you off with no worry about consequences.
Check for the online casino license, read reviews (like our reviews on our Casino Reviews Page), choose those online casinos that are there for the players and not some shoddy con operation.
> Make sure you’re secure
Only access your chosen casino from a secure and trusted network. A coffee shop or train station network can be prone to hacking which leaves all your personal and financial information open to thieves and skelms.
> Watch those bonuses
Bonuses come with strict wagering requirements. Not completing these wagering requirements could lead to losing your money and your winnings. Always read and make sure you understand what you need to do before you click redeem on any bonuses.
Remember this: casinos, both online and land-based, want to keep you playing as much and for as long as possible to maximise their own profits. That said, they cannot legally withhold your money, and any legitimate online casino will have a cash-out process in place. Make sure you understand their process properly before you start playing, so that you aren’t disappointed by a 48-hour wait, or terms and conditions related to your bonus. Take note of payout waiting periods and wagering requirements.
Online casinos can take anywhere from 24 hours to five days before a payout is completed, and some may allow you to cancel the cash-in to keep playing. Keep your eye on your budget and avoid the temptation to keep playing after cashing out.
Land-based casinos have hundreds of additional ways to make money besides tables and slots – food and drinks, entertainment of various kinds, and even boutique shops.
An online casino doesn’t have these options and relies on players to make a living. This means there may be additional costs that you don’t expect, including things like withdrawal fees for cashing out, or higher minimum bets – look out for these on video reels. Make sure you are familiar with all the associated costs before committing play time to any given online casino.
> Follow the rules
Online and mobile casinos have specific rules as to how you play. These change from casino to casino. Make sure you read the Terms and Conditions of the casino thoroughly so you don’t end up disappointed when you try to collect your winnings. Ignorance is no defense, especially when it comes to violating the Ts & Cs.
The majority of complaints levelled against legit online casinos are all about players complaining that they can’t get their money or that their accounts are frozen. Most of these issues are because they did not read the casino rules or did not comply with the wagering requirements. You, as the player, are responsible for making sure you understand the rules because, as soon as you start playing, you are stating that you agree to them.
Separating the legitimate, trustworthy operators from the dishonest ones can be a daunting challenge. That’s why CasinoPlay puts every online casino we review through a stringent vetting and testing process. In addition, we bring you all the latest news, information, and developments in the world of online casino games. We also bring you up-to-date educational content and gambling tips that teach newcomers how to play, and help experienced players refine their game.