Online Casino FAQ
When players start thinking about playing at an online casino for the first time they usually have quite a few questions. This page is designed to provide an answer for many of these so you don’t have to look all over the Internet to find them.
Here we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear when it comes to online casinos. We have done our best to answer all of these questions as comprehensively as we could. If you don’t find an answer to a question that you might have but isn’t on this page, please feel free to contact us anytime and we will try to respond to you as quickly as we can.
Are Online Casinos Safe?
The vast majority of online casinos are safe, but just like the vast majority of people in the world are safe to be around, there are a few bad apples. The good news is that there are ways to find safe online casinos and to make your playing experience as safe as possible.
You’ve already taken the biggest step toward finding safe online casinos by visiting this web site and finding the casinos listed here. Here are a few more things to consider when looking for safe online casinos.
- Software the use for games
- Group behind the casino
- How long they have been in business
- Search for player complaints
- I always look at the software the casino is using for their games. While all casino software providers were new at one time or another, it makes me feel better when they are using a trusted platform. Real Time Gaming, Microgaming, Playtech and Rival are just a few that I have played. For more in depth reading involving online casino software providers, you can check out our in depth article on the subject.
- The next thing I look at is who the group behind the casinos is. Some online casinos are transparent about this and are owned by large public companies while others are not. If they are not I don’t rule them out, but it is another piece of the puzzle.
- Next look to see how long they have been offering online casino games. The longer they have been in business the better, but once again this is not the only factor to consider. I try to get an overall picture of the online casino and their business practices.
- You can also search online for player complaints, but even these can be misleading. When all else fails I usually go with a recommendation from someone or from a web site that I trust.
One big step you can take in order to make your online gaming experience safe involves how you fund your online real money play. I suggest setting up your own bank account that you only use for online gaming.
Keep it completely separate from your other bank accounts and only put the amount of money you are willing to risk into it. This way you have limited you exposure to a comfortable level no matter what happens.
Are Online Casino Games Fair?
As long as you are playing at a casino that is safe (see the first question above) then the casino games are fair. Casinos offer games that have a built in advantage for the house. All they have to do is get people to play for real money and keep people from cheating to make a consistent profit.
A well run casino is very profitable and would be stupid to try to cheat. Why take the chance of being shut down when all they have to do is offer the exact games and odds they say they are in order to make money?
Most online casinos have their random number generators verified by an outside establishment as well. A random number generator is the engine that works behind the scenes in the casino software that makes the games fair.
For example, the random number generator is in charge of shuffling and dealing the decks of cards for the table games and for stopping the reels on the slot machines. When the computer shuffles a deck of cards, it basically assigns a number for each of the cards. For simplicity let’s say they are numbered from 1 to 52. The software then randomizes these 52 numbers and puts them in a certain order from top to bottom. When the top card from the deck is needed the software sees what number is on top and then displays the card assigned to that number.
What Is a Casino Bonus?
Most online casinos offer bonuses in order to get new players to try their casino games. There are different types of bonuses, but the most common ones will offer a percentage match on your deposit up to a certain amount.
For example, a bonus might say 100% up to $300 on your first deposit. This means that the casino will match what you deposit dollar for dollar up to $300. So if you deposit $300 the casino gives you another $300 to play with. If you deposit $100 they give you another $100 to play with.
This sounds great, and in some ways it is, but there are always restrictions and conditions involved with any bonus. You’ll be required to play a certain amount before taking any money out of the casino and may only be able to play certain games.
The casino may also deduct the bonus amount from your balance before processing a cash out. The only way to know what is required is to read the terms and conditions of the bonus.
Other types of casino bonuses include free chip offers and free spin offers. A free spin offer is for a set number of free spins on a certain slot machine or on any of a number of slots games. A free chip is just free money to play with.
These types of bonuses usually have the same types of restrictions and conditions as the other types of bonuses but may also include a maximum amount that can be withdrawn. Once again, read the terms so you know exactly what you have to do.
How Do Online and Local Casinos Compare?
While there are many similarities between online casinos and your local casino, there are also many differences. You can enjoy just about all of the same casino games, though the exact brand of slot machines will be different, and you can play for real money.
- Opportunity to play any of the offered games for free
- Ability to play at the comfort of your own home
- Mobile applications so you can play right from your smart phone or tablet
- Sounds, smells, and local casino comps that are offered
- Free drinks
- Human interaction
While you can play craps at an online casino, it just doesn’t feel the same.
Of course there are some people who don’t like all of the crowds and noise so they will find the online version more to their liking. There are also no free drinks in online play, no matter how much you play.
The other major difference is how the money is handled. At your local casino you can buy chips at the cashier’s cage or sometimes at the table where you are playing. When it comes time to leave you simply take your chips to the cashier’s cage and they exchange them for cash.
The process is a little more involved when you start moving money into and out of online casinos. I have included additional details about this below in a question about deposits and withdrawals.
Do Online Casinos Have Player’s Clubs?
Just about every casino that you go to locally or on a trip to places like Las Vegas or Atlantic City has a player’s or VIP club of some sort. You usually earn points and / or comps for all of your play.
This is an excellent marketing vehicle for the casinos because they track your play and can offer special perks in order to get you to play more. They see who their biggest players are and try to figure out how to get them to visit more often.
Many online casinos also have these types of clubs, but they are not as widespread as they are in land based casinos. Some online casinos that have them automatically put all of their players in the club but at many of them you have to request membership.
The best thing to do is see if the online casino where you are going to play has a club and find out how to sign up before making a deposit. If you don’t see any information, contact the support team at the casino.
Are Online Casinos Legal?
This is the question that seems to get the most attention from new players. I believe this is because of many of the inaccuracies and outright lies that get spread around by the press. Of course there are places in the world where online gambling is illegal, but most of the places where the popular media says it is actually don’t have specific laws against online gambling.
The United States is a perfect example.
You’ll often find information that says online gambling is illegal in the United States. The fact is that there is no federal law against online gambling. There is a federal law dealing with banking institutions transferring money to and from online gambling establishments, but that law doesn’t even bother defining what online gambling is.
The real answer to the question is too involved to answer on a single page. Plus the laws do change, which would make a page including laws around the world inaccurate soon after it was published. Of course you are responsible for figuring out if you can play online legally so you should research the specific laws where you live.
Using the United States as an example again, I am not aware of anyone who has been charged with a crime for gambling online. There have been a few people charged with taking bets on the phone, but there is a specific law against that and it has nothing to do with playing at an online casino.
I’m not a legal expert and you can’t use any of this information as legal advice, but I feel safe playing online as long as no one has been charged with a crime for doing so in my country.
Can I Count Cards at Online Blackjack?
Most blackjack players have at least heard that it is possible to get an edge against the casino if you learn how to count cards. Of course learning how to count cards takes a great deal of work, so most players don’t even try to do it.
But then they find out about playing blackjack online and realize it would be much easier to count while playing online or even find a program that would do it for them.
While it’s been mathematically proven that you can gain an advantage against the house by counting cards and varying the size of your wagers in live blackjack play, it won’t do you any good to count while playing online. The cards are basically shuffled after every hand by the online software.
In live play the casino doesn’t shuffle after every hand because it takes too much time, but in the online game it happens instantly so there are no lost hands. As a side note, there are some land based casinos that are now using continuous shuffle machines for their blackjack games, but it still isn’t a widespread practice.
How Do I Get Money In and Out of an Online Casino?
The first thing to remember when asking a question like this is the online casinos don’t make any money unless their players can get money into the casino. Because the gambling market is worth billions and billions, they have people working on ways to help customers make deposits on a full time basis.
There are many ways to make casino deposits and additional methods are being developed every day.
Popular deposit methods are:
Credit and debit cards
and you can use eChecks and bank wires to send money directly from your bank to the casino.
Other options include Western Union and e-wallets like:
An e-wallet is a virtual account that adds an extra layer of security between your bank and the online gambling establishments where you play. If you have a PayPal account or know how one works you know how an e-wallet account operates.
The deposit options you have at your disposal depend a great deal on where you live. Certain deposit methods are available to certain countries and not available to other countries. The cashier section of the casino where you want to play will have additional details about what methods you can use.
When it comes time to take your winnings out of an online casino, there are also many methods. Most of the same methods listed above for deposits can also be used for withdrawals. Deposits usually are processed much faster than withdrawals, but as long as you are dealing with a trusted online casino you won’t have any trouble getting your money. The most popular withdrawal methods are: