Online casinos – what to look out for

UK casino sites offer an ideal escape for gamblers and casual players; no having to dress up, no annoying drive to and from the nearest location, and for most, there is the opportunity to play anonymously, in a relaxed environment with no pressure from more experienced or serious players. In today’s digital world, there are so many hot UK casinos that a player need not even leave their armchair to start rolling the dice or throwing craps down the table.

But it’s important to note that not all casinos are the same, and the best online casinos are often the most surprising or most overlooked. There are so many considerations to take into account before signing up and hitting the ‘charge my card’ button, but knowing what criteria to take into account means that any player stands a better chance of not only enjoying themselves, but doing so safely.

Location of an online casino

Its not a simple case of ‘stay well away’ when seeing a foreign based casino. Most of the top online casinos are based abroad for the simple fact that relaxed tax and gaming laws allow casinos in places such as Malta, Gibraltar and Bermuda to operate on lower costs, which in turn means player can gamble with lower stakes and enjoy faster turnaround on winnings and deposits, whilst enjoying less regulation on signup based ‘red tape’. However, some of the less scrupulous casinos will not have their location listed at all, or will claim to be accredited and licensed either by a non-existent gaming commission, or by displaying false or out of date credentials. If signing up to an overseas based casino, there really is no such thing as being ‘too careful’. Be confident in checking the authenticity of a casino’s purported location; call or email the relevant governing body and check that the casino is based where they say they are.

Security

This is one of the most overlooked factors in judging whether a casino is deserving of taking someone’s money. How tight are their security measures? There are some basic checks to be performed which will ease any basic gamers’ fears; checking that website security tickets are recent and up to date is one. Ensuring that any page requiring sensitive personal and financial data begins with an ‘https’ prefix is a no-brainer. It’s also worth making a check of how they process card payments; most reputable casinos will now take payments through trusted third party providers such as Paypal, Skrill or Neteller, pretty much negating the need for entering any card details at all. For those who still prefer to process payment themselves, most casinos will use Worldpay or Sagepay, or some other similar processing company with valid and trusted credentials. Avoid any site that looks lacking in security until sure that they are trustworthy.

Casino bonuses

Once a site’s technical information has been digested and analysed, it’s down to the nitty gritty; casino bonuses make the world go round. Any casino that doesn’t offer some kind of welcome bonus is probably not worth pursuing; it’s a buyer’s market in the world of online casinos, so using bargaining power is a must. Whether it’s a matched stake guarantee, or some sort of promotion where losing bets are refunded up to a certain amount, the bonuses that these sites offer to entice new players in are just as important as how the casino operates towards regular players. In fact, its very easy now to actually start off in an online casino with no money invested at all! Whilst it might be subject to a wagering requirement, free gambling money is out there, so seek it out and use it.

Once established as a regular player, it’s important to keep an eye out on promotions and bonuses that are offered to repeat customers; after all, player retention is just as important for a casino as enticing new players in. Playing casinos off against each other is a great way to flex those muscles and play with of one’s own money as possible.

Real or Automatic?

For slots, there’s not really much of an option other than to use the casino’s in house games. However, for table players, many modern online casinos will actually allow players to enter a real table, albeit via video. Not only does this add to the excitement and feeling that one is playing in a real casino, alongside other players and a dealer that often likes to make conversation whilst playing, but it also massively cuts down on the chances that the casino is rigged. Playing Blackjack? Make a choice and see a real dealer flip the cards over in real time. In fact, many casinos will now offer live video tables by default, such is their popularity over the more boring (and, with less scrupulous casinos, possibly rigged) video gaming.

Withdrawals

Getting those winnings is also an area to look out for. Does the casino offer an instant withdrawal method? Do they have a minimum payout threshold, effectively forcing players to gamble more on the off chance that they will tip the scales and get enough funds to cash out? And do they charge a commission? It’s all very well racking up winnings, but getting access to that cash is just as important in establishing whether a casino is legitimate.

Online casinos are admittedly more down to chance than their physical counterparts. What might look impressive can be all show, but conversely, there are some hidden gems out there that rely more on the products that they already provide than promises of what they can do. Once a suitable and safe casino has been found, it’s just as important to find one with an interface, environment and, most importantly, selection of games that will make any gambler enjoy the experience.