A Simple Guide That Will Help You Find the Best Casino Online
If you were new to the world of online gambling just a few years ago you wouldn’t have had such a problem finding top casinos online. There weren’t all that many and there most definitely weren’t plenty of good ones. Things have moved on in a big way since then. The industry is much more regulated, meaning there are far higher standards. And because online gambling has become a part of daily life for so many people, there are hundreds, possibly even thousands of online casino gambling sites to choose from. Of course, not all of them are the best online casino sites to visit, and a little bit of assistance is often needed, especially for complete beginners. Those who have already dipped their toe into the online gambling water will have a fair idea of what to look for. But for those who are new to the game, help in weeding out the good from the bad is bound to be welcome. Which is one of the reasons we decided to start this website. To help more people find the best online casino sites and enjoy online gambling as much as we do. There are going to be plenty of pages making up the site, with lots of new ones added on a regular basis. As well as helping you find the best casino sites, you’ll also be able to learn about the different games you can play, tips to help you play more successfully, understanding different strategies and possibly even developing your own and lots more besides. Our aim is to create a one stop shop for all things related to online casinos and we hope you’ll be interested in helping. Feedback is welcome and if there’s something you think we should include simply get in touch and let us know. The first thing you’re going to want to know about is how we rate the best casino sites online. So that’s what we’ll concentrate on first. When we look for the best online casino there are a number of different features we look at and the top online casino sites have to meet certain criteria, in order for us to bother writing a review. The criteria include customer support, bonuses for both new and regular players, licensing and regulation, banking options, variety of games and a few other things. We also look at live dealer games and mobile options and write specific reviews relating to these features.
What to look for in a top online casino
Are you new to the world of online gambling, or have you been playing various games for a while but are looking for some kind of direction? Have you tried a few online casinos but need some help finding a better one? Maybe you’ve become bored with your present casino and want to try somewhere new? It doesn’t really matter what the reason is. Just be happy you’ve found your way here. And to help you feel confident you’ve made the right decision let’s explain what we look for when we write a best casino online review.
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Safety and security are a top concern
You don’t have to spend truck loads of money playing at an online casino if you don’t want to. In fact, there are thousands of people who enjoy playing casino games for the entertainment value, and it never costs them a penny. For this type of player, safety and security are not a big concen. But for those of you who will be funding your gameplay with some of your own dollars safety and security should be primary concerns. There are a number of different ways you can check whether casino sites online can be trusted with your money and your personal details. But a quick and easy way to determine whether an online casino site is above board and trustworthy is to look for a license and whether it’s regulated. There are a number of organisations that oversee the workings of the gambling industry and most countries will have their own regulatory body. Take a look at some of our country specific pages if you want to know what some of them are. Unfortunately, not all supervisory agencies offer the same service, protection for consumers and impose the same standards. It’s best if you choose a casino that’s regulated in the country you reside in. But this isn’t always possible and is easier for some countries than others. If you live in the UK, for example, you’re in a great position because the UK Gambling Commission is one of the most respected regulatory bodies there is. And if you’re a European citizen it’s good because many European countries recognise licenses and regulation by external institutions. Some of the best regulatory agencies include the Gibraltar Gambling Authority, the Malta Gaming Authority, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, and the UK Gambling Commission that we’ve already mentioned. When we write our best online casino reviews we not only take into consideration regulatory agencies. There are a number of external testing agencies that regularly audit online casino sites. The most recognized is eCOGRA, which stands for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance. This agency is based in London and is internationally approved for testing, player protection and standards. One of its specialities that’s of particular interest is the certification of online gaming software and systems. Responsible gambling policies are another feature we look for as they show a casino takes problem gambling very seriously. The policies require a casino to meet certain standards and follow best practises as well as supporting responsible gambling organizations such as GambleAware, the Responsible Gambling Trust and GamCare. A casino will generally feature a seal of approval from one of these organizations in the footer of its website. These seals are something we look out for and we also check a casino’s license and regulation. Only the best casino online sites will meet these criteria and be featured on our site.
The best online casino sites offer a wide variety of games
What kind of casino games do you prefer to play? Do you enjoy a flutter at the roulette table or enjoy playing craps? Is bingo more your thing or do you love playing slots? Is there something you particularly like playing or do you prefer to play a range of different games? Where do you usually play? Sat at home or are you planning to enjoy a few games while travelling to work? Do you long for a life like experience or are you quite happy to play against a computer screen? All these questions and many more need to be thought about in relation to the games available at the best online casino gambling site. One criteria we consider when writing our reviews is variety of games. If the range of games is wide then all your gaming questions can be answered. The best casino online is one with a wide variety of games. It’s an important criteria for many players, so we consider it to be an important one too. The different types of games will be looked at in more detail on some of our other pages but for the time being we’ll consider games more in general. Top online casino sites will generally offer a wide selection of table and card games, video slots, scratch card games and video poker. These tend to be the most popular games but there are plenty of other options. For example:
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There are other games that might be included but the actual selection depends on the software a casino has decided to use. The selection will also vary in quality, quantity and diversity. When we write our best online casino reviews we tend to be more general rather than too specific as there just isn’t enough room to mention all the games available. And each casino will change the selection from time to time, so it’s not always easy to be accurate. However, we will do our best to keep you up to date, and if there are any particularly good games available we’ll let you know. With regards the games available it’s also beneficial if there are different ways they can be played. For example, can they be played using a mobile device? Are there plenty of games available in instant play, or will you have to download the games for the best selection. Mobile compatibility is a criteria deserving of its own section, and we cover it a little further down this page. For many years online games have always been one person playing against a faceless computer. And for many years, it was one feature that put a lot of people off. The one feature of a land-based casino that couldn’t be replicated was the atmosphere and social aspect of playing. Until recently that is. Many of world’s best online casinos now include a live dealer selection of games. It’s now possible to feel like you’re sat at a table in your own living room. You get to chat with the dealer and have the crack with other players, just like you would in a real bricks and mortar casino. Live dealer games have become very popular so their availability is always something we look for. And we actually write live dealer specific reviews.
Why not start by playing with someone else’s money? Look for generous bonuses
Playing for free is all well and good and it can certainly be good practise. Playing with real money puts a whole different outlook on the games and decisions you make. Many of the best online casino sites attract new players by offering promotions and bonuses. And for those who are just starting out they can be a good way of increasing your bankroll. But bonuses and promotions aren’t just for new customers, they’re for regular players too. They are a way of attracting and keeping players, but they work for players too because playing with some of the casinos money as well as their own will increase the chances of winning. The range and variety of bonuses can be a little overwhelming, which is why we look at them in more detail on another page. And we also discuss whether they’re as good as they seem. But for the moment it’s enough for you to appreciate that they are one more feature we look at when we write our reviews. Where possible we’ll share the details of the welcome bonuses, regular promotions, VIP and loyalty programs, deposit bonuses and any other special offers worth mentioning. While bonuses and promotions can be found in a range of different shapes and sizes, there’s one thing they will all have in common. All promotions, bonuses and special offers will have certain terms and conditions you’ll have to comply with if you want to make the most of the offer. And if you want to make a withdrawal of your funds or your winnings certain terms and conditions have to be met. One that often catches people out is the wagering requirement. These require you to bet a multiple amount of your deposit and bonus before a withdrawal can be made. It could be four or five times, but it could also be twenty or thirty times. And there are even online casinos that require you to wager eighty time the bonus and deposit amount. So obviously, this is one factor you need to check out before accepting any kind of bonus. And it’s something we’ll be taking note of as well. Bonuses often have a validity period and can sometimes only be used on certain games. There may be other terms and conditions and you always need to read the small print to avoid getting caught out. A bonus might seem to be very generous, but if you can’t meet the terms and conditions it’s worthless.
Good online casino sites have a selection of banking options
If you want to just enjoy the experience of playing online casino games then that’s all well and good. But for those who are looking to win some money you’ll need to think about funding your bankroll. Even if you’ve claimed a no deposit bonus, you’ll have to make a deposit before you can withdraw your winnings. Which makes banking options another important criteria. The various options tend to differ from casino to casino, and there will be a number of local variations too. But generally, the options will include bank or wire transfers and major credit and debit cards such as MasterCard and Visa. Some of the best casino sites 2017 will also allow mobile billing, but these tend to be mobile specific sites. E-wallets and prepaid cards should also be accepted and some of the most popular include:
It’s not just payment methods that we consider. We also check to see whether different currencies can be used for making payments. This is because it will be perfect if you can make payments in your local currency, to avoid exchange rate issues and charges. Some of the more obscure currencies won’t be allowed but you will find that most accept British Pounds, US dollars, Euro and maybe even Australian dollars or Swiss francs. If you find your currency isn’t accepted you’ll need to factor in the cost of currency exchange and the changing exchange rate. Terms and conditions also come into play with regards banking options. And there will be a long list of them that you’ll have to read. You may wonder why certain rules have to be followed and you’re likely to find some of the rules to be a little annoying. But they tend to be in place to increase security and prevent someone else getting hold of your money. Always read the terms and conditions carefully and never be tempted to tick the box to say you’ve read them without actually doing so. If there’s anything you’re unsure about don’t be embarassed to get things clarified by speaking with a casino’s customer support.
Without the best software you wouldn’t have the best games
Without the best software developers you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the wealth and quality of games you can today. Therefore, it’s only fair that software is a criteria we take very seriously. When online casinos were first introduced to the public the games weren’t all that brilliant. There were problems with games getting stuck, time consuming downloads, poor sound and graphics and they really weren’t very good. In recent years, however, online casino games have come on in leaps and bounds and that’s all down to the advancements in the software and technology. And the advent of live dealer games have taken the whole experience to a new level. The top 10 online casino sites use software provided by a handful of developers. But there are actually hundreds of software developers out there. The biggest are by far Microgaming, Playtech and NetEnt and it’s these that get the most recognition. We look at software in a little more detail on another page and will introduce you to Random Number Generators, live dealer games, platforms and much more. When you play at the world’s best online casino site you’ll likely get to choose between downloadable and instant play games. But in fact, most casino sites give you both options. Downloadable games require you to install software on your computer. Whereas instant play games can be played direct from a browser. If you want to enjoy the widest range of games, downloading the software will be the best option., but if you’re worried about the software using up all your storage space, for example on your mobile phone, instant play will be a better option. There’s very little else to choose between the two and you might want to try them both before you decide which is best for you.
Want to play on your mobile? Mobile compatibility should be considered
Talk to many of the experts or read the online casino news and you’ll find the topic of the day is mobile gameplay and how it’s considered to be the future for the industry. Which is one of the reasons mobile compatibility is another criteria we use when considering the top 10 online casino sites. It seems that fewer and fewer players are using their desktops for playing at the best casino sites online. The modern preference is most definitely to play at the top online casino sites using a mobile device. Whether that’s a smartphone or tablet is a case of personal preference. Mobile compatibility is so important to the modern casino player that we’ve decided to write reviews specifically for those who want to play at a mobile casino.
Experience the atmosphere of a real casino with live dealer games
One of the hottest trends in the world of online casinos is the introduction of live dealer games. One area in which online casinos were often found to be lacking was the social aspect and atmosphere to be found at land-based casinos. Recent advances in technology now mean you can enjoy the glamor and excitement of a top Las Vegas casino in your own living room. Or you can take it with you when you’re on the road or sat in the park. You don’t have to worry about travelling huge distances or booking a hotel room and there are other benefits as well. For example, you get plenty of bonuses and promotions and the variety of games is huge. Live dealer casinos is such an important criteria that we’ve dedicated a page to them and in it we discuss the criteria we measure them by.
it’s important for there to be someone to help when you need it
Today’s modern world doesn’t seem to believe in good customer service the way we once did, which is really quite a shame. However, we consider it to be another important criteria by which to measure online casinos by. The sad fact is that nobody thinks about customer service until it’s actually needed. By which time it’s too late if the customer service available is not up to scratch. We consider customer service that’s only available during office hours to be a bit of a cop out. An online casino is open 24/7 so it’s only to be expected that the customer service is too. What happens if there’s a problem with a game, or your deposit seems to have gone missing during the middle of the night? You want to be able to get the problem resolved immediately, rather than having to wait until the next morning or after the weekend. If you’re planning to play casino games at any time of the day or night, remember to check whether the customer support service is available at the same time too. Think about how you want to get in touch as well as whether the service will be available. A toll-free telephone number and online instant chat are possibly the best ways of getting in touch. A casino that only offers support by email is never going to be a good option. At least not in our book. Something else worth looking for is a comprehensive FAQs section, as this may mean you never need to contact customer support anyway. It’s also going to be good if the FAQs section is easy to navigate. Very often, we find that it takes forever to read down through a list of FAQs and still be unable to find a solution. So there you have it. The most important criteria by which we measure the best casino sites 2017. If you think it all sounds very complicated let’s put your mind at rest by explaining how easy it is to find the top online casino sites.
Finding the best casino sites doesn’t have to be hard
Are you looking for the best 2017 online casino? Do you think it’s going to be difficult to find one? Are you dazed and confused with all the options? Are you wondering what to look for first? Just chill and relax and we’ll do it all for you with our best casino sites 2017 reviews. You don’t need to pick the first one you find, or close your eyes and pick one at random. Research is the key to finding a top online casino and you can do it yourself or let us do the majority of the work for you. The best casino sites aren’t just going to jump onto your lap, it’s going to take some investigating. Before you sign up to open an account you need to consider your options. Being faced with pages and pages of hits after you’ve typed ‘good online casino sites’ into your search bar is going to feel very daunting. Reading our best online casino reviews and having just a handful of options will make the task easier. We’ve already looked at some of the features you need to consider. So let’s now look at the criteria you need to narrow your search by.
Good or bad reputation?
The internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to research. But it is a double edged sword. Take for example, the reputation of a casino. Even if you’ve never played at an online casino before there are going to be a number of names you instantly recognise. A complete beginner will easily be able to reel of a number of different casino names. But does this mean they’re reputable? Is it a recognised name because it’s good or bad? The problem with doing your research online is that you can’t believe everything you read. There are good sites that provide honest reviews, and we like to think we are one of them. But there are also a number of review sites that are nothing more than a marketing tool for the casinos. Customer reviews are another example of a double edged sword. As a race we’re always happy to complain and aren’t quite so eager to give praise where praise is due. This means what you read gives a one sided view of the situation. You also need to take what you read with a pinch of salt as we humans do like to embellish our tales of woe. It’s not all bad news though. You can get a general feel for a casino’s reputation and an idea of the areas that could be bothersome.
Is there plenty of choice when it comes to games?
When you;ve got some casinos names that have a good reputation the next thing to look at is the selection of games. Ideally, you want to have plenty of choice. Unless you’re really only interested in playing slots, for example. If you have a preference but are happy to try something else then variety should be what you’re looking for. You should also be looking for an online casino site that offers free play as well as being able to download the games or use instant play.
Do you like the way the website looks and feels?
When you walk through the door of a land-based casino the first thing you will notice is what it looks like. You’ll also get an immediate feel for the place. First impressions are just as important when you land on the front page of an online casino’s website. Once you’ve got your first impression firmly fixed you can spend some time finding out how it functions and whether It’s easy to find your way around. We’ve got a little bit of advice for those who feel bound by first impressions. You shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover. And in the case of online casino websites this is a valid point. And it works both ways. If you’re bowled over by the graphics, animations, and let’s face it, the bells and whistles, don’t automatically expect the same from all the pages you visit. Often a lot of time and energy is spent on the front page and anything else is left out of the picture. Once a site has got you hooked with the front page it’s banking on your sticking around. Aesthetics can vary from site to site and even from page to page. It’s important you spend some time getting a real feel for a website and finding your way around
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Is there going to be support available when you need it?
When it comes to playing at an online casino everybody is going to need something different. But it’s very likely that the majority of players are going to need to contact customer support at least once. Don’t wait until the need arises only to find out the hours of operation are from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. While the internet is a wonderful thing, it can from time to time be a tad unpredictable. If something goes wrong when you’re in the middle of a game or making a deposit into your casino account, it’ll be good if there’s someone on hand to help put things right. If you’ve got to wait until the next day or even worse until after the weekend you could potentially lose a large amount of money. So these are the most important criteria by which to perform your search. And the criteria we use ourselves when considering what are the best casinos online for us to feature in our website. Now is a good time for us to provide a little guidance. And we’ll start with an introduction to the language of online casinos. It’ll help you understand some of the terms we use in our reviews and some of those you’ll find elsewhere online.
An introduction to the language used at all the best online casino sites
You don’t need to learn a whole new language when you start playing casino games online, but there are a number of terms you’ll need to understand. We haven’t got room to cover the all, but we consider these to be the most important. The rest you’ll pick up as you go along.
- Ante – a common term used in stud poker that refers to the first bet made on a hand, before you are dealt your cards
- Bankroll – this is the amount you’ve got to play with when you visit an online casino, and is basically the amount you’re willing to risk
- Bet the Limit – the maximum amount a player is allowed to wager in any game
- Break/Bust – this is a blackjack term and it’s when a player’s hand exceeds a total value of 21
- Burn card – when a pack of cards has been shuffled and cut the top card that’s placed face down in the discard pile is called the burn card
- Bust – a blackjack term that describes a hand that exceeds 21
- Casino advantage – this is also referred to as the house edge and is the mathematical advantage a casino has over players, which can never be beaten, although it can be offset
- Dealer – also called the croupier and is the one who deals the cards
- Deuce – two in dice
- Double down – this is when an additional wager is place up to the amount of the original wager on the first two cards of a hand
- Face cards – a jack, queen or king, in other words a card with a face on it
- First base – the refers to the first seat to the left of the dealer at a live blackjack table
- Fixed odds games – these are also called instant win games and allow a player to determine the return on a bet when it’s placed
- Four of a kind – this is a term used in poker and refers to four cards of the same denomination
- Full house – used in poker when there’s a set of three cards of the same denomination and also two cards of the same denomination
- Hard hand – a hand without an ace or a hand in which all cards are aces and counted as one
- Hole card – used in blackjack this term refers to the dealers unexposed down card
- Inside bet – this is a bet in roulette and is made on a single number, two numbers or four numbers
- Insurance – another blackjack term used when the dealer’s up card is an ace and it’s then possible for a player to bet the dealer has a blackjack
- Jacks or better – a poker term that refers to a pair that pays off only when the pairs are jacks, queens, kings or aces
- Line – also called the payline which is the line of symbols on a slot game that have to be filled in certain combinations for a player to win
- Maximum bet – the maximum amount a player is allowed to bet in one go
- Multiple paylines – not all slots have one payline, many have more and these are referred to as multiple payline slots
- Natural blackjack – an ace and a 10-value card that total 21
- Payout table – this is also called the pay table and you’ll find details of the winning hands or set of symbols and the amount that can be won
- Progressive jackpots – the jackpot in this type of game steadily increases as the games linked to it are played, sometimes it can reach millions
- Push – also referred to as a draw and is when the dealer and player tie and no money is won or lost by either party
- Royal flush – used in poker for a hand that contains five consecutive denomination cards of the same suit, starting with a 10 and ending with an ace
- RNG – Random Number Generator which is the hardware used to create random numbers determining the outcome of online casino games
- Soft hand – in this hand the ace is counted as 11
- Soft double down – this is when one of the two cards is an ace and its doubled down
- Split – in blackjack a player can choose to play each of two of the same cards as two separate hands
- Vigorish – this is the fee or commission the casino takes when a player wins
- Wager – another name for a bet
- Wager requirements – this refers to the restrictions that are placed on bonuses to stop players from taking advantage in an unfair way. They require a player to place a certain number of amount of bets before being allowed to cashout the bonus or withdraw funds.
With this basic introduction to the language of online casinos and gambling you’re now well equipped to start playing. There are a ton of other terms you’re going to encounter and need to learn. But you’ll pick these up as you go and we’ll also introduce you to many more on some of our other pages. We’d like to finish up with a short history lesson. And before you start groaning we promise it’ll be short. We just happen to consider it’s important to understand where it all comes from.
The history of online gambling
Gambling has been part and parcel of our society for centuries and we still enjoy it today, with the advent of online casinos allowing far more people to participate. The roots of online gambling can be traced back to the 1970’s when mechanical slots in land-based casinos were replaced with electronic ones. Random Number Generators also came along at the same time. Slots were a very popular game in land-based casinos because the machine took up very little space, the games were easy to play which meant more people could play them and there was no need for a dealer or floor managers to oversee the games. Software companies quickly latched on to this lucrative market and development increased at an astounding rate. The internet took gambling to a whole new level, but it didn’t catch on immediately. Although you’d never have guessed that today. When the internet first came along it was used mostly for communicating. It was only when people started to look at it in a different light that it really took off. And from that moment, software companies and casino operators worked together to bring us online gambling as we know it today. In the early days of online gambling everything was largely unregulated. Nobody was taking care of the consumer, or overseeing the industry and online casino operators were pretty much free to do what they wanted. Thankfully, this situation didn’t last too long, because in order for the industry to expand further consumer confidence needed to be improved. Consumers needed to feel confident they weren’t being ripped off and the games weren’t fixed. The first gambling jurisdiction was introduced in 1994. An act known as the Free Trade and Processing Act was passed in Antigua and Barbuda. It included authority to grant licenses and oversee applications, determining whether a casino was considered fit to operate. The official body known as the Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming still operates today. But is no longer recognized as a respected regulatory body. Although it is working to try and regain its reputation. Once regulatory bodies began to make casinos more accountable, the industry really started to take off. Software developers soon began competing to bring viable online gambling software to the marketplace. Microgaming, was the first off the line. It’s widely recognised today as being at the forefront of the gaming software industry. The company was formed in 1994 and operates from a base in the Isle of Man. Without the work of the first software developers there may never have been such an interest but there was still a problem when it came to making payments. For the industry to expand to where it is today, a safe and secure way of making payments was required. cryptoLogic , an Irish software company, are the ones to thank for the final piece of the puzzle. From the basement of their parent’s house, two brothers developed a real life application for making secure online financial transactions. And this meant that the first internet based online casinos could come online, just a little over twenty years ago. So there you have it. The story is brought up to date and we now get to enjoy some of the best online casino gambling. But no gambling site would be complete without a final word of warning about the dangers of gambling. Yes it can be fun and entertaining but it also has the potential to ruin your life if you don’t take control of your gambling. Doing anything in moderation is harmless. The problem occurs when things get out of hand, because gambling can be very addictive. The majority of online casino take their responsibilities very seriously and appreciate the dangers. There will be policies in place that help the casinos to recognize problem gamblers and take action before the situation gets out of hand. To help players keep control it’s possible for players to set limits for the amounts deposited and how much is wagered. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to make use of these features when they’re available and set limits that mean you won’t be faced with losing your home. We’re all gamblers ourselves and know only to well how easy it is to get carried away. And at the end of the day the odds of winning aren’t stacked in your favor. They’re firmly in the casino’s favor. We’re providing you with a website full of useful information so you don’t have to worry too much about getting caught out. Spend some time perusing our other pages and keep popping back from time to time because we’ll be adding more pages over time and keeping you updated with all the latest industry news. Let this be your one stop casino guide both in the beginning and for when you become an experienced player. The online casino world is ever changing and it’ll pay to keep your your knowledge fresh and up to date.