If you’re new to the world of online gambling it can be a confusing place. There’s a lot of terminology to get to grips with not to mention fine print to wade through whenever you play at a new casino. It’s common to have a lot of questions and that’s why we wanted to address some of the most common queries we hear new players ask when they are just getting started.
It’s really important that before you start playing at a new casino you fully understand what you’re signing up for. Wagering requirements, game contributions, deposit and withdrawal processes can all trip up unwary punters and misunderstandings can cost you money.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or call up customer support if you’re not sure about anything at a particular casino. Our casino reviews explain the ins and outs of each of our recommended casinos in plain English and our FAQ section here should answer your most likely questions, but of course we can’t cover absolutely every scenario.
Even if you’re an experienced player, knowledge is definitely power. Having a broad understanding of the online casino world can help you get more from your gameplay, and help you avoid tripping up and making an avoidable mistake.
Gambling online is fun, fast paced and exciting and there are millions of happy online gamblers all over the world. Hopefully this FAQ page will get you off to a good start and help you feel more confident to dive in and start playing.
Below we’ve addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about online casinos. For more in depth information about any of the topics covered, we suggest taking a look at some of our other casino articles.
What types of online casinos are out there?
Online casinos usually offer two types of casinos: a download version and an instant play flash version (no-download casino), but some casinos only have one type for players. Casinos may also have a live casino where you can play certain games like roulette and blackjack with real dealers.
Are online casinos legal?
Online casinos are legal for players aged 18 & up. However, some countries have laws that restrict banks from processing money to and from casinos (e.g. the U.S.). Because of these laws, some casinos won’t accept players from specific countries.
What are my chances of winning at an online casino?
All casino games are negative expectation games, meaning there is some kind of house edge. The house edge is how casinos make their money and it covers the portion that goes to the casino. All games have a house edge, however the edge varies for each game. Some games are known to have a lower house edge than others, such as blackjack & video poker, but they require more skill. The lower the house edge the better the odds are for the player.
To find the game with the best chance of winning, check what the house edge and the payout percentages are for that specific game.
What’s the best way to choose a casino?
Find out as much information as possible about the casino before you begin playing for real money. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to visit our casino reviews articles to find more information about what the casino offers including its games, software, support and welcome bonuses.
How can I deposit money at a casino?
The majority of online casinos offer players numerous payment methods for depositing money. These options include major credit cards (e.g. Visa, MasterCard), e-wallets (e.g. NETELLER, Moneybookers, PayPal), and bank transfers.
At most casinos it’s very easy to make a deposit and you’ll just have to find the banking area of your account and then nominate your chosen payment method. Follow the prompts to make your payment and you’re done.
How long will it take after depositing before I can play?
This depends on both the casino and the payment method you choose. Most payment methods are processed and received immediately and you can begin playing very quickly. However there are some payment methods, like wire transfers or bank transfers which can take a few days to be processed. Information regarding specific payment options, including timeframes, should be easily accessible on the casino’s main website.
What’s better – download version or instant play?
Many casinos offer players a downloadable version and an instant play version. There isn’t that much difference between the two except in the instant play version you can play immediately online without having to install any software. However, the download version may have a larger selection of games to play, though this varies by casino. It’s a good idea to try out a few of the games on instant play before you decide whether or not to download the casino software.
The main disadvantage with download casinos is that they are not appropriate if you’re playing on a shared computer or at work. You may not be able to download and install external software on your work computer in which case playing at the instant play or flash casino makes more sense if you’re looking to spin a few reels on your lunchbreak.
Download casinos can also be problematic if you have a Mac. While some casinos do offer compatible downloadable software, the majority still only cater to PC users so if you’re an Apple fan you may be restricted to instant play only.
How can I find out if a game or casino will work on my operating system?
The casino should say on their website which operating systems they’re compatible with. All casinos will work on Windows. The majority of instant play versions of games & casinos are now compatible for Mac users and often times work on Linux as well.
Can I play games for free?
Yes. There’s usually a free mode or play money option for both downloadable and instant play casinos. Usually you have to register before you play, but some casinos will let you play for free without registering. You probably won’t be able to play all the games for free but you’ll be able to test drive a selection before deciding whether or not to invest your money in a new game or casino.
How do I know the games aren’t fixed and that the spins and hands are random?
All legitimate online casinos use a Random Number Generator (RNG) developed by the software provider of the casino’s games, which guarantees that all outcomes of spins, rolls of the dice, and shuffling the cards are random. Many casinos have their RNG assessed and certified by a third-party testing agency (e.g. Technical Systems Testing), which will then award them a stamp of approval or certificate declaring that the RNG was tested and is properly working.
If you want to be sure you’re playing at a reputable casino you can take a look at our recommended casinos. We only recommend casinos that have been tested by an external third party and have the certification to prove their games are truly random.
How can I learn the payout percentage for a game?
Many casinos will publish the payout percentages (expected returns) for their games on their website. Usually, the percentage is an average of all of their games or a variety (e.g. slots, video poker, table games, poker games…). If the casino had their games reviewed by an accredited testing institution, you’ll see a seal on the bottom of their site, indicating that they comply with fair gaming standards. The seal may link to a published report on the payout percentages. If you don’t see the payout percentage on the site, you can contact the casino’s customer service team and ask them for more information.
How can I tell that a casino is safe?
What types of bonuses do the casinos offer?
Nearly all casinos offer a welcome bonus to new players. They may also have a bonus for using a specific payment method, for referring a friend to the casino, a bonus for playing a specific game (usually slots), a bonus for high rollers, and loyalty bonuses for returning customers.
The number and types of bonuses on offer are only limited by your imagination. Some casinos offer bonuses for making a deposit (usually known as a reload bonus), while others will award extra spins on certain days of the week. Check out our casino bonus page for in depth information on all the different types of casino bonus out there.
Before you accept any type of casino bonus always read the fine print and check the terms and conditions.
What is the welcome bonus?
The welcome bonus is usually at least 100% the initial deposit. There’s always a minimum amount, like $10 or $20 and a maximum deposit. This will be listed in the terms or even in the bonus itself. For example the welcome bonus will be written as 200% up to $200 (the maximum amount of bonus credit you can get).
What is a wagering requirement?
The wagering requirement is also referred to as a bonus requirement or a playthrough demand. This is the amount of money you have to wager (bet with) in order to be able to withdraw any winnings from your bonus money (or spins). Often this will be described as 20 or 30 times the sum of the bonus and deposit, e.g. 20x (B+D). It could also be a number multiplied by just the bonus, like 35 x the bonus.
Wagering requirements are a crucial part of any casino bonus and a high wagering requirement can make that great sounding bonus completely impossible to cash in. Always check the wagering requirement carefully before you accept a casino bonus – in most cases you are better off depositing a smaller amount (say $20 or $30) and claiming a smaller bonus that you can actually turn over than going for the maximum bonus and watching it disappear from your account because you don’t have thousands of dollars to spare to meet the wagering requirement and withdraw it.
This glossary of casino terms will also help give you a better understanding of online casinos, or you can read our in depth articles and find out more.