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What is online casino gambling specifically?

As of this writing there are over 1800 casinos available to play in on the internet. They all offer the classic casino games like slots, blackjack, and craps. However, beware of the sites that are less than reputable. Do some research before choosing a casino as some may have tampered software or might even refuse to pay players what they have won.

Stick to the casinos that deal with the large online gambling software providers. Cryptologic, Microgaming, and Boss Media are just some of the most well-respected software brands around. Some are even listed on the stock exchange as a publicly traded company.


How do players gamble online?

There are casinos that offer browser versions of their software and casinos that offer downloadable versions of their software. Some of the more popular casinos will offer both of these options. The players will either install the software or simply open a gambling account with the casino. Virtual and real money accounts are offered by the most reputable casinos.

Real money accounts will require players to make a deposit using either a credit card or another chosen payment method. The same payment method can be used to cash out any winnings or money that hasn’t been wagered. Some casinos will opt for a direct wire transfer of winnings, whereas others will send a check to the user’s address.

A program called ‘virtual PC’ will be required for most Apple/Mac users to play in many online casinos as the software usually isn’t compatible with the operating systems that these users utilise. However, browser versions can still be played without any problems. Choose a casino that’s offered as a Flash version as their Java counterparts tend to be quite heavy on computers processors.


Why should players choose an online casino?

Land-based casinos come in second to online casinos in a large number of areas. Below are just some of the reasons why online casinos are superior to land-based casinos.

  • Online casinos are never closed at anytime during the year.
  • There are no membership fees and the software is free to download and play with.
  • Players can dress in any way they like when they decide to play as there are no dress codes.
  • The payout percentage is higher than land-based casinos due to the lower operating costs of the casino.
  • Promotions and additional bonuses are regularly found with all online casinos that want to stay competitive in the industry.
  • Play for fun with virtual money or jump into the big pots with a real money account; underage gamblers can even play with virtual money.
  • Money can be paid out by using a wide variety of different payment methods.


Can I bet online legally?

The legality of online gambling differs depending on where in the world the user happens to live. However, there have never been any records of people being arrested or charged with playing an online casino game online, even if it happens to be illegal in the area where it’s been played. It tends to be the casino operator that runs into trouble not the player.

It should be noted that online casinos will block players if they are located in a place where online casino gambling is illegal, though.


Can I be arrested for playing online?

It’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to be arrested for gambling online. No US states have implemented crackdowns on online gambling and nobody has been arrested for it. It’s the casino operators that have to deal with any legal cases not the gambler. The laws are generally not targeted towards the player.


I’m a US/Canadian citizen and I can’t place a bet, why not?

The laws regarding online gambling and casinos are quite complicated and can catch casinos out; therefore many casinos are prohibiting US and Canadian citizens from placing bets to avoid breaking any laws. Bets are still accepted from these citizens by a large number of casinos, though, so players in these areas are still in luck.

Federal laws don’t dictate that online bettors can be prosecuted, but there are laws that ban online operators from taking bets. Remember, online casinos are often based within other countries where gambling is perfectly legal, but this doesn’t mean that it’s legal to take bets from players in countries where it’s illegal.

The US states that prohibit online gambling, and have passed official legislation are:

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Wisconsin
  • Texas
  • California
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana

Check with the local police department if there’s any ambiguity as they should be able to give a ruling. Try to get it in writing as this can be of help if any legal trouble arises in the future.


What about age restrictions on online gambling?

There are age restrictions on online gambling. They are the same as land-based casinos, but it doesn’t apply to virtual money, so gamblers who are under the legal age are able to still gamble. Again, the casino operators are the ones who will get into trouble if any bets are taken from under age gamblers.


Where should I play?

Hundreds of casinos are in existence and there are new ones appearing each day. Before choosing an online casino ensure that proper research is carried out. Look at the companies and the different software providers it deals with to ensure that it’s reputable.

Ask the following questions of each casino:

  1. Is the casino licensed by the government of the country it’s based in? If not then stay away from it because it’s likely to be operating illegally.
  2. Do they have a 24 hour toll-free customer service phone line? This is essential if the player loses the use of their internet connection.
  3. Is free play available within the casino? It’s essential for checking the software of the casino, so if there’s no available free play system then look for a different casino.
  4. What denominations of wager are available? The more the better, but this is very much down to personal preference.
  5. How many video poker games do they possess? If they have at least three then it shows that they are reputable as each video poker game requires a lot of money to setup.
  6. Does software exist to check previous financial transactions?
  7. Can the customer service department respond in quick time? Send an email and see how long it takes to get a reply.


Do online casinos con their players?

Some online casinos do cheat their players. Casinos that do cheat are not necessarily going to last and will soon disappear as the industry becomes aware of it. All online casinos have a slight edge, but it’s not a massive edge and will only really come into play in the long term. Casinos can still make a profit whilst good players still have a chance of winning big. Everybody wins.

Use only casinos that operate software from the industry leaders, like Playtech and Microgaming. Some dishonest casinos may operate their own software that will be rigged in favour of the operating casino. Excessively low payout percentages will exist and players will find themselves losing a lot of money.

Independent accounting firms will often be used to perform audits of the casino in an attempt to reassure players that it’s an honest casino that treats its players in the right way. Audits don’t necessarily mean that the casino is honest; although it’s a fantastic indicator of integrity. Play only with casinos that do perform audits and make sure that the accounting firm is well-known.


How can I download the software and get started?

Installing the necessary casino software is very much like installing any computer program. Simply go to the casino’s website and look for an icon or a page that the software can be downloaded from. Download the program and then run it. From here the player will be guided through the installation process via clear and concise instructions. It should only take about 10 or 15 minutes to complete the process.

Casinos are also in the habit of sending out verification keys to user’s email addresses these days, so remember to check for an email that has the key inside of it. The key should be entered and that should complete part of the verification processes that the casino will inevitably endeavour to perform on all new users.

In other cases the downloadable software will only be an introductory program. The program, when installed, will then lead to other pieces of software being downloaded to complete the progress. Again, the instructions will direct the player exactly where to go to find any additional programs that have to be downloaded.

Registration should then commence. Most registration processes take place within the program itself, as opposed to registering through a browser. Separate accounts are often utilised for play money and real money, so choose the correct option.

Players will then be presented with a registration form that will ask them to fill in their personal information. It may involve traversing multiple pages before the necessary financial information has to be entered. It could also involve entering the information once the initial registration process has been completed, but most of the time it will be a matter of entering the information displayed on the user’s credit or debit card.


Online gambling for Mac users

A program called ‘virtual PC’ will need to be downloaded if Mac users want to download most casino software as the large majority of the software is designed for PC users. However, it should be noted that the browser version of a casino can be played via any operating platform.

Other poker rooms like Pokerroom can also be found for Mac users to play their favourite gambling games in a browser.


How can I start gambling for real?

Money has to be deposited to the account before real gambling can begin. Credit cards, wire transfers, or other online payment methods are available for users to utilise when playing for real money. If any method other than a check is used then users should be able to get started straight away, otherwise the check will have to clear before play can begin.

The same payment methods can be used when it’s time to withdraw any winnings; however, bonuses are usually subject to wagering prerequisites.


How can I get my money?

Money is paid out in the same way as it was deposited, although different payment methods can be enacted at the player’s discretion. Usually, casinos prefer to use the same payment method to pay out winnings as the player did when they attempted to deposit their money. The only exception is that if the player makes a profit then the casino may send out a check regardless of the payment method originally used. The terms and conditions will be different for each casino, though.


What about online gambling addictions?

There’s no denying the fact that some people do become addicted to online gambling and end up losing everything. These people do it compulsively and can’t control themselves. If this is happening then it’s advised that they either gather the willpower to seek professional help or a family member or friends does this for them. There are clinics to help with addictions all over the US and is a fantastic resource for dealing with problems of this nature.


Can card counting in Blackjack work online?

Some claim that it’s possible, but it’s not really as effective as actually doing it in a land-based casino. Online casinos will be shuffling after each and every hand. Strategy charts do exist to aid card counting and other tactics. Although, the fact of the matter is that card counting is not an efficient tactic and many casinos are now using software that actively fights back against the possibility of gaining an advantage via card counting.