A Beginner's Guide to Online Casinos
Taking the plunge and signing-up with your first online casino is an exciting feeling, although choosing which online casino to sign-up with can be tough. In order to help you decide on the best online casino for you, we've created a comprehensive guide to online casinos for beginners – a guide that will give you the best possible start to gambling online, and that should help you to hit the water running by covering everything from understanding casino bonuses, through to the different games you'll find at the best casinos all the way down to managing your gambling to avoid developing a gambling problem. Finding the best casinos is really simple – let us show you how.
The Different Games at Online Casinos
When you first join an online casino, you might not realise how many different games there are available to you. The majority of the games at most online casinos are slots though, and the best casinos have hundreds of them for you to choose from. These range from classic slots, which are the simple slots with three reels and no features, through to five-reel slot machines, with loads of bonus rounds and exciting gameplay. For many though, the best slots come in the form of progressive slots – slots that have jackpots that increase as more people play them. This means that they can sometimes reach millions of pounds!
As you might imagine, there are also many table games at online casinos. The most popular of these are blackjack and roulette though, just as they are in land-based casinos. Unlike land-based casinos though, you'll find loads of different varieties of blackjack and roulette. So, if you like blackjack, you'll be able to play exciting versions like Bonus Blackjack, Blackjack Surrender and Multi-Hand Blackjack, and if you like roulette, you'll find the French, European and American versions, as well as much more. Other table games are also available, such as baccarat and three card poker. Essentially, whatever table game you enjoy playing, you'll find it at an online casino!
That's not everything though. At most casinos, you'll also find video poker, keno, and you'll even sometimes find bingo! Most good online casinos now also feature a live casino, where you'll be able to play with a live dealer, who is beamed to your screen via a webcam. This adds a whole new dimension to the way in which you play. As a new online casino player, you should try all the different games, so you can find the one that is perfect for you! You might love some of them, and really dislike others, but that's the beauty of online casinos – they offer something for every type of online gambler!
Finding the Best Casino - Things to Look out for
When you’re looking at joining an online casino there are more things you should consider than you may at first realise. Things you should be aware of when choosing an online casino include:
- Variety of games on offer - look at the both the number of games as well as the type of games offered by a site to make sure the game you want to play is available and there is variety within that category
- Available banking methods - certain banking methods are not accepted in certain regions or on certain sites: always make sure the online casino you choose accepts the banking method you want to use
- Bonuses and promotions - the best online casinos offer the best bonuses that feature fair terms and conditions
- Safety and Security - make sure the online casino you choose is reputable and regulated to ensure both your deposit and your personal information remain safe
- Customer service - no matter what precautions are taken, problems can arise: be sure to choose a casino that offers 24/7 customer service preferably through multiple channels
Choosing an online casino can be tough so, to make your decision easier, be sure to head over to our list of recommended online casino sites for the UK where we have gone to great lengths to vet only the best casinos on offer.
Online Casino Games on Offer
When choosing an online casino to sign-up with it is important to look at what games that site offers, how many variations are offered as well as whether or not the selection of games are casino games you are actually interested in. To do this we must first look at the type of games offered by online casinos.
- Slots - the most popular type of casino game, slots feature the biggest range of available variations based on visuals as well as gameplay. From classic three-reel slots to five-reel slot machines and more, progressive slots often offer huge jackpots that only increase as more people play meaning that choosing to play popular slot games will give you access to bigger payouts
- Table games - online casinos offer many of the traditional table games like blackjack and roulette in both their original forms as well as in many different variations such as Bonus Blackjack, Blackjack Surrender and even Multi-Hand Blackjack. For roulette fans, many sites offer country-specific types like French, European and American versions as well as many others. Other popular table games include baccarat, three card poker, bingo and more
- Live Dealer Games - in addition to all the variations of classic games like baccarat, poker, roulette and blackjack, among others, many online casinos allow you to play with a live dealer, giving you a social experience more in line with traditional land-based casinos with the added convenience of being able to play from the comfort of your home
- Instant games - games that can be accessed and played at any time, through any browser be it on your home PC, cellphone browser or other device with an internet connection. These games require a constant internet connection to be played
- Downloaded games - although these games generally require a larger initial amount of bandwidth to download, once they are downloaded they can often be played without the need to be constantly online. These types of games are handy if you are going to be commuting and do not want to spend mobile data or if you have limited internet where you want to play
Whatever your taste in casino games, be sure to take careful note of what games are offered as well as how many varieties are available to you before you choose your next online gambling site.
In addition to having access to the biggest range of casino games, many of the online casinos that we recommend include instant play as well as download options:
Banking Methods and Bankroll Management
An important aspect to look at before signing up at a casino is looking at what methods of banking are accepted for deposits. Top online casinos offer a wide range of choices for players to choose from which most often include:
- Debit cards
- Credit Cards e.g. MasterCard and Visa
- e-wallet Services e.g. PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller
- Prepaid Cards
- Bank deposits
Within these options, many online casinos will give special bonuses for players that use specific banking options however, when choosing which method you should use you should always choose methods that are:
- The most convenient to you
- Have the lowest banking fees
- Are the safest and most secure
While the first two are solely down to personal preference, safety is the most important factor in choosing your banking method. While credit cards are the most convenient in most cases, with deposits most often clearing the quickest, eWallet services such as PayPal means your banking details are only shared with one service. Debit cards are handy if you have a tendency to overspend as only money that is physically in your account can be accessed (unlike a credit card which can be overdrawn).
Another thing to consider when looking at banking is bankroll management. Bankroll management basically means that you only risk a small portion of your overall bankroll when you play, to make sure you don't lose everything in a single session. By doing this, you'll always have some money left over to play with when you next log-in to your chosen online casino.
Don't be fooled into thinking that bankroll management is only something that high rollers use either. In fact, those with lower account balances perhaps benefit even more from bankroll management, as they can't afford to suffer large losses in a session. So, be careful with your money, and never risk your entire account balance in a single session. Bankroll management is also important when it comes to preventing yourself from developing a gambling problem – a subject that is discussed further down this page.
Understanding Online Casino Bonuses
If there's one thing that confuses more new online casino players than anything else, it's the bonuses. You might think that they are simple – after all, don't you just deposit your money, and the bonus money is placed straight into your account? Well, yes, but there are various terms and conditions to understand, and these can affect how good a bonus actually is.
To start off with, let us look at the types of bonuses available and why you should take advantage of them when building your bankroll:
- Welcome bonuses - bonuses awarded for first time users at an online casino, welcome bonuses are often the biggest rewards and can be claimed just by signing up in most cases
- Deposit bonuses - includes bonuses you get by using site-preferred banking methods or simply bonuses for making deposits over a certain amount eg. extra credit for deposits over £5,000
- Reload bonuses - bonuses that reward players for depositing real cash into their accounts, these often come in the form of bonus credit or free spins
- Loyalty bonuses - bonuses that accrue over time, loyalty bonuses are geared at rewarding players for continued play and often get better the longer you play
These are just some of the popular types of bonuses offered by online casinos. Although these bonuses may look pretty straight-forward there are a few additional things to consider when choosing an online casino based on their bonuses.
Things to take into account when looking at online casino bonuses include:
- How much are the bonuses really worth - some bonuses advertise that they're worth thousands, but you could have to deposit thousands in order to get it. Others offer smaller amounts, but only require you to make a small deposit. You must always read the fine print in order to work out which bonus offers you the most, but within a budget you can afford
- How are bonuses credited to your account - is the credit automatic, or do you need to complete the transaction (eg. enter a code which has been sent to you) to claim your bonuses. Sites that require too many additional steps when claiming bonuses should be avoided
- How wagering requirements affect your bonus - most bonuses require the player to place a predetermined value of bets in order to claim them. This is called a wagering requirement. If the rollover requirement is 35x, and you've received a £100 bonus, you'll have to make £3,500 worth of bets in order to withdraw any of your winnings
- Timed bonuses – some bonuses are timed exclusives, so if you are basing your decision on a certain bonus always check its expiration date
If you want to find out more about bonuses, why not check out our comprehensive bonus guide?
Staying Safe When You Gamble Online
This is a really important section, as we want everybody to stay safe when they gamble online. Key things to remember when looking at online casinos include:
- Is it reputable and licensed - it is a legal requirement that any gambling site offering services to UK players is registered with this organization so when choosing your next online casinos make sure it is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission
- Avoid casino’s that have been blacklisted - for slow payments, unsafe payments or those which have bad customer reviews
- Choose casinos that are independently audited - companies such as eCOGRA help ensure that casino practices are completely fair and odds haven’t been manipulated to give the casino an unfair advantage
- Online security is in place - secure SSL encryption is key in safe transactions so ensure your details are kept safe and only choose sites that guarantee safe transactions
- If you are gambling using a mobile device, ensure your connection is secure - inputting details when connected to a public connection can lead to your details being stolen. So, by all means, play at an online casino using any connection, but only enter personal and banking details when connected to a connection that you can trust, such as your own Wi-Fi connection.
Keeping in Control of Your Gambling
Gambling online is loads of fun, however it can get out of control for some people. This is why we want you to be aware of the signs of gambling addiction, and urge you to stop playing if you feel that you're becoming addicted. Some of the signs that you could be developing a gambling addiction include:
- Gambling with money you need
- Becoming easily annoyed or irritable
- Not spending time with friends and family
- Stealing money to fund gambling
- Being tired through gambling too much
- Thinking about gambling all the time
If you want to find out more about the symptoms of gambling addiction – or if you want to find out how to get help – please take a look through our dedicated page on responsible gambling.
Above All Else - Have Fun!
The main reason to gamble online isn't to win money – it's to have as much fun as possible! So, try out all the different casino games, see which ones you like the most, and then try to become as good as possible at playing them! We'll help you to have as much fun as possible, by posting loads of useful information on an almost constant basis, ranging from strategy guides through to reviews of new and exciting online casinos.
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