The future of casinos has gone digital, and online is where the magic will happen. Technological breakthroughs of the last three decades have caused a seismic shift in the world of casino gambling. We’ve seen gamblers ditch the lavish floors of brick-and-mortar casinos for gambling from the comforts of their own homes.
That’s all thanks to the internet which has seen a boon of online casinos that accept bettors from all corners of the globe.
Gambling sites are virtual versions of brick-and-mortar casinos. They offer pretty much the same types of games, if not more diverse catalogs of games. Like land-based counterparts, online casinos have virtual game lobbies where players can choose what they want to play.
A typical casino lobby will have a menu that lists all the categories of games on offer. Slots, table games, and video poker are among the classic options, along with jackpot and specialty games. Most modern casino sites feature live-dealer games that bring an authentic playing experience of land-based properties.
Behind the scenes, online casinos are powered by software providers. These are developers that produce and supply the gaming software and games available at online casinos. Here think major providers like Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, and NetEnt – these bigwigs power nearly all gambling sites on the web.
The Basics of Online Casinos
The overarching feature behind all online casinos is that they are accessible on the web. They essentially facilitate online gambling. Like most websites, casino sites can be accessed typing the appropriate URL into the device browser. Some online casinos offer downloadable desktop software client or mobile gaming apps.
All casino sites feature state-of-the-art software that enables players to place real money wagers online. Again, the gaming software can be downloaded as a desktop client. But, in a lot of cases, the software is incorporated into the instant-play site so that players can gamble right away without having to download anything. Either way, the software is the core gaming engine of online casinos.
The basic online casinos focus mainly on traditional casino games – think slots, blackjack, roulette, and the likes. However, the most advanced gambling sites go beyond casino games. They bring online poker, a sportsbook, and even bingo games under the same virtual roof. A good example is BetMGM which offers sports betting, poker, casino games, bingo, and a live-dealer section on the same platform.
Players need three crucial things to get started with online casinos…
- Funds – Of course, you’ll need money to play real-money games at online casinos. Lucky for you, most offer various payment methods for gamblers to upload funds to their wagering accounts. Credit cards, PayPal, and ACH are among the most popular banking options for online casinos, along with e-wallets like Paysafecard, Neteller, and Skrill.
- A player account – Most online casino make it incredibly easy to sign up and set up a player account. In a lot of cases, your email address, username, and password are the only things you need to get started. However, regulators impose rigorous standards in some jurisdictions. As such, you may need to provide additional proof of identity and physical address – mostly you’ll be require to upload a copy of your bank statement and photo ID.
- An internet-enabled device – Most online casinos are built for access on both computers and mobile. Their games are accessible and playable on pretty much any device, be it a PC computer, a tablet like iPad, or a mobile device. This is especially true when it comes to the instant-play side of the casino.
Once you have the money uploaded, device ready, and a player account setup, playing at an online casino is as simple as clicking or tapping your favorite game. Withdrawals are how you get funds out of your betting account, so that you can spend and enjoy your winnings.
There are typically various banking options for cashing out your funds at an online casino. Using e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller is the most popular option, and it’s also the most secure. You just pull up the e-wallet details on file and then indicate how much you wish to cash out. Funds will post into your e-wallet account almost instantly, although some online casinos take up to 72 hours to process withdrawals.
How to Pick an Online Casino
The good news is that the internet is now awash with online casinos, so there’s something for every type of player no matter their bankroll size and style of play. The not-so-good news is that you will be spoilt for choice, especially with so many online casinos to choose from. Even worse, the online casino scene is packed with shady sites and scams that are out to reap you off your hard-earned money.
First, let’s take a look at factors you should keep in mind to pick an online casino that will serve you best. We recommend sifting through many candidates to narrow down your search to just five crème de la crème gambling sites — we’re talking about a safest, secure, and credible casino with your best interests at heart.
Online casinos that hold high-authority gambling licenses are always a surefire sign that they are safe and trustworthy. Before they are bestowed with a license, these online casinos are subjected to thorough credibility tests for quality, fairness, and player protect. Even after that, these authorities conduct regular audits and monitor closely online casinos under their umbrella.
In other words, the licensing authority will give the green-light to online casinos only when they show that:
(1) privacy of the player is safeguarded, (2) their games are fair, and (3) they operated in a socially and ethically responsible way. It’s only then that the online casino will be allowed to display the logo of the gambling commission in their site’s footer.
Some of the most respected gaming licensing authorities includes the UK Gambling Commission especially for UK players, the Malta Gaming Commission, and the Gibraltar Gaming Commission, Curacao eGaming Commission, the Isle of Man Supervision Commission, and Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
Fair casinos games should be your top priority when searching for trustworthy online casinos. Usually, well-meaning operators invite an independent testing agency to test their games for transparency, usability, and more importantly fairness.
These 3rd-party agencies don’t just perform tests; they also analyze data and release comprehensive reports regarding the game’s payout percentages (RTP), RNG integrity, and much more.
With that said, be on the lookout for logos of top-rated testing agencies like Gaming Associates, TST, GLI, and eCOGRA when identifying legitimately safe online casinos.
Security is a paramount factor when identifying safe online casinos. After all, you need to supply your sensitive personal data and banking information (e.g., credit card number, address, and full name) to facilitate deposits and withdrawals.
That’s no joking matter, and the operator shouldn’t take the security and protection of your private information lightly. That’s why you need to choose casinos that protect your communication and transactions with top-level technologies like SSL to deter hackers and eavesdroppers.
Things could go wrong when gambling at an online casino. You could experience technical issues with gaming software when playing. Your deposits or cash-outs could be delayed or fail – sometimes, bonus terms and conditions could be too complicated to understand. That’s where a reliable customer support can come in especially handy. Reputable online casinos offer a dedicated customer service team to help players 24/7, particularly via live chat; phone, FAQs and email support come be quite helpful.
Of course, you’ll need money to play real-money games at online casinos. Lucky for you, most offer various payment methods for gamblers to upload funds to their wagering accounts. Credit cards, PayPal, and ACH are among the most popular banking options for online casinos, along with e-wallets like Paysafecard, Neteller, and Skrill.
How to Fund Your Online Casino Account
While most online casinos allow players to try out their games in demo mode for free, they must eventually upload funds to their wagering accounts to play for real money. Thankfully, gambling sites provide various payment methods for players to fund their accounts …
Credit/debit cards – Credit and debit cards by VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted by pretty much every online casino – be on the lookout for lesser-known cards like Discover, Diner’s Club, JCB, Maestro, and Visa Electron, as well.
Online wallets – Also known as digital wallets or simply e-wallet, online wallets allow players to deposit (and withdraw) their funds without revealing their banking details or credit card information. This is huge deal because most credit card issuers like Visa are not fond of online gambling transactions. The most popular e-wallets for online casino deposits include Paysafecard, Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal. Not all of them are available in every country – you can also find exotic e-wallets like MuchBetter, AstroPay, iWallet, and Venus Points in some countries.
Cryptocurrency – Crypto has recently taken over the world of online casinos. More and more gambling sites now allow players to price bet with the most popular cryptocurrencies in the market – Bitcoin, BTC Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin, Elon Musk’s Dogecoin, and Monero.
Regular banking methods – Although online casinos now cutting-edge, they still accept old-school deposit methods. The well-known banking methods – Bank Wire, ACH, and even physical checks. These are the slowest and least reliable ways to fund your online casino account. Besides, the vast majority of gambling sites charge a fee (somewhere around 5% or up to $55) to process checks by courier and bank wires.
Types of Online Casino Games
Online casinos are just virtual platforms and games make them function.
Online Slot Games
Online slots make up the biggest chunk of games at online casinos. They’re supplied by the so-called software developers, the most top-tier of which are Microgaming, NetEnt, and Evolution Gaming. Well-known slot types – 3 reel classics, video spots, 3D slots, and progressive slots.
While slot games take the cake when it comes to playtime at online casinos, it’s also true that table games get lots of action too. In fact, most casino players swear by certain table games given their strategic nature and favorable odds.
Roulette is one of the most popular table games, both in brick-and-mortar and online casinos. It’s easy to master, easier to play, and more likely to beat than slots because it’s a game of strategy.
Roulette game comprises a wheel with 37 or 38 colored slots numbered 1 through 36, as well as zero (0) and double-zero (00) depending on the type. There are three major variants of roulette: European, French, and American roulette.
In European and French roulettes, the wheel has 37 slots, with numbers 1-36 plus zero. The latter allows the use of En Prison and La Partage rules, reducing the house edge from 2.7% for European roulette to 1.35% for French Roulette. American roulette’s wheel has an extra slot for double-zero, upping the house edge to 5.76%.
The gameplay for the roulette is similar across the board. The croupier rolls a ball on the curve of the wheel while players place wagers on a similarly colored and numbered table. The outcome of each spin is determined by where the ball eventually lands.
Blackjack is easily the most loved and played table game online and in a high-street casino. It’s seen by many as the most beginner-friendly casino for good reason. It has better odds than slots, easier to master than baccarat, less intimidating than poker, and more readily available than craps.
You can play many variants of blackjack online, either with real money or for free, and there are plenty of table games bonuses especially made for them. The gameplay, instructions & rules for blackjack are the same online and in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Craps offers the most genuine thrill of real-world land-based casinos. Invented at the turn of the 19th century, this is a table game that allows players to wager on the outcome of rolling two dice. The result of every craps roll is calculated based on the total face-up value of the dice.
In the game of craps, there are three possible outcomes: ‘Natural’ is the best possible result which happens if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11; ‘Craps’ is the opposite outcome to natural, which results when 2, 3 or 12 is rolled; and, ‘Point’ which happens when any other number apart from Natural or Craps is rolled.
James Bond’s favorite, Baccarat is a wildly popular table game that’s largely based on luck. It uses a shuffled pack consisting of cards from 6-8 standard 52-card decks, with the banker dealing the cards. Punters can wager on the player, the banker or a tie before the game begins.
Believed to have originated from Italy, baccarat is a high paying and easy game to master, with some banker bets having a house edge as low as 1.06%. There are three major kinds of Baccarat – namely Chemin de Fer, Mini-Baccarat, American, and Punto Banco, all of which bet on either the banker or player.
The gameplay and rules are fairly simple, but you must get one thing straight: you’re playing against the dealer and not against other players. Everyone at the table (including the croupier) will be dealt 2 cards. There’s no math to do here: all you have to do is place a wager on the banker or the player.
The main aim is to strike as close to 9 total as possible. Remember face cards and 10s have a zero value. It’s simple: if you bet on the player, and the dealer has an upper hand, you lose.
The opposite is also true. If both hands for the banker and the player have the same value, it’s called a tie, in which case you won’t lose or gain anything. Whether a 3 card will be given to the banker or player depends on the casino.
Each online casino has its own twist to baccarat, providing a set of rules but the gameplay is usually the game. The player’s hand is a bit risky putting the house at a 1.36% advantage, while that of the banker is 1.06%.
Online Bingo Games
Bingo is a wildly loved and played game in the online gambling community – and with a great reason. Bingo is an uncomplicated casino game that is easy and straightforward to play. Whether in land-based or now increasingly online casinos, there are myriads of bingo variants to choose from…
Speed (30 Ball) Bingo
It is what it sounds like – a bingo game whereby the balls or numbers are drawn at a higher speed than usual. The end game here is to make the game more exciting, keep the players engaged, and reward them faster. Fast, fun, and fantastic, speed bingo games are often drawn every couple of minutes, and you can wager as little as £0.01 per draw. The good news is that you can win real cash prizes much faster, and if you miss a chance, you don’t have to wait long to get in on the next one.
For some players, speed bingo is better known as 30 ball bingo. It is a type of bingo games that make use of 30 balls in the draw, which is why the play is always quick. Unfortunately, the 30-ball bingo is not a favorite in most online casinos.
Rules and Gameplay
The game card of the speed bingo consists of 9 numbers, populating each square in the 3 x 3 square grid. The bingo prize is always given to the first player who manages to mark off all the 9 squares on the game card.
75 Ball Bingo
75 ball bingo is a favorite amongst US players, especially at online bingo sites and casinos. There is a total of 25 squares populating a 5 x 5 square grid. In reality, you can only mark off 24 out of the 25 squares, with the middle square remaining blank. The top column is printed with letters BINGO. As such, the letter B comprises the numbers ranging from 1 through 15, the column I contains numbers ranging from 16 through 35, and so forth.
Rules and Gameplay
Unlike the speed bingo-type, in the 75 ball bingo, the winning player has to successfully mark off any complete line on the square grid. This line can be marked off diagonally, horizontally or vertically. Of course, there are several other patterns that some casinos use for the 75 ball bingo.
80 Ball Bingo
Since it was introduced to the gambling community, 80 ball bingo has been available almost exclusively at online casinos and gaming sites. Featuring a 4 by 4 square grid, the game card for this type of bingo is designed so that each square is populated by a single number. That means there are 16 playable numbers for this bingo. The first column displays numbers within the 1-20 range, while the second denotes all the numbers in the 21-40 range, etc. etc.
Rules and Gameplay
To win at 80 Ball Bingo, you must be the first to mark off the game-required pattern as indicated on the game card. In fact, the rules and winning pattern vary from one variant/casino to another. The most common patterns are a horizontal line, vertical line, the four corners or all single numbers.
90 Ball Bingo
The 90 ball bingo is a version that is wildly popular and available the world over. Nearly all online casinos that offer bingo games have this version. While it might sound scary, the 90 ball bingo is a reasonably simple and easy bingo game to play.
Rules and Gameplay
The game encompasses a total of 3 rounds. The game-card consists 9 columns spread across 3 rows, which means there are 15 numbers with five populating the rows. If you’re the 1st to finish marking off the horizontal line, you will be the winner of the 1st round. The player who manages to cross off 2 complete horizontal lines wins the 2nd round. The ultimate winner is the one who’ll finish 1st marking off all squares on the grid of the game-card, winning the grand prize.
Online poker games
Online poker is one of the most exciting and rewarding casino games, combining intelligent skills with a bit of luck. Most online poker games come in the form of 5-card poker, with the main objective being to make the best hand from the cards on offer. You can also come out the winner at poker if you remain the last-man-standing after every other player has bowed out.
As a game that relies heavily on skill and intellectual knowledge, it’s best to learn the basics before you delve deep into the nitty-gritty of the game.
Unlike live poker whereby you try to outwit (or out-bluff) your opponent, online poker is all about having the highest-ranked hand at the table.
Playing using the standard 52-card deck and featuring 2-10 players per table, poker normally lasts 5 rounds. In each round, you have a choice of raising, calling or folding (surrendering).
There is a myriad of different types, versions, and variants of online poker, which can be either a blessing or a curse depending on where you stand.
Live dealer games
Bettors are delightfully surprised by live dealer games at online casinos. The best casino sites feature beautiful live dealers ready to offer unforgettable experience on the popular card and table games. These include live baccarat, roulette, Dragon Tiger, Dream Catcher, and live blackjack. They are powered by the world’s leading live casino software by NetEnt.
Modern online casinos offer apps you can download to your mobile phone, either directly from the casino site or from app stores. Mobile games are optimed for play on the small screen — the gameplay, controls, and graphics look and feel more streamlined on mobile.