Beginner’s Guide to Online Gambling

Online gambling can be a lot of fun, but most people don’t know much about it. If you’re new to online gambling, odds are that you’ve got a lot of questions about how it all works. Well, we’re here to help. We’re going to try to answer all of your questions here in our Beginner’s Guide to Online Gambling.

How does online gambling work?

Ok, that’s a big question, so we’ll try to cover the key points. If you want to gamble online you’ll be dealing with an online casino. Online casinos are basically software that’s made to imitate the behavior of real-life casino games. So how are you able to play with real money? Well, you first need to create an account with an online casino. You’ll need to provide your personal information like your real name your address, etc. This part can frighten some people but it’s a necessity. When you win, the casino needs to know who & where to send the check to, right?

Once you’ve created an account with an online casino, you’ll need to add some funds to your account to play with. How this gets done depends on what options the casino has available, but the most popular options are by credit card or an eWallet. Adding these funds to your account is called making a deposit. Your first deposit will usually get you a nice cash bonus, but this depends on the casino.

Now that you’ve funded your account, you’re ready to start playing! Some casinos will let you play directly on their site while others will have you download & install their casino games on your computer. Either way, make your way to the games & have fun!

When you want to take your money out, you need to request a withdrawal. Most casinos offer payment in a few ways, the most popular being by check or a transfer to your eWallet. All reputable casinos will allow one withdrawal per month for free, but subsequent withdawals may be charged a fee. This is to prevent abuse. Writing out checks costs the casino money, and some players would withdraw funds daily if this rule wasn’t in place.

If you’ve received any bonuses recently, you’ll need to meet the rollover requirements for those bonuses before taking out those funds. If everything’s in order though, you should get your funds sent to you within a few days (timeframes vary, depends on the casino).
Is online gambling safe?

Yes, for the most part online gambling is very safe. Like any industry, there are good companies & shady companies that should be avoided. That’s why this site was created. We want to make sure that casino players can learn the truth about a particular casino before deciding to join.
Is online gambling legal?

Firstly, we need to clarify that we are not lawyers and nothing we write here is legal advice. If you want legal advice about online gambling please consult a lawyer near you.

With that being said, it depends where you live. Online gambling can laws vary from country to country, state to state & province to province. The legal landscape is hugely complicated, but we can say this: Every online gambling law we’ve ever heard of deals with accepting bets, not placing them. That means that the laws are targeting the casinos, not the casino players. Since this question is asked most often by our American readers, we’ll also say that while several online casinos have been pursued by American authorities we’ve never heard of any American citizen being arrested for gambling online. If anyone out there knows of a case where an American citizen has been charged for gambling online, PLEASE TELL US!
How do I know the casino isn’t cheating?

No matter what we say here, there’s going to be an element of trust involved. We’ve heard some people say that all online casinos cheat constantly and no evidence to the contrary will ever convince those people otherwise.

For the more reasonable among us, you’ll be happy to know that all reputable online casinos are regulated in their home country. Most of these jurisdictions require that the casino be audited regularly by an impartial third party. The most popular auditing company is TST Global. They’re an international company that tests the casino games to make sure that they are completely random and properly emulate the real-life games in terms of the odds. They also test the casino’s security to make sure that hacking is not possible. Any breach of trust could result in the online casino losing its license, forcing it to shut down.

Lastly, any good gambler should know that the odds always favor the casino, if only slightly. What this means is that no matter what, at the end of the day the casino is going to make money as long as people keep playing. If a casino cheated, people would stop playing there. This is bad for everyone. Besides, the casino doesn’t care whether any one individual wins or loses, because in the end the house will always turn a profit. They have no reason to cheat and every reason not to.

What are bonuses? How do they work?

Most online casinos out there give their players bonuses. Bonuses are basically free money that the casino gives you to play with. Bonuses come in all sorts of forms, so it’s impossible to cover all the ways they could structured here. Most casinos will give you a bonus based on making your first deposit with them, and many of them will give you recurring bonuses later on too. Be warned though that most bonuses come with rollover requirments that need to be met before you can withdraw them.
What are rollover requirements?

In the early days of online gambling bonuses were free cash with no strings attached. While this was great for most players, a few bad seeds took advantage of this generosity. Some people would create multiple accounts with online casinos, deposit just enough money to get the bonus, then immediately withdraw it all, pocketing the free cash. It didn’t take the online casinos long to figure this out, and they came up with rollover requirements as a way to prevent this.

Rollover requirements are the minimum number of times you must bet with your bonus in order to be able to withdraw it. Casinos usually specify 15 – 20 times the value of the bonus. At first this can seem steep, but when consider the back and forth nature of most casino games it makes sense.

Let’s say you got a $50 casino bonus and the rollover requirements are 15x. If you took that $50 to a blackjack table, you would have to risk a total of $750 to clear that bonus. Seems crazy right? Start playing though. If you’re betting $1 a hand it’ll take you 750 hands to meet that requirement. Of those 750 hands, how may do you think you’ll win? With smart play, the odds say you should win about 355 of those hands. If that’s the case, you should still have about $23 of your original $50 left. Having met the rollover requirements, you’re now free to withdraw your bonus!

What is an eWallet?

Have you heard of PayPal? PayPal is the most popular eWallet, but far from the only one out there. An eWallet is kind of like an online bank account that lets you easily & securely send & receive payments online. Most online casinos accept at least one eWallet. eWallets are usually the easiest way to get money in and out of an online casino. The most popular online gambling ewallets are NETeller & Skrill (formerly known as MoneyBookers).

How do the games work?

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that these are online casino games. You will need to be connected to the internet at all times while you’re playing.

The games are built to emulate their real-world counterparts as closely as possible, so if you know how to play blackjack you should have no trouble playing blackjack online.

Aside from that there are a few technical details. If you want to play the casino games in your web browser (without downloading software), you will usually need to have flash installed on your computer. Most of the downloadable casino software doesn’t run on Mac computers, but there are a few Mac-compatible online casinos out there.

What do I do if I have a dispute with an online casino?

Your first step should be to contact your casino’s customer service team. They’re usually pretty helpful and can resolve most issues without much trouble. If they look into your situation and, after review, you still have a dispute with them, you can try contacting that casino’s governing body. You can usually find a link to the casino’s governing body at the bottom of their website. If it’s a casino that we’ve reviewed here, we’ll have a link to their governing body here too.

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