One of the greatest business success stories of recent times has been the inexorable rise of the online casino. In around two decades these sites have gone from being of fringe interest to huge revenue generators raising $53.7 billion in 2019 alone. What’s more, this figure predicted to grow by around 11% a year until 2027.
The reasons for this popularity are simple. Firstly, it makes playing favorite casino games simple and convenient. And operators are also always introducing new and innovative ideas to enhance the experience. So, when you compare it with the trouble you may have to go to if you want to visit an actual casino, there’s really no comparison.
But the sheer number of online casinos out there does present the would-be player with something of an issue: how to choose the right one for them. But hopefully, this brief guide will help to point anyone wanting to explore online casinos in the right direction.
The law as it stands in the US
As with many aspects of gambling in the US, the law as it relates to online casinos is by no means straightforward and, while few states have specifically banned it, only four expressly permit it – Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Even between these four states, there are different specific rules concerning what kind of games are permitted as each is allowed to set its own regulations.
While the fine detail needn’t overly bother the would-be online player, it’s good to first discover which operators are out there. One of the best ways of doing this is by visiting a comparison site like OLBG.com where there is a comprehensive listing, as well as details of the sorts of incentives that the casinos are offering new players.
A checklist of what to look for
There are a number of obvious things to look for when choosing an online casino to make sure that play is safe and enjoyable. This is a brief look at some key areas to examine to give you real peace of mind.
Safety and security
The first thing to confirm is that a site is trustworthy. It should give full details of who it is licensed by or which regulatory body oversees its operation. Typically, these include the UK Gambling Commission or its equivalent in countries like Malta or territories like Gibraltar.
Because you will also be sharing personal and financial data with the online casino site, you also need to know that a high enough level of encryption is used. As a minimum, it should be 128 bit, but ideally 256 bit. This is general information that you’ll find somewhere on the casino’s website.
All online casino sites offer a bonus of some kind or other to attract new players and some of these can be very generous indeed. Generally, they take the form of matched stake money on a first deposit or a certain number of free spins on slots games. So, it’s well worth checking out a few casinos, especially as the terms and conditions for claiming them can vary greatly. For example, almost all have a so-called wagering requirement which is a multiple of the original stake amount that you have to bet before you can claim your bonus. Many also have time-limits within which you need to claim your bonus.
Choice of games
For most would-be players this is the big deciding factor about whether an online casino is right for them. All will generally offer all of the favorite games including roulette, blackjack, poker, slots, and even bingo.
Within these, there are also likely to be a wide number of variations like the choice of European or American roulette and games of blackjack with slightly different rules.
By far the most popular of all the online casino games are the slots. This is primarily because they’re quick and easy to play, and also offer a wide range of themes aimed at specific types of players. Many are increasingly like video games with levels to complete and bonus rounds to win extra prizes. Most sites also have games that feature progressive jackpots which combine a number of different slot games to offer six and even seven-figure prizes. It may seem unbelievable that anyone ever wins these, but they certainly do from time to time.
Something else to look out for is whether the site also offers “live casino” games. Generally, just roulette and blackjack, are games that are streamed live to a player’s PC or mobile device and are run by a live dealer in a studio decorated to give the impression of a real casino ambiance. It captures a lot of the atmosphere of the real thing, with the action being digitized to allow for online play.
More and more players are choosing to play on their mobile devices for convenience. So, the best casinos have all ensured that they have sites that have been optimized for this. So, if you think that you’ll be mainly playing on mobile, it‘s good to also check this out in advance.
Choice of payment methods
Another aspect to examine is how many methods of payment or withdrawal the casino in question offers. The growth of popularity of e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal means that most of the bigger casinos accept these, and many may soon even begin to accept cryptocurrency.
Last, but not least, you want to be sure that if you ever need help online, it will be there for you. The best way to check out what kind of support an online casino offers is to read some of the reviews online. The very best sites offer phone support throughout the day and night and all should have an email helpline too.
So now it’s time to start the search – and discover for yourself just why online casinos have become the huge success that they are.