Hey there, stranger! Welcome to the wild and wacky world of online casinos. You may have noticed that there are a ton of options to choose from, so you might be a little bit overwhelmed at first. This is to be expected, since there are almost 1,300 online casinos in existence.
Before you consider any of these options, you should take a moment to read our advice for the newbies in the online casino community. These tips are the result of over a decade of gambling experience and we are convinced that they will save you a lot of heartache.
Always Read the Terms and Conditions
After writing tons of reviews for online casinos, we have realized the importance of reading the terms and conditions for every site. We know, we know, this is extremely boring and tedious! However, we think it’s smart to attempt to avoid scams before we attempt to avoid boredom.
In most walks of life, you can get away with ignoring long instruction manuals and wordy terms and conditions documents. The online casino world is not one of these walks, since many of these sites can include predatory clauses that give them full rein to steal money out of your account. Just because these clauses exist does not necessary mean that they ARE stealing the money, but the fact that they can legally do so should bother you at least a little bit.
Another great reason for reading the terms and conditions is that there are piles of useful information to be found there that are not available on the rest of their regular webpage. This information includes what regions are not permitted to play, what the playthrough requirement contributions are for each casino game, and what games we are excluded from playing in the bonus phase.
Always Deposit with Your Preferred Withdrawal Method
Most people do not learn this until it is too late. Almost every online casino has a rule that their players cannot withdraw money with any method other than the one they deposited with.
The only exception to this rule are the Visa and Mastercard options. You can still deposit with these plastic cards, and then use any option you wish to withdraw money.
If you do not heed this advice and you deposit with an option that you do not plan to use for withdrawals, you will be forced to make yet another deposit with your preferred withdrawal method. Only after doing this will you be able to withdraw money using your preferred method, which is a pain in the neck for those who were unaware of this rule.
Always Check the Gaming License
Every reputable site on the internet has a gaming license. They usually have a badge at the bottom of their main homepage to advertise who is watching over them. The problem is that some non-reputable online casinos have gaming licenses as well.
The challenge here is to figure out which gaming licenses are preferable for casinos to have. There are varying degrees of strictness throughout the online gaming license industry, so one license is not necessarily equal to another.
We have noticed that the most reliable gaming license companies are the Malta Gaming Authority and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. If you see that your site is licensed by either one of these, you can be sure that your money is protected and you will have plenty of lines of defense against criminal activity.
Some unreliable gaming licenses are the ones from Curacao, Antilles, or anywhere in Costa Rica. These places have been known to approve casinos based on payments that casino makes to them, rather than approving them based on the actual safety of the sites. We have tons of experience with getting robbed by these organizations, and we suggest that you avoid them altogether.
Never Gamble Online with Money That You Need
This section applies to anyone who gambles anywhere, but it applies even more to those who gamble online. This is because there are even more risks to gambling on the internet than in gambling in land-based casinos. Some of these risks include account closures, fund seizures, identity thefts, and more.
Any time you encounter a risky situation, you should be hesitant to throw a ton of money at it. This is especially true if you think that you will NEED this money in the near future. People get robbed of money every single day in the online casino industry, so there is more gambling going on than just playing a casino game.
A great example of why playing with money you need is bad can be seen when examining the welcome bonuses that every online casino offers. These bonuses come with playthrough requirements that might take the average person months or even years to clear. It is extremely common for online casinos to forbid any withdrawals until the bonus is cleared. If you deposit money that you really need, you will not be able to touch it for a long time, and that could be devastating.
There is also the tiny possibility that you are dealing with a scam site. In this case, it does not matter how lucky you are in the casino games, because they will eventually steal your money and you will be left out in the cold. In cases where this was money you NEEDED, this could be particularly painful and could have easily been avoided.
Never Accept a Bonus That You Cannot Clear
Lots of casinos advertise how great their bonuses are, but they neglect to talk about how much time they will take to clear. The only way to actually clear these bonuses is to gamble enough that you complete the playthrough requirement.
It turns out that clearing these bonuses is extremely important because if you do not clear them, you cannot withdraw your winnings. We don’t know about you, but we certainly do not find it fun to gamble with monopoly money.
For most online casinos, the only way to find out how tough their playthrough requirements are is to check their terms and conditions page. Most playthrough requirements are somewhere between 25x and 50x the amount of the deposit plus the bonus. This is especially deceiving when the bonus percentage is really high, since it really inflates the amount of time it takes to finish the playthrough.
For example, a deposit bonus that features a 25x playthrough requirement but has a 300% bonus will crank the requirement way up to 100x. You have to be very careful when figuring out how much time it will take for you to clear any bonus because it’s extremely important to make sure the playthrough requirement is achievable.
Never Deposit Before Seeing the Game Library
This might seem like common sense, but that stuff is quite hard to find in today’s world. The whole idea of going to a casino is to pay for entertainment. Sometimes this entertainment comes in the form of winning money, but usually it comes in the form of just being able to play the games that you think are fun. Your job as a gambler is to find the best way to get the most entertainment per dollar.
Let’s say you followed all of our above tips and found a site that is reliable, has a clean terms of service page, has your preferred banking method, and has an easily clearable welcome bonus. This is all irrelevant if the casino that you are joining does not have the kind of games that you like, because you will not be able to maximize the amount of fun that you’re having.
Finally, checking the game library is a great idea if you are into games that are a bit rare or unorthodox. Nearly every site has the basic games like blackjack and roulette, but when it comes to specific variations or rare games like Sic-Bo, you really need to do some research to find them. Nearly every review we write on this site will have the list of games available so that you can do this research easily.
We realize that it is tempting as a newbie online gambler to just jump into the first site you see that looks cool. We’ve been there before, and we have faced the consequences of such naivety.
As long as you educate yourself on the rules of each casino, as well as gain the ability to navigate through the bonus phase optimally, you will be in a much better situation than most people who gamble online. Not every site is trustworthy or ethical, so you need to do your homework to protect yourself.
If the casino seems shady and you still decide to play there, that is up to you. However, there are over 1,300 online casinos to choose from, so it’s silly to settle for anything less than amazing. If you’re having trouble finding a place to start when searching for a reputable and fun place to gamble, we recommend checking out our list of top-ranked online casinos.