Online gambling has been gaining popularity over recent years and if forecasts are to be believed, this growth is set to continue. What does this mean for the gambling public? It means that there will be a number of people who will try to capitalize on this popularity by taking advantage of the public’s growing familiarity with online gambling. Some worrying trends have emerged in relation to online casinos not paying winnings, denying bonus payments and holding money for extraordinary amounts of time. Listed below are some of the things to consider before you start gambling at an online casino and also what to do once you have made your first deposit.
General Gambling Tips
Decide how much you can afford to lose. All right you probably feel this is a bit negative however, casinos exist to make a profit and online casinos are no different. Your intention maybe to win but sometimes this doesn’t happen.
Set a time limit on how long you are going to play. When you sit in front of a computer screen the time can get away from you. Set an alarm if necessary.
Understand the games you are going to play. Learn the general strategies, know the basic rules and game variations. This might not sound like fun, but then losing money is not fun either.
Establish how you will transfer your money. Most online casinos accept personal checks (normally a two week wait for it to clear), bank drafts, wire transfers, Western Union and credit/debit cards. To keep you gambling activity separate from your normal day to day spending, perhaps you should have an additional card. If you intend to use a credit card, check with the issuer to see if the transfer will be treated as a cash advance. It might pay to use a debit card to avoid cash advance fees etc.
Online casinos can offer better odds than land based casinos because they don’t have the huge overheads such as the buildings, and endless supplies of free drinks.
Choosing an Online Casino
Choose a gambling directory such as ALLGAM and look through the casino links. Be aware that some directories are actually owned by the same organizations that own the casinos. This is important when considering their recommendations. Other directories are partners/affiliates of casinos which means they receive a share of the casinos net win. This type of profit sharing has no effect on your action and just helps to make the directories free to the gambling public. This may or may not influence their lists. One thing to remember is that the directory owners would not recommend casinos that don’t pay them their share of the win and if they don’t pay their partners then it’s most likely they don’t pay their customers.
Have a look at the casino’s website. Is it professional? Is it hosted on a free service such as Yahoo!/Geocities? If so then it’s best to avoid it. If they don’t want to spend the small dollars on their own domain name and hosting then it’s not worth risking your money with them.
Play the free games if available to get a feel for the site.
Check who supplies the software. When it comes down to it, there are only a small amount of suppliers such as World Gaming, Playtech, Boss Media, Real Time Gaming and Microgaming. Whilst custom written packages do exist, it’s just one more risk from your point of view.
Make sure they are licensed. If a casino is licensed they usually display it prominently. Check with the licensing organisation if you are not sure of the authenticity.
Check the contact information. Give the customer service telephone number (which should be toll free) a call. How long to they take to answer? Were they polite? Were they happy to give out physical address information? If not then are they hiding something?
Is the customer support service 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If not then is it open during the times you will most likely be gambling? It pays to know there is support available straight away of needed.
Do some research at other sites. Are there any negative comments about them? Most people who have been ripped off by an online casino will write about it somewhere.
Read all the casino’s policies. Some casinos will only payout winnings up to a certain amount each month. Others charge exorbitant fees when cashing out.
Read all the casino’s rules for the games you intend to play. Some casinos use European rules which may differ from American rules. For example in European roulette there is no double zero on the wheel. This is actually beneficial to the gambler because there is one less number.
Print out the FAQ page for future reference.
Research their financial services provider. There are reputable companies that specialize in providing services to online casinos. Get familiar with them as well. The process for sending and receiving money should be clearly documented and as straight forward as possible.
Playing At An Online Casino
Get a pen and paper and document every move. That is, write down each bet and each hand/game played. If there is a problem you have a better chance of a successful outcome if you can supply your records of the incident. All reputable online casinos should be able to provide an audit trail of your play.
Supply your correct details when registering. Credit card fraud is a serious concern for online casinos and if you information doesn’t match their security checks you may have a problem cashing out.
If the casino pays a bonus, wait a while after registering for a confirmation email. It may list different qualifying conditions than on the website. Assume the more rigorous conditions apply. You can always confirm with customer service and make a note of the conversation including whom you spoke with, and what was said.
Many gamblers move from casino to casino chasing the bonuses. To avoid appearing as a bonus hunter, always wager more than the qualifying conditions state. Even go so far as to wager 50% more.
If you intend to gamble again at the casino, don’t cash out unless you need the money. You can avoid the transaction fees this way. If you leave money in your account, check to see how long it can remain there without activity. Some casinos specify that you must either play again or cash out within say, three months.
Don’t panic if the game freezes. The internet can be frustrating sometimes and this can usually be fixed by reconnecting. Most casinos will include a “What to do if your screen freezes” as part of their FAQs so you should follow these instructions. You did print them out before gambling didn’t you? If this fails, call their customer service and explain your problem.
Don’t put up with unsatisfactory or rude customer service people. Ask to speak with their supervisor.
If you enjoyed the experience then stay at that casino. If you followed all the guidelines above it’s taken a while to decide which casino to play at, so why do it all again?
Well I hope this has helped untangle the online gambling industry.