Basic Online Gambling Information
If you have never gambled online you are probably bewildered by how to get started. Online gambling is still a very young industry and as such the test of time has yet to root out many of the less reputable casinos. The good and the bad are still fiercely elbowing each other for market share. So choose where to play carefully. I have some tips below which may help you.
You are probably also wondering if the games are fixed. At one point I said emphatically not. On average the casinos keep about 75% of money deposited so they shouldn’t need to cheat. However I have heard complaint after complaint of extremely bad luck from playing at some non-licensed casinos that use no-name Java software. I do believe that the vast majority of online casinos play fair but am suspicious of a small minority. As you hop from one web site to another of the online casinos it may seem arbitrary about choosing one to play at. Let me help by saying that quality counts. Take a close look at their web site or the free games. If they seem like a professional organization chances are better that they are. Finally trust your gut. If you get a bad feeling about a place then resist playing there, even if you can’t explain to yourself the exact reason.
The Basics of Playing
There are two ways you can go in terms of actually gambling online, Java and downloadable software. Java offers almost immediate playing but downloadable software offers better sound and graphics. Personally I find downloadable software to be much more enjoyable and faster but I respect the opinion of those who prefer Java. About half of the casinos with downloadable software also offer a free CD version. Once you have the software installed (unless with a Java based casino) the next step is to open an account. This is sometimes done on the casino web site and sometimes through the software. Then you must put some into your account. The vast majority of the time this is done with a credit (or debit) card. Other options include Western Union and bank wire transfers but both of these necessitate substantial fees, which many online casinos will credit back to your account. Beware that some credit cards will treat deposits to an online casino as a cash advance. If this happens then you may have success in arguing the charge but many credit cards have a flat policy that a purchase of casino chips counts as a cash advance. I recommend using debit cards instead, there is never a cash advance fee and the transactions are posted faster.
Once you have money in your account you may then begin to play. Be sure to check the rules first. This can be good or bad depending on the particular rule. As you play I would suggest documenting everything you do. Personally I use graph paper to keep a running track of my bankroll and the total amount bet.
If you plan to return in the near future do not cash out, just leave your money in your account. When you do cash out the chips will be converted to cash and credited back to your credit card, up to the amount of the initial purchase. If you have a net win then the winnings will have to be sent another way, usually by check. Most places will send winnings for free but others will subtract a finance charge.
The Pros and Cons of Online Casino Gambling
There can be no debate that online gambling is a lot different than gambling in a physical casino. In some ways it is better and in some ways it is worse. Below are my pros and cons of online gambling, based on my personal experiences, compared to gambling in a “real” casino.
- Online gambling is a competitive business and many casinos will offer a lot to get and keep your business. Many will offer sign-up bonuses to new customers, adding 10 to 50% of their initial deposit to their bankroll (see below for more on this subject). Some will randomly deposit money in customer accounts and others will give away vacations for specified levels of total money bet.
- The rules are usually better than in physical casinos.
- You don’t have to travel long distances. The casino is in your own home.
- You don’t have to suffer real casino annoyances, like smokers.
- You don’t have to feel obligated to tip.
- You have to be patient about getting your money after you cash out. In addition to waiting periods on the casino end there are also delays on the credit card end. Two to four weeks is the norm for the time between cashing out and your credit appearing back on your credit card. Debit cards are much faster taking only about 3 to 5 business days.
- Customer service can be spotty depending on where you play. Some places offer great service via e-mail and a toll-free number. Others take several days to reply to an e-mail, have no known telephone number, and generally seem like they just don’t want to be bothered aside from taking your money.
- The player has no power or authority to turn to in the event of a dispute. Usually in the player agreement it says the casino can make up the rules as they go and in the event of a dispute the casino’s word is final.
- If you play at a lot of places your credit/debit card statement will be a nightmare to balance. Transactions seldom indicate the name of the casino you played at but instead specify the merchant bank.
Source: Wizards of Odds