Once you’ve made the decision to play online casino game, the next step is to select the best online casino. With nearly 3000 online casinos you’ll have to start with some basic research. The following topics should be considered before you begin your online play.
Download or Java?
Online casino game come in two distinct flavours: those with downloadable software, and those use a java format. The casinos that offer software for you to download generally run faster and look better.
The java formats do not require you to download anything but you will sacrifice speed and, in some cases, professional looking graphics. Those with Java formats also lack one other important feature: you have no guarantee as to the accuracy of the software that was written; with regards to the odds of the online casino game you play.
The best online casinos become licensees of major software brands (see below). These software companies stand behind their products including having periodic audits run to verify their payout schedules. Casinos that offer Java-based software may, or may not, offer the same safeguards.
Best Online Casino Software Companies include:
- Access Gaming Systems
- Boss Media
- Chartwell Technology
- Gambling Software.com
- ICrystal Software
- Microgaming Systems
- Real Time Gaming
- Radiate Software
- Starnet Systems
- Unified Gaming
Since you will be playing online casino game with real money, and since you want an honest game, my recommendation is to only play at online casino that offers the major-brand, downloadable software. By the way, you can turn to best online casino reviews and make your decision. It may take a few more minutes to download and set up the software, but you will be happier knowing that you are probably dealing with a larger, more professional operator.
Look for the Online Casinos to Play
When deciding which casino(s) to play online, you’ll want to find those that meet most, if not all, of the following criteria:
- Offers the online casino games you want to play. This includes offering games with the best odds for the player. For instance, look for the online casinos that offers single-zero roulette, or single-desk blackjack (if you want to play those games)
- Offers the online casino bonus (typically 10%-50%). Remember to check out the terms and conditions for receiving the bonus. Some casinos make it easy, others make it more difficult.
- Use major-name software (e.g. Microgaming, Starnet, Boss Media etc.). The online casino using major brand software are more reliable and less likely to try and cheat you out of your payouts or bonus.
- Offers complete customer service contact info (i.e. e-mail, toll-free phone number, etc.). The easier it is to reach them, the more comfortable you will feel playing.
- Uses payback audits from major auditing firms.
- Discloses company and/or principal information. This is usually the hardest information to come by, but check anyway and see if it is available.
Of these items, the first four are of paramount importance. I wouldn’t play at online casino without each of them. The last two are great, if they are offered, but not having them wouldn’t necessarily keep me from playing.
Depositing the Buy-In
In order to play for money, you’ll have to first make a deposit. This can be accomplished through credit cards, money orders or, in some cases, wire transfers. For most players, the easiest, fastest, and most convenient to make a deposit it through the use of credit cards. By using your credit card, you’ll also have a transaction record from your credit card company.
Don’t worry about giving up your credit card to these casinos, they don’t see your number anyway. All casinos use third-party credit card processing companies to authorize and process your credit card information. The only thing passed along to the casino is your deposit amount.
Here are a few tips to consider when using our credit card for deposits:
- Try and determine the name of the credit card processing company that the casino uses (note: this will not be the name of the casino itself). This makes it easier to reconcile your credit card statement at the end of the month. This information is sometimes found in the “about us” section of the casino’s website.
- Deposit different amounts in each casino. For example, let’s say that you want to make $100 deposits. Consider depositing $101 in Casino A, $102 in Casino B, $103 in Casino C etc. By doing this, you make it easier to match deposits with your credit card statement.
- If you have the ability, consider using separate credit cards for separate casinos. Again, this just makes the accounting and reconciliation easier.
- Use credit cards that treat deposits as “purchases”, not “cash advances”. If you deposit is treated as a purchase, and you pay of the balance within your grace period, you won’t be charged a transaction fee. If the deposit is treated like a cash advance, you will most likely have to pay a few percentage points at the time of the transaction.
- If given a choice, use your first payouts to pay off your credit card. If you do this in a timely manner, you’ll avoid monthly credit card charges. You can then have the remainder of your bankroll paid to you via a check.
- Sign up the new online casino account using the same address as the one assigned to the credit card. The transaction will be smoother, especially when you go to cash out.
- Remember: even though you don’t see any cash when using your cards, you are still playing with real money. Play in a disciplined manner and do what you can to protect your credit account. Don’t over extend yourself or your credit limit.
Finally, take a look at the web site itself. Consider the following when making your decision to play online casino game:
- How professional does the website look? The best online casino offers professional looking sites. If the site doesn’t look good, it should raise questions about the amount of money that is invested in the company that is promoting the site.
- How can you reach customer support? Is there a phone number? Is it toll free? If you call is the line always busy? Do they offer email? Does someone respond to your email when you send it? Is customer service responsive to your questions, or just trying to avoid you?
- A company or individual operates every online casino. Is information about that company or individual available? Can you research the company or individual? The internet is a wonderful resource for finding out all sorts of information of people and companies. Learn to use this resource.
- Does an independent agent audit the site for payouts? Does that independent agent also audit the gaming software for fairness? Do they post the results of their audits?
- What do other players say? Check the online newsgroups and bulletin boards, or the online “watchdog sites”, to see how other players have been treated by the casino in question.