The world of online casinos is entertaining, thrilling and constantly evolving. There are millions of people around the world who enjoy visiting online casinos and playing games. If you’re new to all of this, you’re in for a real treat. We’re not going to lie – there is a lot to gambling online and it can seem a bit daunting for beginners. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Here on this page you’ll find everything there is to know about gambling online with real money for the first time. Have a read to learn the ropes and by the time you’re done, you should be ready to visit online casinos and gamble with confidence.
Find the Right Online Casino for You
There’s no denying it – there are a lot of online casinos out there. So many, in fact, that finding the right one for you can actually be quite the challenge. How are you meant to know which one to sign up to when there are so many choose from? Even more experienced players struggle to pick a casino at times. Thankfully, there’s a very simple thing you can do to help find that perfect place to gamble online: reading reviews.
Pretty much every online casino has a number of reviews floating about online. What these reviews do is summarise what the casino has to offer and let you know whether it’s worth signing up to or not. A lot of reviews have comments from people sharing their own experiences with the casino that’s being reviewed; these are worth reading too, and can give you a better insight as to what a casino’s like.
Check the Casino’s Safe
The vast majority of online casinos are perfectly safe and sound. A very small minority, however, can’t be trusted. Whenever you’re thinking of signing up to an online casino, it’s important that you double-check it’s licensed. Having a licence is a sign that the casino’s been independently reviewed by a regulatory authority and has been given the approval to operate. Usually, if you’re at an online casino and scroll down to the bottom of any page, you’ll see confirmation of a licence somewhere. If you can’t find licensing information anywhere, it’s best not to sign up, just to be on the safe side.
A small number of online casinos are blacklisted. This means that a warning has been put out not to sign up to them because they can’t be trusted. If you read about a casino being blacklisted, make sure you don’t become a member, just to be on the safe side. There are loads of safe, secure casinos you can sign up to instead.
The good news is that signing up to an online casino is very easy indeed. Near the top of the homepage you’ll see a button that says ‘JOIN’ or ‘REGISTER’ or something similar. Click on this and fill out the registration form – to do this, you have to supply the casino with some basic personal details and contact info. Filling the form out should only take a few minutes, if that. Once it’s done, your account’s created. Usually, you have to click on an email link to activate it.
Play for Free
Even though online casinos are known for letting you gamble, you can actually play for free. Most sites let you play games for free once you’ve got your account set up. To do this, simply find a game and there should be an option for playing in demo mode. This is a special mode where the game runs as usual, only virtual money is used instead of actual money. You can play for free as much as you like without having to spend any money at all. Playing for free is a great option for beginners, as you can get the feel of how games work without having to risk your hard-earned money. For players in the UK, age verification is required before games can be played in demo mode; this is to comply with the country’s gambling laws.
Play for Real Money
If you want to take the plunge and gamble with real money, you’ll need to use one of the casino’s accepted payment methods. Practically all online casinos let you use at least a few different payment methods to deposit money into your account. Some of the most popular ones include:
Most of the time, when you make a deposit into your casino account, the money is available to spend on games instantly. So once you’ve clicked to confirm the deposit, you should find the money in your account ready to be used on the casino’s games.
If you’re lucky enough to win and want to withdraw your money, you have to be prepared to wait a short while. It’s common for casinos to take a few working days to process withdrawal requests. Once this has happened, your money will then be on its way to you. If you’re using e-wallets, your money should get to you on the same day as the casino processes your withdrawal request. For other payment methods, the wait time can be a bit longer.
Before you sign up to an online casino, make sure a payment method you’re currently using is accepted. Some can only be used for deposits; ideally, your current payment method will be able to be used for both deposits and withdrawals.
Some casinos may charge you for making deposits and/or withdrawals. Before you cash out, no matter what casino you’re at, you’ll have to provide the casino with some official documentation that confirms your ID. This is a standard security procedure and the purpose of it is so that the casino knows you are who you say you are.
Claim Some Bonuses
For many players, one of the most exciting things about playing at online casinos is claiming bonuses. There are many different types of bonuses and they can vary in size quite a lot – some casinos can be very generous indeed with the special offers they hand out. Below is a summary of some of the most common types of casino bonuses:
- Match Bonus. Make a deposit of a minimum amount and receive a percentage of your deposit back as free money you can spend on a casino’s games. For example, let’s say there’s a 100% deposit bonus of up to €100. You make a deposit of €100 and receive a free €100 in bonus money, giving you a total of €200 to spend.
- Free Spins Bonus. This works in the same way as a match bonus, except that you receive some free spins instead of bonus money. Free spins can be used on slots and each spin is worth a set amount of money.
- No Deposit Bonus. This is a bonus that you can claim without having to make a deposit. It’s usually given to new players once they’ve set up an account and awards a small sum of bonus money or a small number of free spins.
- Cashback is where you spend money and receive a small percentage of it back. The amount you receive is based on your losses.
- Many online casinos have tournaments where you play select games to make your way up a leaderboard and win a share of a cash prize.
- Refer-a-Friend. Have a friend sign up to the casino using a link provided by the casino and when they make their first deposit, you’ll receive a special bonus.
Online casinos have a welcome bonus for new players to claim when they make their first deposit. This is usually a match bonus, though many casinos also give you some free spins alongside the bonus money. Some casinos even give you bonuses for several deposits after your first.
When you’re done with your welcome bonus, you can claim other bonuses the casino’s offering. Casinos usually have a mix of ongoing and limited-time promotions offering a range of bonuses. Many have a loyalty scheme that has you earn points by spending money on the casino’s games; the more points you earn, the more bonuses, rewards and other perks you’ll be entitled to. If a casino has a VIP club, you’ll be invited to become a member if you meet certain requirements (basically, being a very loyal member and regularly spending large sums of money). Become a VIP and you’ll gain access to the casino’s very best bonuses.
Play All Sorts of Games
We’ve already mentioned how you can play games both for free and for real money. Now, we’ll have a closer look at the games themselves. Here’s a rundown of the main types of casino games you can play online today:
- Slots. These are the most common type of casino game by far. Place a bet, spin the reels and if enough matching symbols land in the right place, you’ll be paid. Slots tend to have lots of different features, including free spins, respins, wild symbols that can help you win, bonus rounds, scatter symbols that can offer extra high payouts, expanding symbols and pick-me games, to name a few.
- Progressive Jackpots. Most slots have an upper limit on how much you can win. If it’s a progressive jackpot you’re playing, there’s no such limit. The slot has a jackpot that grows every time someone places a bet. This can get very high indeed, though you have to be ridiculously lucky to win it.
- Table and Card Games. This category includes a range of casino classics, such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker. Most casinos offer several different versions of these games. For example, for roulette there are European and American versions, and for poker there are many different versions, from Caribbean stud poker to pai gow poker and more.
- Video Poker. This is a popular game that combines slots with the five-card poker game. Your objective is to form the best five-card poker hand possible. You’re given five cards and can swap each one out once. Form a qualifying hand to win; the better the hand, the more you win.
- You’ve no doubt played paper scratchcards before. Online ones work in the same way, except of course they’re entirely digital. They’re quick and easy to play and even let you scratch away at the silver covering, just like what you do with the real thing!
- Live Dealer Games. Play a live dealer game and you’ll get to take part in an actual, real-life game from the comfort of your own home. Many online casinos offer live versions of table and card games; these games offer a much more interactive and sociable experience than animated casino games.
- Other Games. Many online casinos offer a selection of other games. These can include things like bingo and keno, arcade-style games and other games of chance.
Most online casinos have several hundred different games; some even have over a thousand! The more games there are, the better because this means you have more choice. New games are constantly being released, so any good casino will constantly grow its collection of games by introducing new ones regularly.
Some games, such as slots and roulette, are all about luck. You simply place your bet and hope for the best. Others, such as blackjack and poker, require you to make decisions that can affect the game’s outcome. If you’re going to play a game where you have to make decisions, it’s a good idea to practise for free first. We’ve already mentioned how demo play is widely available – take advantage of this to practise playing these more challenging games and build up your skills.
Play on Your Phone
If you want to step into the world of online casinos, you can do so through your smartphone or tablet. Practically every online casino has a mobile version that can be accessed on a range of handheld devices. These mobile casinos are designed to be touchscreen friendly and offer most of the same games that are available on the main desktop site.
Some casino brands have also developed apps that you can download. These do take up some space on your device, but they offer a higher standard of performance. Though having said that, mobile casinos are still very much worth checking out if you fancy playing some casino games while you’re out and about. Games may be on smaller screens, but they work in the same way as they do on computers (aside from using a touchscreen, of course).
Get in Touch
Don’t worry about getting stuck at an online casino or not knowing what to do – help is at hand. All casinos have some sort of customer support system in place. Get in touch if there’s anything you’re not sure about or anything you need assistance with, and a customer support team member will help you out. Don’t hesitate to contact the team – whatever issue you have, big or small, they’re there to get things sorted for you.
Use Your Common Sense
If you’re going to gamble online with real money, you should always do so sensibly. As enjoyable as casino games are, they’re designed to take money from you. The majority of the time, you will lose money and end up making a loss.
Whenever you’re thinking of gambling online, a good thing to do is to set a budget and stick with it, no matter what. This should only be money that you can afford to lose. Spend money on important things like rent, bills, food etc. first and if you’ve got some money leftover, use that for gambling. Only spend money that you can afford to lose and isn’t needed for anything important.
Casino games do have the ability to draw you in and make you want to play again and again. When you’re gambling with real money, you must be able to stop yourself and quit the game before you become addicted. As well as limiting the amount of money you spend in a gaming session, you should also go about limiting the time you spend playing casino games.
As with many other things in life, moderation is key. So long as you gamble responsibly and don’t go overboard with how much money and time you’re dedicating to your gambling, you shouldn’t have any major problems. Be sensible and keep online casino games as a relaxing, stress-free hobby you can enjoy every once in a while.
Online casinos offer lots of fun and entertainment. So long as you’re sensible, gambling can be a really worthwhile hobby. Even if you don’t win, you can still enjoy yourself. There are loads of exciting games waiting for you, from classic table and card games, to immersive slots designed with cutting-edge graphics and packed with features. There are so many casinos that there’s bound to be one that ticks all of your boxes. So don’t delay and get signed up to one when you’ve done some research and found a casino that’s safe and looks good to you – remember to make the most of bonuses!
Are online casinos safe?
The vast majority of online casinos are safe and sound. When you visit one, before signing up it’s a good idea to double-check it has a licence, as this is the best way to make sure it can be trusted. You may also want to read some online casino reviews.
Are bonuses really worth it?
All bonuses come with terms and conditions of some kind. Have a look through the fine print before you claim any kind of bonus to see what the restrictions and limits are. A lot of bonuses are worth claiming, though some have more to offer than others.
What details do you have to provide a casino with?
When creating an account at an online casino, you typically have to provide basic personal and contact details. These include things such as your name, age and address, along with your email address. A username and password are required too. A form of ID may be required before you make your first withdrawal.
Do online casinos charge for making transactions?
Most of the time, you’re able to make deposits and withdrawals for free. Some casinos, however, do have charges. Before you become a member of a casino, check to see what charges, if any, there are.
Do all casinos have lots of games?
The line-up of games varies from one casino to the next. Some have fewer than a hundred, while most have several hundred to offer and a few even have more than a thousand.