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Online Casinos: Playing and Winning

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 10 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Webstakes.com Aceshigh.com Caribbean

In the brave new world of online casinos, winning or losing £1000 is just a mouse click away, but is playing and winning online as safe and easy as the popularity boom suggests?

The Online Casino Boom

The internet has proved to be a home from home for casino gambling, with its popularity mushrooming in the decade since it first moved online in the late 90s. The success of the relationship is because the web offers casino gamblers variety, security and limitless play, all in the comforts of their own home.

With around 15 million visitors to online casinos, sites like Webstakes.com and Aceshigh.com popping up all the time, and well known web portals such as Yahoo! and Excite getting in on the action, online casinos have grown out of their seedy niches and become mainstream.

First Steps

With their mix of unfamiliar technology and easy opportunity for cash loss, the world of online casinos can be quite intimidating for beginners, even the web-savvy or the veterans of brick and mortar casinos.

Having read up about the ins and outs of online gambling, the next step is in choosing the right web casino to register with, and this is crucial. With the mind-boggling array of gambling websites now plying their trade, even choosing one can be a daunting exercise. Fortunately most of the reputable sites offer a ‘free play’ area for newbies to try out before taking the plunge. It is important to try these out, because being at home with the casino layout can make a big difference to the enjoyment of the online gambling experience.

‘Free play’ areas are also a much better way of judging a potential site than the various enticing offers and bonuses that are usually bandied about. Often these are not what they seem and it is important to read the terms and conditions carefully before being drawn in by one.

Online Casino Types

There are now three main types of online casino to choose from; web-based, download and live casinos.

A web-based casino is one that allows users to play the games in ‘real-time’ without the need to download any software onto their computer. The casino play is instead operated through browser plug-ins such as Macromedia Shockwave or Java. This means bandwidth is required because all the graphics, sounds and animations load from the web via the plug-in.

Most experienced online gamblers find web-based casinos too sluggish and unreliable and prefer the freedom of the download-based option. This is quicker because once the player has downloaded the appropriate software all the display and sound features are conveniently located on the home computer. The disadvantage of download-based casinos is that, like with any internet download, there is always the risk of contracting a virus or spy ware.

The relatively recent phenomenon of live casinos offer the most realistic and atmospheric gameplay because players are able to interact with games played in real world casino environments worldwide.

Safe Winning Tips

Playing virtual blackjack, roulette or poker can be unnerving at the best of times, without being concerned that if one does win the money will be forthcoming. Here are some tips for safe gambling:

  • Always make sure the casino is licensed. Look for the licensing information on the website and if it difficult to find either contact customer service or avoid the site altogether.
  • Always make sure the casino has a 24 hour customer support and free phone contact numbers. The reputable casinos should all have these facilities.
  • Check to see if the casino has its pay-out percentages assessed monthly by a third-party auditor. The previous months’ figures should be consistent and available online.
  • Check to see how quickly the casino pays out its winnings. This should not take an unduly long time.

Online Casino Controversies

The huge benefits that the internet offers casino gamblers are also responsible for some of the negative aspects associated with web gambling.

The freedom and ease of use casino gambling enjoys means that, for instance, it is easier for those under the age of 18 to engage in illegal activity and harder for those with addictive tendencies to escape the lure of gambling when it can be played at home. Another emerging trend is the popularity of online casinos with people from lower income families, who account for a significant proportion of all users.

The freedom of online casinos means also a freedom from local gambling laws. With gambling outlawed in most US states, online casinos allow Americans to bypass these restrictions by logging on to casino sites based in Australia or the Caribbean.

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Yes, but remember that in online casinos, just as in bricks-and-mortar ones, the odds are always in favour of the house. It’s how they make their money and no system you can devise will be able to beat that – in fact, you’d stand a better chance live than online where so many are playing at one time. And never, ever, bet more than you can afford.
Chris - 4-Oct-12 @ 10:47 AM
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