For those of you new to online gaming, this section provides all the information you need to get started.
Please remember that we only give you general information and guidelines. Every casino has its own set of rules and procedures, which you should familiarize yourself with before starting to play.
Below are links to various sections of this page. To get a complete picture, it is best to read all the information on this page from beginning to end. It will only take a couple of minutes, but it will be well worth it.
On Gaming in General Online Gaming Two Ways to Play
Money Matters Security How to Start Legal Issues Final Words
On Gaming in General
Placing bets has always been a popular past time. No doubt, a simple game becomes infinitely more exciting when real money is on the line. Those of you who have gambled in real casinos know what we’re talking about. Time flies when you gamble, and you don’t even realize it until afterwards. Even if you’ve never been to an actual casino, we’re sure you have gambled at some point in your life. If you’ve ever bought a simple lottery ticket, then guess what? You’ve gambled.
Not long ago, if you wanted to wager bets legally in the U.S., you had to make a special trip to either Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Accessibility used to be a major problem for enthusiastic gamblers. That changed in the early 90’s, when numerous U.S. states began to allow casino-style gaming in an effort to stimulate their local economies. Today, 48 out of 50 states allow some form of gaming.
With the advent on online casinos, accessibility to gambling took another giant step forward. With online casinos, people no longer need to make trips to remote gambling locations in order to wager and have a good time. For the first time, people can actually place bets from their own home, from anywhere in the world. Using the Internet, online gamblers can play the very same games they would play in a real, live casino.
The popularity of online gambling has soared in the very short time it has been available. Today, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow as the number of Internet users increase.
Online casinos have become rather sophisticated in recent years. Contrary to what some people believe, online games are not simple, humdrum computer games with a betting option. Nowadays, online casinos boast spectacular sound and graphics. They are multimedia gaming experiences that are every bit as fun as playing in a real casino. And to top it off, just about every game you can find in a Las Vegas casino can now be played online. To give you an idea of the wide array of options you have in online gaming, here is a list of some of the games you can now play for real money over the Internet:
Video Poker Mah Jong
Jacks or Better
Most casinos also offer a Sportsbook that allows you to place real sports bets online. If you like horseracing, you can place bets online and watch the races LIVE on your browser using streaming video technology. Such examples make it obvious that online gaming has truly become a serious gambling option, and a compelling form of entertainment.
Two Ways to Play
There are generally two ways to gamble online:
1) The first way is to download the casino’s free software onto your hard drive. Most casinos have their own software which you can use only to play at that particular casino. Downloading the free software is really not as time-consuming as you might think. In general, it is pretty fast and easy. Most casinos offer software that is only 4-5 megabytes, which means, for most computers, it would take only a few minutes to get the program. It’s well worth the wait since you will be able to play a whole slew of online games once you are done downloading. And you’ll be amazed at the quality of the graphics and sound.
2) The second way to gamble online is by playing the no-download games offered at many casinos. The no-download versions usually utilize JAVA applets in order to work (don’t worry if you don’t know what JAVA applets are). The games offered in the no-download category are typically blackjack, slots and video poker, among a few others. The selection of no-download games is much smaller, and the graphics and sound quality do not live up to the full-download versions. Nevertheless, for those who want to begin playing immediately, this is a great option.
So you’ve picked a casino, downloaded the software, and you’re ready to play. What next?
Much like a real casino, you need to buy chips/credits first. You do this by visiting the “cashier.” Typically, you open an account at an online casino by using your credit card. There are other options as well, such as using cashier’s check, wire transfers, bank drafts, and even personal checks, but by far, the easiest and fastest way to set up your account is through your credit card.
When you first open an account, you may need to fill out a short form. You WILL have to give out your address – how else are the casinos going to send you checks for all the money you win? When you are done filling out the form, you will receive a username and password. Next, you provide your credit card information, and specify the amount you want transferred into your account (in U.S. Dollars). The money is converted into chips/credits, and you are ready to start wagering.
When you are done playing, you can either leave the money in your account for use later, or you can “cash out.” Normally, adjustments are made to your credit card up to the original amount you deposited. If you come out ahead – and many times you will – then the casino typically sends you the additional amount by check or money order.
Provided you play at a reputable casino, (see our list of top casinos) there is really no need to be concerned about security.
All casinos use secure servers to handle their transactions. This basically means that the information you send is encrypted, and consequently appears as pure gibberish to anyone who attempts to intercept it. You are also assigned a unique username and password which only you can use to access your account. Unless you give these out to other people, (and why would you do that?) there is almost no chance that anyone will gain access to your account.
There are no guarantees, of course, but in our experience, we have found that online casinos take NUMEROUS precautions to protect the players’ interests. Many even place limits on how much money you can take out of your credit card in a single day with a typical limit is $500 or so. To put it simply, online casinos are about as secure as anything could possibly be on the Internet today.
Sounds Good. How Do I Start?
There are literally hundreds of casinos to choose from. Some are visually stunning. Others are relatively dull. We advise you to choose your casino carefully. Chances are, you’ll spend hours there, so why not pick a pleasant spot? Believe us, it will make a huge difference in how much fun you’ll have.
Our list of the Top Casinos provides you a nice selection of online casinos, which we have found to be of exceptional quality.
Whether or not online gambling is legal depends on where you wager from. In many countries, legal issues pertaining to online gambling are still unclear. In the U.S., the laws seem to vary by state. On a federal level, the laws at the moment are confusing and undefined at best. We have not yet heard of a case where a U.S. player actually got into trouble for wagering online. The government has so far displayed an overwhelming tendency to go after casino operators instead of casino players.
Most online casinos DO accept bets from the U.S.
Some Final Words
We wish you the best of luck in your new adventure into online gambling. Gambling is truly a thrilling way to pass time, and winning cash is always a nice reward after playing well. But the most important thing is to have fun! If you play responsibly and don’t get out of control, you will find that online gaming is one of the most entertaining ways to spend your time. GOOD LUCK!