Choosing the right online casino is crucially important – perhaps more so than you think. Trust us, after reviewing thousands of casinos across the web, the difference between a world-class online casino and a rogue one can be as extreme as you can possibly imagine.
So, what’s the key to choosing the right online casino? How can you be sure you pick a site with top-notch games, generous bonuses, fast payouts, and all the other things which make a casino great, and avoid the sites that want to scam you, bleed you dry via fixed games, and leave you feeling frustrated, angry, and cheated?
We thought you might ask! That’s why we wrote this complete guide answering the questions of how to choose the right online casino once and for all. By the end of it, you’ll be armed and equipped with the information you need to make the best decision possible.
Step 1: Think About What You Want
Casinos vary greatly from site to site. In fact, the differences can be so great that picking a casino site can be compared to picking a car. You aren’t going to have the same experience with a Ferrari 458 as you are with a Toyota Auris, to state the obvious. There’s nothing wrong with either, of course; it just depends on what you’re looking for and what your individual needs are.
The same goes for online casinos. Answering the question of how to choose the right online casino requires you to think about the following, at the very minimum:
- What games do you want to play? If you have to make sacrifices, which games are more or less important to you? Would you prefer thousands of slots and just a handful of table games, or do you enjoy lots of different blackjack variants, and anything less than 12 types would leave you feeling disappointed?
- What sort of bonuses are you after? Are you looking for a no-deposit bonus, or do you prefer cashback bonuses with no wagering requirements? This will depend on what sort of games you’re after, so this question follows on nicely from the first one.
- What type of player are you, and what do you hope to get from gaming online? Are you the type who plays once in a blue moon when the notion takes you? Or maybe you’re a habitual player who logs in every Friday evening after work to relax and try to top up your weekend fund? If you’re the second kind, maybe a great casino loyalty program will be more important to you than if you’re a once-in-a-while player.
Once you’ve answered these basic questions, you’ll at least have an outline of what sort of casino you’re looking for. At the very least, you’ll know what’s not acceptable to you, and that will bring you one step closer to answering the overall question of how to choose the right online casino.
With so many casinos online (there are literally thousands), there’s no need to settle for something which isn’t ideal. We’ll bet our bottom dollar there’s a casino out there that ticks all of your most important boxes.
Step 2: Do Effective Research
How experienced are you as a casino player? Do you know what SSL encryption is and how to find casinos which have valid gaming licenses? How about the difference between casinos which run NetEnt games and those which offers games from companies like RTG?
No matter whether you knew the answers to those questions instantly or drew a blank, reading expert reviews can be a great help when it comes to choosing the right online casino. To return to the car analogy again, if you wanted to buy a new car, you would probably ask someone who knew about them, right? The same goes for online casinos.
Here are some things our expert reviews cover which you might not initially think about when choosing an online casino.
Safety and Security
Does the site have a valid gaming license? Can it be trusted? Are game payouts verified? Does it run on an encrypted connection? Who runs the site, and are they experienced, trusted casino operators?
These are just some of the questions we answer related to the safety and security of the casinos we review. Security should always be the first priority when picking a casino site.
If you’re playing on a desktop computer or laptop, you probably won’t have to worry much about device compatibility. But what if you’re playing on a mobile device? Some casinos allow all mobile users to play directly through a mobile browser, but others will ask you to download an app.
Finding out if the casino app is compatible with your device could be time-consuming, not to mention annoying. Expert casino reviews make it easy by telling you exactly which mobile devices each casino app is compatible with.
Bonus Terms and Conditions
Again, depending on how experienced you are, you may or may not already know that not all casino bonus offers are what they initially seem. It’s important to study the small print and see exactly what the terms and conditions of the offer are.
Some huge casino bonuses are actually terrible once you study the wagering requirements and minimum deposits required to unlock them, while some small bonuses can be great deals for the same reasons.
Expert casino reviews will outline the important bonus stipulations, which will save you time and a lot of tedious effort reading through paragraphs of legal jargon.
Payouts and Banking
There are two elements to think about when considering the banking side of online casinos. The first is what payment methods are available, and the second is how long payouts take.
In all of our casino reviews, we list the deposit and withdrawal methods available, what fees each entail (if any), and how long it takes to receive your jackpots/winnings if you use these methods.
If you’re into using cryptocurrencies online, we also cover that. In fact, we have a dedicated list of crypto-friendly casinos which accept Bitcoin and some altcoins, so check that out if crypto is your scene.
Most new casino players don’t even think of customer service when they go about finding a legit online casino. It’s not even something which occurs to most people until they need it, and by then, it’s too late if you’ve picked the wrong casino site.
Expert reviews can tell you how to get in touch, what sort of service to expect, and the opening hours (not all casinos offer 24/7 service).
We hope by now we’ve convinced you that taking the time to read expert-written reviews is an important step in answering the question of how to choose the right online casino.
Step 3: Visit the Casino Site and Check It Out
After you’ve found a casino you’re interested in through reading various reviews, you’ll need to take the next step and visit the site itself. As the old saying goes, someone can tell you how an apple tastes all day, but you need to take a bite to really know what it’s like!
Once you land on the site, you should:
- Browse around. Click the menus, check out the registration form, try to load some of the games, and see how the site works. Is it fast, smooth, and reliable, or clunky, slow, and full of broken links? Believe us, design is important, and a bad site will lead to a frustrating experience.
- Try the games. Lots of casinos allow you to play at least some of their games for free. If this is an option, go for it! This will give you a taste of what to expect from the games themselves, which is arguably the most important part of an online casino experience.
- Check the promos. There should be a promotions tab somewhere on the site. This is where you’ll find the welcome bonuses and any ongoing promotions the site offers. Take a look around, see if the bonuses suit you (e.g., weekly free spins for slots players), and look at the important terms and conditions. This will give you an idea of how fair the casino is and whether it looks after loyal players.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to test the customer service for yourself. While you’ve hopefully selected a casino with a great customer service score, you can still verify this for yourself by asking the customer service team some questions. If service is only available to registered players, you can do this after the next step.
- Sign up. If you like what you see, go ahead and register. Even how easy (or difficult) it is to register will tell you a lot about the casino.
Step 4: Take the No-Deposit Bonuses (If Available)
The ultimate way to find out how to choose the right online casino is to try what’s on offer with no risk!
This is usually the last step in the process since you’ll have to register an account to get this far. If you have done so, then we guess the site must be at least decent.
No-deposit bonuses aren’t available at every online casino, but where they are available, you should take them. They’re an ideal way to try the real thing without risking your own cash, and you never know – you could win something in the process.
Do be aware that no-deposit bonuses almost always have wagering requirements, meaning you can’t just automatically withdraw what you win. You possibly already know this, but we just wanted to say it again for anyone who is new to gambling online – don’t try to withdraw no-deposit bonuses, or you’ll void the bonus and your winnings. You have to meet wagering requirements first.
Try a little bit of everything with no-deposit bonuses. Play some video slots, enjoy a few hands of blackjack, spin the roulette wheel, and play some live games. This is the real thing, without the risk, so it will give you unrivaled insight into how things work at the casino you’re testing.
Bonus Section: Register at Multiple Casino Sites!
Remember how we said picking a casino is a lot like picking a car? Well, there’s no rule to say you have to buy the first car you test drive, and just as you’re free to try multiple vehicles, so you’re free to try multiple casino sites.
In fact, we have encountered some hardcore casino players who have dozens of accounts, taking full advantage of the diversity of games and bonuses that are made possible. They’re wise to do this, and you should probably follow their lead.
We would argue that it is best to try a few different casinos before settling on one. You can come back to the others later if you like, since once you’re registered, your account will remain open for up to a year at most sites even if you don’t make a move. You’ll know how to choose the right online casino after you try a few of them for yourself!
Most casinos have dormant account clauses whereby you will be charged a monthly fee if you don’t play for x number of months. Make sure you use up anything you deposit at the start. Otherwise, those fees will eat away at them. You won’t be charged dormant account fees if your balance is empty.
How to Choose the Right Online Casino – Final Points
Hopefully you now have a much better idea about what’s involved in selecting the right online casino. It really is worth spending the time to get this right, and doing your research is important.
Diving head-first into playing at a casino can work out, but our experience tells us that it leads to disappointment more times than not. By at least reading some of our reviews, you can avoid the worst casino sites (the ones that are outright scams and are run by virtual pirates on offshore servers).
Whatever site you decide upon, we wish you good luck. May your online casino gaming experience be both fun and fruitful!