As longtime online gamblers, we understand the importance of being able to find a safe and reliable casino. The gambling industry is sometimes a dangerous place, so you need to be able to identify the predatory websites before you put your money on them. If you do not know how to navigate around these threats, you will find yourself in a bad situation.
While it is important to find a trustworthy casino, it is also important to find a casino that fits your personal preferences. It does not do much good to join a casino that only offers games which you do not enjoy. We also feel that it is not smart to play on a site which does not provide the banking options that you like to use when gambling online.
Combining these two paragraphs together means that you will be playing on a site which not only watches out for your safety and security, but also provides features which will fit your personal needs. We will now dive deeper into exactly which features of online casinos you should be examining and what standards you should use when analyzing them.
The very first aspect of an online casino that you should be analyzing is their level of reliability. If you can’t trust the website that you are depositing money onto, you are setting yourself up for future disappointments.
The first telltale sign that a casino is trustworthy is when they have a well-known licensing company watching over them. Even though it is nearly impossible to find an online casino that is not licensed at all, the licensing companies that exist around the world have varying degrees of reliability.
Two of the most reliable licensing companies in our eyes are the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. Both these companies have proven time and time again that they really care about policing the sites that they watch over, and they do not let any nonsense slide.
When it comes to licensing companies that we tend to shy away from, the first ones that come to mind are the Curacao eGaming Commission and any company that is based in Costa Rica. These jurisdictions have proven that they take part in unethical business practices and do not truly care about the safety of the players on their sites. It seems that as long as these companies are getting paid, they are willing to license any online casino.
The other important aspect of a site’s reliability is whether their random number generator is truly random or not. If it is not, they might be swindling customers out of their money at an alarming rate, and this is highly illegal. Our favorite company that audits random number generators is certainly eCogra. They can be found all over the internet and they do a great job of ensuring that the games are fair and random by simulating millions of runs in each game and then analyzing the results.
The second feature that we like to inspect when choosing an online casino is the selection of games that they have to offer. These libraries usually range anywhere from 100 games to 1500 games, and they include categories such as video poker, slot games, table games, and miscellaneous games.
One of the special types of games that we love to see is called Live Casino games. This is when an actual human in a remote location deals for us via webcam, and the result will be reflected in our account balance at the end of each session. It is normal for a site to have at least one or two of these types of games, with some sites containing as many as twelve variations!
This Live Casino style of gambling is extremely popular these days, because you get the convenience of human interaction from the comfort of your own home. For those who enjoy a social atmosphere and don’t care as much about the gambling games, this Live Casino format is also preferable.
Another thing we look for when ranking an online casino’s game selection is a balanced library. If a site has 51 variations of video poker but only three different table games, something is wrong with that picture. There needs to be a balanced amount of games so that players have options to explore instead of being forced to play the same thing all the time.
Once you have found a casino that is trustworthy and contains a big enough list of your favorite types of games, you can begin to consider banking methods to help you get some funds online. Some casinos do offer games for free, but the winnings on these free games usually come along with a withdrawal limit of $100 or less.
The most important thing to remember is that most sites require you to withdraw money with the same method you deposited it with. This means you should have one banking method that is on both the deposit list and the withdrawal list for the specific site you are targeting. Every review on our site will list the options for both banking actions, so be sure to check them before you commit to a deposit method.
The most prevalent banking method across all the sites is a plastic bank card such as Visa or Mastercard. If a site is not offering these two options, there is usually a reason for why these banking giants chose not to do business with them.
One of our favorite banking methods that we enjoy encountering in an online casino is the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin. Bitcoin has a great reputation in the online gambling world due to its anonymity, reliability, cheapness, and transaction speeds. More and more sites are catching on to the practical use of Bitcoin in the online gambling industry, so it should be fairly easy to spot some sites that offer it.
This Bitcoin banking method is also preferable for those who have banks that block their transactions for being related to gambling. This is a common occurrence these days, but if you simply convert your dollars into Bitcoins, you can deposit and withdraw from any online casino with ease.
If you do not have a bank account, there are still plenty of banking methods that you can use to deposit money. One of the most popular is known as Paysafecard, which is a prepaid card that tons of online casinos accept. These cards are not available for withdrawals though, so you will need to work out another way to withdraw money off of the sites. Usually, you can just contact the casino’s customer service department and they will work out a withdrawal method with you.
If you have been following our advice thus far, you will have already found a reliable licensed site with a ton of your games of choice and a banking method that you feel comfortable using to deposit or withdraw money. By this point, your preferred list is probably reduced to two or three sites, and you can begin to examine each site’s promotions program.
We have never seen a casino that offers zero promotions for their customers, so you will always be faced with the task of evaluating a list of them. During these evaluations, you should be trying to find promotions that are aimed at your specific banking method or gambling game of choice. This way you will be sure to get the most fun per dollar that you possibly can.
The first bonus that you will be eligible for on every online casino is known as the Welcome Bonus, but there is usually a long list of other deals to take advantage of as well. Welcome bonuses are usually between $100 to $1500, but we prefer sites that add in free spins or cashback guarantees to create a welcome package. These welcome deals are usually available during your first few deposits, but you are not allowed to withdraw any money until you clear the playthrough requirements.
Speaking of playthrough requirements, you should ALWAYS be checking on what these are. What’s that you say? They don’t advertise the playthrough requirement anywhere on their site? That is because nearly every online casino only puts this information in their long-winded terms and conditions page.
There are two different ways that a casino states their playthrough requirements for the promotions program. They either state it as a multiple of the sum of the deposit plus the bonus, or just as a multiple of the deposit. No matter which way they word it, the actual value of the requirements should be no more than 50 times the deposit. This is about the industry average, even though 50 times is rather difficult to clear.
Let’s look at an example so that any readers who are online gambling newbies will have a clue of what we are talking about. If a casino has a playthrough requirement that is 50 times the deposit for a 200% bonus of up to $200, this means that we will need to wager $10,000 before our full $200 bonus is cleared. If this same casino decided to change the playthrough requirement to 50 times the sum of the deposit PLUS the bonus amounts, we would need to clear $30,000 worth of bets before we can even consider withdrawing any funds.
Hopefully, this example will serve as a reminder that you should always be reading the terms and conditions carefully for any clauses that pertain to promotions you plan on taking part in. We just illustrated how a couple of seemingly harmless words can triple what is expected from us when we try to clear our bonuses. If possible, we recommend that you try to find sites that post the playthrough requirements right next to each promotion.
As far as promotions outside of the welcome bonus, there are sometimes VIP clubs, raffle ticket contests, leaderboard contests, cashback deals, rakeback deals, and reload bonuses. These promotions, apart from reload bonuses, are aimed at rewarding the players who gamble the most frequently or at the highest stakes. They normally reward players with VIP points for every wager they make, and as soon as certain milestones are reached, this rate of point accumulation will increase. These points are usually utilized in leaderboard promotions as a way of measuring who wins, but they sometimes can also be traded in for money or prizes.
If you are a frequent player, you should be searching for the right promotion that rewards your wagers. If you are not a regular gambler, you really don’t need to be concerned with promotions except for maybe the welcome bonus. However, we recommend rejecting the welcome bonus if you are a recreational player because you are unlikely to be able to complete the playthrough requirements before the bonus expires.
Customer Service sort of goes hand in hand with reliability, but it deserves its own section due to its major importance. We consider a site to be unreliable if we are not able to reach them anytime we have a problem, but this is controlled by a totally different group of people than the licensing companies.
The fact of the matter is, every single online gambler comes to a point in time when they need to contact customer service regarding a problem or a question that they have. If you choose a site without doing your homework on the quality of their customer service department, you could be left out in the cold with nowhere to run.
In our opinion, the most important contact method that an online casino should include on their site is known as the Live Chat feature. If a site offers this, which it should, there will normally be a button on their main webpage that reads “Live Chat” or “Live Help” which links to their Live Chat feature.
The reason we feel so strongly that every online casino should have Live Chat is that it is always the fastest way to get ahold of their customer service team. Emails normally have a long response time, and telephone calls usually result in being put on hold for a long period of time. With that being said, we are usually very hesitant to deposit money onto sites that do not provide an email address and a phone number for their casino operation.
The final aspect of a customer service department that you should be concerned with is whether or not they provide you with the contact information for the higher authorities that govern them. This ensures that if we have a problem that our casino’s customer support team cannot solve, and it turns into a complaint, we have someone that we can contact as a last resort. This information will almost always be located somewhere in their terms and conditions page.
Now that we have explained the importance of analyzing the major important features of an online casino, you should be motivated to get out there and start finding some sites to play on! By following our standards of reliability, game selection, banking methods, promotions, and customer service, you will navigate yourself directly to the front doorstep of the right online casino for you.