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Everything You Need to Know About Online Casinos

Online casinos in the US are growing! As the legalization of online gambling advances across the country, you’ll find everything from sweepstake casinos to online slots. With classics such as blackjack and roulette also on offer, there is no limit to the number of options available.

This comprehensive guide shows you everything you need to know about online casinos. It shows you how they work, the games you can play and how to get money from the casino into your back pocket!

How Online Casinos Work

The online casinos and slots industries are worth billions of dollars--and some of this money is waiting for you! The best part? You can start playing right away. 

To get started with online casinos, you should do some research before signing up. Look for who operates the casino and who granted the license. Check out reviews from past players to learn about trouble spots and to get a general sense of what you can expect from that specific casino.

Once you’re satisfied, you create an account. You’ll have to provide some personal information: name, date of birth, email address and a password you will use to login to your account.

You may also be required to provide proof of age in the form of a passport or driving license.

Finally, you’ll also need to enter banking details so that you can make deposits and receive your winnings. 

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll get an email verification. Then confirm your account. Now you’re all set to play! 

Free Casino Games Vs Real Money Games

Not sure how to start your online casino journey? Wondering if you should play with real cash? 

Lots of new players have questions about real money and which games they want. Online casinos give you the option of playing games for free. You’ll get a sense of the games and learn how they work before playing for real. Sure, they won’t be as exciting as playing with real money, but it’s a chance to get better at the game and helps improve your chances of winning.

But just as if you were playing with real money, you must create an account with that casino to play for free. 

Most games are available for free but live casino games are usually reserved for real money play only. If you want to check them out, just observe a real money game online and see what players are doing and how the game works.

Ok, let’s say you’re interested in playing for real. What then?

Well, let’s first talk about how to make the most of your money through bonuses.

Free Cash Bonuses

If you’re a new player, you can get free cash to play with just by signing up to the site! Though the amounts are usually small, it’s a great way to try new games or improve on another.

You must be eligible via the site’s terms and conditions to get the offer. Look for the following if you decide to take the casino up on its free cash bonuses:

  • Most online casinos have wagering requirements you must meet before you can withdraw your winnings. Find the games that require the least time or money spent.
  • See if the free cash can be withdrawn or if it can only be used to play.
  • Determine if there is a limit on how much you can win with the free cash.
  • Find out what games you can play with the free cash.

The best online casinos will have small wagering requirements, with the winnings deemed withdrawable once they have been met.

There are other types of rewards you can claim from online casinos, such as loyalty bonuses for players who keep coming back. Keep an eye on all the bonuses you can claim as you play to get the most out of your time and money.

First Deposit Bonuses

First deposit bonuses are some of the best bonuses online casinos offer!  

They typically come in the form of a match bonus: The online casino will match your first deposit, usually at 100%. For example, if you deposit $100, the casino will give you another $100 for play.

Like free cash bonuses, you will be required to meet the wagering requirements of the online casinos to clear the money and withdraw the winnings.

When you begin, you might think that most first deposit bonuses are very similar. But if you look at them in more detail, you’ll find many differences.

Let’s look at the wagering requirements. You must play the games and bet a certain amount before the bonus is cleared and you can access the money.

The condition that changes from one casino to another is how many times you must wager the bonus money.

Here are examples of first deposit bonuses offered by two different online casinos:

  • Casino A: A 100% match bonus up to $100 with a 10x wagering requirement. This means if you deposit the full $100, you must wager $1,000.
  • Casino B: A 100% match bonus up to $100 with a 50x wagering requirement. This means if you deposit the full $100, you must wager $5,000.

If you were to choose between the two, it makes sense to sign up and claim the bonus at Casino A because you don’t have to wager as much to get the bonus.

Now, if you play a game like American roulette where the house edge is at around 5%, this can eat into the money you will have left at the end (unless you get lucky and manage to win big.)

The final point to note is that matched bonuses are time-limited, so make sure you meet the requirements before they expire.

Playing Online Casinos For Real Money

Let’s talk about how to play for real money.

Currently, US players in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have plenty of options to legally gamble online with a licensed online casino.

In other states, where it’s not legal to gamble online yet, there are other online casino models you can play with, for example, a sweepstakes model.  More on that shortly.

Follow the steps in the first section to create your account, take advantage of your bonuses, make a deposit if required, and you’re ready to start playing.

You can choose from a host of games. The majority of online casinos are slots, with the biggest and best offering progressive jackpots that can make you win big! Your favorite table games such as roulette, baccarat, poker and other games are also available. 

Sweepstakes Casinos

If your state doesn’t allow online gambling, sweepstakes casinos can give you the excitement you are looking for while still being legal.

Sweepstakes casinos work similarly to regular online casinos, but the differences lie in the way you deposit and how you gamble.

Sweepstakes casinos cannot legally take your money and exchange them for chips to use for gambling. Instead, you buy virtual money which has no direct monetary value and is purely for entertainment purposes.

With every purchase you get ‘sweeps cash’ to enter contests with real money prizes.

Each time you make a bet at a table game or you spin a slot machine, you enter a contest. If you win, you can exchange sweeps cash for real money.

Depositing Real Money

Online casinos are regulated, so there are plenty of secure ways to deposit money. Your preferred method of payment will likely be available.

Here are the most common ways to deposit real money in online casinos.

ACH Transfer

eChecks via ACH are secure, but they take longer than bank transfers or payments via credit and debit cards. Online casinos can use third-parties to speed up the transaction.

Bank Transfer

You can deposit money from your bank account to your online casino just as you would to pay your bills. You can find a list of banks that allow this type of transaction on the casino’s website.

Credit And Debit Card

Most online casinos have Visa and Mastercard. The majority of banks allow gambling transactions but some credit card issuers like American Express will block them.

Ewallets

Ewallets, such as Neteller and PayPal are familiar to many people and protect your funds. They might charge small fees but this is a small price to pay to ensure your money is safe.

Wire Transfer

These are designed for depositing large sums into online casinos. For this reason, they are very slow but also very secure.

Online Casino Games

There are so many different online casino games to play! If you’re new to online gambling, make sure you understand the rules before jumping in.

Here are the most popular games you can find from online casinos and what to expect.

Online Casino Slots

No matter what online casino you use, there will be far more slots to play than any other game type. What used to be three reels of cherries and bars has transformed into a visually impressive gaming experience. The gameplay has also advanced, so you can play for hours without getting bored or feeling like you’re doing the same thing over and over.

In newer online slot machines, you can find scatter wins, wild symbols, and bonus games across various themes. 

Progressive jackpots are also a huge game. They pool massive prizes across multiple servers and online casinos, with a lucky winner taking home hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Even if you don’t win the biggest prize, there are still impressive wins available.

If you’ve played a lot in live casinos, you are bound to come across titles you’ve played in the past; developers such as WMS and IGT have taken their games online.

There is plenty of innovation going on with online slots, so make sure you keep an eye out for new releases, because casinos will be promoting them and offering generous bonuses to get you playing.

Playing Progressive Jackpots

One of the main reasons people love to play progressive jackpots is that it only takes one spin to win the top prize and change their lives forever. The jackpot can sometimes reach into the millions. Across international prize pools, it can even get into the tens of millions bracket!

The size of the current progressive jackpot on offer is shown alongside the game title. They can also be advertised on other pages away from the list of slots.

Remember that if you play a progressive jackpot, the returns are generally lower compared to other slot machines. After all, the casino must be able to get money to generate these massive prizes from somewhere.

Before you play a progressive jackpot slot, read the rules and terms and conditions. You may be required to bet a minimum amount before you can start playing for the progressive jackpot.

Online Roulette

Roulette is one of the most prestigious casino games of all time. It attracts high rollers from every inch of the globe.

Online casinos usually have at least one of the two popular variants: American roulette and European roulette.

The difference between the two is that American roulette has green 00 and 0 while European roulette only has green 0.

If you want to play for fun, then American roulette is the way to go because the payoff is bigger if you predict a winning number. However, if you are playing to win, you’re better off with European roulette wheels.

The removal of the 00 brings the house edge down from 5.24% on an American wheel to just 2.7% on the European wheel.

Online Blackjack 

Of all the table card games on offer at online casinos, blackjack is one of the most popular. There are plenty of variations to play, including American and European blackjack. You can also find games with interesting side bets, such as Perfect Pairs or Royal Flush.

Make sure you check the rules of each game to find the optimum strategy. They will mostly focus on the number the dealer stands on or if you can double down after splitting a pair.

Online Craps 

Unlike most other casino table games, online craps is often limited. This means you’re better off finding a live casino to play this game.

Nevertheless, online craps can act as the foundation for learning the game before jumping into live play. Understand the different bets you can make and find different strategies to give yourself a better chance of winning - in online craps, you will always play as the shooter.

When it comes to online craps, you play alone too, so you can make your bets with the best odds on offer.

If you decide to take to the live casino scene, note that the “don’t pass” bet has better odds and most other players will be betting opposite to you.

Live Dealer Online Casino Games

This is a growing area in the online casino industry. People are switching from playing against software to playing live setting for a more realistic and exciting experience. For example, players can chat with the dealer and other players.

Live dealer games are easy to play. The rules are exactly the same as the software version except that the wheel is spun or cards are dealt by a real croupier in a studio. The betting is also the same; just drag and drop your chips to the felt.

The croupier has nothing to do with your winnings once the hand/spin has completed, though. The software still settles all bets and then begins a countdown for the next hand/spin.

Remember that if you time out before placing your bets, you will likely fold your hand and miss the next round of betting. If you disconnect, you could also lose your place at that table.

Some of the most common online live dealer games include blackjack, roulette, baccarat and plenty of forms of poker.

Online Video Poker

There is still a loyal fanbase for video poker so you’ll likely find online casinos offering this game type too. Popular variations of online poker include Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better, as well as multi-hand games and bonus poker.

How To Cash Out From Online Casinos

Congratulations! You’ve won some money playing online casino games! Now it’s time to get it from your casino wallet into your bank account.

There are plenty of ways to withdraw your winnings, because legal online casinos are regulated to ensure safe and secure transactions.

Your withdrawal method will likely depend on your deposit method, as well as the options offered by the online casino itself.

Here are some options:

ACH/Bank Transfer

Online casinos can write you an eCheck to wire funds electronically to your bank account.

Cash At Cage

In some regulated states, your winnings can be collected from the cash desk of the traditional license-holding casino.

Debit Card

If you have deposited through a debit card, you can get your winnings back to the same account. This method is available for most, if not all, regulated states.

Ewallets

If you used PayPal or another eWallet, you can also withdraw using that same method.

Online Casino Apps

Most online casino websites respond to the size of your screen, no matter if it’s through your laptop or desktop. With the growth of mobile gambling, the majority of online casinos now also run a mobile-friendly version of the site.

Online casinos can also create a dedicated mobile app. You can download these from appropriate app marketplaces (the App Store on iOS devices and the Play Store on Android).

However, some apps cannot be found in the Play Store. If the app you want isn’t there, go to the casino’s website and download the app from there. Note that you need to allow downloads from unknown sources to get it.

Dedicated mobile casino apps have advantages over their website counterparts. For example, you can manage your account with an organized interface and the games will load faster on the app than through your phone’s web browser.

Secure And Fair Online Gambling

Safety and fairness are important parts of the online casino experience. When searching for an online casino, you must be sure you are playing at a legitimate site that takes security seriously.

Your money must be safe as soon as it’s deposited into your account.

If you play with offshore online casinos, be aware that you are always taking a risk because you can never be sure that the regulations and security measures are up to the same standards.

Look at the security of the site’s URL too. If it starts with “https”, this is a good start. If it doesn’t, your credit card information is at risk.

The games must be fair too. Legitimate online casinos use Random Number Generators (RNGs) to control the cards dealt, the result of a slot or roulette spin, and so on. RNGs are tested by third-party companies to ensure the integrity of the games is intact.

Well-known online casinos will not have safety or security issues--their reputation is everything. They want to keep their customers safe and secure and want them to know that gaming with them is fair 

Know Your Customer

This is a security measure used by banks and financial service companies to prevent money laundering and fraud. Online casinos use Know Your Customer (KYC) to protect players and themselves from committing illegal activities.

Players are required to present a valid ID and proof of address when they deposit money into their account. 

Summary

Regulated and legal online casinos are live and accepting players right now! 

If you don’t want to play for real money right away, you can play for free and use your time to understand the rules and strategies.

Make sure you read the site’s terms and conditions before you play, too. This ensures you know and understand any wagering requirements you must meet before you can withdraw your winnings.

Above all else, if you have any doubts, double-check that you are playing on a legitimate online casino. If it doesn’t keep your money safe or your card details secure, find somewhere else that does.