How to Choose an Online Casino | The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Online Casinos
All thanks to the proliferation of online casinos, you don't have to go all the way to a brick and mortar casino before you can play casino games. Online casinos are convenient, secure and offer the same wide range of exciting games even more than land-based casinos, and what is more, you get to play games on the go.
When choosing an online casino, it is important for you to choose a reputable casino with nice features for your peace of mind and an enjoyable experience while playing games. Beginners to online gambling may find that choosing an online casino to play is tedious because there are hundreds of options for you to choose from, and all these online casinos are not of the same standard, and they don’t all offer the same things.
The good news is that with this article, we have made the work easier for you, you don't have to waste your precious time getting familiar with all casinos online. We have listed the 14 characteristics of the best online casinos. And you can only find our site, casinos that have most if not all of these characteristics. These points will help you make a smart choice when selecting an online casino to play at. We also recommend that you check the listing of casinos that have been reviewed by us to make the process of getting to play your favorites games faster.
1. Reputable Regulators
This is one of the most important criteria an online casino must check before you consider playing games in it. In order to ensure that a casino upholds fair play and honest rules, prevent any connection between gambling and criminal activity, ensure games that are fair and transparent and prevent children and vulnerable people from being exploited, you must check if the online casino is registered under the government or major regulators that have a set of criteria that the casinos must meet before they are registered.
There are several respected regulators in the online gaming world, they take on the responsibility of ensuring that all of the operators they license provide games that are fair, random, and safe for players. These regulators are divided up into jurisdictions, some of them are: UK Gambling Commission, Malta, Isle of Man, Nevada Gaming Control Board, Dutch Gaming authority, Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
Note that there are other major regulators that might not be in our list but are trustworthy. Always make sure you check about a casino's licensing authority before playing games on the casino. However, there are some regulators that might not be considered reputable such as Panama and Aruba and it is best to avoid online casinos that use them.
So how do you know if an online casino is registered? Follow these tips to spot a registered or unregistered online casino:
TIP 1: Check the licensing info on the casino site in the footer or About Us page. Most online casinos usually display their credential and certificates in these sections. Scroll to the bottom of any page and you should see a stamp, a crest or a name, indicating where the website is registered.
TIP 2: If you’re not sure if a casino holds a license of a given country, go to the regulators page and check it in the registry. Each regulator such as The UKGC has a search page, where you can find any licensed company or the complete list of all license holders on their sites and where they are based.
TIP 3: If you ever run into problem with a casino, you can file a complaint to the regulator, which will prompt investigation into the case by the regulator. When you play at licensed casinos, you’re always protected, and that’s why licenses are so important.
2. Top-notch Security
It is important that you check if the casino is fully secure and all data is encrypted to ensure the protection of your personal data and funds. There are several measures that must be put in place to ensure your security on the site.
A major security measure is the SSL encryption (short for Secure Sockets). This system uses various key exchanges between the browser and the server your computer is communicating with to encrypt the data before the data is passed over across the web. Essentially, in order for a web page to be considered secure, it should have an active SSL layer.
This is also applicable to financial transactions on the casino, when any money transfer information is sent across the Internet, it is encrypted or coded. Only the intended receiver of the funds can unravel the code and take credit of the money transferred. If any unauthorized third party intercepts the message it would be “garbage” without the decryption facility and will not result in transfer of funds.
To keep your casino account safe and secure, follow our listed tips closely:
TIP 1: Always create long and unique passwords to guard yourself against black hat hackers. Each password should include small, capital letters, numbers, and unique signs.
TIP 2: You also have a role to play at your end with regards to safety and privacy such as keeping your passwords secure. Never share passwords with others, not even your family, or write it down where it can be assessed and ensure that your devices are completely safe.
TIP 3 : Check if a site is protected with SSL certificate, to do this:
- Look in your browser's top address bar for "https://" at the beginning of the website's address. The URLs of unencrypted websites begin with "http://" or you may not see that part of the address at all, depending on your browser. Websites using SSL always show the preceding protocol with an "s" at the end, such as https://www.example.com.
- Look for an icon that depicts a closed padlock. This might be located in the address bar or the bottom status bar. If you have turned off your status bar, this icon may not be visible, even on websites that use SSL.
- You can also right-click a blank area of the screen and select "View Page Info" or "Properties." Look for an entry for "Connection" or "Security," which is followed by the encryption status and the protocol used.
3. The Casino Has A High Payout Percentage
A Payout percentage (PP) is basically the average rate of return for a given game and/or the percentage payout of online casinos, although PP vary across games and casinos, but the average percentage payout is 94 % in most casinos. However, some casinos offer higher payout percentages as a promotional tool such as 888 casino with 98.25 % and Dunder with 97.85 % PP. As we have rightly stated, each game has their own separate PP. Some games just offer better odds than other games. Games like Blackjack and craps have high PP, while slots and wheel of fortune's PP is low. You can also the PP for each game on the casino's site.
The PP for online casinos is monitored monthly by independent experts like eCOGRA and iTech Labs. eCOGRA which stands for eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance concentrates on fair gaming, player protection and responsible operator conduct. While iTech Labs consultants carries out several tests on casinos which includes: Confirming cards, reel numbers, dice, balls etc. are random and fair, Return to Player (RTP) calculation for each game etc.
Here are some tips in choosing casinos based on payment percentages
TIP 1: Avoid casinos and games with a PP less than 94%. Do not settle for less, since 94% is the average PP and we even have casinos offering more than this, you should always go for a casino that gives you a higher chance of making money.
TIP 2: Always check the PP of a game you want to play. It is always published via links in the footer of casino webpages, if you can’t find it on the site, get in touch with the customer service support to make inquiries.
TIP 3: Investigate whether there’s been any recent big wins in a casino you want to play. Casinos usually include such info on sites, you can also search for payment reviews of the casinos online, if you can’t find such info, get in touch with customer service support.
4. Casino Accepts Players from Your Country
A Casino might not accept players from all countries in the world, mainly because of licenses or government restrictions. While some countries only allow domestic companies, others forbid them from operating. Furthermore, certain laws allow for casinos, but don't allow for local people to play in them and reserve that right for foreigners only.
How do you know whether a casino accepts players from your country?
TIP 1: You can check if a casino accepts players from your country in their terms and conditions section, Link to T&Cs can be found in the footer of the casino’s site.
TIP 2: An online casino must be licensed under a major regulator in the jurisdiction of a country before it can operate fully and cater for betting needs of members of that country. So avoid casinos that accept players from a given country even though they don’t hold an appropriate license, they are scammers.
5. Easy Website Navigation and Quality Graphics
A website 's navigation is like a map for newcomers on a site, get a wrong or bad one and you lose your way. A top online casino should boast of a modern and easily navigable system with a well-structured user interface. This will enhance the accessibility of the games and also fasten the process of loading without any slowdowns on the site. A direct and fast registration process for members is an added benefit too.
The online casino's games should be of high-quality graphics, good sounds, themes and animations. The quality of a casino’s graphics and sound is majorly dependent on the type of software the casino chooses to lease from. Most online casinos don’t use proprietary software, instead they lease software from an online casino game company. Some of these software programs offer better games than others. Some are flat out awful, while others are good for certain games and bad for others.
Tips on choosing casinos with easy website navigation and good graphics:
TIP 1: Before playing for real money, check some demo games. Casinos offer freeplay or demo games that you can actually play before wagering real money, when you play, check the graphics, and speed of games. Nobody likes when games lag all the time!
TIP 2: Play around with a site, when you are new to a casino site, check how easy it is to find info such as T&Cs, promotions, registration page, games etc. If you can't find these easily, leave the site and check for another, there is no use playing games in such a disorganized site.
6. Multiple Deposit Methods and Hassle-free Withdrawals
There are several payment options available for online payments in online casinos such as Visa and MasterCard, Skrill, Paysafecard, Click2pay, Neteller etc. An online casino should strive to provide most of these payment options and make it easy for you to both deposit and withdraw money in a secure and easy way. If not, what is the use of a casino winnings if you can't withdraw them? Players should be able to withdraw their earnings, fast, without any stress on a good casino and processes involved in withdrawing such as KYC (know your customer) process- which is the process used by online casinos to ensure players that sign up and register an account are who they say they are - should be quick too.
These tips are essential while choosing your casino deposit options:
TIP 1: Make sure you can deposit and play with your local currency in a casino before joining. However not all Casinos offer local currencies but they usually support the use of EUR, GBP, USD currencies. Ensure that your casino of choice supports these currencies too.
TIP 2: Read the small print, check if there are any fees on withdrawals, and if there are any withdrawal limits. Some casinos limit the amount you can withdraw. You will find this information in their T&C page on the site.
TIP 3: If a casino asks you for documents to verify your identity, submit them ASAP, it is just a routine security check from them, trying to prove your identity which in the long run is still a way of keeping your account secure. If you don’t submit them, casinos will have a right to withhold your cashout.
7. Different Variety of Games
There are over 300 casino games online such as video slots, table games, blackjack etc. and a casino should be able to offer a wide variety of these games. They should also offer games developed by the best software developers so that your choices won't be limited and you can be able to play the several variations of your favourite game. Casinos should also provide games in real-money and demo mode for members who would just like to practice with these games before wagering real money.
How do you select an online casino based on its games?
TIP 1: Before depositing funds check if a casino offers your favorite games. Create an account, log in and go to the GAMES section. When you’re logged in, you’ll be able to see all the available games. If you find your favourite games, deposit funds and start playing.
TIP 2: Monotony is not good for the soul. Don’t always stick to the same games! Try some new titles every now and then to give you an overall enjoyable experience and makes you savvy about other games in a casino.
TIP 3: If you’re not sure how to play a game or unsure about wagering real money before playing, try it first in demo mode, but to do this, the casino must have provisions for demo mode games, however it is not all casino games that you can play for free.
8. Availability of A Local Customer Service Agent
Many times, the online casino’s website does not contain as much information about their operations as you might prefer and sometimes you might get stuck in the casino or need help while playing a particular, that is why an efficient customer care service is necessary to guide you and provide you with answers on all your questions.
Online casinos should provide intelligent agents that can be reached through email, phone and live chat, and as long as a casino caters for your country, CSA should be available in languages of your country if not all, but the official language.
How do you test drive a customer's service agent of online casinos?
TIP 1: To test out a customer service agent, get in touch with them on live chat or email and ask some simple question e.g. about welcome bonus, available games or cash out policies. You can gauge how well such a casino takes care of its customers by the nature of these interactions. If they reply promptly and give you a right answer, you may be sure they will easily solve any other query you may have.
TIP 2: Check if a casino offers a support 24/7. Since online casinos does not have time limits or restrictions when playing games, you might get stuck anytime, you surely want to get help if you run into problems at night!
9. Attractive Bonuses and Promotions
When evaluating a particular online casino, bonuses and promotions should be considered because they increase your earnings in casinos. A top casino should offer several types of casinos like welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, free spins etc. for both new and existing customers. However, not all of the available bonuses are beneficial for you. In order to determine whether the bonuses at a particular casino are worthwhile, you should simply look at their wagering requirements.
So how do you choose bonuses in a casino?
TIP 1: Never claim a bonus without reading T&Cs or checking the wagering requirements. Some bonuses can be only used on particular games and sometimes they are only valid for a certain period of time. Also, bear in mind that not all games contribute to the wagering requirements in the same way.
TIP 2: Don’t always go for the highest bonuses. Very often big bonuses come with high wagering requirements! And what is the use of working at a bonus that you have no chance of meeting its requirements before the expiry date.
TIP 3: Usually online casinos offer free spins or bonuses to new members as welcome bonuses, but if you are not given, ask a casino for a free bonus or free Spins when joining. If a casino doesn’t offer such a promo on site, ask customer agents to give you some bonus.
10. Rewarding Loyalty Scheme and VIP programs
Not everybody wants to play average. Some gamblers want a maximized gaming experience and are ready to bet high stakes. A top casino should have an attractive loyalty scheme for its loyal members and offer special bonuses, VIP clubs, and programs for its whales or high rollers.
More tips for VIP players or intending high rollers.
TIP 1: If you’re a VIP player, make sure your casino has several exclusive benefits for VIP players and take advantage of all the benefits after all you deserved it. Don’t be afraid to ask your account manager for more.
TIP 2: Casinos have VIP tiers with different benefits attached to them, levelling up in this program is mainly determined by the amount you wager and time used in playing games, if you play a lot, and you think you should become a VIP player or your tier is not upgrading, get in touch with customer service support. They will tell you how to get the VIP status.
11. The Casino Supports Responsible Gaming
A top casino should be committed to Responsible Gambling and have a shared responsibility to help customers only spend what they intended and to have a positive playing experience through a number of self-help tools to help manage your gambling like providing players with tools that help set monetary limits on the gambling website (e.g., expense calculators and budget exercises), Making players aware of the ability to set limits (i.e., type and duration) as part of the registration process, an account history and ability for players to delete their accounts easily. Provisions for these set ups, differs from casino to casino, you need to check the casino of your choice and see if they have a process to do just that, and if you can't find any, contact the customer care. Casinos should also work with a number of independent charitable organisations who can offer help or answer any questions you may have.
TIP 1: If you think you may be playing too much and it is affecting your personal life, job and financial stability, stop immediately and seek for help. You can block your casino account and think about next steps.
TIP 2: Play only at casinos with gambleaware.org logo in the footer. Such casinos support responsible gaming and are ready to help players who may experience gambling problem.
12. Responsive Mobile Version
It’s important to check whether the online casino you choose is available for all the devices or is compatible with your smartphone or tablet. You should be able to play instantly on your smartphone by simply accessing the casino website via your browser. Depending on the casino, you might also be able to download an application, you’ll find several platforms that are available for all operative system of mobile devices, however this isn’t the same for all casinos, so it’s worth confirming before creating an account.
Are you using a mobile phone or a tablet? Then these other tips are for you when choosing online casinos
TIP 1: Sometimes casinos offer separate bonuses and promotions for mobile players. Log in from your mobile to assess these bonuses.
TIP 2: Desktop and mobile games may differ. Check if a casino offers your favorite games on mobile as well. However, a top casino should have games that are responsive across all screens.
13. Casino Offers Personalisation
The best online casinos should be able to understand their players more and offer them a personalized gameplay in which players will be able to tag their favourite games, and casinos give suggestions on which games to play based on their preferences and profile.
Gamification is also a necessity at online casinos so as to engage players more and make their gaming experience more enjoyable and rewarding through the different features’ gamification offers such as adventures, goals, missions, introduction of levels, tournaments player's community etc.
Our main tip on casino gamification:
TIP: To maximize your experience in a personalized or gamification casino, sign up or log in, add your avatar, create a great username and join tournaments if available. Compete with other players and simply enjoy.
14. In General, a Good Casino Has A Good Reputation
Finally, it is paramount that you check out the reputability of a casino before you decide to play games in it, your information, personal data and funds can not be secured in a casino known for dishonourable acts and even if they offer amazing bonuses, you will never be able to withdraw it.
So how do you check if a casino is reputable? Use these tips
TIP 1: Read reviews from different sources on the web about a casino to determine its reputability. Go through forums and check what other players think of the casino. If you are researching online casinos, and you find a lot of negative reviews for any particular site, take them into account.
TIP 2: Write your own reviews of a casino you play at and share your knowledge with other players. That way, you are helping people make a good choice or preventing them from making a bad one.
Choosing an online casino is easier when you have some kind of framework and criteria to start from, and that is why we have listed the above points to look out for while choosing a casino. When you do settle on a particular online casino, we recommend you deposit only a small amount of money there to begin with. See how things go with the property as a customer, and gradually increase the amount of money you trust with the site over time.