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Online Gambling Guide: The Facts

Internet gambling; It’s a hot topic. Fast-paced and jargon-filled, a world crammed with online poker tournaments, online betting, free casinos and free online games. All the traditional casino favourites are now available through the net. So what the hell is speed poker? Not sure of your progressive slots? Don’t know your hold’ems from your freerolls? Feel like there is simply too much choice? – You’re in good company.

Be honest; you’d be hard-pushed to find a person who had never placed a bet in their lives. The unbeatable feeling of risk, together with the possibility of winning, drives players to their computers worldwide. And who can blame them; it’s infectious.

And the internet provides a formidable platform for gambling: an inevitable springboard from the traditional casino set up into the twenty first century. The internet was surely created for gambling, wasn’t it? The need to sit in a dark sweaty room, squinting through smoke to check your hand, has now been removed. It’s no longer a dirty word, online gaming is sexy. It’s accessible to all, at all hours of the day, and people are logging on in their millions.

Although online gambling has in fact been in existence for over 10 years, it is still an industry in its infancy, often wobbling on its young inexperienced legs, forced to try out new things, and having to adapt to its constantly changing surroundings. So it’s understandable that there are often teething problems, shifts in popular opinion and new ideas on how this industry should grow up.

The industry has exploded from a few internet gambling sites back in 1994, to today’s total of more than 3500; including online casinos, gambling portals, poker sites and free casino games. And despite recent US legislation, it shows no signs of slowing down: One thing’s for certain, online gambling will not be contained.

So how do you navigate the labyrinth of online gaming if you are new to the industry? How about a few friendly pointers:

Online Gambling Tips for New Players

So, you’ve accepted it’s time to get your feet wet. But without diving in blind, here are some tips on gently finding your feet without drowning at the first wave.

  1. Where should I play?
  2. What payment mechanism should I use?
  3. Who can I trust?

1. Where should I play?

So the choice is endless. How do you choose an online gaming website suitable for you? These ideas should help:
Take advantage of the sign-up bonus – all online casinos have a sign up offer. Try to deposit enough to get the maximum bonus. However, do not choose your casino based solely on the bonus, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Take advantage of the ‘play for free’ feature. Many online casinos have this which enables you to see if the casino is to your liking, and get a general feel of the game play. Not only this, but more importantly you are able to get used to the casino’s software and therefore learn the features, practice the game and gain confidence. You will also be able to form your strategy, without spending any money.
Have a limit. Be responsible. Decide how much money you are willing to play beforehand, and stick to your plan. If you feel like you are beginning to have a run of bad luck it is best to stop.
Always gamble with the money that you have budgeted for entertainment – it’s important that you can pay the mortgage at the end of the month!
Keep it real. You should be in the frame of mind that you cannot always win. Don’t let a few loses drag you to the bottom.
Know the games. Before playing a game – try to learn all the rules.
Check security. It is a good idea to establish which companies offer the best security and privacy as well as offering value for money. (Link here to: Casino Security)

2. What payment mechanism should I use?

There are a number of ways to shift your money around online. To check out which mechanism to use check out our Casino Payments section.

3. Who can I trust?

As with most things in life, there are good providers and bad so it’s handy to be cautious. However, many people are still of the mindset that traditional casinos are the only way to get the best odds and that online gaming is more of a risk. Er, where have you been? Let’s address the balance. Many of the online gaming companies are public companies, with accountabilities and transparent financials. Hardly scam artists, eh? Also worth watching are the unofficial regulators like eCogra that have your best interests at heart – rummaging around in the trousers of the online gambling world to check everything is in order. Also, don’t forget us kids at casino.com – we’re not going to send you to any old crap! You can also get advice from fellow gamers on forums and message boards. Check out ours here (link through to community pages)
The Truth about the Internet Gaming Legislation: Who can play?

So is internet gambling legal? In the case of the EU, there are various noises. The UK is touting itself as an online gambling haven (you can almost smell the taxation) and the European Commission has launched a probe into gambling restrictions imposed by some countries. In the US, attempts were made to legislate against online gambling for considerable time, but this was ordinarily done on a state-by-state basis and focussing on different laws and practices regarding online gambling. Until recently, the activity was generally considered a legal grey area (especially in the US). Recent anti-gambling US legislation, however (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006), has for the moment changed all of that.

Casino.com is not political, yet we have to acknowledge that EU companies primarily wish to protect their highly profitable monopolies. The new US legislation intends to choke off the money supply to gaming companies, in a ruling to prevent US dollars from leaving American soil.

For the most up-to-date information regarding legislation, visit our breaking news section.

by David Brown