How to Choose the Best Online Casino
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When they first started appearing in the 1990s, few could have predicted that online casinos would become as popular as they are today. In Europe alone, online casinos are expected to generate more than €20 billion in 2020, making up the biggest portion of overall iGaming revenues, ahead of sports betting, poker, and lotteries.
With so much money at stake, online casino brands have been popping up left, right and centre for more than a decade, with many existing brands like newspapers, TV companies, and even airlines launching their own casino brands. Companies have also been launching sister sites to help gain a larger market share, creating different brands that target different demographics, and even geographical areas and languages.
In the UK alone, gaming fans are spoilt for choice with hundreds of different brands on offer. This can make it difficult to choose the one that’s right for you. Thankfully, there are some criteria you can use to compare the candidates and find the online casino that’s most suitable. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.
What Bonuses Does the Casino Offer?
Competition is rife among online casinos. So to encourage new players to join, casinos offer bonuses when customers sign up. The bonuses can come in a few forms, namely:
A welcome bonus – usually given to the player when they first sign up, giving them some funds that they can use to play casino games. This lets them test out the software and decide whether the casino is right for them.
A deposit bonus – this is a bonus that usually matches the amount of money the player deposits to their account, giving them more cash to play with.
Free spins – these can be awarded as a part of welcome or deposit bonus or separately. They let the player make wagers on video slot games without using their own money.
Casinos may choose to offer one, two, or all three of these bonuses, so you should consider which one will be most beneficial to you. You can compare casino bonuses using sites like oddschecker to help you find the one that’s right for you.
Crucially, there’s nothing to stop you from joining multiple casinos to take advantage of individual bonuses. Just make sure you read the terms of each one so you can be sure you meet the deposit and wagering requirements.
What Games Does the Casino Offer?
There’s not much point in signing up on a casino site that doesn’t have your favourite game. Thankfully games like roulette, blackjack, and popular slot games are available on nearly every platform.
However, if you want to play baccarat, craps, poker, or pai gow, you may be a little more limited.
You can usually check out the range of games on offer before you sign up by browsing the casino’s website. Some will even show you the minimum bets and jackpot amounts of certain games without you needing to sign up first.
If you like to play live casino games, you’ll need to check that the casino offers these. Most now do, but the selection of games can still vary greatly from site to site. The same goes for progressive and pooled jackpot slots games.
Using a welcome bonus and free spins can also be a great way to try out the games before you make a deposit.
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Is the Casino Licensed?
You should only ever join an online casino that has been licensed by a regulatory body. If you are in the UK, the casino should have a licence from the British regulator. These regulators check that the casino follows the rules, protects players, and is fair.
You can tell the casino is licensed as it will publish its licensing information at the bottom of its website. You can also check this on the regulator’s own website.
What Payment Methods Does the Casino Accept?
To play real-money games in online casinos, you need to make a deposit to your account. With land-based casinos, this can be done via cash since you’re there in person, but online casinos obviously have no way to handle physical money.
This is where other payment methods come in.
Most online casinos will accept similar payment methods, such as Visa and Mastercard, bank transfer, Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal. Some will also accept methods like the paysafecard, which lets you deposit cash by visiting a retail store first, paybyphone, which lets you charge your deposit to your phone bill, and Bitcoin, the popular cryptocurrency.
While popular payment methods are accepted by most online casinos, there is some variation between each one, so you should check if the casino accepts the method you want to use before you sign up.
What is the Minimum Deposit Amount Accepted by the Casino?
Once you’ve found a casino that accepts the payment method you want to use, you need to be sure its minimum deposit amount is low enough for you. A minimum deposit threshold is set by most casinos, meaning each deposit you make must be greater than, or equal to, the minimum amount.
This is to cover the costs of processing payments without passing fees on to customers. Most casinos have modest minimum deposits of around £20, although some set them higher and lower.
If you only want to deposit and wager small amounts, you’ll need to find a casino that accepts low minimum deposits like £5 or £10.
Be sure to also check if the minimum deposit limit on a deposit bonus is higher than the casino’s usual limit, this can sometimes catch players out.
What Customer Support Does the Casino Offer?
Usually, playing in online casinos is fun, easy, and hassle-free. Sometimes though, things can go wrong or you may have a question. For this reason, it’s important to check the type of customer support the casino offers before you sign up.
Most will have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that can give you instant answers. But when this doesn’t help, you’ll need to contact the customer support team. Some only offer support by email, while others will provide a phone number for you to call them on.
If you’re someone who prefers to speak to a real person on the other end of the phone, you should look for an online casino that publishes a phone number on its website.