Introduction to Online Casinos

Introduction to Online Casinos

If you are going to gamble for the first time, it is worth getting acquainted with the basic concepts of the gambling industry. The in-house experts have compiled a detailed introduction to online casinos in the USA that contains information about virtual games’ origin, their legitimacy in different countries, the most popular games, available bonuses, and financial transactions. You also will know how to choose the right place for gambling using various criteria.

Introduction to Online Casino Concept

With the emergence of online gambling, casino games have become accessible to almost anyone. Many people who were never interested in casinos began gambling at online casino sites, and now you don’t need to visit a land-based casino to play slots, cards, or table games. Playing online casinos is safe and secure, but choosing a proven venue with a valid license is essential. Just complete an easy registration procedure using your PC or mobile device to make bets; it is pretty simple, even for non-experienced customers. However, some people who find themselves on gambling sites for the first time can experience difficulties.

Basics of Gambling Mathematics

Any casino is a business, and any game has a house edge; this criterion is responsible for business profit. House edge provides a stable income in the long run; let’s take a look at figures in the most popular casino games.

GameHouse Edge
Roulette1.27-5.26%
Baccarat1.06-14.36%
Blackjack0.17-0.65%
Slot machines1-15%
Craps1.4-5%

This figure depends on the game type and selected bet. However, the introduction to online casinos wouldn’t be complete without mentioning RTP: the return-to-player percentage. This criterion determines which part of the total amount of money invested in a particular slot will return to all gamblers in the long run.

This is a theoretical criterion that works in the long run. Independent laboratories that test slot machines check the RTP performance in particular; they study millions of spins to draw the conclusion.

For example, if the slot machine has a 96% RTP, this means 4% of the total amount of bets made by all customers is a casino profit in the long run. However, remember that this doesn’t mean you will definitely win $96 if you invest $100. Keep in mind that RTP works only in the long run and randomly: today, someone can spend thousands of dollars and win nothing, and tomorrow another gambler will bet $1 and hit the maximum win. The expected RTP gets closer to the set value as the number of gaming sessions increases.

Another important mathematical game aspect is slots’ volatility, which affects the regularity and size of winnings. Usually, there are only three options:

  1. High ― rare but large winnings.
  2. Low ― small and frequent payouts.
  3. Medium ― the same probability of large and small prizes.

Some slots feature mixed volatility; you can find this criterion in the description. However, in some slots released long ago, there is no information about volatility.

RTP and slot volatility
The rules of the slot machine feature RTP and volatility

As for volatility, gambling studios almost never mention it directly, but you can check multiplier ratios in the paytable: the more ratios mean the higher volatility. Some casinos even create a special filter in game lobbies.

History of Online Gambling

A good introduction to the online casino industry needs a detailed historical remark, so let’s move a few years back. Internet casinos appeared much later than land-based casinos, and the first slot machines for online venues came into being at the end of the 20th century.

In 1994, Microgaming created special software to run slot machines online.

That same year, Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Information Processing Act, which described the procedure for issuing licenses to companies wishing to create online gambling sites.

Before 1998, Internet slot machines were not in demand, as gambling sites were of poor quality and didn’t provide security of personal data, so few people were prepared to make deposits and play. However, soon some gambling venues implemented a progressive jackpot feature that caused a giant leap in online casino popularity.

In 2001, dozens of popular brands entered the online gambling market, and more providers began creating online slots. Gambling venues were constantly improving their sites, making them more user-friendly and increasing audiences.

In 2015, the share of visitors to gaming sites from mobile devices was 35%, which was 32% more than in 2012.

Online Casinos Explained

Online gambling opens up more opportunities than brick-and-mortar venues. Of course, it is impossible to place thousands of slot machines at land-based casinos, as it requires huge areas, which are unprofitable to maintain and service. It is much easier to keep slots and other games on special servers and open online access to them, so anyone can play their favorite game anytime. Also, online casinos provide various bonuses: rewards for making deposits, free spins, and even no-deposit prizes; you will not find such offers in land-based gambling venues.

Legality in Different Countries

Legislative bans imposed on offline casinos operation in several countries contributed to online gambling development. It is much more challenging to control the online market, which allows many companies to stay in the shadows and make a lot of money, so it is necessary to be very careful. There are many fraudulent websites whose owners deceive customers, don’t pay winnings, offer rigged games, and so on.

License validator
Usually you can find the regulator’s logo in the footer

To combat fraud websites, many countries develop laws that imply obtaining a license to provide gambling services. This is good for both governments and players: casinos work legally and pay taxes, while customers’ rights are protected by law.

Information about the license is freely available on the casino’s official website. You can check its validity using the clickable validator; it will take you to the regulator’s site.

In most countries, gambling is illegitimate for people under 18, but some countries have stricter laws and prohibit gambling for persons under 21. Gambling laws vary from country to country.

CountryGambling Laws
The USAThe rules vary by state. Under the federal Wireline Payments Act, all types of online entertainment are illegal in the USA, but in 2011, the Department of Justice clarified that it only applied to sports betting. Today, online casinos are legitimate in Nevada, Delaware, and several other states.
The UKThe gambling law has been in effect since 2005; a company must obtain a license to operate online legally. In 2014 this requirement also covered offshore casinos accepting UK players; companies are required to pay a 15% consumption tax. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission regulates online casinos in the UK.
GermanyIn 2008, the government adopted a state contract on gambling for all 16 states that features all the requirements and restrictions on online gambling. Germany has stricter laws than other EU countries.
AustraliaThe country has a law from 2001 on interactive gambling. Australian players can play at online casinos; however, gambling companies cannot offer slot machines to residents. In 2016, the state of South Australia repeated the practice of the UK by imposing a gambling tax of 15%.
IndiaThe Gambling Act of 1867 is in force, but it doesn’t mention online casinos. As in the US, Indian state authorities have the right to determine gambling legitimacy.
BelgiumIn 2011, a law was passed allowing gambling on the Internet.
CanadaThe industry is regulated by the local Criminal Code. One of the most popular regulators, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, operates in this country.

Downloadable, Instant Play & Live Dealer Casinos

The first point you should learn while studying an introduction to the online casino industry is that casinos differ depending on the software used. There are two basic categories:

  • Downloadable. These are mobile and desktop casino apps you can download and install on your device. Applications work faster than mobile versions, but don’t forget that they have specific system requirements you have to consider.
  • For instant play. These are browser-based casino versions, so you don’t need to download additional software to run slots and other games. They require a good internet connection to work smoothly.

Most games on casino sites work using the RNG algorithm; in this case, you play against artificial intelligence. However, there are also live dealer games that provide a realistic gambling experience; you can feel like you are in a real land-based casino. Live dealers broadcast from specially equipped studios in real time, so everything is real.

Links to download a mobile app
Buttons to download an Android or iOS app

Online Casinos Safety

Gamblers provide their personal data and payment details on gambling sites, so the main task of online casinos is to ensure their security and reliable protection, as well as fair playing conditions. There are several solutions used for this purpose:

  • 128- or 256-bit SSL data encryption that encrypts all customers’ information. Banks use a similar security system.
  • Random number generator. This algorithm provides random results, and no one can affect its operation. iTech Labs and other independent laboratories issue special certificates to confirm RNG works fairly.
  • Privacy policy. It describes the rules under which the casino uses your personal data and under what circumstances it can be provided to third parties.
  • Availability of a gambling license. Gambling commissions regulate licensed websites’ operation, so such casinos don’t cheat customers.
  • Rules. They describe the conditions for using bonuses, winning and withdrawal limits, commissions, reasons for account blocking, and other useful information you need while gambling.

All service information needs to be publicly available on the casino’s official website.

Introduction to Online Casino Site Choosing

When looking for a reliable gambling site, first examine the About Us page, as it contains information about casino owners and available licenses. We recommend you first read users’ reviews on forums and authoritative portals, as they usually feature more details than any introduction to the online casino industry. Also, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Choice of slots.
  • List of payment systems.
  • Deposit and withdrawal limits.
  • Conditions for receiving and wagering bonuses.
  • Support service work.

If you are satisfied with all the criteria, you can register at this casino.

Account Creation

The registration procedure is the same at many casinos and includes several simple steps:

  1. Specifying first and last name, email address, phone number, and residence address.
  2. Choosing an account currency.
  3. Accepting casino rules.

After completing registration, you can use all account features.

To activate your account, you may be required to use a link sent via email.

Provide only valid personal information because if it doesn’t match the data specified in your documents, you will not be able to complete the verification, and your account will be blocked.

If you are a newbie, we suggest you get acquainted with the main categories of games available on online casino sites. Our introduction to online casinos will help you make the right choice.

Slot Machines

This is the most popular category in any online casino because slots have simple rules, captivating graphics, and exciting gameplay. Moreover, slot machines differ in unique themes, mechanics, number of reels, rows, and paylines. Some of them even participate in jackpot draws or provide a bonus buy feature.

Game lobby with slots
New slot machines at an online casino

Additional features such as free spins, Wild symbols, and scatters give more opportunities to win.

Table & Special Games

Popular table games include many titles: roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack, and many others. You can play these games in two modes: against computer opponents or against live dealers.

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There are also special games that cannot be included in common game categories. These can be arcade games about soccer or space, scratch cards, and different versions of keno and bingo.

Poker

This high-demand card game has many versions: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, High Low, Stud, Lowball from 2 to 7, and others. There is also video poker, a game in a slot, but you play against the computer. The essence and game’s main goal are always the same: to collect the strongest combination and beat other participants or AI.

Bingo

This is an exciting lottery version, where numbers that come up need to match numbers in your cards. The more matched numbers you have, the more prizes you get.

Keno

Participants get numbered cards from 1 to 80. You need to mark from 1 to 20 numbers: the bet size depends on this. The more numbers that match, the bigger your winnings.

Welcome, No Deposit & Other Bonuses

To attract new customers, online casinos offer bonuses for registration or making the first deposit. There are many promotions aimed at regular players as well.

Before activating any promo, read the terms and conditions carefully. Check the wager, the maximum bet size, the maximum winning you can get, the period you have to wager the bonus amount, etc.

This is an effective marketing tool that is beneficial not only to players but also to gambling venues. In any introduction to online casinos for USA players, you can find the following promotional offers:

  • Welcome bonus. Newbies can get it for making one or several first deposits; you can usually count on a fixed amount, deposit increase, or free spins.
  • No deposit bonus. To activate it, you do not have to top up your account, and this is the main feature.
  • Cashless. Such rewards don’t have wagering requirements because you can’t withdraw the bonus money. For example, if you receive $10 and win $30, you can only withdraw $20.
  • Cashback. You get part of your bets lost during a particular period: day, week, or month.
  • Loyalty program. You receive special comp points for making bets in slots and investing money; due to them, your status increases. The higher the level is, the more privileges are available; for example, increased cashback, additional free spins, deposit bonuses, etc.
  • Referral program. You can invite your friends and get a cash gift for each. Usually, your friend has to create an account and make the first deposit; your reward is a specific deposit percentage.

There are also birthday gifts, tournament prizes, quests with various achievements and perks, and more.

How to Play At Online Casinos

You can play slots and other games, except ones with live dealers, in two modes:

  • For real money
  • In demo mode

Many gambling sites offer making bets for free even without registration and making a deposit. To do this, choose a slot machine in the lobby and press the Demo button.

Only registered customers can play for real money, and keep in mind that you should have enough bankroll for at least the minimum bet. Run a slot machine, get acquainted with the rules and the payout table, set the bet size and coin value, and confirm your bet.

How to Deposit & Withdraw Money

All money operations are available in your account’s Cashier or Wallet section. Check the list of available payment tools, study the minimum and maximum limits, and use the Deposit or Withdrawal button.

At many gambling venues, withdrawals are not available without verification.

To confirm your identity and residence address, you have to provide the appropriate documents: your ID, bank statement, and utility bill.

Tips for Online Casino Gambling

To get a positive gambling experience, play responsibly; we recommend adhering to the following recommendations:

  • Try new games. Even if you have your favorite slots, test new ones in demo mode, boost your skills, and add a little variety.
  • Subscribe to a casino email newsletter to stay informed about new promotions and special offers.
  • Study the bonus terms before their activation; they should be accessible.
  • Withdraw the money after winnings and don’t try to increase it; keep only a tiny part for further bets.
  • Take regular breaks and keep track of your expenses. Keep records of deposits and winnings, and set limits, so you don’t lose more money than you planned.

Remember that gambling is entertainment: don’t treat it as a way to make money.

Pros & Cons of Online Casinos & Traditional Gambling

CasinoProsCons
Online

  • Simple registration, accessibility.

  • A lot of slots.

  • Extensive bonus program.

  • There are live games with live dealers.

  • Available 24/7.



  • Risk of falling for fraudsters.

  • Absence of a real casino experience.

  • You need an Internet access.


Land-based

  • A real gaming experience and live interaction with dealers and other players.



  • Many venues close at night.

  • There is no way to accommodate thousands of slot machines.

  • No deposit bonuses, free spins, and other promos are absent.


FAQ

Downloadable apps work faster even with a slow Internet speed, but your device has to meet specific technical requirements.

Find the clickable validator in the footer and study all terms and conditions. It is also essential to contact support and assess its responsiveness.

Minimum deposit amount, wager, maximum bet size, maximum winning amount, available games, and wagering requirements.

Information is freely available on the Internet.

Contact support via live chat, email, social media, or hotline.

Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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