Top Rated Online Casinos – How to Join an Online Casino
When you begin looking around the online casinos, you’ll be struck by how many of them there are. At first glance, they may all seem pretty similar, but when you know what to look for, you’ll see this is not the case. In fact, the top rated online casinos stand out in the way that they present themselves. It isn’t superficial, either. They actively try to provide their members with the best of everything. So when you join one of them, you’ll have access to quality casino games, a range of banking options, and full customer support. You’ll also get a whole host of other benefits!
- Top Rated Online Casinos
- Casino Bonuses
- Game Selection
- How to Register?
- Casino Software
- Banking Options
- Payout Rates – Explained
- Wagering Requirements
- Mobile Casino Games
- Live Casino Games
- What is Loyalty Program
- Casino Regulations
Best Online Casino Sites
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Online Casino Bonuses
All of the best online casinos run regular promotions, and most of them have a separate section on their websites for all the special offers. These are targeted at both new and existing customers, and they change quite frequently, so it’s well worth checking them out on a regular basis. If you get the chance to do so, you should always sign up for the promotional newsletters. That way, the deals will pop straight into your in-box, and you won’t miss out on anything.
When You First Sign-Up
You’ll nearly always be given a welcome bonus when you first register. These are usually in the form of a match offer, so that when you first pay money into your account, the online casino adds an equal amount to your funds as deposit bonus. On some online casinos, this is spread across several of your deposits. Keep an eye on the expiry date attached to these, though. Sometimes, there’s a very short window in which to make your payments. If this is the case, you might find the single-upload option is best for you.
It’s good to look out for free spins when you’re signing up. Occasionally, these come as part of the package when you join online real money casino. You may also come across a no-deposit bonus. When this is the case, you’ll get a small cash sum just for registering. As with all the incentives, you’ll need to check the terms and conditions carefully before committing to anything.
Other Types of Casino Promotions at The Top Rated Online Casinos
The best online casinos don’t only seek out new members. They’ll have a selection of bonuses that are open to all of their online clientele. These types of promotions tend to be themed. You’ll find some that run throughout a particular month, or over an entire weekend. You’ll even come across a few that have a different deal for each day of the week!
At certain times of the year, you will get seasonal offers, such as a springtime special, or something for a festival, such as Thanksgiving or Easter. On occasion, you might get a reward for playing a specific game, or you’ll be able to participate in a weekly draw to win a prize. You may also notice that most sites give you a small gift as a thank you if you refer a friend, which is a nice touch.
Online Casino Games – Slots, Roulettes, Poker and More
One of the fun parts of checking out a new website is seeing what games are available. They are usually categorized into genres, so that it’s easier for you to sort through them online. It’s important to check the quality of them too, as this can vary. The best online casinos either develop their own in-house titles or they use one of the leading providers, and so they tend to have the more superior products on offer. Many of them provide a free play option, which means you can try a few different casino games before you make any firm decisions. This is also a good way of getting familiar with the rules before you commit any real funds to one of them.
FIND YOUR PERFECT Online Casino Game
Table Casino Games
In a lot of the online casinos, you’ll find this category covers a fairly wide spectrum. If you like to throw the dice, you’ll find craps and Sic-Bo come under this grouping as well, along with card games, such as Rummy, Pontoon, and 3 Card Brag. There are often some more unusual offerings, such as Red Dog, or Let ‘Em Ride. If you can’t decide what to go for, you could always read a few reviews and see what other players thought. Of course, every site will differ in terms of selection, and they usually have several variants of the most popular ones available. As you sort through them all, you will, undoubtedly, come across:
- Blackjack. You’ll be able to choose between single or double decks, or opt for multi-hand. If you want something with quirkier rules, you could try Perfect Pairs, Surrender, or Switch.
- Baccarat. Several websites list a gold or professional series, but you may also spot Squeeze and Hi-Limit options.
- Roulette. Again, you’ll have a broad range to pick from. The main three types, French, European and American, tend to be included, but you could see 3D or multi-wheel variations, as well.
- Poker. The catalogs commonly feature Caribbean, Hold ‘Em, Pai Gow, and Tri Card. Sometimes, there’s a separate section for the video versions.
Slots at an Online Casino
This is the most popular genre in online casinos by some margin, and if you’re a fan of slots, you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of the top online casinos have a vast array of titles on their sites. At a basic level, they can be divided into four categories, and when you compare them you’ll see that there are distinct differences between them all.
The 3 Reels Slots are the classics, and have the more traditional feel to them. The symbols are usually a nod to the past too, with fruit, bars and numbers featured. The 5 Reels Slots are also known as video slots. These have animated features built into them, and offer multiple paylines. The 3D Slots contain elements of story telling, and usually begin with a small animation to launch you into the action. The final group are the innovative i-Slots. These games have expanding story lines and are fully interactive. You are even able to change the endings!
Big Money Casino Games
In certain online casino games, you’ll notice that the jackpots are significantly higher, and there is often a separate list of these versions on the online casino sites. In some cases, the prize is for a fixed amount, and always remains the same. There are also the progressives, in which the winnings are constantly increasing. The other way of winning a larger sum of cash is to participate in one of the tournaments. These can be very lucrative if you get lucky.
The Progressive Jackpot Games
The progressives tend to fall into the slots category, although you might come across a few card games that follow this kind of format. A general guide to this type of play is that there’s a rolling jackpot, and the amount grows every time new players join in. Some casinos link up across multiple venues, increasing not only the numbers of people involved, but the prize fund as well. This can lead to some staggering sums of cash being up for grabs. As soon as someone has won, everything goes back to the beginning, and the build-up starts all over again.
Taking Part in Tournaments
These are, once more, predominantly for the slots, but you’ll often find them for poker and blackjack, and also for roulette. They are held for a specified duration, but this can be anything from a few hours to a whole month. The amount of money you can win is also variable, but there are regularly some large rewards on offer. You’ll find the latest information for all the games listed in the online schedule.
To find out more about one of the slots tournaments, just click on the arrow beside the name of the game. This will tell you the number of spins, the minimum bet, and the duration of the contest.
It’s very simple to join in. You just buy a number of chips, or alternatively, you may need to pay an entry fee. The sum of money that is collected from all the participants becomes the total winning fund. The game begins, and continues until the stated period has been completed. The player with the highest score at the end is awarded the jackpot. There are sometimes several awards, as well as some one-off prizes. Occasionally, your casino will offer you some free tickets for a tournament, and this is good way for you to see exactly how they work.
How to Register with an Online Casino
Once you’ve had a look at all the games on offer, you’ll be ready to enroll. The procedures will be different on each site, but in most cases, it’s a fairly straightforward process. In fact, the top-rated casinos aim to make it as pain-free as possible! Let’s look at the stages you would go through if you were to sign up with Betway.
Step 1: Click on Register
You’ll begin by clicking on the register button, and the create account box will appear on your screen. Your first task will be to create a username and password. If your chosen username has already been taken, you’ll be asked to pick another one. After this, you’ll need to confirm your password and then you’ll add your email address.
Step 2: Account Information
Once you’ve completed the first step, the ‘next’ box will turn blue. This shows that everything has been entered correctly so far, and that you are ready to move onto the next stage.
Step 3: Personal Details
In this section, you need to add your personal details to your account. At this point, you can choose the language and the currency you wish to use.
Step 4: Contact Details
You’ve reached the final stage, and you’ll be asked to provide the remainder of your contact details. This is just so that the company can reach you in the event of any issues with your account.
You need to tick the terms and conditions box, and to acknowledge that you are legally allowed to gamble. You’ll also be asked to accept the site’s privacy and verification policies. Your final step is to click the register button and you’re finished. You are now an official member!
Finding Your Way Around the Site
There are a few practicalities to consider when you’re choosing your online casino. You want to pick a website that’s easy to navigate. The best sites have straightforward menus, with all of your options clearly labeled. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be taken to the lobby, which is solely for your individual use. You’ll usually be able to see your personal details on the screen – your username, your account balance, and any messages that you have been sent will be shown here.
Accessing All of the Facilities
Some of the larger online sites offer you the whole works! You’ll see gambling options for poker, bingo, lotto, and all kinds of sports. It’s worth knowing that your registration with the casino doesn’t usually allow you access to the other sections of the website. As a member, you might be able to look around, but if you want to place a bet on anything, the general rule is that you’ll have to complete a new enrollment form. The promotions tend to be handled in the same way, with each one keeping to its own separate area. Although it might be a bit of a hassle to enroll all over again, you will be entitled to a whole ream of new bonuses when you do, which more than makes up for the extra effort!
The casino lobby has all the sports and games sections listed separately on the main menu. Your key personal information is conveniently located along the top of the screen.
What About the Casino Software?
It’s not something that people automatically think of when they’re choosing which casino is best for them, but the software that’s used to power the online sites is vitally important. This is because it isn’t only responsible for the smoothness of your game play. It also controls how your payments are made, and the encryption of your personal information. Some companies turn to one of the leading providers for this service, whilst others prefer to employ a team of in-house developers. There is also a middle group, who opt for more than one platform in order to broaden their selection of games.
The Big Names in Software
The best-rated in the industry are still Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Each of these companies has a different approach to gaming, but they all have a strong commitment to providing high-quality products.
- Microgaming was one of the pioneers of the online casinos, and consequently, it has acquired an extensive catalog over the years. You’ll find both familiar classics and some exciting new titles among its range.
- NetEnt is pushing the boundaries in terms of innovation, and continues to expand its unique collection. The crisp graphics and the superior audio set its products apart from the rest.
- Playtech also has a large selection of games, with stunning visuals and soundtracks. The company places a lot of importance on the hassle-free gaming, and provides seamless integration across platforms.
There are many other reputable names that deserve a mention. BetSoft, Play‘N Go, NextGen, Real Time Gaming (RTG), and Williams Interactive (WMS) are all well regarded in the field, too. Additionally, there are the developers who have specialized in a particular area. For instance, Evolution Gaming has focused solely on the live versions, and IGT is all about slots.
The In-House Developers
When it comes to meeting their software needs, some sites prefer to keep everything under one umbrella. The best example of this is Cassava Enterprises, who deals with some of the top venues in the world. The company is owned by the 888 Holdings group, and operates a large number of bingo venues, as well as the online casinos. Although Cassava is largely responsible for the licensing, website operations, and the payment processing systems, the software development is handled by Dragonfish. This independent division has a portfolio of over 1,000 games across the many genres, all of which have been developed in-house. Another huge plus point is that all of the unique titles are suitable for mobile play.
Banking Facilities at the Online Casinos
This is a key concern for most players, but on the whole, you’ll find that the top sites make the process relatively straightforward. The first thing to check is that the casino you’re joining uses some kind of encryption during the online procedures. This will ensure that your personal information remains confidential at all times. You’ll know that the financial transaction are secure if you see the padlock symbol in your browser while you’re on the banking pages. The second key thing to look for is what type of payment methods are available to you, as this will vary considerably, depending on your location.
Making a deposit
Once you’ve signed up with a venue, you’ll be ready to add some money to your account. Most casinos accept the major credit cards, but there are often several other options open to you, such as e-wallets, or pre-paid cards. Failing that, you’ll usually be able to make a bank transfer. In a lot of cases, the financial transactions take place via the cashier facility on the site. Look to see how long your funds will take to clear. It’s usually instant, but this can be variable. Also, check whether there are any fees that might be attached to the service. It’s usually free to make a deposit, but there will probably be minimum and maximum limits to the amount you can pay in.
It’s really easy to make a deposit at this casino. You simply have to complete the payment details, and click the red box. The transaction is then processed, and your funds are added to your account.
When You Want to Withdraw Your Winnings
You might find your options a little more limited when you want to make a withdrawal. Some casinos have fewer choices available, and you might not be able to use the same method as you did when you funded your account. The processing time will differ, according to the payment type. It could be as quick as twenty four hours if you use an e-wallet, or it can take a few weeks if you opt for a check by courier. There will, again, be both a minimum and a maximum limit to the amount you can take out, and you should check what the fees are for your chosen method. In some cases, they are higher than others.
Understanding Payout Rates
The odds of winning is always going to be variable, but the top casinos will readily show you the statistics on how often a game pays out. These are commonly shown as percentages, and reveal how much cash is returned to players over a specific period of time. The figures differ, according the genre and the variant that’s being played. Naturally, this is all based on probability. There’s also the house edge to consider. This is the advantage that the venue has, and understandably, this is designed to favor the house. Once more, this varies, depending on the version that you’re playing.
Return to Player (RTP) Rates
The RTP rate shows how much money is returned to players over a defined period of time. So in theory, if a slots game has an RTP of 90%, you can expect to get back $90 of every $100 that you spend. This calculation doesn’t demonstrate how often you will win, however. It just reveals the percentage of cash you will get back over time, and at a basic level, the higher the RTP percentage, the better it is for you.
Sometimes, this is calculated for each individual product, whereas other companies offer a broader overview. It’s evident from this that you should take your preferences into consideration when you’re deciding upon the right venue for you.
The payout rates by category for 888 Casino, which is powered by Cassava.
|Calculated Payout Percentage
|Overall (All Games)
All the promotions and bonuses that are offered online have some wagering conditions attached. This means that before you’re able to make a withdrawal, you’ll need to have played through your cash award a specified amount of times. This is displayed in the terms and conditions by a number and an ‘x’. For example, you open your account with $100, and the casino matches this by 100%. If the wagering requirement is set at 35x, you will have to bet the sum of your initial deposit thirty five times before you are allowed to access any of your winnings.
When it comes to playthrough, each genre has a different contribution rate, so it’s best to check this. Whereas slots contribute 100% at most online casinos, you’ll notice that the table games are often set at a far lower amount. You might find that only ten or twenty percent counts towards your wagering requirements when you play blackjack or roulette, and it’s often the case that you’ll get nothing at all for craps. It’s worth bearing this in mind when you make your selection, especially if you’re playing through a bonus
Each game makes a different contribution towards your wagering requirements.
Are You Ready to Go Mobile?
It’s great to know that you no longer need to stop playing when you leave the house. Technology has made such rapid progress over the last few years that you can log into the online casinos with the majority of iOS and Android devices. Some venues also cater for Windows and Blackberry phones, too. That pretty much allows you to access your games anywhere and any time you want! The best thing about mobile play is the simplicity of it. You’ll still be using your original account, so you don’t need to register again, or to change any of your details. You’ll even be able to use your smartphone to add some additional cash to your funds if you wish.
Some sites provide QR codes to assist you with downloading the apps. You just need to scan the code with your mobile device, and then follow the instructions on your screen.
The Benefits of a Native App
Some of the online casinos have a dedicated app for their mobile play. If this is the case, you’ll need to download it from either the App Store, from Google Play, or from the website itself. The advantage of using a downloadable version is that it’s installed directly onto your mobile device. This means that you aren’t reliant on an internet connection that much when you want to access your games. It also offers you a smoother playing experience if you happen to be in a location where the WiFi is a little less stable.
Using the In-Browser Version
Many people don’t like the idea of clogging up their mobile devices with downloadable software. If this is one of your bugbears, you might prefer to go for instant play. With this option, you’ll be accessing the casino via your web browser. To begin with, you just need to log into your account with your smartphone or another device. You’ll be using your standard sign-in details, so it’s all very straightforward. You’ll then be directed straight to the mobile version of the website. The one downside to this version is that you need an internet connection. However, with WiFi being so widely available nowadays, this isn’t usually a problem.
Some Tips for Mobile Play
To ensure that you stay safe while you’re playing at a mobile casino, there are a few precautions that you should take. You should always log out of the site, and activate the screen lock when you’ve finished your session. It’s a good habit to get into as it prevents anyone else from accessing your online account. It’s also best not to store any of your passwords or your private details. That way, if you do happen to lose your mobile device or if it is stolen, your personal information remains secure.
The Live Casino Phenomenon!
The live dealer games have completely revolutionized the whole online casino experience. You’re still playing from the comfort of your own home, and you’ll be using your computer interface to place your bets in the usual way. The difference is that you’re watching the play develop in real time. You can actually see the cards being dealt to you, or witness the roulette wheel being spun. The live chat facility means that you’re able to engage with the dealer throughout, which really adds to the atmosphere. For many players, this interaction is the best part of it all.
Behind the Scenes
Bringing the casino directly to you is an involved and an expensive process. The live games can take place in a professional studio, or they can be broadcast to you from one of the land-based venues. There are also some that feature on a dedicated television channel. In each of these cases, the companies need to employ a full film crew, consisting of a camera operator, lighting technician, sound engineer, and a director. There also has to be a pit boss in permanent attendance, who will sort out any player disputes, should they arise.
Who Provides the Live Games?
You won’t find anything other than live versions in Evolution Gamings’ portfolio. It’s all they do. And by focusing on only this aspect, they have managed to raise the bar in terms of development. They offer a comprehensive catalog, and their offerings are fully optimized for mobile use. But they are far from alone on the scene. There are other developers, such as Extreme Gaming and Ezugi, who have adopted much the same philosophy. And the leading providers are still very much in the running. Microgaming, Playtech, and NetEnt have all taken up the live dealer mantle, and provide a whole range of top-quality games for you to enjoy.
The Live Games Selection
Although it tends to be the classic versions on offer in the live casinos, you’ll still have access to all of your favorites. The card versions tend to dominate, with blackjack, baccarat, and poker all featuring heavily in the schedules. You’ll see roulette listed too though, with both immersive and speed variants available on occasion. It’s best to check the table limits when you’re making your choice, so that you can keep to a level that’s right for you. In some games, you’ll be able to choose which language you want to play in. There are also VIP tables available, as well as those that are reserved for designated venues, so if you’re already a member, you can just take your seat.
You’ll find a wide selection of live games available at most online casinos.
Joining a Loyalty Program
The majority of the top online casinos have some kind of reward scheme in place, and these can be very lucrative for you. In most cases, you’ll accrue points or tokens simply by playing. The key thing to note here is that you might be rewarded more for some game genres than for others. In some venues, your points are converted into cash. Other companies have alternative ways for you to redeem them, and some will even allow you to use them in a designated gift shop.
Rising Through the Ranks!
Each casino applies its own structure to its loyalty scheme, but there are usually several levels that you have to work though. You’ll notice that some of them are particularly inventive in the naming of these stages, and use the theme of their site as inspiration. Others use a more standard approach, opting for silver, gold and platinum, for example. As you progress through the program, you’re likely to receive some additional perks too, such as faster withdrawals and higher betting limits. It’s very common for the venues to give you bonuses every time you reach a new rank, and it’s always good to take advantage these.
Becoming a VIP
A lot of the leading casinos have VIP schemes in place. At some venues, you’ll only become a member when you reach the top echelons of the loyalty program. Others have a separate system in place for their valued members, and you have to be invited to join the VIP club. If you are fortunate enough to make it through the doors, you’ll have a whole load of benefits open to you. These might include special promotions, personalized customer services, and on occasion, you’ll even receive invitations to some exclusive live events.
With some casinos, your VIP membership extends across the whole group!
Dealing with Customer Services
This is an area you should check before you make any firm commitment to signing up with any of the venues. If you should encounter a problem when you’re playing, you’ll want to be sure that there’s a professional customer support team on hand to assist you. The best casinos provide you with a full online service, with operatives who are available 24/7. Many of them will offer a live chat facility, so you can receive an instant response to any questions you may have. At the very least, you should expect there to be email address and a phone number listed. Look also to see if there is a question and answer section on the website. This can be a useful feature, as you’ll often find the answers to the most common queries there.
Some FAQs about Online Casinos
We all have the same kinds of concerns about gaming, and we often have similar types of questions, too. Let’s go through a few of the ones that players commonly ask.
- Is it legal to gamble online?
Every country sets its own legislation, so you would need to see if there are any restrictions applied to your particular location.
- What’s the minimum age?
In most countries, the minimum age for the real money games is 18. There are, of course, no restrictions on the free versions.
- Do I have to pay any tax on my winnings?
No, you don’t. The casino will have to pay tax on them, but this is not your responsibility. Your winnings are totally yours!
- Why do I have to submit documents for an ID check?
This is a legal measure to prevent any fraudulent activities taking place. It’s also provides you with an additional form of protection during your transactions.
- Who are the best companies in the industry?
The International Gaming Awards for 2017 have already been announced, so you can check the list to see if any of your favorites have been acknowledged!
How do You Know that the Games are Fair?
This is the big question! It’s the thing that initially worries everyone who plays online – how can they be certain that the games aren’t fixed? Well, the first thing to know is that the top casinos use random number generator (RNG) software. This ensures that everything is completely arbitrary, so the cards are shuffled and drawn, the slots spin, and the roulette wheel is spun completely at random. It’s always worth remembering that the venues don’t need to cheat you. They already have the house edge in their favor, and in the long run, it’s better for them to have you as a loyal and contented customer.
Checking that the Casino is Legitimate
The reputable online casinos are all licensed and regulated, and this will give you peace of mind while you’re playing. Before any license is issued, the companies are thoroughly checked to ensure that the owners are legitimate, that the payment structures are in place, and that the games are fair. To verify that the proper documentation is in place, you just need to scroll to the footer of the website, and in most cases, you’ll find the licensing details there. You may also come across eCOGRA while you’re searching around. This is an independent authority, which specifically regulates the gaming industry. So if your venue has been approved by them, you can be assured that you have joined a trustworthy establishment.
You’ll usually find the licensing bodies and regulatory organizations listed at the foot of the site.
Some Tips and Advice about Playing Online
The more experienced players follow some guidelines when they’re using an online casino, which just helps to keep them on track. The first tip is to set a budget and then stick to it. Only play with money that you can afford to lose. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the moment and to keep adding cash, especially in the live versions. If you’ve already decided upon your funds before you begin, you’re less likely to get carried away. The second piece of advice is to fix a time limit to your gaming. The best companies will give you the option of setting a reminder. These are usually known as a reality check, and a message will pop up on your screen at periodic points in your game, asking you if you want to continue. Take advantage of this if you can, as it’s a good way of monitoring how long you’ve been playing. Try new casinos – often they have unique games to offer.
Make Sure You Know When to Stop
For the majority of players, gambling online remains a pleasant pastime. However, for a small minority, things can get a bit out of hand. If you ever feel that your gaming is becoming a problem, there are a number of organizations who are there to help. It’s really easy to make contact with one of them, and then someone will be there to talk to you. If you need some guidance about using one of these services, the customer support team will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Summing Everything Up!
When all is said and done, knowing which casino is going to be the right one for you is very much down to a matter of personal preference. It’s a good idea to read some reviews before you make any final decisions, and to check the licensing details, too. Don’t be swayed by the promotional offers that are waving to you from the front page! Whilst it’s good to take advantage of any welcome bonuses, you also want to find a reputable venue that treats its customers well.
The other key thing is to make sure that you like the selection of games that are available. If you do, see if there’s a free play option. It’s handy if you can try a few of them first, just to see the quality and to ascertain how they are going to perform on your screen. Once you’re confident that everything is as it should be, you’ll be able to play to your heart’s content!
Relevant Sources on Top Online Casinos
- Online Casino Real Money USA – Review of the Best Online Casinos for Real Money in the U.S.
- Casino Gaming in the United States – Exploring the Economic and Social Impact of Legalization
- Impact of Online Casinos on Commercial Casino Revenues – A Study of New Jersey Casinos
- Social Casino Gamers and Online Gambling – Migration Rate and Potential Predictors