CHOOSING A CASINO
This is a fairly basic guide to assist those in our midst with limited casino creed in choosing a casino. It is based on my own experience and that of my friends and acquaintances. The internet is still very much a new frontier very much akin to the wild west frontiers of the late 1800.
Whilst Governments, trade and business organizations in many western countries grapple with laws to control it, governments in some countries pay scant lip service to such issues. In Australia and many other western countries, casinos are heavily regulated by government. In these countries, any casino not playing by the rules would soon loose its license and be out of business.
Unfortunately there are places in the world where anyone with a relatively small amount of money can start their own casino. Cheap 'turn key' fully automated internet casinos are now available for as little as $6,000.. These here today, gone tomorrow, newbie internet casinos are usually hosted in countries where governments pay scant lip service to consumer protection and often act as feeder casinos for the less reputable online casinos.
The last available statistics indicated that there were over three thousand casinos on the net and that number is constantly growing. So how the hell does someone new to internet gambling choose where to play? One internet site targeting casino affilliates, lists 52 casinos that have reputations of cheating their affiliates. Another lists 18 that do not pay their winners. These reputed cheats, represent less than 5% of online casinos. If you choose a casino from an affiliated site and that site in turn is associated with at least one large affiliate management company, then it is highly likely that the casino you choose is very reputable. Bad news spreads like a bushfire.
Casinos that don't play fairly are very quickly dumped by affiliates and experienced players. Many affilliates Track traffic and know what percentage of their visitors go to the casinos. Those casinos who acknowledge only a small percentage of the actual traffic are quickly dumped.
If you start to sign up with a casino and you get to the stage of doing the money transaction and there is no padlock in the bottom right hand corner of your browser, bolt! All reputable casinos use secure connections from that stage. When you start to play games, the web address will start with https:// The "s" indicates that you are using a secure connection.
A few years ago, the shonky casino sites were of a relatively poor quality. With the down turn in the information technology industry over the last few years, it has been easy for them to hire good developers and animators at a cheap price and thus present a highly professional image to the user.
As casinos gradually move from games that require you to download propriety software to play to games made with Macromedia Flash that play in your web browser, it will be much more difficult to pick the shonks by their presentation. Games made in this medium run fast and are usually visually pleasing. These games can be played on virtually any computer or web TV box. If you are using an older web browser, you may have to download the Flash Player from Macromedia's website. (If you can see the animated logo at the top of the page and those in the right hand column, then your browser is working fine with Flash). All the casinos using Flash have links to this site. It is a small program and only takes a few minutes to download. Newer browsers should already have the plug in.
When you decide to sign up with a casino using the older methods of game production, you have to download their software before you sign up. This usually takes about half an hour on a 56 k modem. So which system should you choose? I like Flash. I use the program. I like to look at games created by other programmers and work out how they made them from the graphics to the programming code. Really the answer is a matter of personal choice except if you can't always use the same computer each time you play. In those cases, Flash is the best choice. Some casinos are having an each way bet in allowing you to choose which system to use when you play their games.
Casinos, like most other online businesses have to have a help desk. I always think that if you can't get reasonable service at the 'help desk' when you really don't have a problem, then what chance have you got if you ever do have a real problem?
All this brings back memories of a misspent youth. The first legal Australian casino opened at Wrest Point (Hobart) in the state of Tasmania in the sixties. Elsewhere in the country the casinos were highly portable, illegal and operated exclusively by the underworld. Doors were reinforced with steel plates. The gorilla guarding the door raised the steel flap covering the slit in the door and if you or your associates were unknown to him or his henchmen, you didn't get entry. All complaints were dealt with instantly, summarily and physically. These places were like rat holes, with one way in and and the same way out.
Police raids were a constant threat. These were announced by the sound of the police "key" on the steel door. Their key was a ten pound sledge hammer wielded by their biggest gorilla. From then on there wasn't much to do except wait to be loaded roughly into the paddy wagons for a rough ride to the watch house. When you finally got out, you could buy the morning paper. Your name was always in it. If you were particularly unlucky so was your mug shot!
This type of excitement has long since disappeared from the Australian Casino Scene.
OK, you have chosen your casino. How are you going to deposit your funds at the casino so you can start playing? Well the easiest way is to use your credit card. It is safe as all reputable casinos use secure servers for these transactions. The down side is that when you have a big win, generally the casino can only refund your initial deposit to your credit card account. The balance has to be sent in the form of a check via snail mail. Some casinos will do electronic funds transfer directly into your bank account.
The following are US based electronic funds transfer companies that have established relationships with most casinos in the western world. -
Netteller- you can open an account with them and use it to pay for virtually anything online. If you do not have sufficient funds in your NetTeller account, they will simply debit it to your credit card. Your winnings can be credited to your NetTeller account and withdrawn at your liesure..We personally use this one and have been very happy with their service. It is prompt and in my opinion, more secure than your bank.
FirePay - is a competitor to Neteller.
Clearchex - If you live in the US you can also use electronic checks. To do this, you will have to register with Clearchex. To use this one, you have to register both yourself and your computer, so you could have a problem if you don't always use the same computer. This works the same as your checking account with the funds being taken from your checking account.
There are many other payment methods which include old fashioned snail mail to deliver personal checks or money orders. Of course you're itching to play and you don't want to wait for it to arrive and wait some more for it to be cleared do you?
Check out the options at your chosen casino.
How much should you deposit to begin? Tough question. Almost every casino has a one off sign up bonus. The actual amount changes from casino to casino and for specific promotions. How good this bonus is depends on the casino's management. All have a maximum bonus often based on one free dollar for each dollar you deposit. $200 is usually the maximum available bonus and the total amount must be wagered (usually five times ) before you can withdraw it. To maximize your free sign up dollars read the conditions carefully and deposit the amount necessary to get the maximum bonus. Remember it is a one off deal. Use it or loose it!
Oh! Before you make the big decision, make sure your casino offers the games you want to play and you feel comfortable about playing. Most casinos offer such a wide variety of games there is something for everyone. Even if you have read our generic game rules, read their rules. It is pointless playing for keeps if you don't know the rules. Most casinos follow the same basic rules but many have slight variations to them and these can make a big difference to the end result.
In days gone by I had a mindless night job at a factory we called 'The League of Nations' where we fed machines and played a game called pontoon or 21 or black jack ( depending on who I was working with) whilst we stood around and watched and waited on those infernal machines. The rules changed a little depending on the original nationality of the players and so it can be with casino games. So read the rules. If you don't know and understand the rules, you haven't got much chance of having a win.
All this is really only common sense. With the
exuberance of youth and a strong desire start playing, it
is so easy to overlook the obvious.