Online Gambling FAQ

Q1. What are Online Casinos?

An online casino is an Internet based website which facilitates most typical casino games, such as blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Most online casinos will have the capability to allow you to play for fun money or real money.

Online casinos come in 3 varieties:

a) The 1st kind are those that need you to download their casino software. These online casinos are typically the most enjoyable to play, but their software will be installed on your computer. Once installed, these casinos offer greater graphics, sound & animation. A few years back, hard drive space was much more precious than it is today. If you purchased your computer within the last couple of years, then you won't have to worry about the software taking up hard drive space.

b) The 2nd type of casino is one that uses JAVA instead of a downloaded program. These JAVA casinos run on your web browser, often taking the same time to download as the 1st variety of casino. The main difference being the casino games are not installed on your computer. Most of these online casinos also offer sound and animation, and all of them offer some pretty good graphics. However they don't really compare to download casinos.

c) The 3rd kind of online casino uses all HTML and do not require any download time. These are very limited and due to their restrictions, there aren't that many of them around.

The best way to find an online casino that suits your requirements is to look at our list of online casinos.

Q2. What is Online Gambling?

Online gambling is usually the wagering of bets on sports or casino type games over the Internet. Sometimes the term also encompasses telephone sports betting. Real online gaming, however is when the betting, playing and collecting of money is done through the Internet. The nature of betting can range from Sports bets taken online to casino style games to lotteries, bingo, keno and more recently multi player games where the feature is playing against or together with other real people around the world.

In many countries online gambling is legalized and online casinos are government licensed. For example, Antigua allows online gambling and has issued licenses to online casinos. Kahnawake, a Mohawk Territory in Canada, also licenses online casinos.

Q3. Where are Online Casinos located?

All online casinos are located outside the U.S. They are generally licensed in the country they are obliged to report to the local government. Antigua, Curacao, St. Kitts, Grenada, Dominican Republican, Gibraltar, Cook Islands are just a few countries that license them. Having said this though, most of the companies that run casinos offshore are actually operated from the US - it is just their computer servers that are located offshore. The reason these small countries allow Online Gambling operators to set up is because it can help boost their economy. Companies pay anything up to $100,000 to gain a gaming license in these countries, as well as paying ongoing taxes to the local Government.

The situation in the United States is a little more complicated. The US Senate, led by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, has been moving forward with legislation that will make most forms of online gambling illegal - including gambling at online casinos. How this legislation will be enforced is unclear. The proposed legislation targets casino operators, not the consumer gambling from their home.

Some online casinos are not accepting wagers from United States residents until the laws are clarified. Even so, some studies indicate that up to 90% of online gamblers are in the US.

Currently, all online casinos operate their servers outside the US. Most are located in the Caribbean and Kahnawake, where online gambling licenses are available.

Q4. How do I begin playing at an online casino?

We recommend looking around at several online casinos before making any decisions. Take careful note at the deposit requirements, minimum bets and most importantly the Bonus Wager Requirements, etc. There is a large selection of online casinos available on the internet. Many will let you visit and play for free and even place some bets without signing up. The best way to find a casino that suits your needs is to take a look at our online casino index.

Once you pick a casino that you like, you will be asked to sign up. Usually this will mean filling out an online form. Many will not even require that you give your name and address. You will end up with an account number and a password. The next step is an important one - depositing money into your casino account.

Q5. How do I make cash deposits and withdrawals at an online casino?

In virtually all cases you will have to deposit some money before you can gamble online. This will mean sending online casinos money via Western Union, EcoCard, PaySafeCard, cashiers checks, money orders, wire transfers, credit cards etc. The most popular method these days is using a facilitator like Neteller. Most will not take personal checks as they would have to wait up to two weeks for the checks to clear to the overseas location.

Having said this, you can normally use personal checks with prior approval from the casino, but your money will not be available for play until your check has cleared. Nearly all casinos now accept credit card deposits. In fact, these are highly recommended due to the low cost and speed of the transactions. All casinos operate on the account system - you send them money and your account is credited for that amount. As you gamble, money is credited or debited as you win or lose. When you wish to withdraw money from your casino account (you can leave it in for future gambling) you can do so in nearly all of the ways that deposits could be made.

Many operations now allow you to have money withdrawn directly placed back onto the credit card that you first deposited money into your account with. This option is recommended as you can access your winnings within days. Casinos charge reasonable fees for other withdrawal options.

Q6. Are Online Casinos and Sports books fair?

Online Casinos are more fair than many people realize. The "house" is happy making the normal profits of gambling. In many of the countries, the computer software must be submitted to the government for thorough checking of fairness toward the player, and the firm also has to be guaranteed by one of the big eight international accounting firms. In all cases with casino gambling the odds for single deck blackjack, for instance, are exactly the same with an Internet casino as with the real thing. The same is true for baccarat, roulette etc. As for the gaming machine type games (slots, video poker etc) the player payout percentages are determined by the casino, and many will post what the percentage of payout is online. The trend is also moving towards being much fairer online than in land based casinos. The reasons being that there are simple a lot less overheads with an online casino, so operating costs are not as high as land based casinos.

Q7. Are Online Casinos and Sports books safe?

How safe is anything? So far, there has been little to no problems with casinos paying out and depositing security, however, that is not to say there will never be any. Many of the jurisdictions require that the licensee posts bonds of cash or insurance as part of the license agreements. As an example, the groups licensed in Curacao are required to post an amount of money equal to the average win into a special account in order to guarantee that they can pay winners. To even get a license, those who apply have to go through some extensive government background checks.

Your personal security (including credit card details and other personal information) is also guaranteed under license agreements in many, if not all, jurisdictions. Most casinos and sports books use extremely secure servers to conduct all of their transactions, and all information about you is held offline. Many also take out insurance against fraud.

Q8. Do online casinos ban frequent winners?

Banning winners would be a poor move on the part of the online casino operator. Savvy casino operators know that the odds are always on their side. The more players win, the more the house wants them to stay and give it back. It is common, however, for internet casinos to stop extending cash bonus offers to players who never stay long enough to lose.

Sports books are a different matter. A few large-stakes professional sports bettors have been barred or even had their money confiscated. There have also been more cases of flat out stealing by the offshore bookies than by online casinos. Casual bettors who stay with reputable books should be ok.

Q9. What should you do if you encounter problems with an online casino?

Most problems that are experienced by online casino customers are resolved quickly and usually in the patrons favour. Online casinos are a big competetive businesses and they rely on prompt customer service and retaining customers. Just like in Vegas, they don't want you to look for the exit.

If your problem is left unanswered or the answer that you have been given is unsatisfactory, you may want to take further actions.

You can let the Interactive Gaming Council know what the problem is. This is extremely helpful if the offending casino is a member. If not, you will need to look elsewhere for assistance.
Another way is to post your complaint on a gambling forum, many of which can be found across the internet. Over the last few years, these forums have been able to resolve many problems between players and the online casinos.

Many casino operators visit forums as much as the players do, and voicing your concern will most often bring a quick reply from the casino.

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