Online Gaming – Your Beginner’s Guide to the Ultimate Pursuit
Time is a precious commodity in modern days and, with so many of us caught up in the work, eat, sleep, repeat cycle, it’s no wonder we’re so careful when it comes to spending the little that’s left for leisure. Fortunately, though, the choice is boundless and, whether you are lucky enough to enjoy ample free time or only able to spare the odd half an hour here and there, finding a suitably entertaining pastime has never been easier. While the more active ones among us may settle on anything from signing up at the gym, to taking up a sport or exercise, others may opt for more intuitive pursuits the likes of reading, painting or writing. Traveling and collecting (anything from classic cars to whiskey bottles), on the other hand, may quickly become a way of life, demanding substantial physical as well as financial input, both of which have may give rise to unforeseen impacts on one’s usual way of life.
Why Online Gaming?
But what if you have neither the time nor the energy to dedicate to your chosen pursuit? Perhaps you work inordinately long hours, or have to face an arduously lengthy commute every day. Maybe the last thing you want when you get back home is to drag yourself off the couch where you’ve collapsed from sheer exhaustion, throw on something vaguely presentable and face the world again – all in the name of spending some quality leisure time. You may always, of course, opt for a session of numbing television time or scroll idly through your news feed – but these will prove neither entertaining nor rewarding. The solution to this, however, is probably to be found right at hand. All you need is a working internet connection and a computer or any other device for that matter, allowing you to access hours of fantastic amusement without even having to leave the comfort of your own home. I am, of course, referring to online gaming.
The world of online gaming has blown up to impressive proportions in recent years, amassing millions of followers in a significantly short time. And why should it be otherwise? All the glamour, excitement and sometimes considerable financial rewards of land-based casinos have been wrapped up in one massive internet phenomenon awaiting players just a few clicks away. Thousands of online casinos abound for the discerning gambler, offering up a plethora of highly engaging games aimed at a wide range of player tastes and budgets, all characterised by sharply-defined graphics, mesmerising soundtracks and a host of fantastic features. As the popularity of online gambling has grown, so have the abilities of game designers, who have risen admirably to the challenge of continuously upgrading and updating their offerings, as well as constantly introducing new features to keep their audience engaged. Ease of access is particularly conspicuous, with players able to place bets at home or on the go due to multiple device compatibility.
Beginner’s Tip 1: Check Out the Casino’s Wares
Unless you’ve touched at least lightly on the subject, chances are you have no idea how to go about choosing the right casino. Knowing your preferences is a good place to start. Does the anticipation of waiting for rapidly spinning reels to stop get your blood pumping? Are you more the suave, James Bond type, partial to a game of high stakes baccarat? Or do you crave the more social ambiance of virtual table games? Before you register, have a look at each casino’s games library to see what each one offers. After all, it would be rather foolish to sign up with SlotsMillion Casino – which, as the name implies, specializes heavily in slots – if you’re not a slot enthusiast! Browsing through the games on offer is possible without committing to that particular casino – and most gaming sites will even allow you to play selected games for free, to help you get the feel of the games on offer.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice to a few casinos you like, it’s time to have a look at their list of software providers. This will give you a clear idea of what you can expect in terms of both quantity and quality of the games available at the casino. A decent range of software providers indicates a wide choice of games for prospective players; a more thorough look at the providers themselves will help you come to more definite conclusions. International Game Technology (IGT), for example, is synonymous with slots and is renowned for producing and providing high-quality software for both land-based and online casinos. Microgaming and Net Entertainment are a couple of other big names in the industry, leading the pack in terms of graphics and state-of-the-art in-game features. If you’re more of a mobile player, you might want to look at a Play’n Go casino, who tailor-make their games for players on the go, offering streamlined mobile versions that make gaming in transit as easy as pie.
Beginner’s Tip 2: Investigate the Casino’s Reputation
There are plenty of other serious software providers out there – but what about the casino itself? The internet is a vast ocean where the illicit intertwines seamlessly with the legal, and it’s easy for rookies to be hoodwinked by a non-reputable gaming site. It certainly would not the first time that an unaware newcomer had been swindled out of their money. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that a potential gambler is discerning when it comes to choosing a casino who will be trusted with their confidential banking information and personal details. Take a moment to read a couple of reviews about your casino of choice, and have a thorough look at the casino’s terms and conditions. Most reputable casinos will make sure you have easy access to this information, but don’t be afraid to reach out to customer support if you can’t find it at first – they are usually extremely helpful even before registration.
An equally meticulous perusal of the casino’s licenses is required if you are to make an informed choice. A casino that is properly licensed and regulated has to go through some stringent measures to ensure that it operates fairly, protects its players and provides assistance in the case of gambling addiction. A casino that is up to standard will operate using the latest encryption technology in order to guarantee a safe and secure gambling environment. This way, unwanted third parties will be unable to access sensitive information that has been entrusted to the casino. Furthermore, a licensed casino needs to make sure that unauthorised players – for instance, those who are under 18 years of age or who reside in one of the casino’s restricted countries – are unable to play on the site. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the UK Gambling Commission are two of the most rigorous licensing companies out there. So, if a casino holds either of these licenses, you’re probably good to go.
Beginner’s Tip 3: Look Beyond the Welcome Bonus
Take a glance – however cursory – at a casino’s homepage and you’ll see it, dangling like the proverbial carrot: the welcome bonus. A casino’s welcome package is cleverly designed to attract new players – and it usually works, with novices easily blinded by what seems to them to be free money. This is hardly the case in even the best scenarios. Astute gamblers should make use of their welcome bonus during the first few days (this period hardly ever lasts for more than a month – more on that below) in order to set off on a good start, and perhaps gain a few free spins or other such perks, that will help increase their chances at winning. They also shop around, comparing and contrasting different bonuses offered by competing casinos, in order to see which offer works best for them. A common mistake made by many an amateur is to forget to read the terms and conditions attached to the welcome bonus.
Most welcome packages come with strict wagering requirements, and may only be utilised for a period of time stipulated by the casino becoming automatically void once this time passes. Spins offered are oftentimes only playable on a narrow selection of games; moreover, some payment methods, such as e-wallets, may not be valid for the welcome bonus. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the minimum deposit amount required in order to claim this bonus – this amount may vary greatly from casino to casino. Last but not least, don’t forget to have a look at what the casino is offering for its regular players. Do the bonuses begin and end with the welcome package? Is customer loyalty rewarded? Does the casino regularly update its promotions page? If the VIP club is exclusive, how can a player sign up for it, and, if it’s a tiered programme, how does one advance from one level to another, and what rewards are associated with each advancement?
Beginner’s Tip 4: Manage Your Money
Whether you’re partial to just the odd bet or consider yourself more of a regular gambler, it’s important to know who, what, and how your money is managed. Before you even think of making your first deposit, it’s important to be aware of what payment methods are offered by the casino. Available payment methods will usually be displayed on the casino’s homepage, but you will probably have to search through the site’s payment terms and conditions in order to glean more information. Most casinos usually offer a fairly adequate number of payment methods for their customers, with credit and debit cards (such as VISA and Mastercard), bank transfers, prepaid cards (like Paysafecard) and e-wallets (like Neteller and Skrill) being widely accepted, though you may have to look a little further if you’re looking for less conventional methods such as Bitcoin. A little extra attention may be required when using e-wallets – as mentioned above, these may sometimes not be accepted for use on bonuses!
Withdrawal and deposit times, fees and limits are also worth a thorough look, particularly as each gambling operator has its own set of rules concerning details such as verification procedures, processing times, limits, accepted currencies and associated fees. More often than not, deposits tend to be instant, with withdrawals taking a bit longer as these have to be processed before your money can make its way into your bank account. This may prove rather annoying for the impatient player, but is in the interest of both parties as these measures protect against undesirables such as identity theft and fraud. Deposit and withdrawal limits – which control the maximum and minimum amounts gamblers are allowed to deposit or withdraw per transaction – also vary from casino to casino, but usually hover between the £1000-£5000 mark for withdrawals and £5-£20 for deposits. Associated fees may also be in place, so it’s important that prospective players do their homework well before deciding on their chosen payment method.
Beginner’s Tip 5: Look at the Customer Support
The contented gambler is also a generous one and a casino will go to great lengths in order to keep its customers happy and willing to spend their hard-earned money at their gaming site. A serious casino who is committed to customer comfort and loyalty will provide a detailed FAQ section for its players, who can refer to it as their first point of call should a problem arise. Many casinos offer up extremely comprehensive FAQ’s, which deal with every sort of query imaginable. This, coupled with regularly updated and informed blogs, will do much to promote customer contentment. More often than not, gamblers will also be given the facility of a live chat support service – a feature favoured by many due to its instantaneous nature. While a round-the-clock service is obviously preferable, some casinos only offer live chat during office hours. In this case, disgruntled customers are usually given the option of contacting customer support through an email address or telephone number (preferably toll-free).
Another useful feature is to have customer support available in different languages. What use would a live chat service be if it is only offered in English when you are a Finnish or Norwegian player? Many casinos have cottoned on to this fact and offer to their customers knowledgeable, helpful – and above all, comprehensible – customer care agents who are able to deal with all their customer queries, whether through email, chat service or over the telephone, in an intelligible manner. No less useful is the availability of the casino interface in multiple languages. Several desirable casinos offer their customers the opportunity of selecting their preferred language from a drop-down menu. Quite obviously, the more languages that are offered, the better. This feature is best matched by customers accessing their casino of choice from their smartphone or tablet, and counts in particular for those lovers of live casino games such as roulette and blackjack, when players have the chance to chat with dealers in their native language.
Beginner’s Tip 6: Ask for Help if Needed
You’ve looked at the casino’s reputation, learned its license numbers by heart, memorised the wagering requirements of its welcome bonus and run through all its different payment methods. You’ve played a couple of different games and have settled on a favourite few that you return to now and again. But you can’t seem to get that big win … so you place another, bigger bet, hoping that you’ll luck out. And when that doesn’t happen, you go even bigger … and bigger, until you can’t seem to tear yourself away from your computer screen for more than a few minutes at a time. If you think that you or someone you know has become a victim of gambling addiction, it’s important to know that there is help available if you need it. Most casinos vigorously promote responsible gambling, being affiliated with several gambling help websites. If you are aware of the problem yourself, some casinos also offer the facility of imposing daily, weekly or monthly limits which you can set yourself, or have them do it for you.
Whatever your reasons for embarking on the exhilarating journey that is online gambling, there’s no doubt that this immersive pastime has all the ingredients for remaining the world’s biggest and most rewarding pursuit for years to come. With technological advancement growing by leaps and bounds, it is easy to predict that the overall gaming experience for players can continue to improve more and more over time. The main attraction in the pursuit remains its ease of access and flexibility – who’s to stop you from spinning a few reels at two in the morning while you’re in your dressing gown, or placing a wager while riding the Tube? There is, of course, the very real possibility of being rewarded in more ways than one, and getting a little bit richer in the process. So, provided you’ve read through all our beginner’s tips and understood them, you can consider yourself ready to go. So load up that casino page, make yourself a cuppa and immerse yourself in the ultimate pursuit.