The Ultimate Guide to Casinos


Introduction to Online Casinos 101

This guide will give you everything you need to start playing at one of our recommended first casinos below and is our Intro to Casinos 101 guide.  We recommend that you read our Intro to Casinos 201 guide too before you play on any other sites.

Online casinos have been around for at least 15 years and there are now over 1000 online casinos for you to choose from.  This guide helps you navigate through the terms, rules and choices so that you can experience the benefits that online casinos have to offer without too much hassle or stress.  Online casinos have many advantages over land based casinos including :

  • Convenience and choice – can play online any time and there is a huge amount of choice in terms of games and bet sizes
  • Better payout rates and more transparency – online you can get games with return to player rates such as 99.8% ie for every £100 gambled the house edge is 20p – this is far better than anything live.  Also some sites publish their payout rates so you can know exactly what the return to player is.
  • Great Bonuses – There are lots of great deals giving you extra value online including free spins, deposit bonuses, comp points and tournaments all of which make online gambling more rewarding and enjoyable.
  • Quality of gaming experience – There is fantastic casino software being used by the best sites in the industry and whatever your game you will find an amazing gaming experience is on offer that can be very similar to off-line options but also provide more variety and features than live casinos can offer.

Is it legal to gamble online?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer as this is a question that will vary from country to country and in some cases state to state.  It is important that you look into the legality of gambling before you start.  If you are in the UK or many other European countries then you are safe enough to play, otherwise you might want to look into this.  If it is not legal or it is ambiguous then you are risking legal action, confiscation of winnings or having limited recourse if a casino decides it does not want to pay you.

International gambling

If you live in the UK and gamble in a UK based casino it is clear that you will get laws that will protect your rights.  If you are playing on a casino based in Russia or some island in the Caribbean it is less clear what your rights are or how you would enforce them.  If you do not want to get too technical then stick to the casinos that we recommend.   As a general rule you want to go with a casino that is in (or licensed in) a jurisdiction that will hold the casinos to account or which would consider legal action by you if raised.  Equally good are brands that have assets in countries that you are based in or could potentially raise a claim in.  For instance if you are in the UK and have any problems with say Ladbrokes then you have plenty of options for recourse.  You can also get extra protection of you play with casinos that are linked with Customer Rights Organisations or Gaming Commissions.  Further protection is provided if you play with companies that pride themselves and have a reputation for providing a safe gaming experience with excellent customer service regardless of which country they are based in as they will want to maintain this reputation.

Is it safe to gamble online?

Online gambling can be a very safe and enjoyable pastime but it is important that you understand some of the risks as these will impact on your choice of casino.  With each of these issues you can either stick to the sites we recommend or do some research.  We all have different levels of risk and requirements of customer service and payouts that are acceptable to us.  Just don’t leap into a site offering a bonus that seems too good to be true with terms and conditions that make no sense on a site that is full of spelling errors etc and then be surprised and disappointed when they do not pay you.

Understanding Terms and Conditions

It is important that before you deposit money at a casino you understand the terms of use especially if you are getting a bonus with your deposit. After accepting a bonus at a lot of casinos you may not be allowed to cash out until you have wagered a certain amount and newcomers that are not familiar with bonus terms may be unaware of this. If you do not want to worry about bonus terms then play on Bet365 and do not claim a bonus or use live support on 32Red before making a deposit to make sure you do not need to worry about having to read and understand complex terms and conditions.

There are a few important and common terms and conditions that every player should be aware of before signing up at a casino that is not highly recommended by us.  Some casinos can take over a week to process a withdrawal, others will only pay progressive jackpot or other wins in instalments.  If you are playing with a bonus then not following the terms and conditions can void all your winnings. Check out our bonus guide for more information and also consider checking out our 201 guide.

Getting Started with a Casino

Having read what we have covered above you are ready to start playing in one of the casinos that we recommend to new players.  If you are interested in playing in different casinos then we recommend that you read our Intro 201 Guide first.

Platinum Play Casino – This is another Microgaming casino also available in download or no download versions.Platinum Play offer a free play bonus which may take a little reading and thinking to get your head round but it means you get a great way of experiencing the casino before you need to think about making a deposit.  Overall they are a great casino although their customer service and payout speeds all are very decent.  Claiming this bonus will stop you claiming another bonus with a Fortune Lounge Casino though.
Virgin Casino – A great Instant Play casino offering games from different software providersVirgin offer the fantastic customer service that is an integral part of the Virgin Brand  and let you can play some of the very best games by a range of different providers.  If you view games in list view you can see the return to player rates for each game you want to play.
Mr Green Casino – An Instant Play Casino offering NetEnt games as well games from other providers including Microgaming and BetSoftThey are quite a new casino but have a great reputation for customer service and quick payout of wins.  They are a no-download casino and feature NetEnt.  Their site is all about entertainment and they have a great interface and feel to the casino.  An ideal platform for a first time casino deposit.
32Red Casino – A Microgaming casino available as a download or instant play casinoIt is one of the best casinos in terms of customer service with a very nice sign up bonus and Microgaming is a great software platform.  Their bonus terms are fairly easy to understand and you will have a great gambling experience here.  They are publicly traded so your money is pretty safe too!

After you have tried one or more of these casinos if you are getting itchy fingers and are wanting to try out some more casinos then we recommend that you read our Introduction to Online Casinos 201 first but we can also safely recommend that you give Ladbrokes Casino and Paddy Power Casino a try if you want to get straight to playing.