A Beginner’s Guide to Online Casinos in the UK
Gambling is a popular hobby for thousands of people all over the world and casinos offer places for players to convene and play their favourite games. While visiting casinos are a fun experience for many, we understand that not everyone can visit real casinos regularly, which is where online gambling sites come in.
Casino sites allow gamers the opportunity to try their luck and play their favourite games without having to step outside the comfort of their own home. Hundreds of games can be played online including traditional fruit slots to roulette and blackjack.
However, getting started with online casinos can be pretty overwhelming, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help anyone considering joining one of the plenty UK casino sites. We’ll cover the basics of joining an operator, the different types of games available and address any concerns you may have.
Gambling Sites and How to Pick the Right One
Before you even consider playing games online, we have to stress how important it is to choose an online casino that’s perfect for you. There are numerous operators available, and it can be somewhat confusing trying to select one.
The first step you should take is to think about what it is you’re looking for in an online casino; are you looking for a wide range of poker games, a so-called slot site or perhaps a casino that offers the full range of casino games? You probably already have something in mind and it’s important to find a casino that will suit your personal preference.
While we’ve compiled a list of our best-suggested casinos and reviews for each of them, it’ll be a good idea to take a look around yourself and see what each casino offers. When looking, remember to ask yourself whether the casino’s game selection includes games you’re interested in, whether the games work on your preferred device such as mobile phone, what the bonuses and promotions are like, what currency they accept and payment methods they use and much more.
We also have to mention that not all casinos will be available to people in different parts of the world. For example, a casino in the UK may not work in the US as online gambling laws differ between states.
Joining Casino Sites & Depositing Funds
This step is very self-explanatory. After you’ve selected the right casino, you’ll need to register with the provider and open an account with them.
Here is what you’ll be typically asked during the registration process:
- Your Name
- Date of Birth
- Home Address
- Email Address
- Telephone Number
Some casino providers will generate a username and password for you, while others will ask you to create your own. If you’re on a desktop or your laptop, some casinos may prompt you to download some casino software to play, but not all of them do.
After opening your account, you will be asked to deposit some money into your account. Depending on the casino you selected, you can do this with either debit or credit cards, bank transfer, check, money transfer services and E-wallets such as Skrill and PayPal.
Some casinos will offer a welcome or sign up bonus when you make a deposit. The funds are typically added straight to your account but for some casinos, you may be required to enter a bonus code or deposit a certain amount, so it’s important to research the details of a welcome bonus before doing anything.
It’s Time to Play
Once you’ve done all of that, you’re ready to begin gambling. Either through the casino’s downloadable software, native app or directly through your browser, you’ll find a huge selection of games ready to be played.
All you have to do is select a game and begin playing. However, we should warn you that it’s important to know the rules and how specific variations of games work before attempting to bet any money. If you need to take a look at the rules of specific games, don’t hesitate to check out our game guides like this one for Roulette.
Note: Casino apps from the App Store often come with a limited choice of games. We recommend always to play in-browser to make use of the operator’s full offer.
Getting the Best Experience
Now you’ve started playing online casino games, we thought we’d share some tips to get the best experience.
Since there are so many games to play, we suggest you try out as many as you can. You never know, you might just find a new game that you love or one that offers you more ways to win. It’s worth trying something new every day and if you’re worried about learning an entirely new game, some casinos let you try them out for free!
While playing, you should also make sure to keep an eye out on any tournaments or special bonuses. New online casinos, in particular, run frequent promotions for players as they still need to prove themselves in the market. Oh, one more thing: Keep checking for progressive jackpot games such as Microgaming’s Mega Moolah. These jackpot games grow over time until someone wins the colossal fortune. Users contribute to the progressive jackpot with a small percentage of each bet placed.
Gambling is fun, but it’s important to remember to take a break and that you don’t get too carried away or spend too much time or money on the practice. While most people have an exciting, enjoyable and fun experience, many people struggle with feelings of addiction.
If you feel you’re spending too much time or money on gambling and could be facing addiction to the practice, you can always visit our support page for help and contact information.
RTP & House Edge
RTP is a term used at both land-based casinos and online casinos. It stands for the Return to Player rate, meaning the percentage of all the wagered money a slot or casino game will pay back to players over a period. So, if a casino or slot game has a high RTP, the player is more likely to win.
For example, if you make a hundred £1 bets on a slot or other casino game on which the RTP is 95%, you should make back around £95 in winnings. However, one thing to remember is that RTP is calculated over a long period of time and includes numbers of hands.
Many people believe they can calculate the RTP to guess when they might win, but it’s actually impossible to do so. This is because the RTP rate is actually misleading since it’s calculated over a long period of time and includes numerous wagers from different players.
You may also have heard of the term House Edge, which is basically the opposite of RTP. The House Edge is the profit the casino makes from players. For example, if a slots game has an RTP of 95%, the casino will have a House Edge of 5%. Again, many players attempt to calculate how much they’re losing to the casino, but it’s incredibly hard to do so.
Free Spins No Deposit
Many first-time gamblers are concerned about spending money for the first time. They may be worried about not enjoying gambling and regretting previous wagers, or maybe they regret spending money on their first game.
Meanwhile, regular gamblers face similar problems. They may be hesitant to try a brand new game because they don’t want to play with real money.
But what if we told you there are actual free casinos which you can play without spending a single penny?
They’re real and available, but users playing at free casinos can NOT win anything. If you’re still interested and want to know more about free casinos, continue reading on.
How Do Free Casinos Work?
Free online casinos work the same way as real money casinos, but without the need to deposit any money or place real money bets. Numerous casino providers offer free casinos games to users.
This offers first-time gamblers and even regular gamblers wanting to try a new game a chance to learn how to play and understand the basic rules before playing with real money. Most online casino games can be played for free, but it entirely depends on the casino provider.
Playing online casino games for free also gives players the ability to sharpen up their skills without putting hard-earned money at risk. With free casinos, players don’t need to be afraid of losing anything.
To join a free casino, all you need to do is register with a casino provider who offers free games. It’s that simple! The process is just like registering with a real money casino.
Online Casino Bonuses
When researching online casinos, you might have realised that they offer numerous bonuses, but what are they? Well, bonuses are basically gifts in form of money or spins given to you by the casino to stick around. And if you’re wondering why casinos are giving away extra money, it’s all because of the amount of competition they face. Offering amazing bonuses is a great way of getting customers to keep returning.
Now you know a little bit about casino bonuses, it’s time to find out how they’re given out and how they work.
Requirements & Restrictions
Players can’t just redeem casino bonuses whenever they want, the bonuses are actually hidden behind certain restrictions and requirements. Casinos do this to protect the money they’re giving away and to stop anyone from abusing the system. They want you to feel like you’ve earned it, and you probably did.
Some of the requirements the players need to meet to earn the bonuses include wagering specific amounts or spending a specific amount. It varies from brand to brand, and if you want to find out the restrictions behind each bonus, it’s important to review the provider’s terms and conditions.
Different Types of Casino Bonuses
There are numerous casino bonuses available to gamblers including cashable bonuses, as well as sticky type one and sticky type two bonuses. There are big differences between the three bonuses, so it’s important you understand them.
Cashable bonuses are pretty self-explanatory, they’re entirely cashable. However, to be able to cash out the bonus, players have to meet wagering requirements as outlined by the casino provider.
As mentioned above, it’s important to look into the specific terms and conditions of the casino site you’ve registered with. Another thing to remember is that some casinos may void your bonus if you request to withdraw it before meeting the specified requirements.
Before requesting a withdrawal, player’s should be completely sure that they’ve met all of the casinos’ requirements. If you’re unsure about any restrictions or requirements, the casino’s customer support should be able to help and offer assistance.
Sticky Type I & Sticky Type II Bonuses
A sticky type I bonus can be used for wagering but cannot be withdrawn. Any winnings made from using the bonus can be withdrawn, but the bonus itself will be completely removed from your account. For example, if casino credits £50 to your account and you win £25, you can play with £75 in total, but only withdraw the £25 in winnings. When you do, the £50 credit will be removed!
Sticky type II bonuses are very similar to the first type. However, the difference between the two is that type II bonuses are not removed after the player withdraws their winnings. Players can continue using the bonus to increase their chances of winning games, making this type of bonus far more appealing to players than the first type.
How are Casinos Regulated?
There are two main bodies for regulating online casinos in the United Kingdom. Most companies which have licenses with them are proven to be safe, fair and secure. But what are the two companies keeping casinos safe, and what do they do?
eCOGRA is one of the two organisations that regulate casinos. Founded in 2003, eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) concentrates on making sure that casinos offer fair gaming, player protection, and responsible operator conduct. Avid gamblers will recognise eCOGRA’s logo on most casino providers’ websites.
One of eCOGRA’s main responsibilities is to make sure online casinos comply with their local laws and regulations and that they’re approved to offer gambling services in their current territory. Casinos which meet eCOGRA’s requirements are given an official license, which can be spotted on the casino’s website.
eCOGRA, which has certified over a hundred different casino websites, also ensures that the casinos licensed by them continue to be safe and fair to players. Their regulations are incredibly strict and tight, so you know that any casino displaying the eCOGRA logo is completely safe. Lastly, they also review the payouts of casinos as well as RNG (Random number generated) games monthly, making sure the games are still fair and safe.
eCOGRA offers two main accreditations: the eCOGRA Safe and Fail Seal and the eCOGRA Certified Software Seal. Online casinos which carry the Safe and Fair Seal are considered to provide fair gameplay, practice responsible behaviours and offer other services to protect players. Meanwhile, the Certified Software Seal is given to online casino software developers who have passed a series of strict software audits and follow security measures for anyone working within the organisation.
However, if you spot an online casino without an eCOGRA seal, it doesn’t mean the casino is untrustworthy or bad. In fact, a casino without the seal could be established with a completely different regulator or commission. However, it’s important to check this before registering with a casino.
The Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission combats illegal gambling activities as well as betting-related corruption in sports. Based in the UK, the Gambling Commission was created under the Gambling Act of 2005 and regularly carries out reviews and visits to casinos, offers advice or guidance to license holders and takes action against any casinos breaking their rules or regulations.
The Gambling Commission is also responsible for making sure all online and real gambling is crime-free, fair and open and ensures that children or vulnerable people are protected from the practice. They also make sure that license holders understand and comply with UK law. This includes the Gambling Act of 2005, Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice as well as the National Lottery Act.
All commercial gambling businesses are required to hold a Gambling Commission licence. Today, the Gambling Commission is regarded as one of the key gambling regulating bodies. They’ve been working since 2005 and have continued making online gambling safer and more fair for the player.