Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is online gambling legal?
Every region throughout the world has different laws, and they change from time to time, so we can’t really answer that question. To be sure, you should contact your local legal representative to answer any of your questions.
2. Where are online casinos and sportsbooks located?
All Internet casinos are located outside the U.S. They are generally licensed in the country they are in and have to report to the local government (although to varying degrees depending on the country). Antigua, Curacao, St. Kitts, Grenada, Dominican Republican, Gibraltar, Cook Islands are just a few countries that license online casinos. Having said this, though, many of the companies that run casinos offshore are actually operated from the US – it is just their servers that are located offshore. Indeed, several of the companies are listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
The reason these small countries allow online gambling operators to set up is because it can help boost their economy. Companies pay up to $100,000 to gain a gaming license in these countries, as well as paying ongoing taxes to the local government.
3. How safe are online casinos and sportsbooks?
So far there have been very few problems with licensed casino payouts and deposit security. Many of the jurisdictions require that the licensee post bonds of cash or insurance as part of the license requirements.
Your personal security (including credit card details and other personal information) should also be guaranteed under license agreements. Most casinos and sports books use secure servers to conduct all of their transactions, and all information about you is held offline. Many also take out insurance against fraud.
4. How fair are Internet Casinos?
Online casinos are fairer than many people realize. The “house” is happy making the normal profits of gambling. Indeed many of the casinos give better odds because they do not have the overhead of a land-based casino. However, all Internet casinos are not created equal.
In many of the countries, the computer programs must be submitted to the government for thorough checking of fairness toward the player, and the casino also has to be audited by one of the big six international accounting firms.
The most important part of an online casino is a specially designed program called the random number generator. This is the program that generates a sequence of numbers that correspond to various card types, dice throws, etc. A good random number generator is one that generates numbers that are evenly distributed and not correlated and remain completely unpredictable.
If a random number generator is evenly distributed and not correlated, each number will be hit approximately the same number of times after a large number of runs. If a random number generator is unpredictable, you will not be able to predict the next number in a series no matter how many previously generated numbers you have studied.
5. How does the software an Internet casino uses affect my chances of winning?
The casino software is the backbone of any Internet casino. There are five primary casino software providers to the online casino industry. It is our experience that in real time play, two of these providers have very poor reputations for fairness (i.e. the odds are not fair to the gambler). Casino Rankings would never recommend a casino that uses this software.
6. What are the pros and cons of Internet gambling?
There can be no debate that online gambling is a lot different than gambling in a physical casino. In some ways it is better and in some ways it is worse. Below are some pros and cons of online gambling compared to gambling in a “real” casino.
Online gambling is a competitive business and many casinos will offer a lot to get and keep your business. Many will offer sign-up bonuses to new customers, adding 10 to 50% of their initial deposit to their bankroll (see below for more on this subject). Some will randomly deposit money in customer accounts and others will give away vacations for specified levels of total money bet.
- The rules are usually better than in physical casinos.
- You don’t have to travel long distances. The casino is in your own home.
- You don’t have to suffer real casino annoyances.
- You don’t have to feel obligated to tip.
On some online casinos, you have to be patient about getting your money after you cash out. In addition to waiting periods on the casino end there are also delays on the credit card end. Debit cards are much faster taking only about 3 to 5 business days.
Customer service can be spotty depending on where you play. Some places offer great service via e-mail and a toll-free number. Others take several days to reply to an e-mail, have no known telephone number, and generally seem like they just don’t want to be bothered aside from taking your money.
The player has no power or authority to turn to in the event of a dispute. Usually in the player agreement it says the casino can make up the rules as they go and in the event of a dispute the casino’s word is final.
If you play at a lot of places your credit/debit card statement will be a nightmare to balance. Transactions seldom indicate the name of the casino you played at but instead specify the merchant bank.
7. What are the different kinds of games offered by online casinos?
Aside from the fact that most casinos offer the usual casino games like Blackjack, Poker, Roulette. There are three major differences. Download, Java or HTML. Download casinos are browser based and require you to download each game to your hard disk. They offer great graphics, animation and sound.
Online casinos using Java allow you to play through the World Wide Web with Java Applets without downloading. Some of these casinos have sound and animation and produce very nice graphics.
The third type of casino online uses HTML, so no download is required. These casinos do not have audio or animation but they deliver very fast game play with superb graphics.
They all seem to retain their own special style. All of these types of online casinos are fun to play and most offer free game play so you can sample the software before actually opening an account. So feel free to browse around for your favorite casino before getting started.
8. Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
Paying taxes on your winnings depends upon the jurisdiction in which you reside. Certain countries have strict privacy laws and the casinos will not have financial information disclosed to anyone. Your winnings are up to you to declare.
9. How does Casino Rankings evaluate and rank online casinos?
We look at many factors before we recommend a casino to our Top 10 lists. Things like:
- Is the site government licensed? Can they prove it?
- Is the deposit and payment system secure?
- Are the games audited? If so, by whom?
- What is the casinos “fairness of play” policy?
- Are their policies reasonable?
- What are the payout percentages?
- What is the speed of payment?
- Is the site a member of the Interactive Gaming Council?
- What gambling software is utilized?
- What kind of customer service do they offer?
- Is tech support offered over the telephone?
- Are operators of the site reachable?
- What is the over quality of the site?
- Are the games realistic?
- What do other players have to say about the site?
Finally, we play every casino we recommend to determine if it meets our stringent criteria for inclusion in our Top 10 list.