For many of us who didn’t grow up in the internet age, the concept of gambling for real money at online casinos can be a bit intimidating. After all, you tend to hear horror stories of identity theft and other security issues when it comes to other online transactions, like shopping or banking. Many people who have taken an interest in real money casino games explore the idea initially, before being stopped short by fears that their money won’t be safe.
Fortunately, the online casino industry is one of the more tightly regulated arenas of internet-based commerce. When the government intervened to regulate online poker a few years ago, the intense focus of lawmakers and other leaders spilled over to online casinos as well. After a long period of study by Congress, during which time online poker and sports betting were specifically scuttled, casino games like slots were not included in the sweeping new regulation.
This means the federal government has not ruled that playing online casino games for money to represent a violation of the law. And sure enough, millions of Americans currently enjoy real money slots and other casino games through internet-based casinos.
Thankfully for the pre-internet generation, signing up for an online casino doesn’t require any specialized technical knowledge. You simply search for online casinos to find the one you prefer –based on reputation, appearance, software provider, and any number of personal factors. Take your time during this search and be sure to read any independent reviews you can find for each venue. The most trusted online casinos in the world have been operating for over a decade, and they’ve worked diligently to build a strong reputation, so it’s worthwhile to do your research and make sure you join one of these respected venues.
From there, click through to the “registration” or “sign-up” page and enter a few essential items of personal information. Most online casinos will only need your name, date of birth, and a mailing address to get you on your way, but you may also need to provide one-time documentation of your identity. This safeguard is put in place to protect both players and casinos. Although it might be a hassle to scan and send a recent utility bill, this critical confirmation is crucial to the site’s ongoing fraud prevention efforts.
Funding Your Real Money Gambling Account
After you’ve registered for an account on the real money gambling site of your choosing, the next step is to fund your account with an initial deposit. Head to the “cashier” page and read about the various deposit methods made available by the casino. You should find common deposit methods like Visa debit/credit card or wire transfers from your bank account, along with more modern tools like virtual wallets. A virtual wallet is simply a middleman of sorts or a web service that allows you to move money from your bank account to an online vendor quickly and conveniently. The most popular casino deposit options today are PayPal and Skrill, and you’ll see these names listed under the deposit options for most reputable online casinos.
Choosing a deposit method will likely be based on where you live, as local jurisdictions often impose their regulations on certain online transactions. So if your first crack at a deposit using your debit card is declined, don’t sweat it, and simply contact the customer service department for the online casino. They’ll be able to tell you which deposit method works best for your location, and once you’ve made that initial deposit, the process should never involve more than a few clicks of your mouse after that.
The amount you deposit depends on your finances, of course, but for the most part, a minimum of $20 must be met. The vast majority of online casino deposits come in between $20 and $100, and this bankroll is usually more than enough to get started – especially when playing slots. Just like in a brick and mortar casino, online casinos spread a large number of slot games with prices ranging from a single penny to several dollars per spin. So beginners can enjoy the penny slots while trying to build a bankroll, while high-rollers can enjoy the thrill of big bets leading to even more significant rewards.
The process for withdrawing funds from your account after a win is just the same as a deposit, only in reverse. Many sites offer withdrawals directly to your bank account, so receiving your winnings is just like being paid a paycheck via direct deposit. You can also request that a paper check be mailed out to your home address, although this withdrawal method is usually the slowest. In other cases, withdrawals can be handled through your preferred virtual wallet.
In any case, be sure to read the rules and regulations concerning withdrawals at your online casino of choice. Every venue has different timeframes for withdrawn funds to hit your account, so it’s important to understand how long the process will take before requesting a cashout.
Many players complain that deposits are accepted immediately by online casinos, while withdrawals can often take days or weeks to be returned. This may be a legitimate complaint overall, but when you are fully aware of your online casino’s withdrawal timelines, the occasional wait can be made much more bearable.
How Does Online Casino Software Work?
Computer software is, in many ways, a modern miracle. Capable of reproducing practically any tangible experience right on your screen, modern software is used to seamlessly replicate intricate processes within the world of design, commerce, construction, and more. Because a slot machine is nothing more than a series of reels designed to spin randomly upon each pull of the lever, recreating the slot experience using advanced software is actually much easier than it sounds.
Today, companies like NetEnt, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Microgaming, BetSoft, and IGT/WagerWorks specialize in designing state of the art casino game software. Powered by random number generators (RNGs) that ensure every spin or deal produces a randomized result, one completely independent from all other previous spins, this software takes the simple slot machine or table game to the next level.
To guarantee that an online casino’s RNG is accurate and 100% random, third-party monitoring firms are also contracted to run routine tests. Scanning through every program running each game on the site’s menu, these companies work tirelessly to verify that all gaming software in use provides a fair gaming experience.
Licensing and Certification
When you search for online casinos, you’ll notice a wide variety of gaming commissions, regulatory agencies, and other entities purporting to have authority over the site in question. For example, eCogra claims to be a casino watchdog advocacy group aimed at protecting players. You might see the eCogra logo near the bottom of many online casino homepages. While this designation can’t hurt, the company doesn’t anything tangible to keep players safe.
It’s best to recognize the online gaming industry’s often tenuous relationship with regulation, as the only one who can truly protect you when playing slots online is you. Because the law in the United States does not currently address online casinos, one way or the other, companies competing in this space must utilize gaming commissions put in place by other countries. That’s why you’ll see places like the Kahnawake Reservation in Canada, the United Kingdom’s Isle of Man, or Caribbean island nations like Costa Rica or Antigua listed as regulators for many prominent online casinos. While these locales have varying levels of professionalism when it comes to regulating online casinos, their presence alone is not enough to ensure the safety of a specific site ultimately.
The best play is to take your time and research different online casino venues because, in this industry, reputation is everything. Players will mark disreputable sites as shady, and a poor reputation can never be erased from the internet, so read up before making any deposits. Once you’ve found a site with years of history, a strong reputation, and thousands of satisfied customers, you can be reasonably sure that it’s a safe place to gamble online for real money.
How CR Rates & Reviews Real Money Casinos
As regular players ourselves at online casinos, the casinos listed throughout the site have to meet with our high expectations and criteria.
Such as, do the casinos in question make you jump through a multitude of hoops when you go to cash out any winnings you may have accrued?
In short, for a casino property to be listed on CasinoRankings.com, the casino has to demonstrate that they are player-friendly. This means their player support is excellent, cashouts are processed promptly, and finally, and most importantly, your details are kept secure.
Below you will find an easy to navigate table of all the current casinos which are recommended. The information provided includes the casino bonus on offer for new players opening an account at the property, a link to our dedicated casino review page of each casino, and also the time on average it takes to process a withdrawal.
The above list of casinos reviewed on the site is by no means exhaustive. This is down to my criteria and the fact that I am incredibly selective as to where I play online. There are thousands of online casino properties to choose from. Unfortunately, the vast majority are NOT player-friendly.
The criteria I use to list a casino here on CasinoRankings.com include the type of casino software used. In this offshore jurisdiction, the casino operates from and cash out times for processing winnings.
For the player that likes to receive casino bonuses, I also provide information on new player bonuses available upon signing up to any of the casinos listed above.
I hope you find this page and the reviews within an excellent resource and help when choosing an online casino to sign up for. Have fun and best of luck!
Are Online Casinos Rigged?
So how safe and secure are most real money casinos? An excellent question and one that gets asked by many players who have never played at a real money online casino before.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with greater insight as to how online casinos work and how you can be sure you are playing at a fair, secure, and trustworthy casino.
First off, thankfully, at the end of 2017 ( The time this article was first published ), regulation in the UK is full steam ahead, with the UK Gambling Commission responsible for overseeing online operators. The UKGC issues licenses to all online casinos who want to accept players from within the UK.
Players playing at an UKGC licensed casino can be sure of fairness when playing the games at UKGC licensed casinos and also of security when it comes to the casino banking, enabling you to deposit and withdraw funds.
The same can be said for those casinos which are licensed in reputable offshore jurisdictions, many of which also have bestowed on them a UKGC License. For an overview of many of the offshore jurisdictions where casino operators are based, please check our CR’s Licensing Pages.
For reputable operators and more info on them, check out the online casino reviews above. For the casinos we recommend, it is not in their interest to even think about ‘rigging’ their games. Not only will the Licensing Jurisdiction subject them to a massive fine, but they want their players to enjoy their casino experience and keep on returning.
Yes, while the house always has the edge, players do and can win, and an online casino is no different from a land-based casino in this regard.
This question as to whether online casinos are rigged also crops up when it comes to playing live casino games online.
Licensing Jurisdiction in Most Cases Gives Peace of Mind
If you sign up to a real money online casino which operates in a reputable licensing jurisdiction, this gives you the player peace of mind. As you know that the operator is subject to the licensing authorities’ conditions, and the games that they serve, you are audited for fairness.
Any decent online casino will also provide you with, in most cases, on their site, the ‘RTP’ of the games made available. For those who are not aware, RTP stands for Return to Player.
Likewise, as well as checking out where a casino is licensed, also check to see what casino software company or companies providing the games offered by the casino that you play at.
Many online casinos now offer a multitude of games from a variety of operators. Thus providing players with more choice and subsequently ensuring the player doesn’t have to open up multiple accounts at different providers who offer different games.
But be sure the casino you play at offers games from a well-known software company. For instance, if you are playing at a property that offers games from Microgaming or IGT, for example, then you are more than likely good to go.
However, if the casino offers games from an obscure software company, then your best bet is to avoid it. Check out our software pages linked at the top of the page for further information as to which companies are ‘kosha.’
Not all licensing jurisdictions offer or afford the same level of protection, however. For example, Curacao has come in for much criticism as it is by all intents and purposes as limp as a wet lettuce.
That said, you may find a couple of casinos reviewed and recommended on CR, which is licensed in Curacao. But this is because we know the operators and they also have a stellar reputation with relevant history in the industry.
Unfortunately, though, as I will discuss in the next section of this article, we have become aware of a growing number of operators with a Curacao license and elsewhere who, let’s just say, are a bit shady!
Rogue Casinos Beware!
Unfortunately, like anything that involves money online and in life in general, where there is money to be made, it also has the potential to attract the bad apples. CasinoRankings.com has an extensive Casino Blacklist, which all of our visitors should take a minute or two to read.
So back to the original question, are online casinos rigged? Well, several of the casinos which have found their way onto our casino blacklist, have been exposed for using pirated software. Yes, you read that right, pirated software!
The advice given further up the page to avoid those online casinos providing games from unknown or little known software companies rings very real. A good case in point is Jackpots Heaven, which was most certainly using rigged casino software. A poor attempt at ripping off popular software company games too.
However, rogue casino operators have also adapted and changed with the times. Many have been found in 2016 and 2017 to be serving pirated and rigged online casino games to unsuspecting players.
Indeed the websites of these rogue operators on the surface look slick and professional, and they have also pulled off some stunning pirating of games from popular developers such as NetEnt. This is why it is of paramount importance that you use an online casino guide such as CasinoRankings.com to research thoroughly the casino you wish to sign up to.
The first instance of online casinos using pirated games that we at CR became aware of using this sophisticated approach was back in 2016. It concerned the rogued, shamed, and blacklisted AffPower group of casinos.
Real Money Casino Gaming FAQs
Just like at your local casino, you can win money at online casinos. However, (just like your local casino) internet casino games are negative expectation games, and the average player is going to lose money. Nevertheless, you can still win if luck is on your side. However, your chances of winning go down as you continue playing and exposing your bankroll to the house edge.
The best way to improve your odds is by choosing games that offer the highest RTP. Baccarat, blackjack, craps, French roulette, and high-paying slots offer good payback. You should also learn the proper strategy for any game that you play.
Gaming sites normally offer bonus deals that favor them in the long run. They know that the average player will theoretically lose more money than the bonus is worth. However, it’s still worth taking advantage of bonuses if you’re going to play casino games regardless. See our Best Casino Bonuses page to learn more.
Visa and MasterCard are two of the most popular ways to deposit at internet casinos. However, your credit card deposit may be blocked if you live in a country with restrictive laws. For example, Visa and MasterCard block up to 50% of US iGaming transactions due to the UIGEA. You should look for another deposit option if you’re in this situation.
Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, meaning that it’s not controlled by a government or bank. Therefore, casinos can use Bitcoin to get around certain laws like the UIGEA, which made it illegal for US banks to process offshore gambling transactions.
Many real money gaming sites require you to submit one or more forms of identification upon requesting your first cashout. Casinos use this practice for multiple reasons, including age verification and fraud prevention. The latter is especially important because casinos want to make sure that nobody is posing as you and trying to steal your money.
Yes. The majority of online casinos use high-level encryption technology to keep information exchanged between their site and players private.
Check to see if a casino features an auditing seal at the bottom of their website. Auditing agencies like eCOGRA and iTech Labs check casino software to ensure that games offer random results and hit their stated payout percentages. However, keep in mind that online casinos aren’t required to disclose auditing to the public.
In a word, NO. Most are not, certainly not the reputable operators anyhow. But like anything online, you need to ensure you stay away from the sharks and the bad apples. But rest assured by following the advice on this page, you will know that the real money casino games you play online are entirely fair, legitimate, and secure.