Online casino gambling is so easy in 2017, it takes minutes to sign up and play slots and table games for real cash. There are literally hundreds of gaming sites waiting to take your deposit. You can choose from hundreds of games and pick the stakes that suit you.
But with so much choice, it's important to get it right when you start gambling. Follow these simple tips and get your casino journey off to the perfect start.
1 - Choose The Right Casino
Casinos come in all shapes and sizes. Some deal exclusively with one games developer while others have a varied spread of titles. Before you sign up, it's important to pick a casino that's right for you. Are you going to play slots? If so, pick a casino that has 500 slots and lots of bonus games. If table games are more your thing, check out the roulette and blackjack lobbies before you join.
A lot of casinos let you explore the site before you come up with a username and password. Do you homework FIRST. It only takes a few minutes.
2 - Learn To Play Before You Deposit
Most casinos let you try games for free before committing with real money. When you hit the lobby, find the 'Play Money' or 'Practice Money' tabs alongside the real-money buttons. You will be given some freeplay credits to try the games with. Practice Money games work exactly like their real-money cousins but you won't win any real cash.
Online casinos usually feature a lot of games you might not find in a UK land-based casino - or any live casino. That's why it's important to learn the rules and understand the gameplay. Losing cash on bets without knowing what you're doing is easy to do.
3 - Pick The Right Deposit Method
Online casino sites let you make real-money deposits via the site's Cashier. With a few simple clicks, it's possible to send money from your debit card or e-Wallet direct to your casino account.
Most casinos accept major UK debit and credit cards as standard, while many also let you move cash via a bank transfer. It's important to watch out for fees. Most casinos waive fees for UK customers, but others don't. If you're using a credit card, for example, you will almost certainly be charged a cash advance fee when you deposit.
A good tip is to set up a separate e-Wallet or bank account just for gambling funds. Use a cheap debit like Maestro to move your money in and out of a casino and never spend more cash gambling than you can afford to lose.
4 - Find The Most Generous Games
All casino games have a "house edge" - the statistical advantage that the casino has over its players. But the house edge varies from game to game. Roulette has a house edge of 2.7-5.26%, while baccarat and blackjack have lower edges as long as you play the right moves. Slots can have house edges ranging from 1-9% online.
Check out the paytables or instructions for games before you play. Here you will usually find the RTPs (Return to Player percentages) listed. Try sticking to games with higher RTPs until you are comfortable with your bankroll.
5 - Work Off A Real-Cash Bonus
Welcome bonuses are offered by most casinos to new players. They work like "deposit match" offers: you make a deposit, and the casino will match it 100% if you play enough eligible games.
Always check the terms and conditions before you sign up: you will find a list of eligible games and their contribution value. For example, all slots might contribute 100% towards a bonus, while roulette and blackjack contribute just 10%. Choose a bonus that matches your favourite games.
Welcome bonuses also have a "wagering requirement" attached. This is the multiplier you have to attach to the deposit amount to claim free cash. For example, a wagering requirement of 40x means you will have to gamble your deposit 40 times in order to have it matched by the casino.
6 - Start With Free Spins Or A No-Deposit Bonus
Welcome bonuses can be good for real-money depositors who are keen on playing a lot of games. But even players with small budgets can enjoy a bonus. A no-deposit bonus lets you play slots and games for nothing; your "winnings" are released if you go on and meet the wagering requirements (usually betting the winnings a few times over at the casino).
Some casinos even offer free cash when you join. This can be a small amount, say £5 or £10, to play on selected games. Any money you win in your first few games is yours to keep.
7 - Manage Your Gambling Bankroll
It's easy to start betting for real cash online, but without a solid plan you can soon go bust. It's vital to have even a simple bankroll strategy before you start playing. Think about what games you're going to play, and the minimum stakes available. If you find a slot that requires 20-30 spins before hitting a bonus round, make sure you have the budget to cover enough games.
Remember too that ALL gamblers will experience a downswing from time to time. Don't be tempted to up your stakes to chase losses. Instead, drop down a level and build back your bankroll from there.
Cashing out winnings regularly is a good way to ensure you don't get tempted to gambler away profits. If you have unlimited free withdrawals from a casino, make plenty of fee-free cash-outs to a debit card or e-Wallet. Carry on with your usual stakes but throw in the odd higher punt if you find a profitable game.
8 - Join A Loyalty Programme
Most casinos run 'VIP' schemes that reward regular casino play. They are usually available to anyone making their first real-money deposit.
The more you play, the more "points" you earn. These points can then be exchanged for cold, hard cash. As you climb the VIP levels you will earn benefits like quicker cash-out times, invites to live events, or access to a dedicated VIP manager.
9 - Sign Up With More Than One Casino
Not all casinos are created equal. Some have amazing slots but lousy Live Casino offerings. Others might have a handful of slots but amazing promotions. And the terms and conditions of bonuses can vary wildly from site to site.
To work round it, open up several accounts (but not too many) - you'll find links to our top-rated rooms right here. All are available to UK players and come with proper security and licences.
10 - Finally...Enjoy Yourself!
Online gambling should be fun. Always set aside periods to play online and make sure it doesn't become more than just a hobby. With games so easily accessible via computer or smartphone it's easy to have "just one more game". But without a proper bankroll plan you can find yourself losing cash.
If the casino gambling is getting serious, consider stopping for a day or two. Some sites will even let you self-exclude for a time. All casinos will provide assistance if gambling is becoming a problem and should list the best resources for gambling addiction help.