Finding the right online casino is crucial and tricky.
As an authority on Internet gambling, I am asked a lot of questions by gamblers who are contemplating taking the plunge into the sea of onlineJ. Phillip Vogel is considered a leading authority in online gambling. He has written for most of the major gaming publications worldwide including Casino Player, Strictly Slots, Gambling Online, Bluff, and many more. He is also the author of a series of best-selling gambling books collectively titled The Real Deal. He is the founder of online watchdog site TheOPN.com at www.theopn.com and currently serves as the Editorial Director for Poker Life magazine. casinos. These questions typically include topics like “Is it safe?” or “Do you have to play for real money?” and can vary to include subjects as diverse as banking, taxes, legality and software.
By and large, however, the question I am asked most often is “How can I tell if an online casino in any good?”
With the number of online casinos steadily rising to meet the public’s insatiable appetite for gambling, it’s becoming increasingly tedious to wade through the mire and pick out only the very best sites.
While worries regarding less-than reputable or “scam” sites have lessened over the years
as the industry has started to come together and better regulate itself, there are still more than enough bad apples left in the bunch to warrant continued scrutiny. Complicating matters further, there is often a wide gap among legitimate sites in terms of how “good” or worthwhile they really are.
For example, some sites prefer to stay on the cutting edge by updating their software and game selection continuously, while others opt to “make do” with outdated software, rather than suffer the added expense of growth.
These “lazy” sites, as I call them, may not be criminal, but they sorely lack much of the value and professionalism found in leading sites. As such, it is always to the player’s benefit to find the very best site that suits their gaming tastes while always looking-out for an even better one.
The first step in finding a good site is simple: Do your homework. Rather than rely on advertisements or broad search engine categories, visit a reputable gambling portal--in fact several--and read what reviewers have to say about a site. Also, read books, magazines, newsletters--anything pertinent--and look for information about online gambling sites.
Once you’ve found a couple of sites that appeal to you, study them page by page, looking over the game previews, promotions, banking issues, security features--even company background if its offered. (Hint: Try the “About Us” section.) As you examine the site, ask yourself some key questions:
“Are the graphics and overall design professional grade?”
“How long have they been in business?”
“Do they post their payout percentages and how well do my favorite games pay?”
“How many games do they offer? Are their enough games that I’m likely to play?
“How do I contact them if there is a problem?”
These are just a few of the important questions that you need to answer before you bother to download the software, and certainly before you deposit any funds.
To further help you develop a clear picture of the site(s) you’re considering, I have included a brief checklist designed to rate casinos based on their merits according to several categories.
Note, however, that while this “test” can serve as a general guideline for rating an online casino, it is by no means definitive and players should be sure to thoroughly research any site before playing.
Rate your online casino
Below are 20 questions divided in four major categories: reputation, software, security & banking, and player incentives. For each question, circle the answer that best suits your current casino.
How well did your site do? Add up the totals from each section according to your responses (A=0 points; B=1 point; C=2 Points; D=3 points) and compare that value to the table below:
Score Site Rating
10 or less -- Poor
11-24 -- Average
25-34 -- Pretty good
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