How to Choose the Right Online Casino

How to Choose the Right Online Casino

Casino games have never been so popular as they are today. The internet, smartphones and tablets have made it possible for people to enjoy their favourite slots and table games from the comfort of their own homes. Before the late 1990s, the only way to play them would have been by travelling to a physical casino. 

 

According to data recently published by TechJury, more than 2.5 billion people now play these types of games. To serve this vast market, thousands of online casino sites have popped up all around the world. 

 

With so many sites to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one to choose, especially if you’ve never played in an online casino before. 

 

Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to help you decide which one fits your needs the most. 

 

Step 1. Check if the Casino is Licensed

When you deposit money to and play games in an online casino, you want to be sure that your money and personal information are going to be kept safe. Thankfully, there are some really easy checks you can do to make sure. 

 

The first is to confirm that the casino is licensed. Here in the UK, all online casinos must be registered with the Gambling Commission. This is a government regulator that enforces the laws relating to betting and gaming and issues licenses to companies that want to serve customers from Great Britain. 

 

You can check that the casino has been issued a license as details of it should be displayed at the bottom of their website. You can also verify this yourself through the Gambling Commission website. Its public register can be searched by company name, domain name, or license number. 

 

For added peace of mind, you can ensure that the casino uses encryption on its website by checking for the padlock symbol in your web browser.

 

Step 2. Find Casinos Offering Generous Promotions

There is a lot of competition in the market, which means many online casinos offer promotions to encourage new customers to sign up with them rather than a competitor. 

The types of offers usually fall into a few categories:

  • No deposit bonus – this is where you get a small amount of bonus credit to play the casino’s games for free when you sign up

  • Deposit match bonus – where the casino matches your deposit amount (or a proportion of it), giving you more to play with

  • Free spins – these allow you to play slot games for free

 

Some casinos may also give you free spins for partaking in certain promotions or being loyal. Some slot games may also award you with free spins when you unlock certain bonus features or land on certain symbols. 

With so many bonuses on offer, shop around and find the one that will be most valuable to you by considering the types of games you will play and how much you intend to deposit.

How to Choose the Right Online Casino

Step 3. Find Casinos That Offer the Types of Games You Enjoy

There’s little point in registering with an online casino if it doesn’t offer your favourite game, so it’s best to check first. Thankfully, this is really easy to do since most sites allow you to see their catalogue of options before joining. Some even have search boxes so you can just type in the name of the game you want to play and see what comes up. 

 

For lovers of blackjack and roulette, you’ll find that they’re available at practically every casino. Most will even have several variants of each so you’ll have plenty of choice. 

 

Other table games like baccarat, pai gow, and Caribbean stud poker are less common, so you may have to check a few sites first. 

 

If slots are more your thing, then you’ll find hundreds (or even thousands) offered by most online casinos. However, if you have a particular title in mind, you may have to search a little harder as the games offered by a casino will depend on the software provider(s) it works with.

 

Step 4. Have Fun

Once you’ve found the online casino that works best for you, it’s time to sign up, make your deposit and have fun playing your favourite games. 

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Keep Your Eye on the Ball The focus of the Hot Chip site is almost exclusively casino related. It’s a topic those who visit the site are of course especially interested in (unless they took a wrong turn). From an active interest in the thrills of bricks and mortar casinos, to online versions of favourites casino games such as roulette, poker and slots, the action never ends. We all enjoy the excitement and the thought of winning some easy money, or in the case of games like poker using our skill and calm to bring in some welcome cash. In my experience though those interested in probability and chance can often extend their interest to sports betting and the opportunities that too can bring.

While I’m keen on horse racing and the like my main sport of choice (in terms of enjoyment via watching, as well as betting) just has to the football. There are so many leagues, tournaments and games – so consequently betting opportunities too – that night or day it’s always possible to ‘have a flutter’. And even within individual games there are betting options galore such as half time – full time results, overs/under, number of corners, red cards, player to score, the list goes on. There are so many ways in football to end up landing a winning bet that if you have a good grounding in the sport you’ll often come out on top.

Aside from betting on specific events within a game to take place, it’s of course also possible to go for the good ‘ol traditional win bet. I’ve placed many a bet on Premier League games over the years for instance, from bets on ‘dead certs’ like top teams like Manchester City to ‘also rans’ like Sheffield United (currently at the bottom of the Premier League table). Of course when betting on odds on favourites the return frequently isn’t great, and so more often than not I instead opt for an accumulator bet (aka multiple bet, or acca). This allows me to centre in on the three or four results I want to come in and if they do I benefit from greatly improved odds. It’s fun to have a bit of money riding on multiple events too as it creates interest beyond a single 90 minute game.

So if you’re looking for a break or ‘time out’ from the spin of a roulette wheel or the dealing of cards, there’s certainly something to be said for turning your eye towards sports betting and giving a footy bet consideration. You never know what riches it might bring. It’s good to mix things up, and if you take to it and come out on top you’ll be thanking me for suggesting it!

What Makes Themes a Crucial Part of the Gambling Industry?

You can’t deny that themes are essential to the success of the gambling industry. Throughout the years, they have appealed to customers to the point where players now have their favourites based on the title they are playing.

Themes are here to stay – empirical research on Springer Link highlights this beyond doubt – yet it’s easy to take them for granted. Users might assume that bright lights and cool sound effects are the reasons why they are so popular within the gambling sector, but this isn’t the case. To find out more about the role themes play within the gambling industry, please keep on reading.

What Makes Themes a Crucial Part of the Gambling Industry?

Source: Pexels

Brand & Production Variation

The casino sector, particularly the online casino market, is very competitive. In essence, the market is saturated, and providers must think of smart ways to carve out a niche and attract new customers regularly. This is because Investopedia points out that the phenomenon is a point when a market no longer provides demand.

Themes, therefore, give brands the power to raise awareness of their offerings because they add features to ensure formats aren’t the same. Several new casinos have implemented this strategy when hitting the market, but none more so than Fruit Kings as it uses an environmental theme throughout its website. Whether players like slot machines or table games, they get to answer the call of the wild by unearthing jewels and treasures on their journey to become the Fruit King.

Audience Engagement

Another way that themes engage audiences is by making games more relatable. A product that is fun is one thing, but one that’s exciting and reminiscent of popular culture adds another dimension to the playing experience.

This is best seen through the lens of Hollywood’s camera, with the likes of The Gladiator and Jumanji inspiring a plethora of releases that make the theme popular to this day. However, themes are flexible, which means casinos can adapt to the times to ensure their products and services are timeless. A current example is the role of Netflix’s blockbuster, Tiger King.

64 million households watched the TV series according to Variety, so it’s no surprise to see the rise of jungle titles. For instance, The Savannah King and Cats are among the most in-demand slots available on any platform.

A Bridge between Gambling & Gaming

What Makes Themes a Crucial Part of the Gambling Industry?

ce: Pexels

Gambling and gaming are markets that are intertwined. The biggest link is the introduction of in-play purchases within console titles, many of which are used within a gambling format. For example, Grand Theft Auto Online has a casino where players can place wagers, which is why WEPC reports that the market is worth around £120 billion.

There is a clear relationship that casinos want to build on as it allows them to appeal to a wider fan base. A theme acts as a bridge between the two formats because NCBI highlights how themes in popular video games have been around since the 80s. As a result, a theme is a perfect foil.

Themes set video games apart. In an era where the market has never been as competitive, and where popular culture trends merge into a single entity, this is crucial for casinos with massive gaming libraries.

A guide to the most reputable iGaming jurisdictions worldwide

A guide to the most reputable iGaming jurisdictions worldwide

SOURCE: Photo

The license under which your chosen online casino or sportsbook operates is a tell-tale sign of their reputability and transparency. Although there are many iGaming jurisdictions in action, only a handful are deemed to offer the optimum protection for customers, creating fair and secure betting environments.

If you are wondering which iGaming licenses are most valued throughout the industry, read on as we get under the bonnet of the top five jurisdictions on the planet.

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

If you are new to playing and betting online, you may not be aware that Malta is the undisputed hub for iGaming in Europe. The small Mediterranean archipelago houses the headquarters of many of the leading online casinos and sportsbooks in the continent. The MGA was one of the first to fully regulate the activity of online casinos and bookmakers. In fact, Malta became the first member state of the European Union to fully regulate.

The MGA’s overarching mission is to promote responsible gaming, whilst safeguarding vulnerable bettors and maintaining the fairness and integrity of table games, slot machines and all other forms of betting. The MGA also issues licenses covering individual iGaming activities, such as casino games powered by random number generators (RNGs), table games played strictly against the house, as well as controlled skill games.

UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

Following the new Gambling Act 2005, legislated as part of the UK’s plans to better regulate online and offline gaming, the UKGC was established. The UKGC covers the operation of all kinds of online gaming activities, spanning bingo, sports betting, lotteries and casino action. In fact, the only facet of betting not covered by the UKGC is spread betting, which is overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The UKGC is considered one of the most reputable iGaming jurisdictions, operating as a strictly independent body, overseeing the open and fair nature of operators, whilst safeguarding underage and vulnerable users. The UKGC works in tandem with independent third parties like eCOGRA to periodically test iGaming operators to ensure their games operate in line with their advertised return to player (RTP) percentages. Although the UKGC licenses operators across Europe and beyond, many of the leading UK brands are licensed by the UKGC too. For instance, bet365 is licensed by the UKGC, with its users able to utilise their sports and casino services under the same account.

Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)

The AGCC was actually formed five years prior to the UKGC. This Channel Island, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, has been a hub for iGaming operators for more than a decade. Many of these operators have sought to obtain an AGCC license alongside one from the UKGC, giving their customers ultimate peace of mind over their regulatory compliance. The AGCC, like the UKGC, has no issues with fining operators for breaching its license conditions or indeed revoking licenses to those failing to cooperate long-term.

The strict nature of AGCC licenses means that some operators choose not to invest the time and energy to obtaining one here. However, those that do must abide by stringent legal and ethical obligations. On the whole, any operator licensed by the AGCC can be relied upon to conduct its services with integrity and fairness, operating exempt from criminal activity.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC)

Across the Atlantic, the KGC is one of the longest standing iGaming jurisdictions in North America. Established in 1996 and active since 1999, the KGC has been governing online casinos and sportsbooks in Canada since the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake approved the Kahnawake Gaming Law. Their approach to regulating iGaming is five-fold – to lawfully regulate the industry, to maintain responsible behaviour, to shield the industry from organised crime and minors and always maintain operational fairness and transparency.

The KGC is within the Mohawk Territory, which operates independently to Canadian laws, with its own legislature. Although you might think this would lead to deregulation, in actual fact the KGC is even more stringent as a result. Its application process is notoriously strict and expensive application fees are designed to ensure only the most serious operators gain approval here.

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC)

A guide to the most reputable iGaming jurisdictions worldwide

 SOURCE: Photo

The Isle of Man GSC is yet another iGaming jurisdiction well-known for upholding strict regulatory standards and a fair system for ongoing monitoring. The GSC not only intends to keep crime at bay from the iGaming sector, it also intends to safeguard vulnerable customers and minors. Its abiding principle is to make sure licensed operators are fair and that customers get the winnings they are due.

The GSC is well-known for its handling of customer disputes and the island’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of 2013 ensures all license holders handle funds with the utmost professionalism and protection for their customers. All GSC license holders have had their casino and sportsbook software tested and verified, with the Commission only accepting applications from those with reputable trust certification.

iGaming jurisdictions to avoid

Although the Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority (CGLA) is one of the oldest authorities in this sector, founded in 1996, there are reasons to be sceptical of any iGaming operator licensed solely by the CGLA. That’s because the authority operates a hands-off approach when it comes to customer disputes with operators. It will never intervene, with licensing regulations requiring both parties to resolve disputes amicably.

The CGLA is also one of the cheapest and easiest licenses to obtain. Consequently, it has been known for unscrupulous operators to launch under a CGLA license and not provide the level of service that bettors have come to expect online.

How to find out an operator’s license

When an online casino or sportsbook is officially licensed by a reputable iGaming jurisdiction, they will normally display this information proudly in the footer of their website. This will usually be in the form of a logo of the licensing body or in text format as part of the website’s small print. If the operator has an ‘About Us’ section, it may also be mentioned specifically in this category.

Powerball Lottery Somehow Draws Consecutive Low Numbers – Awarding 21 Winners

A tremendously improbable draw, and yet, just as likely as any other result in the luck-based game, South Africa’s Ithuba National Lottery saw its multi-million Powerball pull consecutive numbers. Strangest of all, those consecutive numbers consisted of the naturally popular low numbers, rewarding several winners.

While a lottery win is still an against-the-odds triumph for anyone, this one comes as both a disappointment to those who didn’t just go with a simple run of numbers and, partially, to the numerous winners. So, what actually happened in the Ithuba Powerball, and what’s the best practice for those looking to avoid such an outcome themselves?

Was the Powerball lottery rigged?

Powerball Lottery Somehow Draws Consecutive Low Numbers – Awarding 21 Winners

Source: Unsplash

After an intense investigation into the Powerball draw on 1 December, the governing body Ithuba ruled that the consecutive numbers draw wasn’t rigged. On the night of the Tuesday Powerball, viewers were amazed to see the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 drawn for the main numbers. However, the situation was made even more bizarre by the bonus number rolling out as the number 10 ball.

As unlikely as it would seem for such a sequence to occur, a record count of jackpot winners cashed-in their Powerball tickets for a share of the top prize. The general consensus would be that it’s counterintuitive to go with consecutive numbers, despite the randomness at hand, and yet 21 people claimed their R5.7 million share of the jackpot – with one player getting another R100,000 for their PowerBall PLUS call.

It will come as somewhat of a bittersweet victory for some Powerball winners. With their winning ticket, many will have assumed that they had won close to R120 million, which equates to nearly £6 million. Instead, they each received around £285,000. While this isn’t a sum to be scoffed at, it’s certainly not as life-changing as a multi-million reward.

Good practice when playing the lottery

Powerball Lottery Somehow Draws Consecutive Low Numbers – Awarding 21 Winners

Source: Pixabay

Winning the lottery is a joyous occasion, but it’s even better when you get to claim the prize for yourself. An excellent way to see this is that you hear about jackpot rollovers all of the time, but this could only happen if the glut of the players have the same number-picking tendencies.

Playing the numbers that people tend to avoid is a sound way to avoid what happened in South Africa, with sequences being near the top of this list. It was found that around 10,000 people each week select the one to six sequence, with countless others doing the same with other number series.

In a study of popular lottery numbers and how to play against the crowd, it was found that numbers over 30 are among the rarely selected figures. This is put down to the association of luck with one’s birthday or significant date, with 31 being the cap on such inklings; so, mix-up your sheet with numbers over 30. Furthermore, the two big numbers to avoid are the lucky number seven and unlucky number 13.

So, to help avoid having to share your potential lottery win with a group of others, adhere to good lottery practices, such as not picking consecutive numbers, mixing in no over-30s, and avoiding the famous number seven and 13.