The Ultimate Online Gambling Guide: Tips, Strategies & Casino Glossary
If you’re new to online casinos and need a few tips to get started, this guide is for you! We’ll discuss everything from setting a budget, picking a secure casino, and verifying your details to the importance of responsible gambling. In addition, our experts will define some common gambling terms, as well as share their knowledge to help you gamble smart.
To kick things off, here’s a checklist of things you must do in order to start gambling online.
Step 1: Decide on a Budget
The first step in the process is to define your bankroll. Again, this is something that’s unique to each player. After all, only you know how much cash you can afford to risk. Set aside some funds which you don’t need for everyday living expenses. Then decide on a bankroll management strategy to make sure your money lasts as long as possible.
Step 2: Pick a Safe and Secure Gambling Site
Next, it’s vital to identify a safe casino. Do your research and ensure that payments are protected by encryption technology of the highest standards. There are a lot of casino reviews and user guides on GambleOntario to help you make up your mind.
You’ll also want to make sure that the games are fair. Look for the logo of third-party testers like eCOGRA and BMM Testlabs so you know that the casino games aren’t rigged.
Step 3: Look for Game Availability
Whether you’re a fan of video poker, slots or live dealer games, there’s no point in joining a casino that doesn’t offer your favourite games! Ideally, your chosen site will be accessible from multiple devices. That way, you can play on the go and in the comfort of your own home.
It’s also important to find a site with a variety of reputable software providers like Microgaming, Evolution and IGT. The goal is to ensure a diverse portfolio of games so things won’t become stale.
Step 4: Check for Payment Option Variety
Payment methods are another important matter to consider when selecting your first online casino. Although entertainment and fun should always be the priority, a large part of gambling is about winning. And you can only do that if you’re able to deposit money!
A wide selection of trusted banking options like PayPal, Mastercard or Visa is also crucial. Such trustworthy names are convenient, fast, and secure and don’t charge hidden fees.
Step 5: Opt for a 24/7 Customer Service Casino
Gamblers never like to think that anything will go wrong. But sometimes, technical glitches do occur. If a deposit fails or a slot malfunctions mid-spin, you need to know that someone is there to assist at all times of the day.
Pick a casino with a range of support options, too. Although live chat, email and telephone are all excellent choices, sometimes it’s easier to use an instant messaging app.
Step 6: Read the Deposit and Withdrawal Policy
It’s always frustrating when you need help to get your hands on your money. So remember to read the fine print and understand all the information on the terms and conditions pages.
For instance, your chosen casino payment method might have a larger minimum withdrawal amount than others, or there are fees for using a specific banking option. Forewarned is forearmed!
Step 7: Open an Online Casino Account
When you’re done researching the above points and happy with your chosen casino, it’s time to register.
Complete the signup form carefully because your personal details do matter. Your name, address and date of birth will need to be verified later. If there’s a discrepancy when submitting your documents, it could lead to delayed payouts or even account closure. We all know how crucial fast casino withdrawals are, so you want to ensure that the casino you chose can guarantee that.
Until recently, online casinos in Ontario operated in a grey area. But in April 2022, Ontario decided to allow gambling sites to operate. So online gambling is legal if the casino has a licence from iGaming Ontario and the player is at least 19 years old.
Why You Should Only Play at Casinos with an Ontario Licence
However, one thing to note is that not all casinos are legal in Ontario. When looking for a place to gamble, it’s vital that you check for an iGaming Ontario licence. Avoid offshore sites which are not heeding local laws to protect against the following:
- Withheld payments. Unlicensed sites may decide not to pay out for spurious reasons.
- Unfair games. If a casino isn’t licensed, there’s no way to verify whether the games are truly random.
- Poor customer support. Unregulated casinos don’t focus on complaints from customers.
- Bad casino experience. If the owners won’t pay for a licence, what other corners are they cutting? Expect a low level of customer service, a buggy app and a bad all-around gaming experience.
This next section aims to shine a light on the day-to-day operations of a casino, revealing what goes on behind the scenes.
Why Do Casinos Request an Identity Check?
To protect customers from fraud and identity theft, casinos ask you to prove that you are who you claim to be. But aside from preventing crime, there’s another reason why casino operators ask you to verify your personal data. It’s vital to filter out vulnerable people and deny them access.
Nobody wants to see children gambling, for instance. What about if a problem gambler has self-excluded and is trying to open a new account? Identity verification — referred to as KYC (Know Your Customer) checks — is a critical tool.
Any company not complying with the KYC regulations of their respective gambling industry regulators could lose their licence. This is true in all countries around the world.
How Casinos Detect VPN and IP Address
Online casinos have an array of security features and tools at their disposal, such as IESnare or Iovation. These track the IP address of users, among other factors, to ensure they’re not breaking any terms and conditions.
These programs are useful to prevent customers from playing in restricted locations, abusing a casino offer or possessing multiple accounts.
How Casinos Make and Lose Money
All casino games are designed with an in-built mathematical advantage. This payout rate guarantees that, in the long term, at least, the house always wins. Each individual result is random, of course. But the payout mechanics give the casino an edge.
Take a look at a European Roulette wheel, for instance. If you successfully predict a winning number, you’ll be paid 35 to 1. But in fact, there are 37 numbers on the wheel, so the true probability is actually 36 to 1.
Can an Online Casino Refuse to Pay Out Your Winnings?
In theory, yes. Here are a few reasons why the casino’s security team might decide not to pay you:
- Illegal location. If you play from a territory forbidden under the terms and conditions, perhaps using a VPN, winnings can be confiscated.
- Multiple accounts. Opening a second account is not allowed to prevent casino dividends abuse and protect self-excluded players.
- Incomplete KYC. If you’ve been asked to prove your identity, payments can be withheld until you do.
- Wagering requirements. The terms require you to wager a certain amount before withdrawals are permitted.
- Fraudulent payments. Your account will be frozen if you use someone else’s bank card.
- Cheating. If the casino suspects you of exploiting a flaw in the game, they have every right to deny your payment request.
In this section, we’ll define common terms you might encounter when playing at an online casino.
This refers to the amount of real money in your wallet. Each casino site presents this information differently. But it’s usually displayed in the corner of the screen during gameplay.
This is a type of baccarat wager. The Banker bet is popular due to the low house edge of just 1.06%.
This is the amount of money set aside for your gambling activities. Responsible bankroll management is essential, whether it’s poker, sports betting, or casinos. Without it, you could end up in financial difficulties.
In casino table games like blackjack, there is always a casino staff member responsible for distributing the cards to everyone. This is called a “deal,” so these people are often referred to as “dealers.”
This is a pack of playing cards. A standard deck contains 52 cards, and games like blackjack may use anywhere from 6 to 12 decks per shoe. Some games use a deck featuring jokers.
Modern video slots feature some sort of wild symbol—these substitute for other symbols to form winning combinations. Expanding Wilds grow to cover the entire reel, making every symbol into a wild.
These are bonus plays on a slot where you can win prizes without spending your own cash. Most slots these days feature a bonus round which is usually triggered by landing Scatter symbols. And the bonus game almost always provides you with free spins.
In certain table games, you have the option to take additional cards. Instruct the dealer to give you a card by saying “hit.” When following the basic blackjack strategy, for example, there are many hands where you should take another card. These are known as “hit hands.”
Players who place big money bets are known as high rollers. They may be wealthy VIPs or professionals for whom gambling is a job.
A jackpot is a fixed prize, the highest amount awarded by specific casino game types. You’re most likely to see jackpots on slots or instant win games like scratch cards. Some special events like slot tournaments also pay jackpot prizes.
Lots of casino games take a small percentage of every bet and add it to a jackpot. This is called a “progressive jackpot” since the growth of the prize pool continues to “progress.” When it’s eventually won, it resets and begins to grow again.
The bet odds tell you what you’ll win if the wager is successful. They are loosely based on probability, representing the approximate chances of something happening. For instance, betting on red in roulette pays odds of 1 to 1.
All games have a theoretical payout percentage which reveals the house advantage. European Roulette, for instance, has a payout rate of 97.30%. The percentage of some games, like blackjack, is dictated by your playing strategy.
Random Number Generator (RNG)
RNGs are used to determine the outcome of software-based casino games that don’t use real equipment, for instance, animated roulette wheels or slot machines. Therefore, they must be certified by independent testing labs to ensure they are fair.
A slot machine’s volatility rating determines how frequently your wins will come along. High volatility means you might wait a long time for a prize, while low volatility machines pay smaller wins more often.
More Step-by-Step Casino Games’ Strategies
One of the most common questions new casino bettors ask is about winning strategies. And unfortunately, the answer tends to disappoint them because casino games are entirely random, and it’s all down to chance.
It isn’t like betting on horse racing or football, where you can study the form.
Are There Any Real Tricks to Win Casino Games?
Although there are no guaranteed strategies to ensure success, you can take a few steps to improve your chances.
- Baccarat. One of the smartest bets in the entire casino is the Banker bet in baccarat. With a house edge of just 1.06%, this offers a great chance of preserving your chips.
- Blackjack. If you study basic strategy, you can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. Combine this with a card counting system, and you could make blackjack into a profitable game. However, this still doesn’t guarantee a winning session.
- Craps. When playing the popular dice game, make sure to bet on the “Don’t Pass” option. This bet has a low house edge of just 1.36% and will give you the best value for money.
- Slots. Most online casinos allow you to test demo versions of popular slot games. Use these to learn the rules and get a sense of how to play before risking your own cash playing real money games.
It’s never been easier for gamblers in Ontario to access online casinos. For a start, we all carry the internet around in our pockets on an iPhone or an Android device, and mobile casinos are only a tap away. Broadband speeds continue to increase. Local authorities are facilitating regulations, allowing gambling sites to open and offer their services.
The chances of a casual player becoming a problem gambler overnight are low. But with such easy access to casino websites, it’s critical that individuals remain vigilant and gamble responsibly.
Luckily, gambling companies take their responsibilities extremely seriously. All Ontario-licensed sites offer tools such as time-outs, deposit limits and self-exclusion. Identity checks are also tighter than ever to prevent vulnerable people from gaining access to gambling services.
Read our responsible gambling guide, where you can find helplines and gambling addiction treatment tools.
Sadly, there are no guaranteed ways to win at online gambling sites. But if you review this guide, you’ll see lots of advice to help you enjoy the best gambling experience. A good tip for success is to only play games with a high Return To Player (RTP) rate.
Casino games are designed to be profitable for the house in the long run. If you’re always losing, consider trying a different type of game with a smaller house edge. Blackjack is a game that you can beat by learning basic strategy.
You’ll find a list of quality tips right here on this page! It’s packed with plenty of useful advice, but our top tip is to set a playing budget and stick to it. Gamble responsibly, never chase losses and walk away if things aren’t going to plan.
Yes. Some casino sites offer simple interfaces with lots of on-screen tips and helpful FAQs. These websites usually allow you to sharpen your skills for free in demo mode, which is great for learning the rules as a beginner. It’s always a good idea to read a casino review before registering to see if a site is suitable for newbies.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to influence how lucky you will be when playing slot games. So instead, look for ones that offer a high RTP, as these give you the best chance of a return. Anything over 97% is good.
The lower the Return To Player rate of a game, the greater the house edge. Unfortunately, keno has one of the worst RTP values of any casino game, with a house edge as great as 25%. So, in the long run, winning at keno is extremely hard.
4 Reasons Why Bankroll Management Is Important In Online Gambling (Toronto Guardian)
Responsible Gambling (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario)
Testing and Inspection (eCOGRA)
Why do I need to provide ID? (UK Gambling Commission)
Dominic is an experienced gambling industry professional of well over a decade across a variety of operational and product roles. He has launched retail sportsbooks and online wagering sites for gaming giants across Africa and Southeast Asia. Much of his content focuses on the North American iGaming scene, specifically the newly licensed Ontarian market, including casino & sportsbook reviews and local gambling laws.