When it comes to online casinos, the main distinction that can be made is between the client-based (downloadable) ones and web-based (flash) casinos. These days, however, most casinos offer both, a downloadable and web-based version of their software.
There are also online casinos offering live games online, with a live feed directly from a land-based casino, where players can get involved in games dealt and spread by flesh and blood dealers.
Generally speaking, yes, online casinos are legal in most of the world. However, it is important to understand that from the player's perspective, the legality of an online casino is primarily governed by the laws of their respective states. A casino can be perfectly legal and fully licensed, but players from certain countries still couldn't play on there because of their countries' laws and regulations. In New Zealand, all online casinos not operating from within the country are perfectly legal.
Online casinos usually have better payout rates than brick & mortar casinos for certain types of games, like slots. Otherwise, for games like roulette or blackjack, your odds of winning at an online casino are exactly the same like in a live casino and are determined by the rules of a particular game and, in games like blackjack, by your playing strategy.
The first thing to look for in an online casino are their licensing and regulation. Good online casino will be regulated by a respectable bodies, like the UK Gambling Commission or Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association and verified by an agency like eCOGRA. Other things to look for are a good selection of games, deposit and withdrawal methods, and their bonus offers and VIP program.
The selection of deposit methods at any particular online casino will vary depending on your choice and also the country you live in. Generally speaking, some of the most popular deposit methods include credit and debit cards like Visa and Master card, e-wallets like Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal (available in New Zealand). Other methods include paysafecards, POLi, and even a bank payment.
For the majority of methods, deposits are processed instantly, and you can start playing immediately after the deposit is confirmed. With bank cards, e-wallets, and similar methods, your money is available only seconds after the deposit is made.
This mostly depends on your preferences. For most casinos, there will be no significant differences between the download and instant play versions. However, instant play version may lack a few games available on the downloadable software and there may be special perks for players who do decide to download. This will vary from one casino to another.
Most big name online casinos offer a mobile casino version of their games, either through the instant play via their site or a dedicated app downloadable through Google Play and App Store.
The best place to find this information is at the site of a particular casino itself. For the most part, if you are a Windows user, you should have no problems with any casinos. As for Mac users, they will be mostly limited to playing on instant play versions of the casinos as there are next to none downloadable online casino versions for Mac.
Yes, you can. There are numerous online sites where you can play casino games for free, including free pokies. Additionally, most online casinos also offer a "free play" feature that you can use to test the games and get familiar with the casino without having to risk any money.
All games on online casinos are governed by a Random Number Generator. It is an independently verified piece of software that makes sure that outcomes of all games are as random as humanly possible and that players are not being cheated out of their money.
For certain games, like blackjack, roulette, or baccarat, payouts are fixed and cannot be changed. You can find this type of information on the number of casino related websites like our casino reviews section. Regardless of whether you play online or offline, the casino's edge in these games will always be the same and you sometimes you can influence it a bit by applying certain strategies. For slots payouts, the information can usually be found on the manufacturer's pages or independent review sites.
A good rule of the thumb is to stick with well known casinos that cater to a lot of players. These places are usually safe and trustworthy. You can also look around the sites where players leave their reviews and opinions and see if there are too many complaints. Usually, if a lot of players are complaining about not getting paid or being banned for strange reasons, you should skip on that one.
Some of the most typical bonuses offered by casinos include no deposit bonuses, first deposit (welcome) bonuses, reload bonuses, as well as loyalty bonuses give to long-time players, high rollers, and such.
The welcome bonus, or the first deposit bonus as it is also known, is the bonus given to new players when they make their first deposit (or the first few deposits) with an online casino. A welcome bonus can range anywhere from 50% to 500% of the total deposited amount and is given to the player to use more or less they like; there are usually some special rules, which will be stated by the casino.
The term wager (or wagering) requirement is closely connected to casino bonuses. When a casino gives its player a bonus, this money can only be cashed out after the player has placed a certain amount in bets. This amount is expressed as a multiplier of the bonus amount (25x, 30x, etc.). For example, if you received NZ$100 in bonus with a wager requirement of 35x, you would have to place NZ$3.500 in bets before you could withdraw this amount.
Like with deposit methods, withdrawal methods will vary from one casino to another. Most often, you will only be able to cash out using the same method you've deposited with. The exception to this is when you used a method like paysafecard, that cannot be used to withdraw money, or you want to withdraw directly to your bank account.
Once you've requested a withdrawal, the time you will spend waiting will mostly depend on the method used. With e-wallets, your money will usually appear within a few hours, or within a day or two at most. With credit or debit cards, it could be anywhere between 2 - 5 days, and this mostly depends on your country and your bank. Direct bank withdrawals usually take around seven to ten days to complete.