It all started back in the late 1990s. The Internet was a new thing just getting out and people were making their first inroads into the worldwide web. It didn’t take long for someone to get the idea of organizing some gambling and the first online casino was born. At first, it was all rudimentary and very simple, not to mention suspicious. Sending money to unknown people over the net was still something only a few dared to do. As time passed, things changes and now, more than two decades later, the online gambling industry is highly dependable and people trust them with billions of dollars every year.
Online vs Traditional Gambling
Online gambling has overtaken traditional casinos in terms of revenue some time ago. In 2016, its total revenue was $45.8 billion, with projected growth to $96 billion by 2024. For comparison’s sake, in 2010, there were just 685 online casinos worldwide, generating some 435 million in revenue. The advantages of online vs traditional casinos are mostly obvious. Online casinos aren’t limited by location, like brick-and-mortar ones. They can draw on players from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. It is also very convenient to access them and play. You don’t have to worry about your appearance and you can play games from your couch, during your commute, or even from a toilet. With traditional casinos, you can just hop in for a quick spin on slots, unless you live next to one, and not many people do. Of course, there is a lot to be said about a weekend in Las Vegas, but that is a whole different conversation.
Online Gambling Still Suffers from Misinformation
Gambling has always carried a stigma in many cultures, even in ones where it was perfectly legal. It is easy to see why, as it can cause a lot of problems for people who lack the will to control their impulses. Online gambling was even worse when it first appeared. Even today, when it is a part of the online entertainment mainstream, some people believe that online casinos won’t pay out your winnings and other popular gambling myths and legends spreading over the Internet. It goes without saying that this isn’t true, as witnessed by millions of people who play every day and never had an issue withdrawing their money. The only exception is if you run into scammers, but there are unsavory characters in every industry, not just online gambling.
Online Casinos Have to Be Licensed
The gambling industry as a whole and especially online gambling is heavily regulated and under close government scrutiny in most countries. The reason for this is not so much care for the players as it is a concern for massive tax revenue treasury departments get from online casinos. All online casinos have to be licensed to be able to operate by a governmental body, like the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom. To make sure that you are playing in a legitimate casino, look for its license on its website.
Online Casinos Have to Disclose Return to Player (RTR)
Every online slot has something called Return to Player or RTR for short. It is a percentage of all bets a slot has to pay out to its players through winnings. For instance, a slot with an RTR of 96% will pay out $96 for bets in a total value of $100. The rest represents a house edge and goes to the casino to cover overhead. The catch is that the RTR is usually calculated over a lifespan on a slot, so there will be periods when it pays out more or less than it was programmed to do. It is the magic of random number generators that drives these fluctuations, but they eventually level out. If you can catch it when it is on the upswing, you can make some serious money. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.
Online Casinos Give Out Rich Bonuses
As the popularity of online gambling grew, online casinos were faced with ever-increasing competition and fight for every player. One of the ways they came up with to keep old and attract new users is to offer various bonuses. For new players, casinos offer sign-up bonuses that can be very lucrative. All players also have access to matching bonuses, where casinos will match their deposits, doubling the playing money you have at your disposal. Bonuses don’t have to be in the form of money. You can also get free spins on slot machines. Casinos usually do this when they are running a promotion of new slots and want as many people as possible to try them out. For players, it is a great way of seeing which slots they like without spending their own money.
Not All Bonuses Are Created Equal
A vast majority of players accept casino bonuses with glee. After all, it is free money, right? Well, not so much. If a casino were to give bonuses without any strings attached to it, there would be nothing preventing the players from simply withdrawing it and making an account at a new casino. Rinse and repeat enough times and every single online casino would go bankrupt. To prevent this, casinos have come up with something called wagering requirements. They basically state how many times you have to wager a bonus before you can make a withdrawal. For instance, if you get a $100 bonus with a wagering requirement x10, it means you have to make bets in a total amount of $1,000 before you can transfer winnings to your bank account. That is why some players opt out of bonuses altogether, as they don’t want to limit their withdrawals.