Online Casino FAQ - Questions & Answers

When faced with the prospect of playing online casino games for the first time, you can panic due to the sheer volume of information you are expected to know. Even experienced players are ever trying to gather more information on casinos, games, software, and so much more. All this is intended to give a player better odds of winning, as well as reinforce their safety when divulging personal details and carrying out financial transactions with the casinos. However, it's not always easy to find information that is trustworthy or an online casino guide that is as good as it promises to be.   

This page lists some of the commonly asked questions regarding online casinos. We also have guides specifically for players that prefer certain games.

Game Specific FAQ Guide

Online Casino Questions and Answers

Are Online Casinos Safe?

Online casino operators with a good reputation spare no efforts in safeguarding their players' personal information, as they recognize that security is paramount in the industry. As such, they carry out all their transactions over connections that have military grade encryption (128-bit). Therefore, whenever you enter your credit card details, this information is automatically scrambled so that no one else can read what you've entered. As for the casino's information database, the encryption ensures that only select individuals can access it, be it personal or financial.

You also have a responsibility as a player to ensure your own safety when dealing with online casinos. You must never divulge your casino account username and password. You must also only deal with reputable operations, which use trustworthy software like Cryptologic, NetEnt, Microgaming, Real Time Gaming, and Aristocrat. As long as the casino is licensed by a recognizable body, you should not have any problem with safety. Most licensing jurisdictions only award licenses after a casino has demonstrated its financial stability, with some even insisting on insurance or bonds being held to cover the balances of players. In fact, you'll hardly ever hear of a victim of non-payment or fraud at a reputable online casino. And this is of course as long as players abide by the rules of the casino.

Are Online Casino Games Rigged?

As much as this question bothers numerous new and experienced players, online casinos are not rigged, or fixed. A casino being rigged means its operations are outside the laws of probability.

It's actually near-impossible to rig online casino games because of the integrity of the software used. Reputable casinos use software integrated with Random Number Generator (RNG) technology and they are audited regularly. In addition, the leading software brands provide play check systems to players so that they can review all transactions and game outcomes any time they like. If there was a single rigged game within a casino's software, it wouldn't take long before veteran players would pick up on this, and news would travel fast. It would bring extremely bad publicity to any casino and software developer. Success in this industry is largely dependent on reputation.

Who Licenses and Regulates Casino Games?

There are licensing bodies whose sole purpose is to serve as industry watchdogs, awarding operational licenses to those casinos that are legit, audited, and whose numbers and outcomes are authenticated. It is very hard to acquire an online casino license. Offshore gambling licenses are very popular among online casinos. The most reputable licensing jurisdictions include Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney, Curacao, Kahnawake, and Antigua & Barbuda.

There are also independent auditing firms such as Price WaterHouse Coopers that audit casinos on a regular basis to ensure their games are installed with Random Number Generators so that the results of all games are fair and random.

Is eCogra Legit?

If you ever entertain the thought of playing online casino games, then you'll want to look for online casinos that are eCOGRA certified. eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) is a legit non-profit company that sets the standards casino operators must meet in order to give players a fair and safe experience. The eCOGRA standards require a casino to be audited on a regular basis by an independent auditor. If an online casino meets these standards, the casino is given an eCOGRA seal of certification that you will find proudly displayed on the website, usually at the bottom of the home page. The eCOGRA seal of approval puts players at ease when they visit these casinos because they are assured they are at casinos that are legitimate, customer-focused, and operated carefully.

While playing at an eCOGRA casino, you get protection on very many different levels. You know your information is safe and secure, all deposits in your account are safe and secure, you'll receive fair treatment, the operator is responsible, the games are random, and so much more. In short, you can relax and enjoy yourself knowing that you are playing in a fair environment and are well protected. The eCOGRA Safe & Fair seal of approval is one of the most important credentials in the industry of Internet gaming.

Are US Players Legally Able to Play Online?

Players who are citizens of the US or reside within the US can play any online casino games they like, whether for fun or to make money, without worrying about breaking the law. The anti-Internet gambling laws in the country, such as the UIGEA of 2006, are only in place to prohibit the banking institutions from making financial transactions with online casino operators. There is no history of a player ever being arrested for gambling on the Internet. The casinos that accept US players offer safe third-party payment methods like eWallets to facilitate legal transactions.

How Do Casinos Make Money?

A casino is a business like any other, like your local bowling alley or video arcade, and so it has to make money in order to keep its doors open. This makes real money games the driving force of the operations. The underlying principles for casino money generation are not in players' deposits, but in wagering and playing, and they include the house edge, variance, and return to player (RTP).

How Do Casinos Make Money from the House Edge?

The house edge is the house advantage, and it is based around probability and mathematics. It is usually calculated, not against your money on the table, but the total bets. It is a rather simple concept.  If you take the example of European Roulette, there are 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers, and one green zero. Betting on black has a payout of 1:1. So, if you bet $10 and win, you will get $20, which is your $10 stake and a $10 profit. However, considering that it's not a 50/50 probability of winning, you have to be in luck and get a black number.

There is a total of 37 numbers and 19 of them are not black, which makes the odds of a black being spun 18/37. Therefore, with 37 possible outcomes in European Roulette, you could get 18 outcomes in your favor, bringing you +$180, while you could lose in 19 outcomes and have a net loss of -$190. This is a calculation with the $10 stake in mind and you can apply the concept in the calculation of expected outcome of American Roulette (single zero).

Expected outcome = winning probability- losing probability = 18/37-19/37 = -1/37 = 0.027 or -2.7%.

With a negative expected outcome, the player usually loses over time as the house has a 2.7% edge. You can use the house edge to figure out how much loss you may suffer, theoretically, by multiply your total wager amount by the house edge.

How Do Casinos Make Money From the RTP?

Return to Player (RTP) is an alternative way of displaying a casino's house edge. Rather than indicate the expected loss amount to the casino, it indicates the expected amount in winnings to be returned to the player. This number is a percentage of their total bets. So in the case of European Roulette, this number is 97.3% (100%-2.7%). For every $100 you wager, your theoretical amount back would be $97.3 considering a $2.7 loss.

What is the variance in online casino games?

Variance is very different from the theoretical long-term outcomes of RTP and house edge. Variance applies to the short-term outcome of casino games and it's what makes them so interesting. For instance, if you decide to wager $100 on black on the single zero roulette wheel, the outcome could go equally in two ways; you could either win or lose $100. If you place $100-wagers 10 times, the outcome could be a $1,000 win, a $1,000 loss, breaking even, or anything else that applies in between.

There is a significant difference in variance on different games. The variance of table games like Baccarat and Blackjack is relatively low, while that of the lottery is huge. The higher the variance of the game you choose to play, the greater your chance of losing your bankroll and the greater the potential of bigger wins. The variance also differs in one game between the different bets. In the case of Roulette, this is betting $100 once or single numbers vs. betting red/black vs. betting $1 100 times. In slots, there can be vastly different variance levels in different versions of a single slot game.

This makes your risk tolerance the key determinant in the games you decide to play. In case you are not a big risk taker, you will have less chances of losing all your chips if you play Blackjack or bet red/black in Roulette. This, however, will also limit your chances of winning. On the other hand, you will have increased chances of going bust if you bet single numbers on a Roulette wheel or play slots. You will also have a great opportunity of winning big.

Which Games Have the Best Odds?

Many players fail to realize that not all games give them the best odds of winning. Slot machines are very popular, but they certainly don't give you that edge. Table games have greater odds than slots, and blackjack boasts the best odds. The house edge of this game is just 1%.

It is actually the easiest table game as the player only has to look for a number that beats the dealer without exceeding 21.

Craps has the second best odds in table games, though the electronic game version may have differing odds.

The Roulette wheel holds the third position for best odds. Stick to red/black betting and your chances of walking away a winner are nearly 50/50.

On slots, a house edge of 10% or more gives you the lowest odds of winning. So, choose wisely. Try out Blackjack because you are always somewhere between 44% and 48% in each single hand of winning. However, always remember that even those games that have the best odds ultimately favor the house.

Is it Possible to Count Cards Playing Online?

It is possible to count cards, especially in Blackjack, but it's not always legal. Card counting is a totally mental activity and as long as it remains mental, it is as legal as counting the bills in your wallet in your head. The only time you cannot count cards while playing online is when you using counting devices and machines. It is also wise to remember that the casino has the discretion to throw you out if you are suspected of counting cards mentally, as it has to protect its profits.

Mentalists and illusionists are good at perfecting counting strategies, but they are known for being banned from casinos across whole jurisdictions.

Do Casino Systems Work?

There are many casino betting systems out there, all promising to beat casinos. There are blackjack card counting systems that enable you to leverage knowledge of past play to understand possible future outcomes in order to increase your odds, as well as systems for other games, which incidentally ought to be treated with some skepticism. But to answer the question honestly, first ask yourself how many casinos, online or terrestrial, lose money.

There are systems that are quite popular, but the casinos do not lose their money because players win more often than not. The systems are not necessarily effective, but they add excitement to the games with their interesting approach. Some of these are the Paroli gambling system, the D'Alenbert gambling system, the 1-3-2-6 gambling system, and the Martingale gambling system. The truth is that no betting system can beat a game that has a house advantage. Whether tossing in Craps, spinning in Roulette, or throwing Dice, there is Random Number Generator technology in use to ensure all outcomes of all online casino games are absolutely random with no relation whatsoever to past or future play.

What are Casino Bonuses?

Casino bonuses are free cash online casinos give to players for joining them and making real money deposits. These bonuses mostly come with wagering and playthrough requirements. The bonuses are classified in numerous ways, including first deposit bonuses, match bonuses, sticky bonuses, free money bonuses, loyalty bonuses, and exclusive bonuses. The best casinos offer some form of deposit bonus for first time depositors.

Do I Have to Download the Casino Software?

Casino software is available in two versions: download version and no download version. The downloadable software version is the most common and developed for compatibility with Windows operating system. This is the original version of online casinos, and it offers all online casino games. You don't have to download the software in order to play, though, as there are also versions that require no downloading. These are browser based, which is ideal for Linux and Mac users. With a Flash casino in a compatible web browser, you get to play games directly on the online casino server. In case you use Linux or Mac OS and still want to download the software, you have to install a Windows emulator program.

Is My Personal Information and Credit Card Number Secure?

As long as you are playing at an online casino that is legal and of good reputation, you can be assured that any details you provide are always secure. The casino will be licensed by a respectable jurisdiction, have an eCOGRA seal of approval, and accept only the safest payment methods.

Can I Play Casino Games on My Mobile?

When the online gaming industry was starting out, the mobile gaming platform was non-existent as smartphones had not yet seen the light of day. Today, you'll find lots of casinos offering games that are compatible with your mobile phone. There are iPhone games, iPad games, iPod Touch games, Blackberry games, Android games, and even Windows Mobile games. These casinos offer games not just for phones but also tablets. Most of the largest online casinos are already offering a mobile platform for their gamers due to their huge popularity, as players get to play on the go.

Do Any Casinos Have a Download for Macs?

In the beginning, the development of online casinos was chiefly focused on Windows OS as the users of this operating system constituted over 95% of the entire market, which resulted in the 3% Mac users being ignored. Things are now changing as nearly all casinos have a version that can be played by Mac players without having to download the software. As long as their Mac OS and Safari browser versions are compatible, players only need to connect to the Internet and log into their gaming accounts. As for download casinos for Mac, the best you can do for now is to download a Windows emulator or run Windows on a partition of your Mac computer. Software developers are not very keen on developing dedicated Mac software because they are very expensive, and the percentage of Mac users is still not very high. Many online casinos now offer online casino games for Mac users, so look for a Mac friendly online casino before taking extreme measures.

 Do Online Casinos Cheat?

This is a question that burns on the minds of nearly all people before they start playing at an online casino. The fear is that the software they play against could be rigged, and the numerous cases of scams and fraud do no help. It is possible for online casinos to cheat, just like it is possible for an online cloths store, online bank, or any other online business to cheat you. However, most casinos find no need to cheat players because they have the house edge and therefore make enough profits without having to stoop to the level of criminality.

Reputable casinos observe software integrity and protect it at all costs. A simple search on Google will bring up a list of the casinos that are blacklisted because of such issues as bad customer service, payment issues. It's not a given that there is evidence to support these casinos cheat, but it's just better to avoid them. After all, if an online casino was caught cheating, they would lose their credibility, their players, and ultimately their profits and would have to close down. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that an online casino would cheat its players. It’s just not worth it to them.