So . . . what's an online casino and how do they work?
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Well, pretty much it's a company that let's you play casino games for real money. That
takes at least two things, games, and a banking system to transfer the money.
Let's start with the games. For the most part, they are a collection of traditional
casino games. Slot Machines, BlackJack, Video Poker, simulated Poker Games, Craps, Roulette, Keno, and on and on.
There's pretty much a little something for everyone.
Different casinos offer different games. Some casinos offer games in packages that you
can download. Usually they offer a small download that has the most popular games, and a larger download that
includes all the games that casino offers. If you choose the small download, you can add the rest of the games
later. In general, once you download the games, they are yours to keep. You can often play them for fun, without
the need to place actual bets. So, you can play professional quality video casino games, for free. Some casinos
even offer you real chips to use at their casino, just for downloading their software.
Other casinos offer games that do not have to be downloaded. You can play them
right from their website. The great thing about that is you can be playing in just a few minutes. The bother is
that you'll be waiting those few minutes each and every time you come back to that casino. There's give and take in
Another difference between the games casinos offer is the number of players. Some
casinos offer multiplayer gaming, where you can "see" (you choose a picture from a page to use as yourself, it's
not really a live video camera) and chat with other players who are sitting at your table. Of course, if you'd
prefer to be by yourself , you can set up a private table where no one can sit down without getting permission from
Now for the banking . . . once you have the games up and running, it's time to
actually buy some chips. The casinos make it easy to deposit money into your casino account. You can do it with a
credit card, and your account will be credited instantly. You can also send checks, money orders, or use Western
Union or bank wire transfers, depending upon the casino.
If you're ready to make that first deposit, you should check to see if the casino
offers a sign-up bonus. The bonus programs vary greatly from casino to casino, and can range from a free entry into
a lottery to several hundred dollars. Also note that some casinos will credit your account instantly, others within
24 hours, and still others will credit your account once you have wagered a certain amount. If you're buying chips
at a particular casino because of their bonus program, read over their rules concerning bonuses (expect them to be
posted on their site).
When it comes time to take your money out of your casino account and put it back
into your pockets, casinos give you several options. First, if you used your credit card to purchase chips, they
like to refund money to your card. They can only do this up to the amount you purchased, so if you purchased $20 in
chips, they can only refund your card $20 - even if your winnings are greater. Every casino is different, but most
will send you a check. They'll send it by courier, but there is almost always an additional fee for that service.
Many also offer bank wire transfers. Some even allow use of e-cash companies like neteller or paypal, where the
casino can almost immediatley place your winnings into your 'e-cash' account.
Things to keep in mind when cashing out:
Be aware of any charges that might apply. Some casinos will send you checks for free but
charge for a bank wire transfer. Others will charge to send a check, but do a bank wire transfer at no cost.
If you received a bonus to play with, make sure of the rules for cashing out bonus money. Most,
but not all, companies allow you to cash out bonus monies after a certain amount of play (and that varies from
casino to casino). If you are uncertain, it is a safe play to cash out all but the bonus money, leaving that in
your account until next time.
Be aware of the timetable involved. Checks may take weeks to reach you, depending on how far you
are from the casino. Even the task of crediting your credit card by the casino will take up to 24 hrs (during which
you may usually change your mind and 'reverse' your cash-in to buy more chips). Each casino should spell out the
details you need to know about cashing in winnings on their website.
Taxes - or lack thereof. Internet gambling is done on a worldwide scope. Everyone lives in
different countries, and each person is responsible for handling whatever tax issues may arise on their own. The
casino is not responsible for reporting whatever winnings you may acquire to your government's taxing body.
Actually, there's more to a casino than just the games and banking system (like
bonuses, comp programs, and prize drawings), but those are the basics. And once you know the basics, you're ready