It’s one of the most popular pastimes in the world, but if you’ve never put money on a bet online, there’s a good chance that it’s starting to seem pretty appealing right about now and you wouldn’t be alone, as online gambling is on the rise in the UK. We’re spending more time indoors than ever before thanks to current events, the days are getting shorter as Winter draws near, and we’re all reaching the end of our watch lists on every streaming site imaginable.
So, if you’re thinking about taking your first step into the world of online gambling, the good news is that it’s incredibly easy. However, there are a few things that you need to know and a few steps you should take to prepare before you place your first bet.
What’s your game?
This might sound obvious, but it’s a serious question. Maybe you’re missing the monthly poker night and looking to sharpen your skills against some virtual players. Maybe you’ve got happy memories of spinning the roulette wheel on holiday in Vegas, or you’re looking to get to grips with some games you’ve never played before. Maybe, and you would definitely not be alone in this, you want to hit the slots to while away some time and for the chance of a big win. Of course, many online casinos offer all of these things, but if you’re looking for one thing in particular, you may find narrowing your search helps you find the perfect fit. Many sites will also offer free demos so you can try before you buy.
Do your research
You’re never going to be short of choice looking for somewhere to gamble online and typing a few keywords into a search engine will almost certainly swamp you an overwhelming array of options. It can be hard to distinguish one from another, especially if you’re just looking to dip your toe in, so have a think about what it is exactly that you want to play, what you’re looking to spend, and how much time you’re going to devote to this. Think about asking friends where they go for their online gambling, and if you want to do some reading before you jump in, you can refer to this post about the best casino sites gives a comprehensive run-down of what’s popular as well as pros and cons. If you’re not sure where to start, it is well worth a read to help you narrow down some options.
Make sure it’s legit
The fact is that most gambling sites you’ll come across, particularly if you’re using popularity as a guide early on, will be safe to use. Given that online gambling is so popular and such a big business, the players’ community will tend to flag up any scam sites pretty quickly and anywhere shadydoesn’t tend to last too long. Still, it’s always worth checking security certificates, encryption technology and firewalls when you’re doing your research before you put any money down. Something else to bear in mind in checking the site’s license and the gambling laws where you live and, if in doubt, go with the best reviewed. If it’s popular and it’s bustling, it’s for a good reason.
When is a bonus a bonus?
With so many online casinos and gambling sites vying for your attention, it makes sense that you’re going to be seeing a lot of incentives for you to spend your hard-earned money while you’re taking a look around trying to find what’s right for you. With more and more gamblers heading online, these sites are mounting up their efforts to entice people in with new offers. These welcome bonuses will often take the form of a matched, or in some cases doubled, first deposit but it’s important not to just take these bonuses at face value. While many will be completely legitimate, some may be masking issues that will come back to bite you later on, such as a bad deal on the pay-out percentage. The bonuses and incentives won’t stop once you sign up but again: pay close attention to those terms. There will always be something in the fine print and it’s important to remember that they want you spending that money, rather than taking it home with you.
It’s still a casino
This ties into the point above but remember: Just because there’s not a card dealer in a blazer standing in front of you or a glaringly obvious security camera in the ceiling, doesn’t mean that logging onto an online casino or gambling site isn’t the same as stepping onto a casino floor or through the doors of a bookmaker’s. The odds are still the odds, and the owners still have every intention of winning, so it’s worth checking any romantic notions of gaming the system at the virtual door. Thanks to the random number generators that are used everywhere except the live games, those memories of your grandad telling you how to count cards won’t count for anything here.
Look for good customer support
When you’re spending money online, you want to know that you’re in safe hands. You may have already done your checks on whether the site is safe to use or not, but it’s important to make sure that your chosen site has round-the-clock customer service available just in case something goes wrong. It’s also worth checking that you’ll have more than a simple live chat bubble, as you’ll want a guaranteed means of communication if the situation calls for it.
Budget money and time
This advice goes for IRL gambling as well as virtual, but it’s important to think about how much money you’re willing and able to spend and to set yourself a budget. Take a break if you feel like you’ve been staring at the screen for too long or clicking the lever pull a few too many times. It can be particularly difficult to know when to stop when it’s right at your fingertips, but setting yourself a limit on both time and money goes a long way to keeping things fun and making sure you stop when it’s time to stop. If you find yourself getting into trouble, there are apps and support options to help you take a step back.