Popular Gambling FAQ With Answers

Introduction to Online Gambling FAQ

What kinds of gambling opportunities are available online?

The types of games and betting opportunities will vary depending on the website (or sites) that you decide to use. There are sportsbooks, poker rooms, virtual bingo halls, racebooks, lottery games, as well as a wide range of casino games. Casinos typically include a combination of slots, table games like blackjack and poker, roulette, video poker, and specialty or novelty games (keno, scratch cards, parlor games, etc.).

Is online gambling legal?

The answer to that question depends on where you live, as gambling laws vary per country, or even per state, as it does in the United States. There are places like the United Kingdom where online gambling is perfectly legal as long as it's conducted through an operator that's licensed with the UK Gambling Commission. In the US, it's still a bit of a gray area. Technically, the laws that are in place regarding offshore providers pertain to the owners themselves with regard to transferring money. However, some locations like Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware provide some online operations with in-state licensing. Canada is also ruled by different jurisdictions and allows for registered in-province operations in some areas. For more specifics on various locations, we have a comprehensive breakdown for you on our Legalities of Online Betting and Gambling page.

What are the age requirements for online betting?

Most jurisdictions mandate that players be 18 years of age or older. In the US, the minimum age is 21. In many cases, websites will ask players for age verification.

How do I know if the gaming is fair?

Reputable casinos that go through the formal licensing process and certification are much more apt to provide fair and safe gaming. These sites undergo random number generation testing to make sure they meet the industry standards. They all should have a certificate of compliance posted somewhere on their website, but you could also ask their customer service department if you're unable to locate one. Although there are a few sites out there that you should steer clear of, the well-established brands will provide you with an experience similar to brick-and-mortars.

Do I need special equipment to play online?

If you have a good internet connection and can access other websites that provide graphics or video, you should be fully equipped to use an online casino or sportsbook. These days, you can also use your smartphone or tablet if you prefer. The majority of online gambling sites will provide at least half of their offerings in mobile format, and in some cases, you can also use their dedicated app from the Apple or Google Play stores.

Are downloads required?

While some websites promote a better experience and more betting options through a download, it typically isn't a strict requirement. Most operators provide a more-than-adequate instant play experience, so you should be able to just pull up the website in your browser (or mobile browser) and be off and running.

How do I know if a site is safe to use?

There are two things that you should always look for when considering using a gambling website, and they both revolve around transparency. You want to be able to quickly identify the owner of the site and the licensing and regulation in place. If you don't see those things, we would advise making a different choice. We go through a comprehensive vetting process with the online operations that we recommend, so you can be sure that if a site is highly rated, it has been proven to be safe and secure for its players. If you're ever uncertain, search to ensure that the site in question does not show up on "rogue casino" lists. Those are the operators that have demonstrated unethical business practices and should be avoided.

Do you have some tips for selecting the best website for me?

The process does start with reputable ownership and licensing, as it's first and foremost for the safety of your finances. You'll also need to narrow down your choices depending on where you live, how you plan to fund your betting account, and your gaming preferences. We would suggest that you start with a few of our recommendations and then filter them based on the things that are most important to you. Before you register any new account, we also recommend searching the site just to make sure there aren't consistently reported problems, especially with payouts.

Can I register with more than one casino or sportsbook?

Yes, you can use as many different providers as you'd like, as long as they allow for players in your country and meet your needs for banking and gaming options.

Am I allowed to do different types of betting on one website?

In most cases, the answer is yes. If you enjoy sports betting as well as casino games, you only need one betting account, and your choices are wide open. You can use those funds for different wagers on the one site.

What do I do if I've never played before?

If you're looking to try out some casino games, many websites will give you the option of using practice play or demo play so you can get comfortable with how to bet and how to play. Many games, like slots, bingo, keno, and other specialty games, are primarily self-explanatory, but you can also find some help guides within most gaming areas. For sports betting, you may want to start out with a simple bet, and if you run into any problem submitting your bet slip, customer service can assist. If you want to visit a poker room, though, we'd suggest that you have some knowledge of poker first. You can find some poker tutorials or social poker sites that don't accept real money bets, as it would be difficult to just join a poker table with no knowledge of the hands or procedures. We also offer a handy beginner's guide that can get you started on your quest for gambling expertise.

Why am I being asked for personal information?

Online gambling sites, except for some Bitcoin-only operations, require some personal information to comply with their licensing requirements. They need to not only ensure that you're of legal age and in a jurisdiction that allows you to use their service, but your information needs to match the financial account information you're providing. The site isn't trying to make life difficult for you. It needs to conform to anti-money laundering practices and gaming legislation, and it is in your best interest.

Do you have to pay for access to a gambling site?

No. Although you do have to register for an account, it's free to use. However, be sure to review everything about the service you're interested in, as some websites charge for financial transactions and that may even include a fee assessed to your deposit.

Can you log into your player's account any time?

Yes. Online gambling sites are open to players around the clock. We would advise finding a provider that offers 24/7 customer service as well. You may be able to play at any time, but some of the operations have limited hours for player assistance.

Is it easy to make a mistake when gambling online?

If you're not paying attention, simple mistakes can happen. Anyone can click a wrong button or bet the incorrect amount. But you could do those things in person as well. Granted, you're working with a smaller screen and using electronic chips instead of actual ones held in your hand, but it only takes a few hands or a few spins of the reels to get comfortable with the process, and then it's all very natural.

What happens if I lose my internet connection?

If you drop your connection while playing an online game, the software is designed to pick back up where you left off when you reconnect. If you were in the middle of a hand or spin, you should return to the exact spot you were at previously, and you will be paid out accordingly.

What is a loyalty club?

A loyalty club is a tool that online gambling sites use to incentivize players by providing rewards based on betting habits. The amount of each bet made converts to a point system, and players can level up in the club by accumulating more points. The more significant rewards are given based on the higher levels that are attained. Players could receive perks like gifts, bonuses, the opportunity to convert their points to cash, expedited withdrawals, and other rewards befitting of an online program. The clubs that cater to high rollers are called VIP clubs, and they can be quite impressive with the levels of incentives they issue. High rollers have been invited to exclusive trips or have even been gifted with cars, motorcycles, appliances, electronics, and jewelry.

Financial FAQ

How much money do I need to get started?

It's all based on your personal preference, as well as the minimum deposits imposed by the gambling site you've opted to use. Some will allow for as low as a $10 transfer, but others may require slightly higher amounts. You shouldn't have a problem finding one that accommodates a relatively small transfer, if that's your inclination.

Can I deposit and then withdraw after just a few minutes if I don't like the site?

There are some conditions imposed by online providers where you typically have to bet your entire deposit at least one time through. So, if you transferred in $20, you'd have to conduct at least $20 in wagering. It's a per-site rule, though. We've come across some that require you to bet your deposit three times over. That's not to say that you still can't cash out, but you may be charged a fee if you don't play it through the required number of times.

Can I play for free?

Many websites do provide the opportunity for you to play the games for free. They call it "demo mode" or "practice play." Some may not even require you to register for a player's account. You can just pull up the website and give it a go without making real-cash wagers. Of course, that means you can't win any money either, so we wouldn't advise doing any test playing on a big progressive jackpot game.

How can I get money into my online betting account?

These days, there are a number of different ways that you can opt to use to transfer in funds. It does depend on the casino, sportsbook, or poker site you're using. Every operator has a customized list of available financial methods. You'll find some combination of credit and debit cards, e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, prepaid options like Paysafecard, bank transfers, wire transfers, some local favorites like iDebit for Canadians, and Bitcoin.

How long does it take until I have access to my betting money?

Most financial transactions should provide you with immediate access to your funds so you can start playing or placing your bets right away. Bitcoin may take 20 minutes or so to process, and if you're using a service like Moneygram or initiating a bank transfer, you could be delayed by a few hours or even a few days.

Will I use my local currency to bet?

It all depends on the website you're using. Some will conduct transactions solely in US dollars or Euros or British Sterling, while others may provide several different choices of currency. If yours isn't available, your deposit will be converted when it hits the casino, and it will be turned back to your original exchange if you cash out anything.

Are there limits to what I can deposit to my player's account?

Every site will promote minimum and maximum deposit amounts. Before you register any new membership, we advise that you review all of the banking information to make sure the parameters meet your needs.

Do I have to use the same method for withdrawals as I did for deposits?

Whenever it's possible, you are required to use the same financial system. However, some casinos and books don't provide a full payout menu that coincides one-to-one with deposits. In some cases, you won't be able to transfer back to a credit card. Paysafecard use doesn't typically allow for transactions in both directions, either. If you don't see your deposit method listed in the withdrawal section, you'll want to ask customer service to provide you with options. Usually, you'll be offered a bank transfer or sometimes a paper check.

Are fees charged for payouts?

The answer to this question hinges on the website you're using. Whereas most UK and European servicing operators don't charge for any financial transactions, it's a different story in other regions, especially for US players. Not only is not easy for Americans to transfer funds online, but there could be a cost associated not only with the payout, but even to the deposit itself. The banking or payments page that every site provides will detail any potential fees for which you may be responsible. We advise against using a service that does not offer you a thorough financial picture before you register. It's essential information for you to access and review.

How long does it take to receive a payout?

If you opt for some of the newer websites or a prominent provider that stays current, you can sometimes receive your payout the very same day that you request it. Other operators first implement a pending period, and then it still takes a while for the payment to be processed and put in your hands. You could end up waiting a week or two before you receive anything from some casinos or sportsbooks.

What is a "reverse withdrawal?"

A reverse withdrawal is a controversial service that many online providers offer to players. It coincides with a "pending" period for payouts and is the timeframe that allows a customer to change his or her mind and have their winnings put back into their betting account. While some sites promote a 24-hour pending period, others can go up to four business days or longer. It's not a good sign when you see a casino that has an extended pending period. Not only does it encourage you to put the money back and risk it again, but it takes that much longer for your money to ever reach you. The processing doesn't even start until after the pending period concludes.

What is "manual flushing?"

Manual flushing goes hand in hand with the reverse-withdrawal concept. If an operator offers it, it allows you, the player, to formally request that the payout you initiated not be made available to you. It doesn't speed up your payment arriving, but it does eliminate the pending status so you can't change your mind and ask for a reverse withdrawal.

Do I have recourse if I don't receive my winnings as requested?

If you are confident that you're owed money, and customer service is not assisting you for whatever reason, you do have the next course of action. The regulatory agency that provides the license for the website will handle payment compliance. The most common license providers are usually from Malta, Curaçao, Panama, Alderney, Danish, Gibraltar, or the United Kingdom for the most part. That's why it's so important to make sure that any website you select is fully licensed. You can also turn to some online gambler forums and groups that do get involved in mediation with gambling providers.

I see a balance in my player's account but am told I can't withdraw it. Why is that?

The most likely reason why you have some non-cashable funds is that you accepted a bonus and you haven't met the wagering requirements. Bonuses are probably the cause of the most player frustration, as they can be very confusing to understand. But bonus cash is not the same as real money. It may allow you to play longer, but it's not cashable until you meet the designated rollover. It can also put your deposited funds in a holding pattern, as well, until you achieve the betting obligations.

I know I have cashable funds, but I still haven't received the withdrawal I had requested. Why?

You may need to turn in some required paperwork for identity or financial verification. If you're a new player or you've requested a payout higher than $2,000, that's the most likely explanation. Get in touch with the customer service department, and they can let you know what you need to submit, but your withdrawal will be held in processing until your information is confirmed.

If I win a progressive jackpot in a slot game, will I receive my winnings all at once?

The answer to this depends on the game that you're playing. The big millionaire-makers like Mega Moolah that Microgaming provides are paid off all at one time. The top winner received a check valued at more than £13 million. However, other games may pay off six figures or even more, but the casino may mandate that the prize is divided up into monthly installments. For example, one casino has a $10,000 monthly maximum for withdrawals, so if you win $100,000, it will be divided out and issued over a ten-month period.

Do I have to pay taxes on online gambling winnings?

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on where you live. The UK and European players are not taxed on their winnings, but other jurisdictions depend on the local laws regarding internet bets.

What is a Bitcoin-only casino?

A Bitcoin casino exclusively uses the cryptocurrency for funding betting accounts and withdrawals. There are no traditional banking alternatives offered. The value of the chips or the credits used in slots will show up as BTC or mBTC instead of a conventional monetary exchange. Bitcoin takes the financial regulation out of the picture and makes it easier for all players to move money into and out of their player's account. In some cases, it also allows for total anonymity. As you're not providing a governmentally regulated financial method, it's not necessary to register with any personal information. US players, in particular, benefit from Bitcoin use, as it's challenging for Americans to use credit or debit cards, and e-wallets aren't as prevalent.

Online Gambling Bonus and Promotions FAQ

What is a welcome bonus?

A welcome bonus is offered to brand new players on most gambling sites and is typically given in conjunction with their first deposit. The standard welcome offer usually provides for a percentage match of the deposited amount, such as 100% match up to $200 or something to that effect. Sometimes welcome bonuses will also include some free spins on a particular slot game to enhance the value of the package.

Can I cash out the bonus money?

You can't cash it out immediately. Bonus funds come with some strings attached called "rollovers," so you have to comply with some requirements first, and then if you have any money left, you can opt to withdraw it.

What is a rollover?

The rollover (play-through or wagering requirement) is the number of times you have to bet before you can cash out any winnings derived from your bonus. A rollover can apply to just the bonus amount given, or it can include your deposit as well. So, if you deposit $100 and receive $50 in bonus funds, your rollover could be something like 40 times on the $50 bonus only ($2,000 total). Or it could apply to the combination of deposit and bonus funds. For example, 25 times on $100 plus $50 = $150 total x 25X = $3,750 required betting.

Is there anything else I need to know about the rollover?

Yes. There are a few other rules that casinos impose when players are trying to satisfy the rollover. One is the games that contribute to it. Slots usually provide a 100% contribution, so if you have to accomplish $2,000 in betting, slots will allow you to do that at full value, meaning $2,000 in slot betting is $2,000 toward your wagering requirement. Other games, like table games, may only provide a 10% contribution. If you opt to play blackjack and it offers 10%, you have to bet $20,000 (as opposed to $2,000) at the table before you work off that rollover. Additionally, you're limited to a per-bet amount that usually comes in somewhere between $5 and $6.50 per spin or wager.

What happens if I don't meet the rollover?

If you run out of betting funds and you didn't finish with your wagering requirement, your account is zeroed out, and you start fresh when you deposit again. If you don't opt for another bonus, you're playing with cash and can withdraw accordingly. If you decide you can't continue playing and still have some funds in your betting account, it then depends on the rules of the casino. Usually, you'll end up having the bonus taken out of your account, as well as any winnings that resulted from it. At times the penalties could be even more severe in affecting your bottom line. We always suggest reading the fine print thoroughly before accepting any bonus offer.

What is a no-deposit bonus?

The no-deposit bonus is aptly named because it is given without a deposit requirement. However, it allows you to play, but not necessarily cash anything out. To reap the financial benefit of the no-deposit bonus, you'll need to first comply with the rollover, and then you'll most likely be required to deposit some minimum amount before you can request a payout. Additionally, these types of offers have a ceiling on the allowable winnings. It's usually something in the $100 range, so even if you won more, you have to forfeit anything above the $100.

Are free spins really free?

When you're given free spins, you can play the designated slot game without a deposit requirement. However, winnings from your free spins are subject to a rollover. So, let's say you won $40 from ten free spins and there's a 40 times rollover. You have to take that $40 and multiply it by 40 to get the $1,600 in "required betting" amount. Before you can cash out anything, you have to figure out how to turn that $40 into $1,600 in wagers. Remember, you do receive a combination of wins and losses, so if you can keep winning enough to achieve the $1,600, you should end up with a profit. But it will allow you to play longer, even though it's challenging.

Why wouldn't I accept a bonus?

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to online gambling bonuses. The first applies to players who just enjoy the games and aren't necessarily concerned with complying with the rollover. If they win, it's great, but they want to play anyway. Then there are those who are looking to turn a profit. In this case, a bonus can be helpful or detrimental. If you have a significant rollover to meet, there's quite a bit of risk involved. Of course, if you get on a lucky streak, you could be playing with the casino's money and end up with a payout. But you could also risk your own cash deposit and end up with less than you would have if you had declined the offer. It all depends on your objective and how your luck is running that day.

Does the sportsbook bonus work like the casino rewards?

A sportsbook bonus does have a rollover, but it's structured differently than in the casino. Where you may find something like a 25, 30, 40, or even 50 times rollover in the casino, sportsbooks come in with a lower amount, like a 5 times rollover. Sportsbook bonuses generally are much less in value and have an odds requirement. So, when you're betting to satisfy a wagering requirement, you can only opt for specific bets at certain odds. You don't have free reign to take your pick.

Is the poker room bonus the same as in the casino?

Poker rooms have a dedicated promotional program just for poker players, as the betting is structured much differently than in a casino or even a sportsbook. New poker players may be offered a welcome bonus. But instead of receiving the full amount and then working on the wagering requirement, the reward is issued in minimal amounts after you reach specified levels of betting. For example, a $100 bonus in the casino is issued all at once, but then the rollover is very substantial. A $100 bonus in the poker room may be given out in increments of $5 over an extended period based on required betting that needs to be completed first.

Casino-Specific FAQ

What types of games are included in a typical online casino?

Most casinos will rely heavily on slot games. Not only does the casino have a more considerable house advantage from slots, but slot players are much more prevalent. After slots, table games are usually second in quantity and variety and include different versions of blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, and baccarat. Some casinos offer video poker, as well as specialty games like keno, bingo, scratch cards, and parlor games, but the collection depends on the software provider as well as the operator. Most of today's casinos also include a small live casino with live dealer tables.

Which is the best casino game to play?

It depends on your personal preference, but some games do provide slightly better odds. Keno is one of the highest house advantage games, followed up by slots. So, if you're looking strictly at your chance of winning (or losing as little as possible), you would steer clear of those games. Video poker and blackjack offer the best odds for players, depending on the bet you choose; other games come in favorable for players as well. The "Come" or "Don't Come" bet on craps is a good one, as well as selecting the "Banker" in baccarat. Having said that, if you're looking for the most significant jackpot potential, then you are back to slots. Online progressive jackpots can well exceed seven-figure payouts. No other game is going to provide you with that high of prize potential.

Why does the software matter?

Experienced online casino players are well versed in the offerings from the different providers. There are some prominent, well-known companies like Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, NextGen, Evolution Gaming, Betsoft, and a few dozen others, and each one has some popular games associated with them. Microgaming and NetEnt provide some of the bigger jackpot progressives. Playtech offers the DC superhero collection and the Age of the Gods series, which are networked jackpots amongst multiple games. If you have a favorite, it's helpful to search for casinos that carry that software. Also, there's more of a comfort level in playing at a casino that provides gaming options from reputable companies.

Do I have to bet the maximum on casino games?

No. Just like in a land-based casino, you do have the option to lower your bet. Many of the games will offer multiple denominations as well as the option to bet one or bet max per line or bet game. The only time we advise betting the maximum is if you're playing a progressive jackpot game and it's required to be in the running for the top payout.

If I play on my mobile device, do I have the same chance of winning?

Absolutely. The random number generators that are behind all of the games of chance just keep firing out random sequences. It doesn't matter if you're on a full website, a tablet, or a smartphone. In fact, some of the most prominent online winners of slot progressives have won courtesy of their mobile device.

What are specialty games?

Specialty, novelty, or "other" games, as they may be referred to, are the ones that don't fit in well with the slots or table games categories. They may include electronic scratch cards, keno, or bingo. But specialty games can also be in the parlor or arcade game variety. There are betting opportunities for Sudoku, Spingo, Yahtzee, Hexaline, virtual sports, whack a mole, and other dice and card games. It's an excellent section for players that may not be comfortable or well versed in traditional casino games.

What is a live casino?

A live casino is a section of table games that are hosted by live dealers either in a studio or a casino environment. You'll still make your selections on your computer or mobile device as the gaming is translated electronically, but you'll see the dealer shuffle, deal the cards, or spin the wheel accordingly.

Can the dealer see me in a live casino?

No. You can see the dealer, and you can communicate with the dealer through the chat function if you have a question, but he or she is not able to see or hear you at any time.

Can other players at the table see or hear me?

No. You remain completely anonymous. Some live casinos do provide the option for a player-to-player chat, but that's all via text and not using a microphone or camera.

What is a rogue casino?

A rogue casino could also include a sportsbook or poker room. It's a designation that's given to an online operator that has been proven to be negligent in its business practices. A casino isn't considered rogue because one player complains. Due to the nature of gambling, there will be players who will complain about every casino, especially if they've just lost money. A real rogue casino is one that has been proven to have cheated players out of money owed to them. Other practices could include using pirated software, hacking a competitor's site, not paying affiliates, or even promoting false licensing. It's not a good idea for anyone to throw the "rogue" designation around lightly. But when it's warranted, it's beneficial to know, so future and potential players and affiliates receive fair warning. We have a list of rogue or "blacklisted sites" sites to help you avoid the appropriate websites.

Sportsbook-Specific FAQ

What sports can I bet on through online bookmakers?

There are no limits to your sports, as well as non-sports options. You'll find the top choices like football (soccer), American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, motor sports, boxing and MMA, rugby, cricket, and other more traditional sports. But you'll also find things like virtual sports, e-sports, political betting, entertainment, and other more novelty-type opportunities.

What are my betting options?

The betting markets that are available depend on the sportsbook you're using, but you can be sure you'll find moneylines, accumulators, outrights, Asian handicaps, first goal scorers, and all of the variations that you may be used to with in-person wagering.

Is there a limit to how much I can wager per game or match?

Yes. While some books will have a detailed list of the maximum limits per sporting event as well as for each kind of bet, others will list maximum daily winnings. In the case of the latter, it's up to you to figure out your maximum stake based on the odds. If there's a daily maximum of $100,000, you don't want to bet more than you need to, as you will be capped at the posted payout limit.

Why do I find that different sites provide different odds?

Most bookmakers are going to be close in what they offer. However, some will provide slightly better opportunities for certain sports. You may also find enhanced odds specials depending on your site of choice. Many online punters opt to have at least a few betting accounts so they can compare and take advantage of the best all-around odds per match.

What is in-play betting?

In-play betting is also known as live betting, and it allows you to stake your bet during the match, as opposed to pre-game betting, which is more prevalent.

Can I watch the games in the sportsbook?

Live streaming isn't as widely available as in-play betting, but there are a few of the top bookmakers that do provide an extensive menu of live streaming events. Many may require you to have placed a bet on that particular match, but with others, you just need an active betting account in place.

Do I have to know a lot about sports to use the sportsbook?

The more experienced bettors know the ins and outs of all of the matches as well as competitors and players. But it's possible just to take an educated guess or place a simple "to win" bet on your favorite team. Filling out a bet slip is very straightforward, especially for a primary wager. These days, you don't even need to bet on traditional sports. You can opt for a political bet, the winners of the Academy Awards, who will win the next reality show season, and may other current-events-types of wagers.

Is a racebook the same as a sportsbook?

A racebook is for horse racing, and many of the websites that host a sportsbook will also offer a racebook for its players. Sometimes it's combined. So, if you like track betting and you don't see a racebook indicated in the main menu, check out the sportsbook's menu, as it could be listed in the main menu along with other sports. If you are looking for the best racebook online today, you can start with our recommendations to help you narrow down your search.

How do I pick the best sportsbook for me?

The process is very similar to that of finding an ideal online casino. You need to make sure the website is fully licensed with reputable ownership. From there, it needs to coincide with your personal preferences. If you're a huge football (soccer) fan, finding a UK-based bookie is a wise move, as they'll offer massive betting markets. Make sure the site provides the sports you're most interested in, as well as the banking method that you desire. We do go through a comprehensive checklist when we review any sportsbook to make sure it excels in all areas of the service it provides. You can click here to review our top recommendations for sports betting.

What is a betting exchange?

A betting exchange offers sports betting similar to bookmakers, but the bets are against other players like you. You're not using the bookmaker's odds. Your opportunities depend on the types of bets being placed from fellow punters. You may find better odds in a betting exchange, but the operator does take a commission on all of the winning bets.

Poker-Specific FAQ

Can I use my regular casino account to play in the poker room?

Different online providers have their own rules when it comes to using the poker room. More often than not, it's considered a separate area. So, while you can cross over from the casino to the sportsbook or bet on lottery all from the same account, you may need to register a separate poker room account. Poker players are offered many different bonuses and promotions, so they tend to keep things detached.

What is a rake?

A rake is a small percentage that the operator receives from every hand of poker played in the poker room. Because you're playing against other players and not the house, it's the only way that the casino makes its money from poker room action.

Are some poker rooms better than others?

Just like some sportsbooks tend to provide more games or better odds for one sport, or a casino offers more games or a better variety, some poker rooms are better than others. It will depend on what's important to you. Some will offer more cash games as opposed to tournaments or vice versa. You'll find that some rooms have a huge number of promotions, while others keep things to a minimum. Just as with online gambling, make sure you've located a secure and licensed site and then match up what's important to you with what's being offered through that website. We have a list that can help you narrow down your choices, as we've done a lot of the legwork and compiled information on all aspects of the poker room's service.

What's the difference between cash games and tournaments?

Players in a cash game have converted their money to chips accordingly, so are essentially playing with cash. When they're ready to cash in their chips, they'll receive the exact amount of their value. A tournament requires a specific buy-in amount, and then all players are given the same amount of chips. Tournaments continue until the last man (or woman) is standing and then pay out based on a prize pool and not on a per-chip basis.

Is it easy to start playing poker online?

Of all of the online gambling options, poker requires you to have advance knowledge of the game. You may not be fully aware of how to bet online or a few of the little intricacies that accompany online poker betting, but you do need to know how to play the game. As long as you're armed with that information, after a few minutes of getting comfortable with the online conversion of the game, you'll have no problem. We also have a guide to playing poker online that will prepare you for the differences you'll experience.

Are there different poker games available?

Absolutely. Some of the top games are Texas Hold 'em and Omaha, but you can find Stud and other variations. You'll also see different table limits just as you would in a poker room housed in a land-based casino.

Why does a poker room say I can "customize my experience?"

Some online providers want to take things to the next level and provide a unique experience for its players. They allow you to change the colors of the game and change the felt on the table to suit your preference. They also sometimes offer other enhancements like a rabbit cam or the ability to transfer tables immediately if you fold your cards, so you don't have to wait through all of the betting action that's going on without you.

Online vs. Land-Based Gambling FAQ

What is the biggest difference between online gambling and gambling in person?

There are two differences that we identify as being the most significant. The first is in funding the betting account. It's much different trying to move money back and forth. Plus, you have to wait for a payout online, as opposed to walking into a casino or betting parlor with cash and then collecting your winning ticket in real money as well. The other is in the bonus programs. Land-based casinos tend to offer player rewards without a lot of strings attached. Online bonuses come with some stipulations, so online bettors need to be much more educated on how these types of offers work and how to use them to their benefit.

Is online gambling as safe and fair as land-based?

Yes, as long as you select the right casino. You really wouldn't think to question a brick-and-mortar casino's credentials before walking in and placing a bet. But online, you need to be more cautious and make sure you're choosing a fully licensed and reputable operator. From there, online gambling is set up the same as it is in person. Games are tested and accredited by their use of a random number generator that ensures fair gaming for everyone. So, similarly, sometimes you may win a lot, and sometimes you may not be able to catch a winning streak. Your outcome is arbitrary.

Will I be able to find the same games online as in my favorite land-based casino?

Not always. Some software companies strictly design games for online use only, and there are some that stick with the production of machines for in-house gaming. Of course, when it comes to table games, you will primarily have the same choices regardless of where you decide to play. But slots and video poker will vary. IGT is a company that's well known in Las Vegas casinos and also provides some of its slots for online users, so games like Wheel of Fortune are available to all players. But most slots break out into designated online or land-only.

How do betting odds compare online as opposed to in betting shops?

You should find very similar opportunities regardless of where you place your bets. Keep in mind that there's a big crossover with betting shops and some of the most prominent bookmakers. High street shops like Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Coral each have online counterparts under the same name.

Is it harder to deal with a gambling compulsion associated with online betting?

Yes and no. For anyone that has a severe addiction, it doesn't matter if he or she is betting in person or online, the challenges are there. Some people say that online gambling is worse because it's always readily available, but remember that there can be challenges in funding the betting accounts. While you could walk into a casino with as much cash as you want, there are limits to how much you can transfer to a gambling site. Also, you can set up gambling limits for yourself online, whereas you wouldn't typically do that in person. That's not to say that you couldn't go to another website that's free of restrictions and start over, but there are some tools in place to help to regulate compulsive betting. We recommend that anyone who has any issues with gambling, either online or in person, seek out a quality group that will be able to assist. We have a list of warning signs, as well as recommended organizations, available by accessing our comprehensive addiction page.

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