Beginner’s Guide to Casino Selection and Registration
If you are new to the world of online casinos the entire scene might seem a bit daunting at first. There are so many casinos to choose from, so many new terms you might not be familiar with, so many questions that you might have. This is where our beginner’s guides will come in handy! They are written by casino experts, who explain in clear language to you all the important steps you should take into account when gambling at an online casino. In this chapter we will take a look at the important factors in the registration process. How do you select a suitable casino? And what are the steps you must take into account when you finally selected an online casino to play at.
Steps to take before registering
Of course, we do not recommend you to register at the first online casino you happen to encounter. Before you sign up for an online casino account and start playing it is important to ensure that you have selected an online casino which suits your needs. If you are a beginning player, there are a few factors which are of vital importance. These basically are:
– The games offered by a casino
– Payment and cash-out options
– Registration bonuses
– Reviews and general reputation
What makes a great casino?
Not all people look for the same in an online casino. Some of us might prefer to pay slots, while others look solely at the table games on offer. Then there is the difference in gambling budget. While high rollers might be able to bet a small fortune on a single hand of blackjack, a player on a tight budget might only be able to wage a dollar per hand. Of course, this has implications when it comes to the choice of casino. A high roller should check carefully if the casino he or she is interested in offers high limit games as there can be huge differences between online casinos when it comes to this. Those on a smaller budget should check whether or not low limit tables are available, although this should rarely be a problem. If you might have a particular favourite game (a certain slot or a rare variety of a certain table game) you should also check carefully in advance whether the casino you are eyeing has it on offer.
The same goes for doing your research when it comes to payments and cash-out options. All casinos accept credit cards and e-wallets, while a big majority also accepts bank transfers. If your preferred payment option is something else entirely, do check whether or not a casino offers it. Especially when it comes to lesser known cards, online payment tools and national payment options used only in one particular country, chances are big that not every online casino accepts it. Make sure to check out our beginner’s guide to casino payments to read more about this particular topic!
A great feature of online casinos are the bonuses being offered to newly registered players. It is not uncommon for a new player to receive a bonus as high as 300 percent of the first amount they deposit to his or her online casino account! This means that if you might deposit 100 euro, the casino will top up your bankroll by a whopping 300 euro – all for free! Of course, not every casino is as generous as the other. A casino offering a lower bonus is not necessarily worse choice than a casino with a high bonus. Sometimes, casinos with a high registration bonus have stricter conditions when it comes to using and cashing out the bonus money. As the topic of bonuses is of such importance and has so many quirks we have drafted a special beginner’s guide to bonuses for you!
The last factor – and arguably the most important one – which should be taken into account before registering at an online casino is its overall reputation. Needless to say, you should only play at an online casino which is fully licensed and is well-regarded in the online community. In our review section we have reviewed dozens of online casinos for you in an unbiased way, giving honest advice which casinos might be worth it and which we would not recommend, explaining in detail what the advantages and disadvantages are of each of them. Of course, we always advice you to check out other online reviews as well if you need more opinions.
Time to register!
When you have finally selected an online casino you want to play at, it is time to register. This might seem a straightforward process but that is not exactly the case as we have seen some beginning players make rookie mistakes which can be incredibly hard to correct at a later point. New players might be surprised by the amount of personal details which an online casino might ask. We hear all the time cries like “do they really need to know my home address?” and “why should I fill out all these fields?”.
If you think of it, the registration process of online casinos is not much different from visiting a land-based casino. In many countries, you must register at a reception desk before you can enter a casino. Here a copy is made of your ID to ensure you are not underage and that your movements can be tracked. Of course, this is primarily meant to prevent underage people from gambling and to combat potential criminal behaviour such as scamming, theft and money laundering.
What kind of data does a casino require?
Casinos expect you to give your full official name. The name you use to sign up for an online casino account should match your passport or identity card, so make sure you also include middle names if applicable. Every online casino also needs to know your birth date, home address and often a telephone number as well. A valid email address is another requirement as you will need it to verify your account upon completing your registration. Note that while you can have accounts with as many online casinos as you like, it is never allowed for one single person to have multiple accounts at the same online casino.
Another vital piece of data which you might need to give the casino upon registration are your (preferred) payment details, although many casinos only require this information when you cash out your casino profits for the first time.
Besides email verification of your account upon registration, online casinos will at one point verify your payment details as well. Sometimes this happens during the registration process, but it is more likely to take place at the moment when you request your first cash-out of your casino winnings. At this point, most online casinos ask for a copy of your identity papers (passport, identity card, driving license) to verify that you are indeed the person who you say you are. It can also happen that a casino demands verification of your payment data. For example, if you opt for a cash-out to your bank account a casino might ask for a screenshot of your internet banking page or one monthly account receipt. If you ask the casino to deposit your casino profits on your credit card, a casino might ask you to make a copy or picture of both the front and back side of your card. In rare cases a casino might even verify if your home address is valid, in which case they might ask you to make a copy of an utilities bill or something similar which you have received at your home address under your name.
This all might sound very cumbersome and perhaps even a tad intrusive – but it is all perfectly normal. You should have no reason whatsoever to distrust such a request as it is meant to combat fraud and to ensure that nobody else but you can cash out and receive your casino profits. Of course, we strongly advise you to always take privacy precautions. If you send a copy of your credit card, it is perfectly acceptable to erase or cross out the middle eight digits as the casino would only need to see your name and the first and last four digits to verify your card. If you might send a copy of your internet banking page or bank receipt, it is perfectly acceptable to hide private details such as your bankroll and to where you might have made your last few payments. You can do this either in Paint or Photoshop on your computer, or use an old fashioned black pen to cross out such details as the only thing the casino would need is to see that your account number and name are existing for real and you have full access to it.
Be aware of any possible restrictions
There are several restrictions which you should note when signing up for a new online casino account. Besides the obvious age restriction (minors cannot legally gamble) the most common one has to do with place of residence. Some casinos restrict their operations by disallowing players living in certain countries from playing at their casino. This happens when a certain country might have strict national laws restricting foreign companies from offering their services to its citizens. Note that this has nothing to do with your nationality but with the country you legally reside in. Most often, this is clearly communicated by the online casino in question.
Some casinos automatically block IP addresses from certain countries if they cannot legally accept players from there. If the country you reside in might be blocked at an online casino we strongly advise you to never give a fake address in another country or to use a VPN to bypass a country block. The casino will eventually find out your real location when you request a payout and you risk forfeiting all your winnings and immediate closure of your online casino account.
Terms and conditions
We always advice new players to read the terms and conditions of a casino carefully. Of course, we now that many do not bother with this and just check the box and finish their registration, but in our opinion briefly going through all of the terms and conditions is an important step in any casino registration process. Most of the terms and conditions will actually be very straightforward and nothing groundbreaking. Yet reading them might spare you from finding out some key details later on the hard way. This is especially valid when it comes to country restrictions and bonus rules. Do note that casino bonuses often have their separate terms and conditions pages where the full rules regarding these bonus offers are explained. Take a look at our special bonus page to find out more what such rules and restrictions could be!
Completing your registration
When you have completed your registration you will most likely receive an official welcome email. Some casinos have registration bonuses in which you receive a benefit instantly even though you might not have deposited money yet to your newly created online casino account. Most often these are free spins bonuses valid on one or multiple slot machines. You can instantly use these free spins if you like in the hope to win a nice reward! Do not mistake such a registration bonus with a deposit bonus, which online casinos often hand out after you deposited your first amount to your online casino account. Again, check our special bonus page to find out more about the different kind of bonuses which are offered by online casinos.
During the registration process an online casino often asks if you want to receive their newsletter and promo offers by mail. We know that some people see such emails as spam, but we really do strongly recommend you to sign up for such newsletters and notifications if you are given the opportunity. Especially if you do not play on a daily basis this is a good idea to do as you will get an instant notification in your inbox if the casino might have launched a bonus deal. This way you will never miss out on any of the great deposit, cashback or reload bonuses offered by online casinos. Some online casinos also have special competitions and prize draws in which you can participate freely. These are either communicated on the casino dashboard after logging in, or by newsletter.
Having completed your registration you have now full access over your online casino account (sometimes called ‘profile’ as well). Although some online casinos allow you to edit all account information during the registration process, most casinos only make this possible after a successful registration. Your account is quite similar to those which you might have on social media websites such as Facebook or Instagram. In your account you can select your preferences for the online casino. You can for example opt in and out of newsletters, edit your profile name which will be visible on the screen if you play or select your preferred language and currency.
If you can, you should always select your home currency as this will mean that any deposit or cash-out will have no additional transaction costs levied by your own bank or credit card company. Almost all online casinos allow you to play in euro (EUR), US dollar (USD) and British pound (GBP). A growing number of online casinos also offer a whole list of other available currencies, so do shop around if playing in your home currency is important to you. Of course, if you hail from a small country with a fringe currency which is not being offered by the casino, you can still play by selecting any other currency. If you make a deposit or cash-out any winnings, the money will just be automatically converted according to the current conversion rates.
Playing name and privacy
If you play a solo game, for example a slot machine, you will only be playing against the house and nobody else can see what you are doing in an online casino. This might be different if you play at a table where more people can take place. Think for example about a poker tournament or a blackjack table in a live casino. If multiple players are placed behind such a table, you can of course see exactly what other people are betting and winning.
Of course, not many people like to give up their privacy. This is why all personal information you give to the casino during the registration and completion of your profile remains private and only visible to the casino. This is why you are often asked to create a playing name or screen name – which is a sort of nickname which is visible for others during such games. For example, if you hail from Liverpool and are born in 1966 you might opt for a nickname like ‘Scouser66’. Or you can call yourself ‘Brad Pitt’ for all you like, the sky is literally the limit! This way nobody will see or know who you are when you play against other people in a tournament or sit on a table with others playing against the house.
A question which is often asked by gamblers is whether or not they can play under an alias. As we explained above you can select your own player name or screen name which will act as a sort off alias. Under no circumstances should you use an alias or false details upon registration when an online casino asks you for your (real) name and home address. As we explained before, a casino must know your real identity if you legally want to gamble in the same way as you must show your ID card upon entering a land-based casino. This is to make sure that no underage players register and that nobody is playing at the casino who hail from a country where the online casino in question might not have a valid license or where online gambling is restricted by law.
All online casino terms and conditions will state that giving a false identity is not allowed. Upon discovery your account will be closed and all money on your account will be forfeited. Do not think for a minute that you can cheat the system. Sure, you might be able to write a fake name upon registering. You might perhaps even be able to deposit money to your online casino account. But at the moment that you want to cash out any casino winnings you will be asked to verify your identity by showing a valid copy of your passport or identity card. You might also be asked for verification of your home address by showing a recent utilities bill to ensure that you are not lying about your country of residence. There simply is no point in cheating the system as it is impossible and you will never have your casino profits paid out if you do.
In the same way it will be impossible to bypass age restrictions by lying about your age. Most online casino websites allow only people aged 18 or older to register for an account, although there are a few casinos which have a higher age limit of 21. If you are not yet old enough you might think that you can cheat the system by just writing down a fake age. Again, this might work in order to create an online casino account but it is against the terms and conditions. At the moment when you request a cash-out you of your earnings you will still have to show a copy of your passport or ID card at which moment the casino employee dealing with your payout request will notice that you lied about your age. The result will be the termination of your account and you can kiss goodbye to all your hard earned money.
If you happen to be underage we advise you to wait until you are of legal age. In the meanwhile, there are many websites on the internet where you can play casino games for free using fake money/credits to practice your game. Some online casino websites which we have reviewed on this page also allow you to try out all the games for free without betting any money.
Securing your account
If you play at a reputable casino you can rest assured that all data which you provide will be encrypted and saved on secured servers. Nobody else besides you will have access to such data and you can sleep tight at night knowing that all your private details and money on your casino account is in safe hands. Of course, in nowadays world there is unfortunately always the danger of hackers and scammers who try to access such data. Luckily, this can most often being prevented by taking the necessary precautions.
First of all, we advise you to make a special password only valid for the casino website. Do not recycle and copy a password you might use for social media websites or your email address – just think of something new! A strong password will have at least one uppercase letter, one number and one special character, for example ‘K93sfjop+’. Also make sure that you are always playing on a secure internet network which is password protected and trustworthy and that you have the latest version and/or updates of both your internet browser and operating system. We strongly advise against making any kind of payment transaction on public or otherwise unsecured networks as this is best done from your home network or mobile data connection.
Deposit money and play!
When you have finally completed the registration process at an online casino and your online account is up and running you can finally start to play! Or well, most often you would need to deposit first some money to your online casino account before you will be able to place some bets. Even though this process might also seem fairly straightforward, there are a couple of things which you should take into account before making a payment or bank transaction! In our beginner’s guide to casino payments we will explain you all the ins and outs about casino transactions and cash-outs.