The history of online gambling took a sharp turn in the early to mid-1990s as Internet technology began accelerating beyond any geek's wildest imaginations. The first graphical web browser was released in 1993, roughly coincident with the America Online (AOL) service connecting its huge customer base to the Internet online discussion system called USENET. Soon, people would be "surfing the web", a possibility not lost on gambling architects.
Just a year later, the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda legislated free trade agreements for casinos online. The first online casino was launched soon thereafter. Other online gaming regulatory bodies quickly came into existence. With their blessing, online casinos could boast a greater degree of legitimacy for being regulated.
Today, numerous regulatory jurisdictions of varying reputation oversee at least 2000 online casinos where you can play for real money. They offer an astounding variety of slot machines and classic casino table games. Many also offer a live dealer option for their table games. And all this can be accessed through a variety of devices, from desktop systems to mobile phones.
What is online gambling?
Online betting is playing risk-based games over the internet in the hopes of winning more than you lose from them. This can include things like slot machines, table games or video poker.
How Popular Is Online Gambling?
Huge. The global online gambling market is worth over $35 billion and is continuing to grow. It's expected to be worth over $55 billion by 2018. More countries are embracing internet gaming, and licensed sites can be accessed in dozens of countries around the world.
Which Sports And Tournaments Can I Bet On?
Sportsbetting sites and poker rooms are licensed in the same way as online casinos. Gamblers can place bets on hundreds of markets on sports as diverse as football/soccer, basketball, and ice hockey. The best sportsbetting websites even have live betting where you can place wagers on matches as they are in progress.
Poker players have a huge range of games to play for practice or real money. Gamblers can choose from small-stakes cash games or massive high roller Hold'em tournaments. The beauty of online poker is that you can play several games at once. You are only restricted by your bankroll and the size of your monitor.
Can I make withdrawals and deposits?
Yes, you can make withdrawals and deposits when participating in online gambling. Credit cards should work with all sites that are licensed and have modern cashiers. For the most part, deposits are commonly done through debit cards or e-Wallets. They carry low minimum deposits and fees. Cash-outs are typically paid within a few days, depending on the method. There may be some form of ID verification process before a withdrawal is authorised.
Can I gamble on my mobile device?
Yes. Most casinos, poker sites and sports gambling sites offer apps for mobile devices. Touch-screen games are adapted especially for your smaller screen. Tables and game-screens look very similar to their online cousins, but you may miss some of the features normally found on a desktop version. And it doesn't matter whether you're on Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone: there will be a native app or "instant-play" site just for you. In many cases, however, you can simply log in via your mobile web browser to access games.
Can I gamble for free?
Yes. The good news is that most (if not all) online casinos offer free-play options alongside their real-money games. In some cases, you don't even need to register an account. Just open the casino and try some games for nothing.
Will I get a welcome bonus?
Yes. Most casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks offer players some free cash when they join up. This can range from a simple deposit bonus to free slots spins, or even a little cash with no strings attached. You gamble the cash, and all winnings you make are yours to keep.
What are the best online gambling sites?
The ones that have been checked and rated on the leading review sites on online gambling. The key features players look for are variety in casino games and sports betting options, a strong selection of bonuses and promotions, and a healthy payout rate to players, with the money coming back to your account fast. Our reviews team also ensure that sites accept all popular payment types for real money play, offer excellent device compatibility on mobile, and are tested by recognized gambling authorities for fairness.
What kind of games will I find to gamble with?
Online casinos are packed with games you'll find in your local casino. Take your pick from slots, roulette, or blackjack, and pick your stakes from a few cents to $500 a spin. You can even enjoy gambling online against a human croupier with 'Live Dealer' games. Take on a human dealer via a webcam and even chat to them in real time!
Are online casino games rigged?
No, online casino games are fair, but casinos are profitable due to the house edge that they enjoy. They'll win more than they lose over time because of that edge, even if they lose over the short-term to a few players.
Can online casinos cheat you?
Yes, there are low-quality online casinos that will cheat you out of money by manipulating the games, or not paying out money to customers with considerable balances. The more reputable casinos go through a rigorous testing process and need to abide by certain fair play rules in order to maintain a trusted reputation. That's why we only recommend sites that are trusted, safe and secure.