Top Guide to Casino Features
From payment methods to security features, and game selection to good customer care, the top casino features are what differentiate a great casino from a run-off-the-mill one. Here our experts look at how the world’s best online casinos use casino features to keep their players entertained and safe, and what you should look out for when choosing a casino.
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What is a Casino?
Traditionally, a casino is a brick-and-mortar establishment where people can play their favourite games of skill and chance, like roulette, poker, slots, blackjack, craps and baccarat. Over the years, though, that definition has had to be broadened, particularly as technology has made it possible for the same games to be played online.
Today, we have online casinos, which players can log onto using their computers and internet connections to play all of the above-mentioned casino games, as well as live dealer casino games, bingo, and more. We also have mobile casinos, which offer the same experience on iPhone and Android phones and tablets through web browsers or dedicated mobile apps. As time goes on, we are also seeing a rise in Bitcoin casinos, Virtual Reality casinos, and more.
Even so, the meaning of the word ‘casino’ has always been that it is a place – actual or virtual – where people can gamble.
What Features Should a Good Casino Have?
New online casinos pop up practically every day, so it makes sense that many online casinos in the UK, Europe, and beyond work hard to create a safe, fun, and memorable experience. To do this, web casinos use top casino features – and these have indeed become a good way to differentiate between a good casino and a bad one.
When looking at these, however, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of casino features you should look out for in the online gambling world:
1. Features which keep you safe and provide peace of mind; and
2. Features that make your online casino experience that much more magical or fun.
Casino features that provide safety and security include basic SSL-encryption and the option to stop yourself from over gambling; while the features that make your gameplay even more fun can include game lobbies, live casino games, and bonuses.
Below, we explore each and every feature you may come across in further detail.
Lots of Gaming Options
The one thing that unites all casino players is that they are, rather obviously, looking to gamble online. But how can online casinos meet the needs and demands of thousands of players with different tastes and budgets?
Well, today, you can find casinos that offer users hundreds, or even thousands, of online casino gaming options all on one website. These often include a mix of volatility slots, live casino games, bingo, table games, and even sports betting. It is indeed a marvel of our time that players can find 1p low stakes slots, eSports gambling, and live game shows on the same site as traditional games like bingo, baccarat, poker and roulette.
This is, of course, one of the best features of online casinos, which unlike land-based ones do not have to worry about having enough physical space where to place their games and their related paraphernalia. But this has also spurred a whole new way in which people interact with both the casinos and the games they carry.
Indeed, today, many wonder how to choose the best slot machine when so many options are available to them; and even then, they may ask themselves what slot paylines are and which slots have the highest RTP in order to potentially receive higher payouts. Things get even more confusing when thinking about the etiquette surrounding live dealer casino games, where a real-life dealer moderates the game from a recording studio somewhere else in the world. How does tipping live dealers work, for example?
In the end, though, the wide array of games available on online casinos is a definite positive, as it has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for players, no matter what they are looking for.
Although directly related to the games on offer, gamification is a relatively new phenomenon in the world of the online casino. Through this marketing tactic, new and established online casinos are using things like tournaments, points systems, and competitions to keep players returning for more.
This was bound to happen, particularly as the fierce competition between online casinos has always resulted in better deals and experiences for players. Just think of the higher bonuses and the ever-expanding lists of games.
Yes, gamification was a natural next step in this process, and it can see you winning rather large jackpots in tournaments, receive better cashback offers when accumulating enough points, or even winning trips or cars through their fabulous competitions.
In the same way that you need to register to play at a brick-and-mortar casino, you will also need to register to play at most online casinos. This step is, of course, based on the law and whether you can register to a particular casino or not, depends on a number of factors. UK players, for example, can only play at UK-licensed casinos; while players from many states in the USA are not allowed to join any casino whatsoever.
UK casinos are bound by law to have casino account verification systems, which work by you submitting documents that prove your identity, age, address, and proof of ownership. This may seem like a lot of work just to play some slots, but it is an important step in ensuring that excessive gambling is kept in check, and that underage citizens do not dabble in any forms of gambling, even online.
European casinos, however, can be a lot less strict. No registration casinos, where you can play casino games for real money without the need to have your identity verified, also exist. Indeed, many casinos on the continent even let you play the majority of their games for free, which is fabulous if you’re just looking to while away some time or try out the best casino strategies. Many European casinos even have the option to try out their range of games during free play mode before you even sign-up, but unfortunately this option isn’t available in the UK anymore.
Ultimately, however, it’s important to keep in mind that when depositing money to any casino account, you will need to include some form of information, which could include your Visa, MasterCard or Maestro card number.
One feature which a lot of online casinos are truly looking to expand on is the array of payment methods they accept. This is indeed a very important feature as the vast majority of casinos will not let you play for real money without depositing any first, and even the ones that do (such as those that may give you a no deposit bonus), will still require you to deposit and play money before you can withdraw any of your winnings.
Yet, while depositing money is an important step in playing online, it is also crucial that you feel comfortable using the payment methods made available to you by the casino. And they know that, which is why, today, over and above the more traditional payment methods, like debit cards and bank transfers, players will also find a multitude of other options that provide better safety features (such as Trustly), allow players to keep their transactions completely off their bank statements (like the Paysafecard), or even relative anonymity (most cryptocurrencies).
Using these payment methods, players can sign up to many different casinos, but this is where things get even more interesting as not all casinos work in the exact same way when it comes to deposits and withdrawals. Some casinos are geared up for high-rollers, and have minimum deposit limits, yet low minimum deposit casinos and £10 minimum deposit casinos give you the chance to start playing by depositing as little as £1, or £10, respectively. It might also be worthing checking if there are any tax regulations in your country, so that you know exactly whether you need to declare any of your winnings or not.
Among the many ways online casinos look to attract new players and keep existing ones coming back for more, are the online casino bonuses. These can take many forms, but the most popular are the sign-up/welcome bonus, which usually takes the shape of a match percentage up to a certain amount on your first deposit; cashbacks on a percentage of net losses or deposits; free spins; and, rather rarely, no deposit bonuses.
These are undoubtedly a great way to take your money further, but there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Most importantly that all bonuses come with terms and conditions you should read. Such terms usually include wagering requirements, which mean that you will need to play the bonus amount a certain amount of times before withdrawing any winnings. This is true for all bonuses apart from cashbacks and, of course, no wagering casino bonuses.
Many people also wonder whether these bonuses are available to players of mobile casinos or, more specifically, real money gambling apps. Well, the answer here is that yes, most of the time, the casinos will give these players the exact same bonuses, though we obviously recommend you check this with the customer care of your casino of choice.
Apps vs Browser
As we’ve mentioned above, many casinos have now incorporated mobile casinos into their general features. These casinos can be played either directly on your mobile devices’ web browser or through downloadable gambling apps, which now have all the games available at the tap of a button.
These are great for when you’d like to play on the go, particularly thanks to the technology that allows for no loss of graphics, sound ,or speed. Even so, we still recommend playing on your computer whenever you have the chance. This is because traditional online casinos give you a better and safer experience due to the larger screen, better internet connection and, of course, the reduced possibility of joining an unsecured Wi-Fi network which could lead to your data being breached.
In this day, online casinos do not require players to download any apps or even additional software to play. Indeed, the no download casino, where you can play instantly, is the new norm and given that they have a good license, then you will be extremely safe. Having said that, whenever possible, we still recommend using a VPN (virtual private network) when playing from a computer or mobile phone to ensure added security.
Upcoming Casino Features
The first online casino hit the web some 25 years ago, and the features we have today are already a whole world away from what players had back then. But progress stops for no one, and that only benefits players in this case.
With new and existing casinos battling it out for new customers, casinos have now evolved into places where cutting-edge technology meets entertainment. Take virtual reality casinos, for example, where players can immerse themselves into a virtual land-based casino complete with interactive games. Or the cryptocurrency casino, which allows players to use their Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to play specially-created games. Or casino streamers, which sees casino broadcasting live games that players can simply tune into to watch the drama unfold.
Yes, the world of the future casino is indeed a promising one, and while we can’t tell you what will happen, we’re sure that an article like this will look extremely different in 10 years’ time.
The most important of all casino features is by far responsible gambling, but this doesn’t just refer to you setting a budget or timing how long you’ve been playing for (both of which are important), but also how the casino helps you achieve this.
As most people are aware, gambling can be addictive and destructive: stories of people who went bankrupt or whose lives took a turn for the worst because of playing at a casino abound. And this is why the web’s best safe and secure online casinos go a long way in making sure that those who are addicted to gambling are protected, and those who are playing do so responsibly.
Among the features you should look for here are:
- notifications known as ‘reality checks’, which tell you how much you’re spending or how long you’ve been playing for;
- the possibility to self-exclude yourself from playing for a certain amount of time or even permanently; and
- the tools to set up ‘time outs’ that can be used for when you’re planning on drinking alcohol or going on holiday.
All of this is extremely important and, in countries like the UK, these safety features are enshrined in law to help safeguard you and other players.
But, of course, not all casinos are trustworthy, which is why you should never just join any random casino. Indeed, we always recommend finding a casino which is well known or part of the biggest casino companies, which has been operational for a long time, or which you have come across on reputable casino affiliate programs.
The latter may be paid for by casinos whenever they bring in new players, but they also have a responsibility (both moral and by law) to be as transparent as possible with players, so they always do their research before affiliating themselves with new or existing casinos. Needless to say, if you ever come across any online blacklisted casinos, then our recommendation is to stay away!
One final point here is the importance of customer care at casinos. This is an extremely important feature that will give you peace of mind at all times, but especially when you have a problem or an issue. Good customer care doesn’t need to be available 24/7, but it does need to be responsive and helpful in a timely manner.
Guide to Choosing the Best Online Casino
As we said at the beginning, there are two types of features you should look out for, and the ones that keep you safe are always the most important. Indeed, it is these casino features that you should truly look at before joining any casino.
Check the Casino’s License
Making sure the online casino of your choice has a license from a reputable jurisdiction is by far one of the most important steps. This is because a good license will mean that the casino follows a specific set of requirements which, ultimately, is there to protect you. Some of the world’s best licenses are those governing the UK's UKGC Casinos, Malta's MGA casinos, Gibraltar license gambling sites and Sweden licensed casinos. Even so, you may come across other licenses, like Curaçao license casinos, Panama and Cyprus. These are usually still pretty safe, though it must be said that these licenses are easier to get than the previously-mentioned ones.
Check the Casino’s Fairness Certification
The best online casinos in Europe, the UK, and elsewhere do more than what is required by their licenses or the law. One such extra step is to get fairness certifications by independent testing boards like iTech Labs, GLI, and eCOGRA. These companies’ job is to confirm that the casino operates fairly and as it should, meaning that you are not being scammed out of your money.
Check the Games Providers
A good casino only affiliates itself with trustworthy games providers and, in turn, good games providers only lease out their games to reputable casinos. Moreover, the world’s best games providers do not just create fabulous new games that entice the senses, but also work hard on creating and certifying a random number generator (RNG) that is fair and completely random. Some of the best games providers you can come across are Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, NOVOMATIC Greentube, Playtech, Wazdan, Endorphina, IGT, NextGen, Pragmatic Play, Blueprint, Microgaming, and Red Tiger Games.
Check the Available Payment Methods
No matter which casino you’re thinking of signing up to, checking what withdrawal and deposit methods are available is a must. As we explored above, many casinos now have a wide variety of payment methods that include traditional methods like debit or credit card and bank transfers, along with a mix of e-wallet casino options, mobile pay options (Apple Pay and Google Pay), Trustly, and the Paysafecard. As time moves on, many are introducing cryptocurrencies to this mix, so much so that there are now Bitcoin casinos, Bitcoin Cash casinos, Ethereum casinos, Litecoin gambling sites, and Dogecoin gambling websites.
Check the Terms & Conditions of the Bonus
Online casino bonuses have become common practice, but they do not come for free. Indeed, you can expect each and every bonus you are offered to come with terms and conditions that include wagering requirements, deadlines, and more. Knowing what these are is extremely important, as is the fact that you should never feel pressured into taking a bonus up. Our last piece of advice here is that it’s often better to go for a bonus that promises less but which has better terms and conditions, than a large one which has many requirements. But that is a personal preference.
Check the Casino Features
Of course, joining a casino is also about having fun, so once you’re done doing the basic but all-important groundwork, then it’s good to shift your attention on what else the casino can offer you. Above we looked at many types of features you can look for, but it’s up to you to decide which ones are important to you – the best slots sites will have the whole package.
A casino is a physical or virtual space where users can play all their favourite casino games. While the advent of online and mobile casinos has stretched the meaning of the word, in essence the role of a casino has remained unchanged.
Casinos can have a variety of features that include those related to safety and security, gameplay, payment methods, and technology. As our top guide to casino features above shows, the best casinos have a mix of these to make your experience both safe and fun.
The most important casino features are the ones that keep you safe, as these will ensure you don’t get scammed out of your money and that your data won’t be breached. Once those have been confirmed, you can then look at a casino’s games and other uses of new technology.
In the world of the online casino, some brands are king but what’s more impressive is that some companies run multiple well-known casinos. Flutter Stars Group, for example, runs Paddy Power and Betfair. Some other companies, like bet365 Group Ltd, only have their one site, but these brands are so big they are still considered to be giants in the industry.
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Iggy Fenech is a well-known contributor to many local magazines. His career as a casino content writer spans a number of years and includes writing blog posts for the Malta iGaming Seminar 2014, content for the Malta Gaming Authority’s website, and SEO-enabled text for casino websites.