Ten Commandments for Online Gambling

Knowing what you are participating in when gambling online could make all the difference.

In order to completely enjoy your gambling experience and to ensure that you are receiving honesty, integrity and value for money, it is important to understand the following ten guidelines:

Commandment 1. Understand the Laws within your Jurisdiction.

Online gambling is illegal in certain parts of the world including the USA and most Islamic states. Offences in this regard could lead to a sentence of up to one year imprisonment, and as such, it is important to ensure that you are aware of the laws pertaining to and regulating the area in which you live, prior to engaging in any gambling activities online. Also be aware that laws can change on a daily basis, so you should ensure that you remain abreast of any statutory amendments on a regular basis.

Commandment 2. Research Online Gambling Operators.

Many online casino operators do not follow implicit codes of conduct and you might find yourself subject to unscrupulous terms and conditions, withheld bonuses and a lack of recourse. These illegitimate casinos can be recognised by simply doing some homework. The best approach is to ensure that the operator you select is licensed within a legal jurisdiction, is registered to governing bodies such as the Financial Services Authority or IBAS (UK) and that they clearly outline their payment guidelines and rules of play. Ensure that there is a 24 hour support centre that is willing to assist you in understanding their terms and conditions. Further to this, it is advisable to research casino operators through independent sources such as community notice boards and review websites, where previous complaints listed will give you an indication of their operational ethics and accountability.

Commandment 3. Free Play First.

With over 2 500 gambling sites available online, it is always advisable to test drive an online casino's offering by playing for free before depositing into a real-play account. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that certain software may not be compatible with your computer, local network connectivity for the site might be inadequate and the games on offer might not be to your liking. Most online casinos offer free play, so it is recommended that you avoid those that don't.

Commandment 4. Research Customer Service and Support.

There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to access information or have a query dealt with expediently. The only way to ensure that you are going to be happy with your online gambling operator, is to ensure upfront that they are willing to offer you assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As such, contact your operator before making a deposit to determine their efficiency and cooperation. Responses should be relatively immediate and comprehensive. Where possible, rather select an operator that provides several communication platforms such as a 24 hour call centre, an online chat mechanism, e-mail and fax, as opposed to those offering just an e-mail option.

Commandment 5. Research the Operator's Payout Options.

There are numerous online casinos that charge fees for the withdrawal of funds from a casino account, and these should be avoided where possible. It seems utterly ludicrous that they should penalise winnings. Rather investigate other operators that use instant e-wallet solutions such as Netteller.

Commandment 6. Compare Bonus Options

To attract new gamblers and reward existing ones, online casinos offer a variety of bonuses, including sign-up bonuses, referral bonuses and frequent player "comp" rewards. The advantage of these incentives lies in the fact that you are able to test gambling software with additional credits, and are able to enjoy your gaming for extended periods. You are in essence, rewarded for your support. So, you should carefully weigh the various bonus options on offer to determine where you will most suitably be rewarded!

Commandment 7. Investigate Probability Differences from Casino to Casino

Online gambling software is such that it can be easily manipulated to alter payout levels and house commissions. Because of this, probabilities from casino to casino will differ and the onus is on you to determine where you will find greater and improved gambling odds. For instance, should you wish to play double-zero as opposed to single-zero roulette, you will need to find a casino operator that lets you exercise that option. Slot machine payouts, though they may be the exact same game, may differ between casinos. The best way to check this is to refer to the payout tables usually listed directly on the operators'' website, or failing this, to contact them for the required information.

Commandment 8. Ensure your Personal Information is Secure

Identity theft and fraud are rife over the internet and it is vital to ensure that you are gambling at an online source that is able to protect your personal and financial information. Legitimate, well run casino operators offer their clients secure, data encrypted links during the registration and deposit processes, and you can check this by making sure the URL begins with http:// as opposed to http://.

Commandment 9. Play to Win

Gambling online affords you the opportunity to scrutinise and evaluate your own gambling options. You are able to use poker or blackjack strategy charts to attain the greatest advantage, whilst at the same time improving your skills.

Commandment 10. Enjoy!

Even though you might not be pampered as you would be at a land based casino, there is no reason why you can't pour yourself a drink, turn on some music and settle down to your favourite game. At least you won't be dealing with drunkards and foul tempered losers.