There are innumerable things that go into making a quality online gaming site. Each gamer will have personal preferences and particular features he or she prefers in an online casino – that is why there are so many different types of online casinos out there. Variety is the spice of life, as they say! However, we have had a lot of experience with online casinos, and with those people who like to play pokies and other games on them, and we have developed a pretty good idea of features and styles that are close to universally popular, and can be said to make an online casino a good one. They are as follows:
This is the obvious one – everyone playing online pokies, well actually anyone playing any kind of gambling game at all, is playing to win. The bigger the payout, the higher the chances of hitting the jackpot, the better. Well established online casinos nearly all offer higher payout rates, percentages and chances than real life casinos. However, among the online casinos, not all are the same. Before making your choice of online casino, you must have a good understanding of the all important factor – the casino payout percentage. Most reputable online casinos will publish their payout percentages, and it’s very important that you check this, and make sure that is had been verified by a trusted and well respected third party. All reputable online casinos will have their payouts audited regularly, and you will be able to find information on these audits as well as who performed them, on the website. If it’s not there – we suggest you make your escape and find a trustworthy site to play on.
So if you can find the payout percentage and auditing information listed on the website, this is a good sign that you’re playing somewhere trustworthy. However, once you’ve established that, what does the payout percentage mean? How is it calculated? What is a good payout percentage. Let’s go through the basics first of all.
Payout percentages of online casinos are calculated in much the same way as land-based casinos, even though the odds at online casinos are generally considerably better. The casino payout percentage indicates the proportion of the total money bet by players at the casino is being paid out by the casino as winnings. For example, if the payout percentage is 95%, then that means that 95% of all the money that is bet at the casino is being paid out as winnings to players, and the casino is retaining 5% of the total money wagered. In addition to the casino’s overall payout percentage, most online casinos will publish individual payout percentages for specific games such as pokies and roulette.
So, obviously an online casino is entirely capable of announcing that their payout percentage is 99% and simply not honouring that. There is no way for any individual player – or even a team of many players – to verify that the listed payout percentage is true. In this way, verification certificates are of the utmost importance – and not just any verification certificate. It is crucial that you examine the casino’s verification certificate and also note who it was issued by. It needs to be issued by an independent third party, if it is not then it is not genuine. We recommend only using online casinos whose verification certificates are issued by one of the following three top authorities: Online Players Association (OPA), Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), and eCogra (e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance). If the online casino you are checking out has gone to the effort and expense of obtaining a verification certificate from one of these authorities, then you can be confident that the payout percentage it lists is the actual payout percentage, and also that it is maintains a strict code of professionalism and ethical practice and that is has a strong commitment to meeting and exceeding fair gaming standards.
So, once you’ve noted the payout percentage and are confident that it has been verified by a reliable third party authority, the second question you’ll want an answer to is this: What is a good payout percentage? Now, this is a little complicated. For starters, the payout percentage of the online casino will change slightly from month to month (if you notice that it never changes, this is a little suspicious and you may want to investigate just how trustworthy the site is). You cannot take the payout percentage of one month as being necessarily indicative of the average payout percentage. For instance, by virtue of the randomness of casino games and their associated jackpots, it’s possible and even likely that the casino paid out a number of large jackpots during the previous month which has resulted in a very high payout percentage that will not be maintained over a longer period of time. It is far better and more informative to look at payout percentages that have been averaged over a period of at least six months, but ideally a year. This gives a much better and more accurate idea of the casino’s true payout percentage. We feel and suggest that a good payout percentage is anything above 96%. This is a conservative number – some online casinos offer incredibly high payout percentages of over 99% (although these may be lacking in other areas) and you may prefer to play with these casinos. But looking at a wide range of casinos, both land-based and online, we think that 96% plus is a good payout rate, and that you shouldn’t play at casinos that pay less than this.
Of course, there are other factors to consider even in regard to possible payouts. For example, amounts such as sign up bonuses and other types of bonuses are often not considered winnings and thus are not included in the payout percentage. Make sure you check out all that the casino offers, as well as the payout percentage, and that you stay informed.
The software technology that the casino uses is very important as it will directly impact the quality of the games. There are a number of top quality software programmes that are used by quality online casinos. One of these technologies is Vegas Technology. Casinos that use Vegas Technology, such as our listed Top Sites – Spin Palace, Ruby Fortune and Mummy’s Gold, will stand out with impressive functionality. You as a player will be welcomed with the attractive and exciting designs and website graphics of the site. More importantly however, is what you will notice when playing the games – the all important trio of speed, sound and real-looking visual effects is all there with casinos employing Visa Technology software. And you don’t even have to download the games to enjoy this very high quality software technology. If it is more convenient and you prefer to use the instant play option that nearly all online casinos will offer, you will still enjoy the super fast speed, excellent quality graphics and fun and interesting sound effects that Vegas Technology provides.
When it comes to picking a good online casino, you’ll know you are on the way to having found one if you are experiencing ultra realistic presentations, incredible game speed, super sharp graphics, and good quality mechanics. And if you can see the online casino you are looking at uses Online Vegas Technology, you can rest assured that all of the above will be taken care of.
We have already said it here once – variety is the spice of life. While it is very likely that you as a serious gamer will have a preferred machine, it is also very nice to have the option of mixing it up from time to time. We recommend playing with online casinos that offer a wide range of different games. You will likely become familiar with one or two specific sites, which will increase your enjoyment and the overall gaming experience. Also, if you stick with one or two preferred sites and play with them regularly rather than playing infrequently at many different sites, you will accrue more in terms of bonuses, returned credit and incentive payouts, which at the end of the day means more money in your pocket. Sticking with one or two preferred sites will be easier and more fun if they offer a large variety of different games, so you don’t get bored. Check out of frequently asked question – “Which games can I play at your Top Sites?” for a full list of all the different games offered by our three recommended sites. They all offer an impressive array of choices.
The quality of the customer service the online casino offers you is of paramount importance. For starters, it means that if you have a problem you can get it solved quickly and easily – this is obvious. However, quality customer service also indicates that the casino cares for the experience they create and that they treat their customers well. Our experience tells us that those sites with quality customer service also have fewer problems and issues that create a need for customer service, and this is obviously ideal – not to need customer service in the first place but to trust that if you do need it, it will be provided in a quick profession and friendly manner.
This one’s an important one. You want to have total confidence that your money and financial details are safe, and that any winnings you make will be honoured and paid out, which will leave you free to enjoy the online gaming experience. Information on how to be sure the casino will honour your payout can be found under “Payouts” above. In regard to ascertaining the security measures taken by the online casino, and whether your money and financial details will be safe, there are a couple of measures you can take to get an idea of whether to trust the site with your money and details. For more details, check out frequently asked questions “Your Money and Online pokies” and “What can I do if an online casino refuses to pay?”, but we will summarise the basic steps here as well:
First off, do some online research for yourself about the online casino asking you for your credit card details (and this information goes for just about any transaction online, not just gaming sites). Large, well known online casinos are likely to be very security conscious and to advertise this fact, as they are going to want people to feel secure and to come back. Likewise, small unknown casinos might just appear for a few days or a week, and then disappear again with everyone’s money. It will be pretty easy to find information on the larger, reputable casinos as they will be reviewed the larger casino review sites that you see around, ours being just one of them. If you can’t find anything on these sites or similar ones about the gaming site you’ve found and wish to play on, it’s probably a good idea to avoid it just to be certain. It hardly bears saying that if you find any bad reviews of the casino you’re checking out, definitely avoid it.
Another good tip to find if there’s been any dodgy activity is to do a search with the name of the company along with words like “fraud” or “scam” – this will turn up any articles that other people might have written to help people avoid the scams they were victimized , or forum posts regarding scams or cases being undertaken by Advocate groups trying to reclaim money on victims’ behalf.
Also, make sure that the company takes all the security measures necessary for safe online transactions. This will be easy to find as reputable and trustworthy sites want to reassure consumers and will make this information easy to find and verify. Just click on the “security” link, or similar. If the website doesn’t have this information accessible, this is a good warning sign not to spend your money there.
There are some other things to watch out for. Have a look at how much money the casino requires you to deposit as a minimum. Most reputable, well established and respected online casinos will permit very small deposits of amounts such as five dollars. Criminals and crooks however, are desperate for a quick buck and are often not too smart – untrustworthy and even criminal enterprise online casinos will often require much larger minimum deposits of around $100 or even more. Avoid these sites. But, as with all of this advice, don’t take it in isolation – just because an online casino requires only a small minimum deposit does not mean it is trustworthy – you need to do your research and follow all of the tips we provide here.
Have a look at the payment methods that the online casino offers you. Most online casinos will accept payments from major credit cards and from a variety of third party payment services. There are benefits to using credit cards, and benefits to using third party services – it’s really a matter of personal preference. Using a credit card such as Visa or Mastercard will ensure you have the weight of a large bank behind you if there is a problem, whereas third party payment services mean you do not need to provide nearly the same amount of your financial details as with a credit card. The choice is yours – but it’s important that the choice is there. Only play with online casinos that offer a range of payment options. The more options, and the more third party payment services that they are affiliated with, especially if they’re well known, the more likely it is that you’re looking at a reputable online casino.