Casino Guides & Articles

At OnlineCasinos we do much more than just review sites and recommend offers and features.  It is our aim to give you as a player all of the resources needed to get the most out of playing at online casino sites.

On this page we discuss many aspects of playing casino games online and try to answer any questions you may have, including; how games and software work and how to get the best out of them, how the law and verification works, history and scams, how casinos make money, and much more.

Random Number Generators Explained

random patternThe clear majority of games played online, or on cabinets in land based casinos, are based on random number generation.  Randomness in real games is created by shuffling cards, multiple decks, throwing dice or spinning wheels, but in the digital world that is not possible. 

Virtual games need to have random number generators in order to work fairly, numbers are generated using complex mathematics, but that doesn't matter as long as they are trusted by players and casinos alike. For licensed casinos and software providers, therefore, RNGs  are independently regulated.

Must Win Jackpots

stopwatchThe recent rise of the must win jackpots have caused a frenzy of activity from avid slots players, but the question is are these games good value or is it just smoke and mirrors to get you to play more?  Daily and timed jackpots offer the chance to win a guaranteed jackpot each day with the amount dictated by the number of wagered placed over the time period, but how easy are these to win, how random are the payouts, how are the games determined and what actually triggers the payout. 

Does It Matter How Many Coins You Play On A Slot Game?

smaller coinsIf you have observed a slot machine being played with many coins being fed in but not paying out, your chances of winning are increased surely?  Surely slot machines can only hold a certain volume of coins before a payout has to be triggered?   However it isn't always as straightforward as we many think with a number of intricacies to consider that casinos and slot machine engineers take into account with regards to payouts, such as the random number generator and various numeric denominations.

Casino Games With The Lowest House Edge

roulette tablesOf course everyone wants to beat the house, to take home big wins, however, consideration to games with a better or worse house edge is important for the discerning player  when enjoying casino table games.  After all when we play games we surely want the best chances of winning, yet more often than not people don't actually know what margin a casino takes for a given game.

Whether your a Roulette kind of person or prefer Blackjack or event Baccarat, this article talks you through opportunities and options to playing games and game strategies with the lowest house edge.

 The Worst Bets In A Casino To Avoid Risk

poker devil cartoonWhen it comes to casino games, every player - seasoned or otherwise, probably has their own strategy or gameplan, though, ultimately they are all in it for one thing; to finish off better than they started!

Although there is undoubtedly a number of great bets to concentrate on that may make a player small amounts on most occasions and where the risk isn’t that high, there are just as many that should be avoided. Let’s take a look at the ones to swerve.

Counting On The Cost Of Card Counting

card up sleeve smallGlamourised on television shows and in Hollywood movies, it has consumed the thoughts of casino staff for decades spanning centuries, even to the point where now they even have specialist security teams, constantly monitoring players on camera from seperate rooms, continuously liaising with the dealer, instructing them to cut cards differently, or anything to catch players off guard. Here we look at the history of Card Counting.

Blackjack Strategy: Stick Or Twist?

lady winning blackjackPerhaps the casino game with one of the simplest outcomes; total 21 or get as near to that number as you can and make sure your hand is at least higher than the dealer to stand a chance of winning some of the pot each time.  Easy right? Well, until you bring strategy into it. A minefield of options, analysis and general game of cat and mouse between player and dealer. Here we look at some useful strategies.

Casino Robberies

armed robberWhen we think of casino robberies, we imagine all of the Hollywood films that are centred around this theme that are filled with suspense and leave us all on the edge of our seats, however, when these are carried out for real, it is no doubt a very different feeling for the perpetrators - some even coming to a very 'sticky' end! We take a look at the history of casino robberies and attempted casino robberies over the decades and across the world and the future of casino security which certianly remains to be paramount for all casino establishments.

Adobe Flash vs HTML5

html5 logoFor years people moaned that Flash based games kept on crashing but the fact of the matter was if you wanted to play instant play games online it was your only choice. With the growth of online gaming in general the need for a new system was pressing and when HTML5 launched in 2014 this appeared to be the end of the road for Flash.

Still there are many that swear by Flash based games and up until recently there were many developers still using the platform, despite the fact many browsers now do not offer extensions for it and support ended in 2020.  Even though HTML5 is taking over it may not be the end of the story as newer formats are coming out that may limit its future.

Casino & Online Casino Job Role Hierarchy Explained

online vs real casinoThe boom in online casino created many new job roles in the gambling sector, but how many of them were just online versions of the same job at a brick and mortar casino? Similarly, what sort of workers will you find at a physical casino that have no place at an online casino?

This article is all about who you might find working at casinos on land and online, what each job role consists of, and where they sit in the staff hierarchy. You will also find out who you are likely to see front of house and who stays working away behind the scenes, and what the main differences are between the two.

Casino Estoril: An Underrated Portugese Gem

monte estoril Ask 100 people to name a place synonymous with casinos or gambling, and most will say Las Vegas or Monte Carlo. You would be unlikely to hear Casino Estoril mentioned. Despite being a favourite of the gambling elite Estoril is not yet part of the general public's consciousness.

But maybe it should be. This classy casino has the highest standards, boasts world class food and entertainment, and stunning views. Not to mention being something of a cultural hot spot as well. Find out why Casino Estoril should be on your list of places to visit next time you are in Portugal.

Did 32Red Revolutionise iGaming?

32red logoWhen an ex Ladbrokes employee took a gamble on the explosion of online casino and created 32Red, he set a chain of events in motion that no one could have predicted. The company went from strength to strength, eventually even launching a sportsbook of their own and becoming a competitor of the CEO's former employers.

But how did they do it, and what was the key to their success? Furthermore, how influential were they in the progression of the online casino industry as a whole?

What Happens When Online Casinos Close Down?

success and failure bigstock 400pxIt might not happen very often, but sometimes online casinos become insolvent and have to close for business permanently. A number of factors can contribute to such a drastic course of action, and customers can be left in a state of confusion over what happens to their accounts and, more importantly, the money in those accounts. 

A lot depends on your casino's deposit protection level, and the reasons behind the closure can also have an affect. This article explains all, as well exploring the stories of some of those casinos that have not managed to keep up the pace.

How do You Complain About an Online Casino?

complaint letters It shouldn't be a frequent occurrence, but just like in any other industry, sometimes you might have reason to complain about the service you recieved at an online casino. Depending on the issue at hand this could range from a minor inconvenience to a serious failure of duty on their part.

This process should be simple enough in theory, but companies sometimes have their complaints procedure hidden within dense terms and conditions making them very difficult to find and understand. However, all of them have to abide by the same rules and regulations and follow the same structure when it comes to complaints, so here it is laid bare for your in the clearest possible terms.

ID and Verification

verification For some it is little more than an annoyance, for others a slightly intimidating invasion of privacy, but for those it is there to protect verification is essential. Verification now has to be undertaken on every new customer that signs up to an online casino, in order to protect vulnerable and underage people as well as to help combat illegal activities like money laundering.

If you have ever been suspicious of a casino asking for a copy of your passport then this article should put your mind at rest, and you can also find out what happens to casinos who don't take their responsibilities in this area seriously enough.

History of Casinos in the UK

casino sign This country has a love affair with gambling going back centuries - us Brits just love to have a flutter. But gambling hasn't always looked the way it does now, and there was a time when a casino was unheard of.

That's all changed these days though, and you can find at least a few casinos offering a variety of games and experiences in every city or large town in the country. This article looks at the best of the best, and also explores our affinity with casinos and gambling as a whole, going right back to where it first began.

UK Gambling Licenses & Laws

gambling law onlineThe world of online gambling is just a few decades old but has changed considerably in that time and continues to do so. It's not unfair to say that the powers that be were a little on the slow side when it came to updating the law to deal with this new and quickly growing market, but after a scramble in 2005 regulation was put in place.

These rules have been updated often and it is an ongoing process, but at the centre of this attempt to control the online gambling industry is the gambling license, bestowed upon operators by the UK Gambling Commission. 

Why do Casino Accounts Get Limited?

account limited A frustrating event for any casino player is trying to log into your long term online casino account only to be either blocked from entry, or getting in to find a message telling you that your account has been limited.

This hamstrings you, and makes it impossible to place higher wagers, or to take advantage of promotions, or prohibits betting on specific markets. However they choose to restrict you, it will affect you in a big way. Better to avoid this altogether, and this article explains how.

Gamblers Fallacy

gamblers fallacyGamblers professing that they have spotted a pattern in results or that a certain result is 'due' are nothing new. People have been displaying this sort of behaviour for as long as gambling has been around, but do their claims hold any weight?

The answer is an emphatic no. Gambler's fallacy explains why they believe it though, and learning a little more about it could stand you in better stead next time you are at the roulette wheel.

Blackjack Cheating Scandals

blackjack cheating Most people when thinking about famous casino scams and scandals think of poker, but blackjack is a prime target for cheating as well, and in fact there are many books written and films made on the subject.

It's not just the players who have come under the microscope either; as we investigate in this article there have been some very famous cases where the casino themselves have come under scrutiny.

Who Invented The Roulette Wheel?  How Is It Made?

roulette wheel cartoonYou couldn't imagine a casino today without roulette, it is the one game that is more iconic to what casinos are than any other, it is also the game that people choose to play the most when they visit a casino.  We thought it was therefore appropriate that we should look at the history of roulette and the wheel, which is beautiful in its simplicity and captivating to watch in action.

From Blaise Pascal efforts to find a perpetual motion machine he created what would become the worlds most popular gambling game.  How is made though and how does it work?  How is fairness ensured?

The Most Popular Gambling Tax Havens

tax haven island It's hardly big news that gambling companies base themselves in offshore tax havens to financially benefit themselves and pay as little tax as possible. Some of those places also have the benefit of much more appealing weather than the wind and rain battered UK too, so it's not a difficult sell.

Tax havens are often reported as being desitnations for the immoral and/or borderline illegal, but in fact they play an important role in the way countries in the developed world tax big business, and you can find out why in this article.

Do You Pay Tax on Gambling Winnings?

gambling tax In many countries winning a bet is taxable, but what about the UK? If you win a huge amount of money it is obviously an occasion you will never forget, but it also comes with questions and maybe even a certain degree of concern if you don't know where you stand with the tax man.

The history of tax and the gambling industry in this country has seen many changes especially over the last few decades, as regulating bodies try to deal with the online gambling explosion, and this article explains it all. 

Why Play in a Real Casino?

casino floorOnline casinos are about as accessible as it is possible to be, and they have every manner of casino game available, but anyone who has ever played in a real casino will agree that they are not a patch on the real thing.

A real casino has a lot to offer that simply cannot be replicated online, and even if you only ever go once, keen gamblers should shut down their computers and give the real world of gambling a try.

Casino Game Errors

casino game error You're unlucky if you experience one, but casino game errros can still happen even in this day and age, and if they do they canleave you in limbo as to what happens next.

The issue is more likely to be at your end than at the casinos, but in the rare case the casino or game is at faut, what happens and will your winnings be safe?

What is a Casino White Label?

white label casino A lot of players probably don't realise when they are playing at a white label casino, and there is no reason why they should let it concern them either because a white label casino is no better or worse than one running on its own platform or license.

Nevertheless, the platform your casino is running on does have an impact on your experience both in terms of what is available and how the site is laid out and how it functions, so it's a good idea to understand the basics.

What is the Difference Between Casino Products?

casino products Casinos do everything they can to attract new players and then keep them coming back, and a major part of this is the products they supply. For the most part the difference between these is obvious - a slot is very different to a game of blackjack after all.

But when a casino has three separate areas for casino, slots, and games, it is understandable when players get confused. Aren't they all the same thing, and if so, why have they been split up?

Are Online Slots Random or Compensated?

online slot random compensatedAn online slot player having a run of bad luck may well become frustrated and assume their game is operating unfairly or on some sort of system. While it is true that slots exist that can be played at an optimal time in their cycle (their behaviour can be 'learned'), this is not true of online slots.

There are positives and negatives for both random and compensated slot games, and both are discussed in this article, but when it comes to online slots the RNG renders the argument that they can be compensated or fixed in some way void.

How Are New Slot Games Developed?

Slot game designYou may consider yourself to be an expert on slot games from a player perspective, but have you ever wondered how they are made in the first place? The process is a lot longer than you might think, and takes the work of a whole team of people.

The technology age has been a revolution in terms of what is possible when creating new games, and the near future will doubtless see extra elements requiring new processes and job roles to bring these games to life.

All About Responsible Gambling

responsible gambling smallUnquestionably the most important aspect of enjoying yourself when gambling is to make sure you are doing so safely and responsibly. For some people that is easy to do, they can simply stop when they have spent up all of their spare cash, if they even gamble enough to get to that point.

For a small group though gambling can become harmful, and for those people this addiction can be life altering, even life threatening. Luckily, the industry has never had more regulation and there have never been more groups out there to support those who need it. With responsible gambling tools also available on all sites we are hopefully close to all but eradicating this disease.

Are Online Casinos Rigged?

are online casinos rigged This has to be the most frequently asked question about online casinos since the internet began. A lot of distrust still exists from the early days of online gaming when the law hadn't caught up with this booming new industry, but now online gambling regulation makes the old days unrecogniseable.

Of course, all games favour the house even if it is only by a small margin, so in that respect no form of gambling is 'fair', but when it comes to rigging, fixing or otherwise getting ripped off, players have a lot of reasons to feel confident these days so long as they are playing at a licensed casino.

Can you Play Games with a UK Casino when Abroad?

plane taking offThe rules and laws relating to gambling are different in every country you might visit, and sometimes wildly so. This makes accessing online casino products difficult for anyone who happens to travel a lot with work or who takes frequent holidays.

It's not impossible to use your online casino account when abroad but it can be very difficult, and your levels of protection can vary significantly too. The whole thing is something of a grey area and it will all hinge on the casino you play wiht and the country you are visiting. 

Casino Game Side Bets - Are They Worth It?

side bets smallMany popular casino games have had several reincarnations or variations created, with extra features or slightly different rules designed to give players more variety and different ways to win. However, as we all know, in casino land nothing is ever really changed unless it can also benefit the casino.

So what is the deal with side bets? Many games have them, although they are most associated with blackjack, but not all players will want to use them because they can dramatically alter the overall house edge. However, the promise of bigger wins is enough to tempt some players to take this extra risk.

Do Any Casino Games Favour the Player?

happy casino playerThe casino always wins, or so the saying goes, and that is because nearly all casino games are weighted in the house's favour. That means that regardless of what happens, over the long term they are guaranteed to make a profit.

This is a fact of life that all casino players accept; after all, if the casino didn;t make a profit there would be no casino, it would not be a viable business, so the house edge can be seen as the cost of providing the service. But what if we told you there were a few games that actually give the player the advantage over the casino?

How do Online Casino Jackpots Work?

jackpot reelsMost people probably know what a jackpot is, in general at least. But not all jackpots were made equal and there are a number of different ways that they are set up and operate. This does have an effect on the player because it makes a difference to how much is available to win.

Whether you play a progressive or a fixed jackpot, on a slot, a game of blackjack, roulette, bingo, or anything else; it makes sense to have a basic understanding of how these jackpots work, and you can learn all that here inside of 5 minutes.

How do Slot Developers Get Paid?

slot developer deals smallThe guys and girls beavering away behind the scenes to create the games we all play are a well paid bunch, because their skills are hard to come by. That makes them expensive to hire, so where to the companies who make our online slots get their money from?

Perhaps a better question is how do they earn their money? They obviously sell the games they make but the way in which they do this is not widely understood by the online gaming community. When you find out how it works though, you will see the way games are displayed on casino sites in a whole new light.

Psychology and Gambling

gambling psychology Our brains are amazingly complex organs but they can play all number of tricks on us, and the world of gambling is a prime area for these tricks to be played. Gamblers fallacy is arguably the best known psychological condition that casino players face, but there are many many more.

There is a lot of research out there that explains what happens to our brains when we gamble and why this is the case, and that information can be useful to us as players as much as it can be useful for those in the gambling industry who use it to encourage players to keep betting for longer.

What Job Roles are There at Casino Software Companies?

casino software job rolesDespite what some people might think, it isn't elves that create the online casino games we like to play, but a huge workforce of dedicated software engineers, concept artists, graphic designers, front and back end developers, etc. that pull it all together.

They are backed up by support staff such as accountants and office administrators, not to mentione the marketing and sales professionals who bring the games to market so that we can actually get our hands on them. The world of casino software companies isn't often explored by casino players, but it might surprise you to see just how wide a variety of job roles exist within the igaming industry.

Difference Between Software Licence & Operating License

ukgc licence granted smallWe would hope that most online casino players know who the UKGC are and what they do. Beyond that, however, it's doubtful that many players would have in depth knowledge on gambling licenses and exactly what they cover. Two that are confused quite a lot are the software license and the operating license.

Both are very important to players because they cover the way games are made, how they are presented, and the way they can be marketed, but as for which companies need which licenses things are not exactly clear.

How Does Online Casino Software Work?

online casino softwareThe software that powers the games that you play probably doesn't concern you a great deal; so long as the games work as they should most players are happy to ignore the technical wizardry and just enjoy their gameplay.

However, the way casino software and the software behind the games themselves works is interesting and also easy enough to understand on the surface. What's more, knowing a bit about it can actually help with your mentality when playing these games, and a well informed casino player is always a safer and more confident casino player.

Blackjack Tournament Strategies

blackjack tournamentBlackjack players sometimes train for years to become experts at the game, knowing exactly what to do in any given situation to squeeze every last drop of advantage back from the casino. When it comes to blackjack tournaments though, things are a little different.

The game may be the same, but the way players need to play in order to win is a little different, because it's not all about beating the dealer, it's actually all about beating the other players. To do that, you're going to need a few strategies.

What Are The Compliance Rules For Game Developers?

regulatory complianceGame developers are more 'behind the scenes' than casino operators, despite it being their products that we all go to the casinos to play in the first place. Nevertheless, they face compliance issues just like operators do, albeit from a slightly different perspective.

Games have to meet certain criteria before they are deemed fit for public consumption, because responsible gambling applies to the games themselves as much as the operators providing them. This is how they handle it.

How Casino Chips Are Used to Launder Money

pile of casino chips 150Money laundering is all about taking dirty money and cleaning it up and casinos have a long history of being used to do that.  Effectively you buy chips with dirty money, play for a bit and then cash most of them back and get a legitimate receipt to go with it.  It's not quite that simple and there are many different scams used to launder money through casino chips and through other means.  Casinos and governments invest a lot of time, effort and money in anti-money laundering procedures but as always the criminals find new ways and means.

Why do Casinos Use Chips?

man holding casino chips smallCasino chips are so ingrained in the fabric of real world casinos that it can be easy to give them no thought, but there are several very good reasons for their existence, and some of them might even put you at a disadvantage to the house. 

When we buy chips from the casino (or more accurately, loan them) we are essentially telling the house how much we are willing to lose that night before we have laid down a single pound or dollar, and ever improving technology can even be used in chips to tell casinos how you tend to gamble.

How do Slot Paylines Work?

slot paylines smallPaylines have changed a lot over the years. From a single payline on the old one armed bandits, through to 50 payline online slots and the later 'ways to win' mechanic which did away with traditional paylines altogether.

Now we are in the world of Megaways, cluster pays and the like, and even though the paylines (and the paytable) have a huge impact on how the game plays and pays, many players give them little to know thought and just spin the reels without knowing what they are looking for. Those people should read this article.

What Happened to Auto-Play & Bonus Buy Slots?

looking with magnifying glassA lot can change in a very short time in the world of online casino. New features are created all the time by developers trying to distinguish themselves and stand out from the crowd, but not all of them are to the tastes of our UK regulating body.

Two such casualties of regulation were the auto play button and the bonus buy option. Some players loved the ability to set the game in motion without having to click for every new spin, others found it damaging. Some players preferred to pay their way into a guaranteed bonus round rather than wait through many dead spins, others found it was making them spend more. This article is all about them.

Unusual Places To Find A Casino

rivers casino des plaines 150Casinos tend to be in places that will attract a lot of people, like a city centre or even a whole city dedicated to gambling such as Las Vegas.  The point is to get people through the door, and one way to do that is to be in an unusual place.

There are casinos in many unexpected locations, including; caves in the desert, puddles of water, up mountains, in basements, in the sky and even in prison in the past.  Ultimately if you have people there and they have time and money to spend then someone out there has probably thought to set up a casino.  Come with us and explore some of the most unusual locations for casinos.

Casino Glossary

gloassaryCould you spot a fish in a game of poker? Do you know your racetrack from your roulette wheel? Could you chat to a fellow player about RNGs, pressing a play or how you got Eighty Six'd at the casino down the road?  There's nothing worse than feeling out of the loop, and when everyone else in the room seems to speak the lingo and you have no idea what they are talking about you are definitely going to take a knock to your confidence.

No one likes being the newbie, but with this glossary of casino terms and phrases you will be able to hold your own at any casino table or bar in the Western world. At the very least, you will be able to understand what people are saying to you and not have to politely smile and nod when they start talking to you about 'getting down'.

Are Online Casinos Better Value Than Land-Based Casinos?

casino sign This is not an easy question to answer as it depends what we mean by value.  Just looking at the games and the return to player percentages more value can certainly be found online compared to land-based casinos.  Online casinos offer very competitively priced games as they know you can easily choose another site but offline casinos know once you are in the venue you are unlikely to leave.  Even slots that you see online and in real casinos tend to have different RTP rates, usually higher online.  Online sites also provided promotions you don't get in real casinos.

If it is just about maximising potential returns then it is almost always sensible to play online.  What we don't get online, however, is the social experience of a land-based casino and the value of that can't be measured as easily and will differ from person to person.  Basically play online for monetary value and play offline for personal experience value.

What Was The Carson City Nevada Casino Bullpen

carson city bullpen prison casino coin 150Casinos pop up pretty much anywhere they can but the one set up in Carson City prison is perhaps the most bizarre on record.  Usually prisoners have most of their rights taken away from them when they go inside, including the ability to gamble but that is was not the case here when inmates set up their own casino nicknamed the 'bullpen' inside the prison.  While it wasn't officially sanctioned it was tolerated and existed for an astonishing 35 years between 1932 and 1967.  On in Nevada could this possibly happen.

Built inside a solid rock room the casino was hardly the Ritz but it gave inmates a sanctuary and an ability to engage in craps, poker, blackjack and other games of chance.  The casino even had its own coinage, which are collectors items today.  It was even said to be a good measure reducing illegal gambling and crime in general within the prison.  A riot in 1967 spurred the new warden to close down the bullpen, which never came back.  Certainly one of the most interesting casinos in history.

Casino Games That Never Took Off

casino games that failedThe casino industry needs to stay current. Players want a mixture of old classics that have stood the test of time, along with shiny new games that pique their interest and offer something new or a little different to keep things fresh. This inevitably leads to new games that do well, and new games that don't do so well, not to mention old games that end up being pushed aside to make way for whatever is coming next.

Just like the bets we make, new games can't all be winners, and while some have simply faded away over time, others have really fallen flat and proved to be duds from the second players first clapped eyes on them. This article takes a look at some of the biggest fails the industry has known, as well as games that were once popular but whose light has now gone out.