Some useful information on the online casino gambling industry

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The first internet casinos began accepting real money wagers in 1996.  Most of these pioneer casinos are still online today, and are amongst the industry's better known and more reputable operators.  In internet terms then, the online casino industry is really not that new, although it really began to gain mainstream awareness in the last year or two, with Government efforts to curtail its rapid growth.

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It might surprise you to know that recent estimates suggest that some where in the order of 10 million people have actually placed real money wagers via the internet, and the majority of these would have been placed at internet casinos.  Results of a survey published in PRNewswire (22 March 2001) claimed that approximately 8 million people had already gambled with real money online at that time.  Today the number is quite possibly twice this figure.  One casino claims to have already had 7 million players of its own.

When you consider that estimates of global internet penetration are around 400 to 500 million, then it seems that a surprisingly high percentage of the world's internet population have in fact gambled online.

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Over the last 4 years, the number of online casinos has exploded from a handful to around 1,500.   A study released in March 2001 by analysts Bear Sterns suggested that there were between 1,200 and 1,400 sites accepting real money wagers online.  

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No, although most are.  It is estimated that around 20% of the industry as it currently stands is unlicensed.  Many Governments around the world offer online gambling licenses, including Australia, Antigua Barbuda, St Kitts, Vanuatu, Dominica and Curacau.  The UK Government declared it was soon to offer licenses, while the US is still grappling with how to to approach the online gambling issue.  

Most casinos display their license details on their site.  These can be verified at the website of the licensing authority.

All casinos listed on this site are licensed.

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While the majority of operators out there are legitimate, there are a few rogues, and as a consequence, you should be careful when selecting a casino or sports book to play at online.  We've played at all of the casinos listed on this site, without incident for quite a while.

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Playing online couldn't be easier.  First you download the casino software, then you register as a player with the casino.  Instructions are generally clear, with 24/7 support offered by most casinos should you run into any difficulties. 

In order to play for real money, you need to establish an account with the casino and deposit money into your account.  This then becomes your virtual purse from which you may place bets.  Most casinos offer a range of deposit options including major credit cards, Firepay, Clearchex, Prepaid ATM, NeTeller, 900Pay or wire transfers.

Winnings are paid out via bank draft, Firepay, wire transfer, or directly to your credit card, depending on the casino in question.  

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Most online casinos and sports books (all listed on this site), use 128 bit encryption security to transfer information and funds confidentially and securely.  This basically means that it is just as safe giving your credit card details to a reputable online casino, as it is giving them to any other online financial institution. 

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Game outcomes at reputable casinos using well known software, are determined by various random number generation systems embedded in the casino software.  It is also worth noting, that in most cases, the casino has no control over the outcomes of its games...these are dictated entirely by the software, which is developed by the licensor software developer.  Listed multinational companies such as Microgaming, Cryptologic and Boss Media are responsible for ensuring the games produce random outcomes, and their software has been tested to the nth degree by various licensing authorities, including those with the strictest probity requirements  (eg in Australia). 

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A number of casinos (all listed at Casino Gambling Online) are taking that extra step to prove that all game outcomes are dictated by random number generation.  Third party audit of return to player rates across all games has been sought to prove that, in aggregate, these casinos return similar amounts to players as terrestrial casinos.

When you consider that returns for games such as slots and keno are typically below 95%, then this means that these guys must be returning close to 100% on games such as blackjack. 

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Game range online has to be seen to be believed.  Almost any game you have seen at a terrestrial casino you will be able to play online.  There are come casinos out there with over 90 games offered, including all the favorite table games, progressives and multi-plays.

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As for terrestrial gambling, returns online differ substantially from one game to the next.  It is worth noting, that audited return to player rates for online games prove that they return comparable rates to players as their terrestrial counterparts...not altogether surprising given outcomes are determined by the same mathematical probabilities in both cases, but some reassurance for the skeptics.

In terms of which games return the best, as a general rule games requiring a degree of player skill (eg blackjack, video poker) usually offer better returns than no skill games (eg slots, keno).

You'll find a more detailed discussion of returns at our play the odds page.

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There are a number of software providers out there licensing software to online casino operators.  Some casinos employ their own proprietary software, but the vast majority license software from one of the many software providers now peddling their wares to the industry.   The industries principle software licensors are Cryptologic, Microgaming, Boss Media

For a comprehensive list of software vendors, as well as details on most licensing jurisdictions, visit

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