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HOW TO CHOOSE AN ONLINE GAMBLING SITE

With more than 3000 sites competing for your custom, and with the online gaming industry continually growing, the choice can be bewildering.

You could start with our review list, but maybe you want to go with whoever claims the highest stakes, or where you are likely to win the most.

Only you can ultimately make that choice. However, we can offer you a few pointers to steer you along the way.

Look Before You Leap

To play online you'll normally have to download the casino's software. But given that it can take up to 2 hours (that's if you are on dial up connection), that's a long time to find out it's not really what you wanted.

Common to the most user friendly of online casinos is a 'preview' option. This lets you see what the games look like and often gives a description of how to play them.

Are They Legal

Well, that's a yes and a no. Most online casinos are 'offshore' operations, mostly based somewhere in the Caribbean, like Antigua for instance, who for a fee of around 100,000 dollars will issue a license. But this doesn't mean that they regulate casinos in any way. In truth, the industry mainly regulates itself. However if a casino advertises that they are audited, it's a good indication that they'll play fair.

Better still is if the casino is a member of eCOGRA (or licensed in EU); a body whose members are required to abide by a code of conduct. In essence, it calls for members to be legally licensed, to be available for fair play testing, and to maintain privacy controls for their customers' financial transactions in the event of a dispute arising.

Membership at eCOGRA is voluntary, but take it as a strong sign that the casino is a good bet.

Help Lines and Support

Practically all the more reputable casinos will have a support page on their website, an email address and, more importantly, a 24/7 toll free helpline or live chat service. Even better if they have two. For, as we all know, helplines get busy.

And don't take it at face value. Call the number and check that you're not going to be talking to an answer machine.

And whilst you're at it, send them an email too to see how quickly they respond.

Lists & More Lists

Everywhere you look you'll find lists of "top tens", jackpots, payouts, whatever, and it can be difficult to figure out what is the true story.

You'll also find "Top Site" lists, where punters have voted for their favourite casino. Service sites like Gambling.com collect these votes and hand out awards to the winners.

But there are many lists on many sites, and if you hit on a "top ten" list of casinos you've never heard of before on your surfing travels, just ignore it. It's probably a subtle attempt at advertising.

You're a Winner

Congratulations! All you've got to do now is get paid. Well, er, this can be the tricky part.

Some casinos only pay out on the last Friday of the month. Yes, you read right. The last Friday of every month. Others pay only by cheque, which, like the last Friday of every month can take weeks to process.

The best pay directly to your ewallet, that is if you're using one.

Some may ask for for an email payment request before any action is taken.

It's a very murky area, so check the banking sections on the casinos web site before making your choice.

So there you are. Hope we've been of help.

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