The convenience of online gambling means it’s easy to fit into your day, no matter how busy you are. Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can quickly place a wager and see whether anything good comes of it. Before you run wild and play to your heart’s content, you really need to take a few things into account first. At the end of the day, this is meant to be fun. Let’s make sure it actually is.
Here are four ways to stay smart when betting online:
1. Decide Why You’re Playing
We all have different motivations for playing casino games online. Some might dedicate a certain portion of their income to it. Others may take part whenever they’re bored. For some people, it’s a way to be entertained or have fun. For others, it’s a way to make big money from it or start a career.
There could also be the social aspect of it and there are even those that like to play without putting any of their own cash on the line. What’s your motivation?
This first step is crucial. Knowing why you play helps set your personal expectations. What’s more, knowing why you’re playing can be a good enough restraint to keep you from going overboard or doing things you would only do when your back is against the wall.
Whatever reason you have for playing, there are some golden rules for responsible gambling. Pace yourself. Take regular breaks. Cash in those wins. Remember: when the fun stops, stop.
2. Have Realistic Expectations
This rule applies to experienced gamblers as much as it does newbies. You need to have a solid, realistic expectation of these games. You will have fantastic days. You will have bad days. That’s how it goes. Prepare yourself for both, and know when it’s time to call it a day either way.
Never play with more than you can afford to lose. It’s one of the most overused phrases you’ll ever come across, but it’s drilled into us all for good reason. It’s never great once you breach that threshold.
3. Verify the Website
You have to be sure that your money is safe anytime you exchange money online, so this is an essential step. Usually, the look and feel of the website will tell you a lot. The more effort that’s gone into it, the more genuine it’s likely to be.
You want to pick online casinos that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. As well as this, you want to use a website that is recommended by someone you trust or by authoritative review sites.
A good example of an authoritative site is this one that provides an introduction to live casino dealers. It details handpicked favourites from the website’s owner, who has made sure they’re not only secure but whether they have the games, deals and experience you’re looking for.
Website encryption is also essential. It ensures that when you use a website, the information you share with it – such as sensitive personal information – doesn’t get into the wrong hands. An easy way to find out if a website is encrypted is by checking to see if the browser bar says “https://” rather than “http://” at the start of the URL.
4. Look for Bonuses
Bonuses are a way of attracting new players with the promise of free money or free spins. Whether your favourite is Blackjack, roulette, baccarat or poker, it can make a lot of sense to top up your initial stake.
However, be wary. These “free” trials often have strings attached, so they should be used with care. Always read the terms and conditions before taking a bonus. You'll often find big restrictions on what you can withdraw and when using with bonus money.