I’ve heard that there are over 1400 online casinos operating on the Internet. While I can’t vouch for that number, I do know that there are many, many sites out there. And, of course, every site claims to offer fair games and quick payouts. Knowing which sites are really trustworthy is very important. My method is simple: Stick to the biggest and most reputable sites. Online casinos don’t become popular without treating their players fairly.
The first thing I want to know about an online casino is: Who created the software? There are six or seven companies that are widely used for online gaming software, and also many less popular second-tier software providers. Almost all of my play has been at sites that use one of the ‘Big Three’ software providers.
Cryptologic: These casinos include my long-time sponsor, The Sands of the Caribbean, as well as 49er Casino, Omni Casino, Intercasino, and others. All of their E-cash services are provided by an independent company called E-Cash Direct. I’ve never had any delays or problems with any of the Cryptologic-powered casinos that I’ve tried. Many of these casinos also offer a recurring monthly bonus of $50 every month, which is hard to beat. The blackjack rules are not bad, except they use an 8-deck game. As a group, the sites that use Cryptologic are among the biggest and most reputable to be found, and the monthly bonuses are a nice perk.
Boss Media: This is my favorite software to play. It’s attractive, fast, easy, and there are a fair number of casinos to choose from. Signup bonuses are typical, and the blackjack rules offered are quite good. In the past, Boss Media had two different versions: Single Player and Multi Player. Most casinos have switched to offering only the Multi Player version. If you can still find the Single Player version somewhere, it offers one of the best blackjack games on the net, with single deck, S17, DAS. The Multi Player offers the same rules, but it’s a 6 deck game. E-cash is handled by an outside company called WebDollar. I’ve never had a problem of any kind with Boss Media powered sites.
MicroGaming: This is perhaps the most popular software provider, with many casinos using MicroGaming’s software. They offer a very large number of ligaz888 games, including several large progressive slots. The blackjack is excellent, with a single deck S17 game, No DAS, but you can re-hit split Aces. It all adds up to a very low house edge of just over 0.1%. However, of the Big Three, casinos using MicroGaming are the only sites where I’ve had payment trouble. Each MicroGaming casino is individually responsible for their E-cash services, and I’ve had a few run-ins with them. Nonetheless, there are many very reputable MicroGaming sites, such as Riverbelle. Sign-up bonuses are often exceptional, sometimes worth more than $100.
Among the second-tier software providers, I’ve also played at sites utilizing Real Time Gaming software. Although the software is not bad, I’ve seen quite a few complaints on the message boards about players having trouble collecting their winnings. Many of these sites seem to be under-bankrolled, occasionally negotiating with players to payoff their winnings over time. That’s not my idea of how things are supposed to work. No thanks.
The second item of interest when deciding whether or not to deposit at a given casino is how you can contact them if needed. I choose to play only at sites that offer toll-free support by telephone. If they only offer Email support, I figure they can’t be a very large operation.
Last of all, I examine the cash-out procedures to see what is available, and the amount of any fees involved. Cryptologic and Boss Media casinos both charge $1 for most types of transactions. Withdrawals from MicroGaming sites are usually free unless you choose to have a check sent, for which the fees vary widely.
Next up, I’ll discuss how to use bonuses to make a nice profit online