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Online Casinos - A Beginner's GuideCasino Beacon > Support > Online Casino Beginner's Guide

Online Casinos - A Beginner's Guide

This is our 'hello, you!' introduction to Casino Beacon and a guide to UK online casinos for beginners. We've provided answers to the most frequently asked questions. We also take a look at the UK online casino scene and introduce newcomers to the excitement of playing online.

Playing Safe

If you are completely new to the world of online casinos and haven't yet played at an online casino then you're probably a bit concerned about whether online casinos are safe to trust with your money. Well, you've come to the right place - UK internet casinos are very safe and loads more fun than a land-based casino.

Casino Beacon is ideal for guiding you on where and where NOT to play.

We only recommend honest casinos on this site. Check out our best online casinos pages. You'll find a link in the top menu of every page on this site. If a casino is recommended here then you can be reassured that it is a safe place to play. If you win, you will get paid quickly.

Are Online Casinos Safe?
Are Online Casinos Fair?
Why Should I Play Online?
What Is The Best Online Casino For Me?
How Do I Deposit And Withdraw Money?

Are Online Casinos Safe?

This is probably the question we get asked more than any other. The great news is that the vast majority of UK online casinos are very safe and loads more fun than a land-based casino.

New players naturally worry about not receiving their winnings - or it taking months to receive them. Fortunately, those fears are mostly unnecessary.

We're not saying that there are no crappy online casinos lurking around out there because as with any industry, there are those who, given the chance, would take your money and run. However, most online casinos are fair, honest and work hard to please their players. We're quite lucky in the UK as the industry self-regulates itself very successfully.

Still, there are a couple of rules you should follow:

1. Don't be tempted to play at an online casino unless you know it's safe to do so.
2. Keep away from the cowboys. Play safe and you'll receive what you win.

Casino Beacon is ideal for guiding you on where and where NOT to play. Any casino you find listed on our pages are safe and you'll be fine playing there. We thoroughly test every casino listed. Unlike some online casino guides on the net, we take our responsibilities VERY seriously when deciding which online casinos to recommend and which ones to avoid like the plague. We meet up regularly with online casinos and we check them out frequently. Here at Casino Beacon, we love gambling and we love playing online. We play all the time and we wouldn't recommend an online casino that we don't play at ourselves.

Take a look at our online casino reviews and you'll quickly see that we take our job seriously. We give fair praise where it's due but we also criticise the heck out of any online casino that doesn't perform.

We regularly re-visit casinos we've reviewed to ensure that they are maintaining standards. We frequently re-rate online casinos and either increase or decrease their rating if things have changed.

The easiest way to be 100% that you're playing at a safe and reputable UK online casino is to only play at a casino listed on our pages. If you win, you get paid. And you get paid fast.

In the unlikely event that you ever have a problem with an online casino that we recommended to you then you have the added benefit of having us in your corner. If you've joined an online casino via our pages and then find you have some kind of a problem then tell us - we'll step in and do our very best to resolve the matter. We really can't see you having any problems but still, it's reassuring to know that you have a back-up just in case.

If you've come across a casino that isn't yet listed on our reviews pages then you are more than welcome to contact us and ask our opinion. We'll tell you what we know about them and whether we can recommend them or not.

As long as you never play at a dishonest casino then you are in no danger of being scammed. The same goes for any casinos you see advertised on this site, such as the banner advertisements. Advertisers who are accepted for this site go through the same rigorous testing and verification process. Casino Beacon does not accept advertising from dishonest casinos or those who promote using spyware, spam, etc.

Are Online Casinos Fair?

The easy answer to this question - and the answer you want to hear, of course - is yes. Online casino games are fair. In fact, they're VERY fair.

All results of a bet at an online casino - whether that's a spin on a slot game, or a spin on the roulette wheel, or a hand of blackjack - are all determined by the use of an independently tested random number generator.

Every month, any online casino worth their name will release a statement of payout rates for their games. It's in their own interests to do this and be as transparent as possible. It helps to reassure nervous or dubious players.

The payout rates from most online casinos listed on this site are independently audited by eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) who are an independent online gambling standards and player protection organisation.

Why Should I Play Online?

If you've ever visited a land-based casino, then you're already pretty much on the way to understanding how an online casino works. For the most part, everything is the same. You'll find yourself able to play the same games, win the same money, have the same fun.

There are, however, a few differences. There are a couple of advantages that a land-based casino has over an online casino - mainly the experience of 'being there', soaking in the atmosphere and watching the action unfold live in front of you. However, as online casinos continue to advance and become more technically impressive, those advances are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Some online casinos offer live tables where you're playing with a real, live dealer and watching the action as it happens. The UK smoking ban also hit land-based casinos and in our experience, casinos are much quieter than they were prior to the ban. Much of the atmosphere has disappeared.

It would appear that the advantages of playing land-based as opposed to online are few. There are, however, numerous advantages that playing in an online casino has over land-based. We'll cover just a few of them here.

Few things have transformed to the internet with as much success as online gambling. Most players who move from playing at a land-based casino to an online UK casino never regret it. There is a world of difference in what is offered to the players.

Some advantages of playing online:

  • Play 24/7. At a land-based casino, you can only arrive when they're open for business and, when the doors are closed, you're out. Play online when and how you want. Do it naked, if you want.
  • Very few players are ever given a free money 'welcome bonus' at a land-based casino. In fact, comps are pretty much disallowed under UK law except for a few small exceptions. Have you ever been given free money by a land-based UK casino? Neither have we. Again, you can thank the UK Government for this strangulation of the UK gambling industry. To see the latest welcome bonuses from UK online casinos, see our new casino bonuses page.
  • The games you can play at online casinos generally walk all over their land-based competitors. There are literally loads more games at online casinos than most land-based casinos could ever cater for, including a huge variety of video poker games, progressive jackpot games, slots, etc. Many online casinos offer over 300 games.
  • When playing at UK online casinos, you're playing against a random outcome, rather than a human 'opponent'. This actually has more advantages for the online player than you may at first realise. Come across an experienced roulette 'dealer' who takes a dislike to you and you're unlikely to walk out the door with a profit - despite what any croupier or pitboss will claim. Random results are good for players. Throw all your roulette chips on one number when playing at an online UK casino and it has just as much chance of coming in as any other number.

What Is The Best Online Casino For Me?

We've tried to answer this question many times and it's a difficult thing to do. Different players like different things and what floats your boat may not be to another player's liking. Every online casino has its own strengths and weaknesses and, depending on what you're looking for as a player, different people will prefer different online casinos.

We recommend you take a look at our Best Online Casinos section for the quickest guide to finding a high-quality, safe and trustworthy online casino. Every casino listed there has been reviewed extensively and given either a 4 or 5 star rating. For a more comprehensive look at UK casinos then you should see the Online Casino Reviews section which contains probably the most exhaustive online casino reviews you're likely to find anywhere on the net. Reviews are what CasinoBeacon.co.uk does best.

If you can't find a casino that appeals to you from the selection there then playing online probably isn't for you!

How Do I Deposit And Withdraw Money?

The most popular way to purchase chips at a UK online casino is by using a credit or debit card.

Here in the UK, we're far luckier than our friends abroad. We have no problems with playing online and depositing with a credit or debit card. Overseas players who play in US$ sometimes find their credit card declined when they try to purchase gambling chips. This is due to blocks placed by the card issuer. UK casino players have no such issues.

Online Casino GuideLook for the 'cashier' when logged into the online casino, select your payment method (ie. credit card, debit card, wire transfer, etc.), decide how much you wish to purchase (ie. £100, £250, £500, etc.) and let the casino's payment processor do the rest. It's all very secure and confidential and no different to buying a book from Amazon.

Before going ahead and trying to process your first chips purchase, it's worth a quick check to ensure that the casino you'll be playing at does actually accept deposits via that card. Every casino listed on this site accepts both Visa and MasterCard credit cards, so no worries there. When it comes to debit cards, however, some UK online casinos accept certain debit cards but not others.

Credit/debit cards are not the only way to purchase chips. Other methods exist and are becoming more popular all the time. Online casinos have not been slow to notice the popularity of these payment methods and many now take advantage of these extra options. If you don't have a credit/debit card or don't want to use one then you can see alternative deposit methods in our Banking Methods section.

Many casinos also accept wire/direct bank transfer and cheques. The only thing to bear in mind is that you won't be able to use the funds until they have cleared in the online casino's account.

We're Done!

And that's pretty much it. You should feel reassured as to the safety and fairness of playing online and be in a position to do so. If you do have any questions then please contact us. We're a friendly, informal bunch and we'll do everything in our power to help where we can. Drop us an e-mail. Or grab us via MSN IM. Or just pick up the phone and ask us whatever you need to know. We don't bite.

Enjoy the site and above all, good luck!

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