Playing casino games for free is fun, but gambling is all about the thrill and the rush you get from putting real money on the line. If you enjoy playing casino games online but have only ever used practice credits, consider using real money to reap real cash rewards. All of our top-rated online casinos offer fair real money gambling on titles such as roulette, baccarat, slots, blackjack, video poker, sic bo, craps, poker, scratch cards and more. Below is our guide to knowing when you’re ready to take the plunge to play at an online casino for real money.
Best online casinos
Are you of the legal age to gamble?
Most importantly, and before we move on to any other details, in order to sign up with an Internet gambling site you must be of the legal gambling age according to your country of residence. The age restrictions vary between each country, but here is a quick run down of what the minimum ages are in countries where online gambling is a prominent activity:
- Australia: 18
- America: varies from state to state, but 21 is the legal age in most states.
- Canada: 19
- New Zealand: 20
- Majority of European countries: 18. Greece is an exception, with the legal gambling age set at 23.
It is up to you to be aware of the gambling age requirements in your country. When signing up for an online casino account, you must enter your date of birth and will be required to show proof of identification before you are able to withdraw any of your winnings from the casino. Online casino vendors take age requirements seriously, so don’t think you are above the law just because you are playing from the comfort of your computer or mobile.
Is online gambling legal in your country?
If you are of legal gambling age, the next question you must ask is whether it is legal for you to gamble at Internet casinos in your country. The online gambling laws vary dramatically around the world, and it is your own personal responsibility to be aware of the gambling laws that apply to you. Some countries do impose penalties (fines and even imprisonment) for individuals caught playing at online casinos where it is illegal to do so, so do your research to make sure you are legally allowed to enter an online casino site. You can read about the online gambling laws in various countries using our detailed guides below:
Be familiar with online casino game betting interfaces
When making the move to play at an online casino, it is important to understand how to select a game, make a deposit, place your chips, confirm your bet, change the denomination of your chip values, and understand the different betting options available in games such as slots, video poker and table games like baccarat, blackjack and sic bo. If you’re completely new to the concept of online gambling, your best bet is to try playing at one of our recommended online casinos for free in practice mode. This gives you the chance to familiarise yourself with how online play works, while sampling as many different games as you like to familiarise yourself with rules and strategies, before committing to risk any of your own money.
Our top-rated online casinos are all available for instant-play, which means games can be accessed directly over your Web browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc) without having to download any software. You can browse through casino lobbies and games just like browsing any other Website, ensuring you are completely comfortable with the online format before making a real money deposit.
Understand the game you are playing
Before you risk any of your own money, it’s vital that you know the rules and ins and outs of the game you are wanting to play. There are few things worse than thinking you’ve won a hand of blackjack, only to realise you made an amateur error because of a lack of knowledge. This is why learning the ropes within free play mode can be a good idea at first. You can learn more about the rules and how to play casino games using our detailed guides below:
- Online slots
- Online blackjack
- Online roulette
- Online baccarat
- Online video poker
- Online scratch cards
Live dealer games are a sensational addition to Internet casinos, but can take time to get used to (the speed and the betting options, for example). While you can’t play these games for free, once you’ve created an account with your chosen casino, you can jump in to a live game without betting any cash, and just watch the action unfold to get a solid grasp on how the lovely (and sexy) croupiers deal cards, spin wheels and draw balls – all being streamed in high definition (and live) to your computer.
Pay attention to bonuses and promos
Once you’re keen to play with genuine currency, make sure to check out all the current promotions available at our top-rated casino sites so you can take advantage of deposit bonuses, welcome bonuses, daily tournaments and competitions, and other casino prizes and rewards. Knowing what bonus offers are out there means you can avoid depositing only $20 as your first deposit, only to realise you could have received an unlimited matched deposit bonus for funding your account for the first time with $100 or more. You can sign up at multiple casinos to take advantage of multiple welcome bonuses, or stick with one casino to reap the rewards of the sites loyalty program.
Know your financial limits
This is the golden rule of online gambling: Don’t gamble if you can’t afford to lose the money.
If you’re struggling to pay rent, are in debt or have any other money problems, online gambling is not the greatest idea (or a solution) at this current time. Real money games involve real financial risk, so you need to know you can financially afford to play online games before making the commitment to play with real cash. If you are in the financial position to do so, learn how to make a real money deposit to an online casino here.
To stay on top of your financial limits when gambling online, you can head to a retail shop that sells pre-paid cards and vouchers like Paysafecard and Flexepin, which can be purchased using cash instead of dipping into your credit card or bank account. Pre-paid e-Vouchers will have a unique code which you can punch in to the banking section of your online casino account, and this way you won’t fall into the trap of biting off more than you can chew.