The Quest for the Right Baccarat Online Casino
The advent of online casinos meant a whole new ballgame for brick-and-mortar gambling operators, as players were quick to relish all the possibilities it opened up. When was the last time a land-based casino offered to match up your deposit with a 100% bonus? That’s right. But online casinos do. And not only that. Gambling sites played to the gallery with deposit bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs, offering a great selection of games at your fingertips and bringing live dealer tables streamed to your living room. Sounds too good to be true? Not really. Provided you choose a licensed and reputable casino, you can have it all. And we’re here to help you do just that. Let’s see what you need to look for when selecting an online casino.
First and foremost, you need to know whether a casino is legal and operating in compliance with your gambling jurisdiction regulations. Online casinos are pretty much available to anyone around the world who has access to the internet but there is not one single piece of legislation that is ubiquitous for all gambling websites. Instead, each country has its own legislative, licensing and regulatory authorities that deal with the legal aspect of gambling, including online casinos. This is the reason why sometimes you may not be able to play at a certain website – often, operators will restrict access from countries outside their gambling jurisdiction.
Casinos that offer their services to players from different countries have been licensed by the respective licensing authorities of these countries. Usually, every gambling jurisdiction will have its own licensing and regulatory organization which means that providing gambling services is not a no-holds-barred activity and every person or organization that wants to sell gambling services or advertise to the residents of a particular gambling jurisdiction needs to be licensed and regulated by the respective authorities. Since casinos need to base at least a part of their operation in the jurisdiction where they want to be licensed, very often the choice of location for operators depends on which jurisdiction they’d like to get a license from. Let’s have a look at how online gambling is regulated around the world.
UK – The Best Regulated Gambling Market in the World
The UK has one of safest and best regulated gambling markets in the world. Gambling in the UK is completely legal and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission which was set up under the Gambling Act of 2005. Regulation is carried out at the point of entry, instead of at the point of supply which allows gambling sites operating both from inside and outside the country to offer services to UK residents, as long as they are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission or some of the other whitelisted licensing jurisdictions. The government does tax the operators but it doesn’t tax customers’ winnings at land-based and online casinos.
Jurisdictions on the UK Gambling Commission’s Whitelist:
- Countries within the European Economic Area (EEA)
- Alderney – The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Antigua and Barbuda – The Directorate of Offshore Gaming
- Gibraltar – The Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner
- Isle of Man – The Gambling Supervision Commission
- Tasmania – The Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission
Countries in Europe Have Their Own Gambling Regulations
Evidently, Europe is comprised of many different countries, each having its own legislation when it comes to gambling. The European Union does exercise some form of control over its member states – 28 out of all 44 countries in Europe, and they are, to a certain extent, regulated by the European Commission but ultimately each individual country can pass laws and regulate their own gambling market. As a result of the admittedly no great shakes of universal regulations, gambling is much better regulated at some countries than it is in others. If you’re playing from an European country, check which regulatory authorities are in your country and play only at casinos licensed and regulated by the respective organizations.
USA – Walking a Thin Line of What’s Legal in Gambling
If there’s one thing that’s clear about the USA online gambling market, it’s that it’s unclear. For years, online gambling sites offered their services to US citizens without a hitch and with no indication of it being deemed illegal per se. Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 it was no longer legal for banks and financial institutions to process transactions between US citizens and gambling sites. Although this didn’t explicitly state that online gambling was illegal, many online casinos stopped accepting players from the USA. However, there are still plenty of sites that haven’t restricted access to American customers. Considering said sites are registered and regulated in a jurisdiction where online gambling is legal, they are not operating illegally. Ultimately, it is up to the player’s discretion to decide whether to place bets online as the general consensus is, that a US resident using a gambling site isn’t acting illegally.
The Fastest Growing Market – Asia Lacks Unified Gambling Laws
Asia is the biggest gambling market and the fastest growing iGaming market; however, it’s not regulated by a uniformed legislation. Similarly to Europe, each Asian country regulates its gambling market individually. They all have their own gambling legislation so the standing of licensing and regulatory authorities, as well as the laws can vary greatly. The lack of unified approach to regulating gambling on the continent has borne a vast difference between the gambling legislation for each country, so that there are countries where it is completely legal like Macau, which despite being part of China, has its own economy and political system as a special administrative region. Gambling is popular in China, albeit not legal and a huge portion of the Chinese high rollers prefer to go to Macau where land-based casinos are abundant and online gambling is not regulated which means it’s not illegal.
Casinos Bonuses – What to Expect and What to Avoid
Online casinos are every inch land-based gambling halls. Or are they? Ever gotten a 100% match-up bonus at a brick-and-mortar casino just for buying chips? No? We thought as much. That’s the big difference with online casinos. As you sit in front of your computer or browse on your mobile device, you will be deluged with offers from various gambling sites that are trying to capture your interest and get you to sign up. The weapon of choice for every online casino in recruiting new players is a nice juicy bonus. Usually, there is a welcome bonus or a package extended as a warm welcome. It can be a match-up bonus for your first deposit or several deposits. There are minimum and maximum limits for deposits, some aimed at recreational players who are on a budget, while others cater to high rollers who like high stakes. While some casinos can offer a match-up of maximum $100, other go much higher up to thousands.
What you need to keep in mind are the omnipresent wagering requirements, i.e. how many times you have to playthrough the deposit and / or bonus in order to claim your bonus. Wagering requirements vary from 20 to 50 times your deposit and some casinos may require you to also playthrough the bonus amount as well. This a precautionary measure online casinos take in order to avoid scams and fraud schemes that were once popular as bonus hunting. Another thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to bonuses is the fact that some casinos impose a validity period of the bonus, for example a week or a month during which you have to wager the required amount. Then, there’s also the wagering contribution of the different games. Chance-based games like slots or scratch cards usually count at 100% in wagering your bonus money, while games with even odds bets contribute 10% or less, if at all.
Casinos offer a lot more than just the welcome bonus. Most of them will have a loyalty program or a VIP scheme and award loyalty or comp points that can later be exchanged for cash, prizes, or merchandise. Ongoing promotions are another building block of a quality gaming experience and gambling sites are just abundant with those. With themes to match the overall tone of voice of the company and catchy titles, these raffles, tournaments, and other competitions keep rolling in daily for chances of some extra winnings. So, when you’re trying to figure out where you want to play, keep in mind all of these details and select the best casino based on what you’re looking for from your gambling experience:
- Are you a high roller looking for big match-up bonuses or a recreational player on a budget?
- Do you plan on playing regularly, taking part in ongoing promotions and accumulating comp points?
- What games will you be playing and how much is their contribution to the wagering of the bonus?
Games and Software Platform
The linchpin of an online casino’s performance is the software platform. Usually, gambling sites would sign a license deal with a casino software developer and use their games. The more software providers, the more games to choose from. But it’s not just the games. It’s the entire software system that’s behind the performance of the casino when it comes to processing payments, withdrawals, participating in promotions, and contacting customer care. In order to enjoy an immersive and uninterrupted gameplay, it’s also important that the casino is optimised for mobile, with responsive design and intuitive interface. More than that, there’s also the question of how easily you can switch between the different platforms and enjoy a seamless transition within a single-wallet system.
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Download Software Platforms
Back in the day, download platforms were the go-to option for a quality playing time online. Not only did they provide more games but they also rendered a more realistic gaming experience with higher quality graphics and sound. Since these key elements are stored on your computer, you could rely on zero loading times and a smoother gameplay. However, they do require some space on your PC or laptop so if you’re only trying out new casinos, this might not be the most viable option for you. Although download times are significantly faster nowadays, there’s still the wait to download and then uninstall the software if it wasn’t up to your expectations or when you eventually get bored with the same platform. Consider also the aspect that with a download version, you can only play on the devices that have the casino software installed.
Instant-Play Requires No Download
Once deemed less superior than the download version, no-download or Flash software is now becoming more popular due to the flexibility it offers. It will store only temporary files on your computer which are nowhere near as heavy as an entire casino platform. All big developers of casino software are working on improving their lighter and faster Flash versions, adding more games that are instantly accessible via the browser of your computer and laptop, available anytime, anywhere provided you have internet connection. NetEnt is one such game developer that launches its titles exclusively in Flash and the quality of their graphics, animations, and sound is simply unmatched in the industry. So, there goes the myth of better looking and performing games from a download client busted. With the instant-play version, it’s a lot easier to try as many sites as you like so if you’re still on the lookout for your favorite casino, you have the chance to try it first in-browser before you commit to downloading.
Games by the Dozen
When you have decided whether you’ll be playing in-browser or you’re ready to commit to a download, it’s the game selection that you need to tackle. And that can be a daunting task. There are thousands upon thousands of casino games as it is and developers are nowhere near running out of ideas to release new ones by the dozen, so choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. You have your work cut out for you by powerhouses in the industry who just keep coming up with fresh new ideas for themes, features, and ways to win.
The Omnipresent Slots
Things are especially complicated in the slots department with a real cornucopia of classic slots, video and 3D games. Just an example – one of the most prolific game developers Microgaming has more than a thousand games, so let that sink in. Some of the biggest names in the industry sign content license deals with various studios and branded games are some of the most popular titles in a casino’s catalog. The colorful twirly reels are extremely entertaining and based purely on chance, offering huge jackpots for very low stakes without any skill or experience, so there’s really no surprise to their popularity.
How to Choose from the Table and Card Games
Slots are the power behind the throne at all casinos but table and card games are also abundant to say the least. Roulette in all of its versions – American, European, and French with the La Partage rule – are featured in all casinos along with Blackjack which has numerous versions that diversify the typical 21 game play. Depending on the developer, a game can feature additional rules, side bets, or extra features, so there really is a choice for everyone. Betting limits can go really high especially in live casinos which means that the chances of huge winnings are within reach if you can procure the initial bet.
Find the Perfect Baccarat Game
When it comes to Baccarat, there are numerous options to choose from, both RNG and live games. There are high stakes games, progressive jackpots, and many side bets, so you can pick and choose until you find a game that suits you best in terms of aesthetics and features. You can practice with demo versions without the risk of losing cash or play single player. If you’re looking for the social aspect of gaming, multi-player tables are available by the best providers of live casinos like Evolution Gaming and Playtech who have studios across the world with European and Asian dealers for an authentic native gaming experience.
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Play with Live Dealers
Although gambling sites were becoming more and more on par with their physical counterparts, there was always the aspect of socialization and interaction that was lacking. As you would expect from a billion-dollar industry, that’s been quickly taken care of. Live casinos are now the primary source of entertainment for gamblers who like the excitement of casinos but for one reason or another can’t visit it. The biggest operators feature at least one live platform and some will go the extra mile and offer HD streaming from two or more studios. Live casinos provide an authentic gaming experience as they are broadcast from purposefully built studios where professional dealers interact with players real-time, taking their bets and operating tables of roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and other games like Sic Bo, Hi-Lo and more. There’s a variety of native tables, with the dealers speaking different languages, so people from across the world can join a table and socialize with dealers and fellow players via live chat options.
If you want to play live baccarat, you can choose from classic games or some spruced up releases that feature side bets and other frills to cater to the taste of all gamblers. When selecting a live casino, be mindful of a couple of things – first, make sure the operator is licensed and regulated, and next check out the selection of tables and overall quality. A casino that offers a good number of different games in multiple languages by a reliable software developer signals solid financial backing while a single table and poor quality of the streaming are huge red flags for you right there to consider – if the casino is running on a shoestring, think what the situation with cashing out will be.
Gaming on the Go – Casino Mobile Apps
With smartphones and tablets becoming the main point of access to the internet for the majority of users, online casinos are investing heavily in optimizing their games for handheld devices. There are two ways you can enjoy casino games on your phone or tablet – you can either download a native app or play in-browser in the mobile version of the website. Almost all developers have given their older, more popular games a makeover so that they’re compatible with iOS and Android devices. At the same time, all new games are released in HTML5 with responsive design and easy to navigate layout that looks and plays fantastic on smaller screens. However, while the quality is there, it’s the quantity that might be a problem. In order to make the apps lighter, most casinos will include only a fraction of their game libraries, primarily slots. The silver lining is that the games featured on mobile apps are usually player favorites so it’s a safe bet that you will find the most popular top casino games to play on the go.
Even if a casino has a land-based venue, a great website, and a perfectly optimized mobile app, these are not enough on their own to provide the complete multi-channel experience. Ultimately, it comes down to how all of these outlets and channels work together in order to offer a seamless transition and minimize the effort of the customer when navigating the platform. Well established operators have long utilized single-wallet accounts that let customers log in using the same credentials from any device, access their funds, and take advantage of the different bonuses and promotions. Some of the biggest names in the industry that have both brick-and-mortar and land-based casinos have begun to launch their products so that players can use both land-based and digital channels.
- Fast Bank Transfer
- Bank Wire
Fast and Convenient Payments
One of the most important aspects and a deciding factor when choosing an online casino is the payment methods they accept. Most casino operators accept payments via the ubiquitous debit and credit cards like Visa and MasterCard but many will also support e-wallets, prepaid cards, checks, and bank transfer. Typically, you can withdraw funds via the same method you used to make a deposit, except for prepaid cards. There are standard waiting times for withdrawing funds – usually between 1 and 3 days for cards, 2 to 5 business days for e-wallets, and 5 to 10 days for bank transfer. Most casinos will require verification which is a standard procedure, so don’t be doubtful if you’re asked to ID yourself. Also, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the maximum withdrawal limits as these can vary greatly between the different gambling sites.
Your Data Is Protected – Safety & Security Practices
Concerns about safety and security are the main reasons why players may be deterred from playing online. However, there’s nothing to worry about if you’re playing at a licensed and regulated casino. Operators with a well established reputation have their software regularly checked by independent third-party testing laboratories to ensure that they have a properly functioning Random Number Generator for fair and unbiased outcome of the games. They also draw up monthly reports about their house edge and use cutting-edge SSL encryption to protect your personal details and financial data and offer a safe virtual space for you to enjoy gaming. Always look for the logo of the regulating and licensing authorities of your gambling jurisdiction and make sure the site offers a secure connection. If all of these are in place, you can have complete peace of mind about the trustworthiness and security of an online casino.
Have a Question? Ask Customer Care
A telltale sign of how reliable and trustworthy a casino is, are the contact options it supports. It may not seem that important but it’s always reassuring to know that you can get in touch when you have a question or need help. The top casino operators will display clearly on their website a phone number (best case scenario, it’s a toll-free number staffed 24/7) and an email address. Occasionally, you may find slug mail address if you feel like sitting down and penning a letter. Lately, live chat options are the preferred method of communication as they offer instant real-time solutions to any situations that may arise. Some casinos offer customer support in multiple languages. Also, FAQ sections are always handy, providing answers even to the questions you haven’t asked. Guides on how to play the different games are also readily available at some of the biggest casinos, some even featuring poker schools. That level of customer support is surely a good sign that the casino will treat you fairly and with the respect players deserve.
Remember to Stay Safe – Responsible Gambling Policy
Gambling is supposed to be a fun and entertaining activity but unfortunately, for some individuals it may turn into addiction. Chasing losses and short-lived adrenaline rushes brought on by small wins, as well as the gambler’s fallacy are the most common reasons for compulsive gambling. Reputable casino operators recognize the detrimental effect this can have on a person’s social and work life, as well as the financial issues it can create, that’s why long-standing and reputable online casinos offer options for controlling betting habits like reality checks, limits on bets, and self-exclusion from the gambling site. Licensed and reliable casinos work in cooperation with organizations that offer help and support to people struggling with gambling addiction. If you feel like you or someone you know is having trouble staying in control of betting, it’s important that you take advantage from the support options provided by the casino and seek professional help because in its essence, gambling is a recreational activity aimed at providing safe entertainment.
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