Gambling has a long history in the United Kingdom, highlighted by horse racing betting in the Royal Ascot, the origins of which dates to 1711. Since then, gambling has evolved to include card games, roulette, bingo, and slot machines. London alone is home to several iconic casinos that feature hotels and theatres. Nevertheless, despite the lively facades offered by physical casinos, online casinos have found their niche in today’s digital world. Technology has progressed to allow a realistic and enjoyable simulation of previously in-person activities, such as slot machines and table games.
Today, one does not need to leave home to experience the thrill of gambling, which is arguably one of the least expensive forms of entertainment if done smartly and sparingly. You may even walk away with extra money in your pocket! If you are someone who wants to try their luck but are intimidated by the bright, loud lights of casinos, online gambling can be for you.
Legality in the UK
Before you fret, the answer is yes, gambling is legal in the UK. Legislation is covered by The Gambling Act of 2005, which is enforced by the UK Gambling Commission. Recent developments have been enacted this year, however, including additional restrictions to regulate underage and problematic gambling. These measures include identification verification and prohibition of payment with credit cards. These rules in place will hopefully encourage responsible gambling.
If you are based in the UK, aside from participating in casinos in your territory, you can also play in other countries and jurisdictions that have already been whitelisted. These include European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Alderney, Antigua and Barbadua, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Tasmania.
Choosing an online casino
With so many online casinos available, it can be daunting to choose where to stake your money for some well-earned enjoyment. Thankfully, there are websites that have done the research for you, such as Online Casino Today. Do your due diligence before signing up for membership and consider the following factors:
- Reputation – How long has this online casino existed, and what do clients say about it? Is it licensed, and has it ever been sanctioned by regulatory authorities? Casinos that use audited random number generators are legitimate and do not have games rigged against players. Finally, get a feel of how customer service responds to your concerns and requests, especially when you are in an unfavorable situation.
- Convenience – Several parameters influence convenience. Is the website well-designed, and does it come in mobile format? Are there several payment options available? Newer casinos may have options for cryptocurrency payments. How easy is it to register? Will you be able to quickly withdraw your winnings?
- Security – No matter the level of convenience, your data and privacy has to be ensured. Are you able to remain anonymous, if necessary?
- Entertainment – What kinds of games are available, and how appealing is the interface used? Current technology may allow for virtual reality augmentation. Are there promotions and bonuses given to entice new players?
Ready to play
As a new gambler, it is wise to remember one of the cardinal rules to prevent regret: only bet the money that you are willing to lose. The reality is that even if you can win money at online casinos, only a few people will get that big sum of money, and most will lose small amounts over time. Even if you win some, it is smart to not bet in all your winnings; instead, a good rule of thumb is to increase your bet, should you wish, to up to a maximum of half of what was earned in the previous round. Being a high roller will not win you games. Casino gambling is therefore more an avenue for fun rather than a source of money. To get the hang of online gambling, it may be worthwhile to play with practice money or to use the signup bonuses awarded to you, if any.
Casino games can be live or offline, with the former adding to the adventure because of its social aspect. Games can be won purely due to luck, such as online slots, roulettes, and bingo. Some will require a specific skillset and finesse, such as card games (e.g. blackjack, baccarat, and poker) and table. So if you are new to gambling, learn the games first before betting with any real money. If you’re overwhelmed with the array of games you can play, you can opt to try your hand once at any of them, ask for help from site staff, or review the tables of theoretical returns to players that will allow you some idea of which to play to maximize wins.
When you start playing, keep track of wins and losses. Do not attempt to chase your losses by increasing your bets, especially after a winning streak has gone cold, as this will likely set you further back. Instead, set a limit for your gambling, in terms of cost and time spent, to prevent a habit from forming. In addition, while gambling is a form of entertainment, do your best not to gamble when overly stressed or anxious. Remember to engage in other hobbies and activities to bolster your mood!
While gambling has a distinguished history in the UK that online casinos have made more accessible today, keep in mind that irresponsible gambling can break you (and your bank). Before you roll the dice, do your research, choose a casino wisely, and play within your boundaries. Have fun and good (beginner’s) luck!