It's vital to pick the right casino online. UK players have thousands to choose from in 2016. While that's great for choice, it's a minefield in terms of getting the right balance. Do you want lots of slots but only one or two developers? Do you want lots of developers but big-money progressives only? Maybe you want to play in your browser so an instant-play client is for you. Or if you're into promotions, perhaps a site that guarantees lots of big-money offers is the best option.
Before you start, make a small checklist and pick gaming sites that tick most of your boxes. Better still, sign up with several casinos. This gives you more choice when you get up and playing.
Good casinos should have lots of exciting slots and table games to play. New games will be added regularly, and the developers are the big-hitters in the industry. Always check the lobby first, and check on the casino homepage to see who's supplying the software.
Some casinos deal exclusively with one or two developers. While that's good if they have a wide range of games, it might restrict you to play games from just one provider.
Real-money casinos let UK players load up GBP easily and securely. Fees should be low (or waived entirely) and payments should be fast.
All UK online casinos should have a proper gaming license. Ideally, they should also have a UK Gambling Commission license. This means the site is fit and proper to provide gambling online. It also means the games and software are audited regularly for fairness.
Getting set up is simple. Once you've chosen a casino online, you can download the client to your desktop or play via the browser. Both versions require a log-in first. Just pick a unique username and password to use to access your account and all those games.
You will need those log-in details whenever you visit the casino or load up the desktop client. Once in, you can access the lobby, promotions, or cashier. Some UK casino online websites have a special Account page where you can see your current promotions, VIP points, and free tickets or spins.
To make a first withdrawal or deposit you may have to provide some form of photo ID. This is for security purposes and to make sure you are over 18. Typically, this involves emailing the casino a scan of your passport or driving licence. Once approved you can complete any transactions.
How To Sign Up:
UK players normally have two options: a downloadable client or an instant-play option.
A download client involves installing a package of games and software to your desktop. You will still need to access the internet to play games, but normally the interface will be a lot slicker. There may well be more games available too.
If you're a PC user, you should be able to access virtually every casino download. Mac users have a trickier time, but more of the bigger sites are developing download options for Apple computers.
Alternatively, players can access 'instant-play' casino websites. These work as 'no-download' casinos which don't require installation. Instead, gamblers access their account and games simply by logging on to the casino website. Individual games are loaded up via the user's web browser.
More slots and table games are being developed in languages like HTML5 and Java. These are great for working across multiple platforms (PC, Mac, Linux etc) and better when compared to the old Flash games which were glitchy and not supported by some browsers.
If you're just starting out with online casinos, most sites let you play for free. Some casinos don't even require a registration first, either. Find the games lobby and hit the 'Free Play' or 'Practice' buttons under each game. Give a new slot a try, or test out roulette and craps to learn the rules.
That's one advantage of online casinos you won't find in a land-based casino: the ability to learn the ropes without risking a penny.
Once you've mastered the basics and developed some basic strategy, it's time to hit the real-money tables. Online casinos in the UK have low minimum limits on most games, with bets as low as 1p-50p for those on smaller budgets.
UK players are spoilt for choice at online casinos, there are thousands of table games and slots to play for real money. It's important, then, to find the right games for you.
Ignore the promises of million-pound jackpots in those progressive if you can't match the stakes. Similarly, don't get bored playing 3-reel classic slots if there's an exciting 3D 5-reel game in the same lobby.
Do a little research on house edge as well, the theoretical advantage the casino has over players. Some games are favourable for players (blackjack and baccarat among the best) while others are terrible (American Roulette and some slots). Choose the games you enjoy but be sensible about how you bet.
Typical House Edges:
The United Kingdom has some of the most liberal casino online laws in the world. As long as the casino is licensed in the UK it's free to offer British-based players slots and table games.
Players now have a massive choice of online and mobile games. You can enjoy classic slots for a few pennies, or hit the progressive jackpots for £100 per spin. You can even play roulette, blackjack, or baccarat online, or take on the human croupiers in Live Dealer casino games.
Whatever your choice, make sure you pick a casino that's right for you. Even if your budget is small, don't be put off from claiming a top bonus when you join. Welcome bonuses guarantee lots of free cash if you can match the playing requirement. Just load up and see where your bankroll can take you.