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Technology and innovation in gaming software are driving online casinos to new heights in recent years. Many slot games in particular would be unrecognizable from the titles available just a few years ago. As well as innovations such as live-dealer games, casinos are now compatible with today’s powerful phone and tablet devices. This article brings you up to date with a snapshot of the world of online casinos covering software providers, countries as well as popular casino deposit options.

Casino Software and Casino Operators

The first thing to realize is that most of the online casinos do not create their own games. Instead this is done by a handful of specialized software houses. The games and slot titles are then licensed to individual casino brands, which promote them and deal with payments and service for players.

In the past, most casinos were powered by the platform created by just one software provider. Generally, this would require a download onto your computer to be able to access the games. New technology means that the games no longer need a download, and can be played in your browser. This has also enabled a new breed of casinos to come along offering the games of several software providers in an integrated platform. Players have their pick of the best games, and can access these on many different devices through a single account.

Regulation and Licensing of Online Casinos

In order to operate legally, casinos need to get a gaming license. There are many reputable jurisdictions which award these. Country laws do make a difference here. For example, the main European licensing authorities cannot allow casinos which support players from the US.

Due to restrictions on banking transactions, the casinos which allow US players are based offshore – usually on Caribbean islands where gambling is completely legal. These operators do include some well-known casino brands, and are licensed in places including Antigua, Kahnawake, the Netherlands Antilles or Panama. While a license is not a complete guarantee at any casino, the lack of one should be a ‘red flag’, and I would not recommend depositing at any unlicensed operator.

The other major factor in the governance of casinos is testing of the integrity of their games. There are several specialist companies which check that the ‘RNG’ software which controls the spins and deals at online casinos is fair. Legitimate casinos are always happy to provide links to these reports, which often also include information on payback percentages.

Payment Processing at Online Casinos

US based players in particular have some restrictions on the number of methods available to deposit at online casinos and to withdraw winnings. The offshore industry needs to process these payments to survive, and has become very good at getting money through.

Their main method is to accept credit card purchases using international coding on the payment networks. This gets around the US banking restrictions very frequently. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for casino deposits. You can also try pre-paid Visa cards or money transfer services including Western Union or MoneyGram. US withdrawals are usually carried out with a paper check, many casinos will courier this to your door.

If you are an International player then the options for casino payments open right up. Electronic wallet systems are very useful for players who move money around online a lot. These mean you do not need to give your banking details directly to any casino. They also allow you to keep your bankroll in a virtual account and move quickly to take advantage of bonus and promotional offers at different casinos. Examples of these services include PayPal, Skrill and Neteller.

Western Union
Online Casino Bonuses

There is a lot of competition between the different casinos to try an attract players. This means that you can take advantage of bonuses, promotions and free-play offers while you enjoy the latest games.

One thing you should keep in mind is that the biggest and most enticing looking offers are very rarely the best. You’ll need to compare the terms of the bonuses before you can get a true picture of how good they really are. A few of the questions to ask are: How many times do you need to play-through this bonus before it is ‘cleared’? Are there any restricted games? Can I cash out the bonus, or just the winnings from it? Is this just a cash bonus, or are there free-spins, tournament entries or other benefits which come with it?

Once you have checked a couple of casinos terms and conditions, you be able to quickly answer these questions and zero-in on the best offers.

Keep in mind that the welcome bonuses are only a short-term benefit. If you enjoy the games at a specific casino, then the ongoing rewards are far more important over the long-term. Things to look for include reload bonuses, happy-hours, comp schemes, tournament entries and regular one-off promotions. The difference between the best and the worst casinos for ongoing rewards is huge – so make sure that you are getting the very best deal.