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Tips for Online Gambling & Banking

If you're new to online gambling, here are a few things you should know to help guide you through the systems.  Even if you're not new, things change, so check back once in a while for updates.

Last Updated: Friday, July 29, 2016

Gambling online from the comfort and safety of your home is truly an enjoyable experience, but it's also a new frontier for the entire world and one that's still learning its way.  Online casinos are located in many, many countries (none in the US), which lends itself to communication problems as different languages, time zones, work patterns, and cultures merge to do business together.  It's actually a pretty exciting time in the history of the world, but can be very frustrating if you get caught in a quicksand of miscommunication which unfortunately happens from time to time, even with the most reputable online casinos.

Generally speaking, the more knowledgeable you are about how the systems work and what everyone expects, the less problems you're going to have, so here are the latest descriptions, explanations, and tips to help guide you through this.  If you have a particular subject or issue you don't see addressed here, please write me.

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Bonuses - "He who has the Gold, makes the Rules"
There is so much to say when it comes to online casino bonuses, I don't know if it could ever all be said in one place! The rules change constantly, too, making it even harder to keep up with them. Here are some of the more important highlights to keep in mind when using a bonus, but make sure you always check the most current Terms & Conditions for each bonus you accept, regardless of how long you've been playing at the casino. Also remember that you're not required to accept a bonus, which means they can't put any conditions on anything you do with your own money.

Free, No Deposit, Bonuses - Some of these are cashable, some are not, and some come with a maximum cash out. Make sure you read all the Terms and Conditions for each freebie you accept.

Wagering or Playthrough Requirements - All bonuses come with these, with rare exceptions here and there. What this means is that you must turnover that money a certain number of times with your gambling, before you request a cash out, if you win. Wagering requirements may or may not include your initial deposit in the total, also, so make sure you're clear on that. A typical wagering requirement of 15x means that if you deposit $100 and accept a $100 bonus, that equals $200; 15x wagering required on that means you must turnover $3000 in total bets, win or lose, before requesting a cash out.

Excluded Games or a Percentage of Games - Most, if not all, casinos have a list of games that you're not allowed to play to fulfill the wagering requirements for the bonus; or they may count only a certain percentage of these games played, i.e., 10% of most video poker games, 2% of Classic Blackjack, etcetera. These games typically include Blackjack, Craps, certain bets on Roulette, and some casinos are now starting to exclude certain or all Video Poker games. Make sure you check the bonus Terms & Conditions each time you accept a bonus, if you're hoping to cash out the bonus.

Sticky Bonuses - This is a newer trend with the online casinos which is actually making it a bit easier for the true recreational gambler. Sticky bonuses are never cashable, which means you can use the bonus to gamble with and, if you win anything from it, you can cash out the winnings but not the bonus. There are usually still wagering requirements, but they're usually significantly lower. Some casinos will remove the bonus from your account when you cash out winnings, but a few are starting to leave it there indefinitely until the time that you lose it during your play. A very cool new trend.

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Identification Requirements
When you cash out winnings from an online casino, you will be asked for Identification documentation at some point, in the same manner as when you're asked to show the cashier your Drivers License when you write a check or use your credit card at your hometown stores. You'll usually only have to provide it once per casino, and sometimes not until you cash out over a certain amount. They'll ask you for a copy of a valid Drivers License with a photo, and usually a current utility bill (the utility bill is to verify the name & address on the license). If you don't have a utility bill in your name, they'll accept cell phone bills, credit card statements, bank statements, etc.; just black out the personal financial info you don't want to send, but leave the pre-printed name and address info clearly showing for them to see.

They'll ask you to Fax this - don't.  Fax machines are notorious for making documents like this unreadable which is going to frustrate both you and the casino. The best way to send this info is to scan it, make it a readable, but manageable size .jpg file (picture file), and email it to them. If you don't have a scanner at home, you can go to your local Kinko's or other office services shop (or maybe even a Cyber Cafe) and have your documents scanned onto a CD or Floppy disk you can take home with you to use for several months at a time.

Speeding up your Cashouts
Wait!  Don't hit that "Reverse Cashout" button!  In the past, it was customary for cashouts from casinos to take an average of 10 days to 3 weeks, but happily they're getting a lot faster these days.  A new trend among some of the Microgaming casinos, who usually put a minimum 24 hour "pending" hold on cash outs is to "waive" your pending time or "flush" your winnings/cashout, both of which start your cashout on its way to you immediately; you must ask for it, though - they don't do it automatically.  If you use an alternate online banking system such as NETeller, you can have your cashouts in less than 24 hours.  Several online casinos are starting to process instant, or near instant, cashouts also, so keep an eye out for those when you're looking for a new casino to play at.  I don't believe there's any reason a casino should need more than 24 hours to process a cashout, and I myself play primarily at Instant Cashout casinos these days.

When you do a cash out for the first time at any casino, I suggest immediately calling, emailing, or going to their Live Chat to find out their particular cash out procedures so you can get them what they need.  Taking a couple of minutes to do that can eliminate days from the process.

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Alternate Banking Systems
Over the last few years several "Alternate Banking" systems have sprung up to compensate for the US's attempts to crackdown on credit card usage.  Several of these have been highly successful as far as reputability, security, and convenience, and if you don't already have any of these accounts, you should strongly consider opening one or two to maintain your flexibility.  In addition, many of the online casinos offer extra deposit bonuses for using alternate banking.  Here's a partial list of the major ones;

NETeller - No longer accepting US players - By far, the most useable, secure and dependable alternate banking system out there - and most recommended.  I've personally been with them for nearly 4 years now and have never had a problem.  They offer the 3 major currencies, a Debit card you can use for ATM's and shopping stores, and you can transfer money in or out via your checking account or deposit with your credit card.  They're very security oriented, but reasonable with excellent customer service via telephone, so bear with them if you have any minor security issues crop up.
InstaDebit - No longer accepting US players - InstaDebit has only been around for about a year now, but they've grown in popularity very rapidly.  They offer instant checkwriting from your bank account, with no fees, and you can deposit to the casino the minute you register as long as you pass some security questions.  Limits are $400/week and your account can be used for both gambling and online pharmaceuticals.
MoneyBookers - No longer accepting US players - MoneyBookers has been out for about a year now and is a more Non-US based alternate banking system that's started providing several additional services such as escrow, faxes, and more to their customers.  In addition to US dollars, they operate with a HUGE amount of Euro, Asian, AU, Mid Eastern, and African currencies, making them the alternate banking system of choice for non-US residents.
Click2Pay - Not accepting any new US players at this time - The newest of the alternate banking systems, Click2Pay is being picked up by many, many online casinos as the newest alternate deposit method.  Click2Pay operates with all 3 major currencies and now offers a Debit card for ATM withdrawals.  Click2Pay allows you to either pre-fund your Click2Pay account from your bank account, or you can deposit directly to the casino using a credit card that Click2Pay has previously verified.
Firepay - No longer accepting US players - Firepay has been around for several years, but with the new US legislation, is useable only by Canadian residents now.  Funds can be instantly transferred between Firepay and your bank account, and each transfer costs $3.99.  Limits are initially $500/week, but go up as your checks successfully clear your account each week.

If you find yourself having a problem with an online casino and not able to get it resolved, your first step should be to contact the portal owner whose site you went through to sign up at the casino.  All reputable portal owners will help you resolve the problem.  Usually it gets resolved very quickly at that point because we're used to the system and know who to contact, but if we can't, we know how to get to the next level.

More information will be added to this page as it comes up, so check back from time to time for updating.  Good luck in all your gambling!

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