Online casinos can for certain games offer better odds than land casinos on slots and other formats where the chance of winning is determined by the house. Table games like blackjack have an established house edge; for a specified set of guidelines, they offer the identical payout, online or offline. Reliability and trust are hard to establish. To repair this issue, many online casinos purchase their software from well-known companies such as Wager Works, Microgaming, Playtech, and Cryptologic, though a little research into credentials of any e-commerce site you would like to use is common sense. These software companies use a random number generator to ensure that the numbers, cards or dice appear randomly. All reputable companies operating in a regulated environment use robust random number generators.
See the discussion of the legality for online gambling of playing at an online casino.
Online casinos can be divided into two groups based on their interface: online casinos and download-based casinos. Some casinos offer more than one interface.
Web-based online casinos
Games are mainly represented in the browser plugins Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Shockwave, or Java and require browser support for mentioned plugins. Also, bandwidth is needed since all graphics, sounds, and animations are loaded through the internet through the plugin. A very few casinos make it possible for games played through a plain HTML interface.
Download-based online casinos
Download-based online casinos are the most frequent casino websites. An advantage of these compared to online casinos is speed, since it doesn’t need to load graphics from the Internet because all multimedia is inside the downloaded software. On the downside, there is an initial download and the need for the installation of this program, and also the prospect of the program containing malware (though this is extremely rare).
A normal selection of games available at an online casino might include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, pai gow poker, video poker, and slot machines.
Many online casinos offer large bonuses, often a “100% match bonus”. For example:
- 100% up to $100
- Must wager 25 times the deposit and bonus before withdrawing
- Wagers on baccarat, craps, roulette, and sic bo will not count towards meeting wagering requirements
For this particular example, this might indicate that a player depositing $100 would start with $200 in his account. He must make $5000 ($200 × 25) in wagers before withdrawing. This can be played in a game such as a blackjack.
Some simple arithmetic shows that if the player leaves after meeting the requirements, he’s a massive edge. By means of example, the house edge in blackjack is around or less than 0.5% at most online casinos. $5000 × 0.005 = $25. Therefore, the player expects to show a $25 reduction — however, he was given a $100 bonus. Because of this, the player’s expected profit is $75, a massive 75% advantage. Usually, taking advantage of such a promotion is the only method to obtain an advantage over the casino.
This has often led to players playing at casinos to take the bonus, and leaving after the wagering requirements are happy. These players are called by (and have adopted with pride) a variety of labels such as “advantage players”, “bonus hunters”, “bonus abusers”, and, perhaps the most vulgar, “bonus whores”. Strictly speaking, this behavior is usually prohibited by the casino, because their terms usually dictate that players may play for recreational purposes only. In practice, players are rarely caught doing this, and generally, when they are, they just have their promotion privileges revoked.
A participant who would like to do this at a substantial number of online casinos must be careful. Some casinos are rogues (see below) and don’t cover. Others have terms and conditions which aren’t beneficial to the participant, such as most bonuses that are restricted to slots.
Cheating software appears to be rather rare. There are some casinos that have been mathematically proven to cheat, such as Casino Bar (evidence by Michael Shackleford and others). Some players often accuse certain popular software brands of casinos of cheating, for instance, Boss Media, Cryptologic, and Playtech, but they are likely “finding” patterns that are not actually there. This doesn’t imply that all software providers are honest (for example, Elka System/Oyster Gaming software is known to cheat, also confirmed by Michael Shackleford), but the most popular software is more likely than not.
Even though there’s the occasional rogue casino, sometimes it’s the players who are reckless or deceptive. One of the most common cases is that a player who signs up for multiple accounts at a casino using fake names to reap the bonus more than once. Another player may use Adobe Photoshop or a similar tool to control the pictures of a slot machine screenshot to try and fool the casino into believing she hit a jackpot and didn’t get paid for this. All these are gross violations of these conditions of service of this casino and are depended upon, even by most “bonus hunters”. Casinos do not tolerate such behavior and will often lock the account or accounts of the player responsible, and may inform other casinos or the software provider to keep the player from various casinos.