16. Playing on the Internet
Fueled by the explosive growth of the Internet and by a general acceptance of LIVE Dealer gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment, online gambling is growing at a torrid rate.
There are now over 1,800 online casinos with software provided by at least 40 suppliers.
There are three celebrity casinos currently operating — Jim Redman, Bubba Smith and Larry Holmes. Three former celebrity casinos are defunct — Kenny Rogers, Evil Knievel and Rodney Dangerfield.
Games offered on the Internet range from traditional games like video poker and slot machines, to poker, keno, bingo and other games. Here is a list of games offered by just one online casino: LIVE Dealer baccarat, LIVE Dealer blackjack, LIVE Dealer Roulette and poker, craps, pachinko, the dragon spirit pachinko, victory poker, Caribbean poker, free ride poker, pai gow poker, red dog, roulette, sic bo, slots, gold rush slots, magic hat sportsbook, video poker, deuces wild video poker, jacks or better video poker, joker wild video poker, king of decks, war and battle royal.
Because of the uncertain legal status of Internet gaming in the U.S., virtually all online casinos that accept wagers are located outside of the United States.
As of December 12, 2003, only Nevada has legalized online gambling. New Jersey is trying to legalize Internet gambling, while California, Oregon and Iowa are seeking an outright ban.
As an individual, there is little risk of prosecution because of gambling on the Internet as the thrust of prosecutorial power is invariably directed at online casino operators, credit card providers and software providers.
Technologically, many of the casinos are very similar, as there are a relative handful of large software developers who dominate the industry. Each casino using software from the same developer will have a similar appearance to other casinos using the software.
Generally, online gaming sites are one of three types, based on the type of technology used to provide their games.
Many online casinos require that you first download their software before you can play their games. This first category of "downloadable software" has to be first transferred from the host computer to your own computer via downloading and then it must be installed in order to function. Usually these programs are free.
The online gambling sites offering this type of software can be good places to start your play as, once installed, the programs offer great graphics, sound, animation, and of course, the chance to play for free.
The second type of software used by online casinos is JAVA software which does not require downloading. JAVA software allows programs to create little programs known as applets that are embedded directly into a web document. When online casinos use JAVA, the programs run right on your web browser.
I am not a fan of casinos using JAVA. With a JAVA casino, you have to load the software every time you play; whereas, with downloaded software, you can began playing almost instantly once the software has been installed on your computer. I have also had incidences when the JAVA software will freeze my browser. In such a situation, you may not be sure whether your last bet was accepted or not. As a minimum, it is very disruptive to have to start a game over. And, not knowing where you stand is not a lot of fun either. It is sort of like someone turning off all the lights in a land-based casino, and when the lights come back on, you are not really sure if you still have all of your casino chips.
The third type of software found uses HTML code which is the standard language used to create web pages. Sites using HTML are fast to play, but they often have cheesy graphics and no sound or animation.
Perhaps the biggest fear most people have is the fear of being cheated out of their money by the next big "scam" and they don't want to be one of these people.
All sorts of government agencies and personnel are anxiously hoping that the prosecution of online gambling will be their ticket to the big time.
Guess what? It is not likely that any of these folks are going to find major problems with online casinos cheating people. Are there any crooked casinos online? I am sure there are. There are not very many, but since there are a few rotten apples in every industry, there are bound to be some in the online gaming group.
Almost all online casinos use random number generators to create their gaming results. This is part of the software package used by the casino and most of these programs are encrypted, effectively locking out the casino's ability to modify the programming. This is designed to reduce the risk of any unscrupulous operator changing pay out ratios or otherwise seeking to gain an additional edge over the players.
The software programs all record bets and results as well as the time they occurred. In other words, every thing you did online can later be reconstructed if necessary. This is designed to safeguard both the players and casinos as an "audit trail" is created which can be referred to in the event of an unresolved dispute.
Of special importance to those who are afraid to use their credit cards on the Internet is that fact that most online casinos don't get your credit card number. Third party processors who forward the money to the casino's account handle the monetary transfer. If you complain about a casino's fairness, you will most likely be given a refund, resulting in a chargeback against the casino. This is one of the reasons online gaming is so safe. To stop a charge against your credit card, send a letter to your credit card company. They will nearly always take your side in a dispute with an online company and refund your money.
If you are interested in playing online let me give you some pointers:
- Select on online casino that gives you several ways to reach its personnel. As a minimum, I would look for a toll free number that is promptly answered by a responsive human being. A simple phone call can be a way to eliminate any unresponsive casinos before you deposit a nickel with them. If the casino's employees don't offer you good service before you become a player, you sure don't want to risk any money with them.
- Check to see if the casino is licensed. When you call the casino (see item 1 above), you can ask where they are licensed, how long they have been in business and the name that will appear on your credit card statement if you make a deposit there.
- Before you play, you should try out the casino's software by playing for free. If the software is of the downloadable variety, you will have to invest some time downloading and installing the software. If you have any problems downloading and installing the software, call the casino's technical support department. If the casino can't help you, it's "So sorry Charlie, no techie support, no playie."
- Before you play, decide how much money you are willing to risk. I suggest you buy in for $100 to $200 and get a feel for the game by making small wagers.
- Before you start playing, decide how long you will sit in front of your computer playing. Time spent in an Internet casino can fly by very quickly. You must also set a stop loss before you start playing. I suggest a stop loss equal to 50% of your buyin. If you buy in for $100 and lose $50, that playing session is over. Make sure that you stick with this, even if you hit your stop loss in five minutes. If you are just dying to continue playing, log off from the casino and play in the "fun mode" where you won't be risking any more money.
- Many online casinos offer better odds than land-based casinos. Because it costs much less to construct a virtual casino, and its overhead is but a pittance compared to that of a land-based casino, you may find that an online casino can offer you everything but a free drink. Specifically, many Internet casinos offer sizable bonuses for signing up. Playing at a casino offering a sign-up bonus can be very lucrative if you know how to go about it.
- When you win, expect to wait up to two weeks for your winnings. I have had some casinos take up to a month to send me winnings. The money for payouts comes from offshore banks that seem to operate on "island time." Once you understand this, you can calm down, as I have never had a casino refuse to pay me a legitimate win. It just takes them more time. When you call the casino before you play, I suggested you get the name that the credit card charge will appear under. The charges and credits you will receive for winnings hardly ever appear in the casino's name, and if you don't know the name of the bank card processor, you may be in for a difficult time figuring who has paid and who hasn't, especially if you gamble at several online joints.
- The backend software that runs the games should be supplied by a major software developer. Some of these software companies are United Gaming, Starnet, Microgaming, Cryptologic, Boss Media and Real Time Gaming.
- Make sure that the site is a member of the Interactive Gaming Council. The sites that are members follow a strict code of conduct as a condition of membership.
- Avoid casinos which appear on numerous online "blacklists." There are substantial Internet resources you can use to investigate an online casino before you play. Beat the Internet Casinos gives you complete information on how to do this, as well as a complete system on how to play and win.
Are you interested in playing craps on the Internet? You can actually do very well if you pick your casinos well. If you pick the right casino, which also happens to pay a 10% or greater bonus just for playing, you can gain a substantial edge over the casino.
However, you must know how to play in such a manner that the casino personal will consider that you have "earned" the bonus and will not try to interfere with your right to withdraw the bonus. As you can well imagine, online casinos offering bonuses to players are not interested in attracting players who sign up just to get the bonus and then try to withdraw it with very little play. There is a way to do this that will keep the casino happy and will still give you a large edge over the casinos.
In my opinion, online gambling is here to stay. While I have played many more games in land-based casinos using the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy than in online ones, my results playing online have been outstanding. Because the heart of Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy is an assumption of randomness, is it quite likely that this system will work even better against virtual casinos using randomly generated results than against real casinos. My own experiences seem to indicate that trends in one direction or the other seem to be longer in real casinos than in virtual ones, and if this is true, it will tend to work in favor of the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy which thrives at trendless tables.
I personally love online gambling. I love its accessibility and its efficiency. About the only drawback to playing online is the long wait to withdraw funds. You may want to give it a try.