New Players Guide
New to online gambling? Get ready to have the most fun you've ever had on the internet. The online gambling community is rich with fantastic games, great tips and conversation, and a wide variety of options. With technology improving itself each year, the world of online gambling can offer even more fun and excitement than what is found in a stand-alone casino. But just like in a real casino, you do not want to jump into gambling without a few tips and strategies to help maximize both your profits and your fun. Before you deposit any money in an online casino, online sportsbook or related real money wagering site, read this article and follow these guidelines to give you the head start to becoming a winner.
Be aware of and abide by your local laws
Internet wagering is not universally sanctioned by all local law enforcement authorities. Check with your local authorities before signing up with any online wagering operator to insure you are not violating local laws.
Set up an account with a major online bank
Since credit cards cannot be used at most internet casinos, alternate banking options are now available. Services like NETeller.com, FirePay.com, Citadel, and others now offer players excellent choices in online banking. Many online casinos and sportsbooks also offer additional bonuses when you use these convenient banking methods.
Watch domain names
Avoid domain names with a slash preceded by a popular free web host (geocities.com/casino for example) or internet service provider (members.aol.com/gaming). Sites that claim to legally accept online wagering always have unique domain names. All reputable online wagering operators have their own unique domain names. If you are entering a wagering site that claims to offer online gambling and the site address (URL) is a domain from a free host such as geocities.com, tripod.com, or angelfire.com, you should be very wary, and look for a different site.
Use gaming portals you can trust
Some internet gaming portals unknowingly link to known problem operators. Stay away from gaming portals who are linking to problem operators. If a gaming portal does not publish their position or policy regarding helping you with problem operators, best to avoid them altogether.
Gambling Headquarters only links to reputable casino and sportsbook operators. If we learn from our users that an operator is treating users poorly, we will contact the operator to verify the claims. If we cannot resolve a problem and we feel the operator is a threat to the public, we will remove the operator from this web site. Know that all casinos we link to have been reviewed for quality by our staff members.
There are a few organizations on the Internet whose mission is to help watch and govern the online gambling industry. One of these organizations is the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) (http://www.igcouncil.org). The IGC has been largely responsible for establishing fair and responsible trade guidelines and practices that enhance consumer confidence in interactive gaming products and services.
The IGC has established a Code of Conduct that is a voluntary standard to which its members have agreed to adhere. Although there is always some risk in regards to online gambling with any operator, your risk is greatly reduced when you patronize operators who belong to the IGC. To view the full list of active IGC members, visit www.igcouncil.org/members.
Does the operator have a toll free number?
If so, test the number before signing up with them. Does the number work? Were you placed on hold? How long are you on hold for? Are the representatives friendly? Do they speak your native language? If the operator doesn't have a toll free number, try their email address for support (see below). We only recommend casinos that offer a toll free number.
Does the operator have customer service via email?
If so, test the email address before signing up with them and prior to wagering any real money. How long does it take to receive a response email from the operator? Was the representative friendly? Could you understand their writing style? All reputable online casino and sports books should have customer support via email. If the casino you are interested in does not have email customer service, be very wary of playing there there.
Take advantage of transaction logs
Many problems casino users face can be avoided if they utilize and watch their transaction logs. Many casinos and sportsbooks now offer transaction logs. A transaction log is an electronic paper trail or recording of every single transaction at the casino or sports book. Every time you place a wager on any game it is logged. Most operators will give you access to this log.
Check your log BEFORE you place any wagers at the casino or sports book
Make sure you understand the transaction log and have access to any features it offers you. Test the log. Go out on the casino floor and place a small wager at a game or place a small bet in the sports book. Then go back to your log and make sure the transaction is there. If your log is not working properly, STOP betting with that operator and use their customer service number or email to let them know your log isn't working. Make sure you have access to the log in real time. If the operator won't give you real time access and you have to wait to see the transactions in the log, this is a good sign to wager elsewhere.
Transaction logs help to keep everything fair so that both you and the operator know exactly what is occurring in your account. Make sure to always monitor your transaction log and watch it closely to avoid surprises.
Once you have access to your log, learn how to save it. You can capture data from a log in many ways:
First, you can copy and paste data by selecting the text and then copying and pasting to any word processor or text editor. On a PC, you can select the text with your mouse, key Ctrl+C to Copy the text, switch to your word processing software, and key Ctrl+V to Paste the text from the log.
You can also capture your data by taking a screenshot of your screen while it is displaying the transaction log. To capture a screen on a PC, press the Print Screen key, which is located above the Insert key on your keyboard. Then, switch to a painting and drawing program (like Corel Draw, Corel PhotoPaint, or Jasc PaintShopPro) or a word processing program (like Microsoft Word, or Corel Word Perfect) and paste the image by keying Ctrl+V on your keyboard, or clicking the Paste button on that program's toolbar
Always screenshot winnings
Note this important rule! Always screenshot your winnings along with your transaction log! If you have a dispute with a casino, you cannot prove you have won a payoff if you do not have the screenshot to back up your claim. If you ever have a dispute, make sure you let the operator know you have a screenshot to prove yourself and your winnings. Operators know that word travels fast on the Internet. If you can prove an operator has treated you unfairly, the site operator should know that you will let the world know of your problems.
Understand and follow cash out instructions carefully
When a casino patron lets us know that they are having problems with a casino cash out, in almost all cases, the reason for delay in payment was because the user failed to follow the cash out instructions published by the casino. Furthermore, each casino has their own individual methods for cashing out, so methods and requirements range and can be confusing.
What is the best method? We suggest you deposit using services like NETeller.com, FirePay.com or Citadel. In most cases, a casino can quickly deposit your winnings directly back to your account at these banks with very little intervention on your part. Since the transaction is 100% digital, there is little room for mistakes and a transaction log or receipt is usually available.
Sometimes, the operator of the casino or sportsbook might need to confirm your identity before allowing you to cash out. This is a legal and legitimate occurrence. You may be asked to FAX them release forms, identification, copies of your credit card, or whatever kind of documentation the operator requires so that you can be paid properly.
Keep a paper trail
Make sure to keep detailed notes of who you spoke to at the casino or sports book, who you sent email messages to, etc. If you have a problem with an operator and you have been exchanging email with a support representative, you need to be able to show those emails and/or prove to whom you have been speaking with. Email is obviously better because it's easier to store and refer back to. Any time you speak with a support representative on the phone, always record whom you spoke with, as well as the time and date. Ask for a first and last name of the representative. If the representative will not give you a last name, ask for their phone extension number.
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