This article was written by Dame de Couer.
Here at ThePOGG we completely understand how overwhelming it can be as a beginner looking to play at an online casino. Undoubtedly you will have many questions whirling around in your head that you’d like answered before you make any decisions. Questions like: How do I know if the operator can be trusted? How can I tell the difference between legitimate operators and unlicensed rogues? What do I actually need to provide the online casino with if I do want to go ahead and signup? Luckily our experienced team have taken all of the confusion out of the process for you and all the information you need to make an informed decision about which operator to play with can be found if you keep reading. Rest assured – if you want a direct route to the best online casinos you can find them easily by playing with any of the operators listed in our Recommended category here at ThePOGG.
Why Listen to Us?
In an industry synonymous with uncertainty about who is telling players the truth, it can be daunting choosing a source to listen to. Our team have a cumulative experience in the gambling sector exceeding 30 years – this includes experience of bricks and mortar casinos and online operators. We used to be players ourselves and we have first-hand knowledge of the full spectrum of online casinos – saints and sinners – we know that it is imperative players can rely on our word that an operator we recommend is of the highest caliber with an unimpeachable reputation.
Our team will leave no stone unturned when it comes to unearthing anything concerning about an operator’s practices or standards. We have even gone as far as using our founder’s maths skills to reveal those online providers operating fake games or cheating igaming software. You can read about some of the instances where we have identified cheating casinos in our article Are Online Casinos Rigged.
We work independently. Our reviews are entirely independent. The final score and category assigned to a casino is independent. This is not negotiable. We are not in the market to accept payments from operators in exchange for giving them prime listing space on our site. Neither will we accept payments for manipulating ratings or scores beyond what they are legitimately entitled to be based on our in-depth review process. If an online casino makes it to Recommended Casino status on our website it is because they have demonstrated their right to be so, unequivocally. You can be confident that you are in very good hands with any casino found in this section of our website.
If you want to know more about how our review process is carried out, read on, we have reviewed and categorized over 2300 casinos to date and we are constantly adding new reviews so that you can be sure your money is in safe hands when you play.
Our reviewing procedure has been uniquely developed to address the needs of all players. We understand that players want honesty and reliability in an operator above all else, but other things are important too. For this reason, we assign a single overall score for all our reviewed casinos for players only looking for a trustworthy place to play, but we also give individual scores for each area of our reviews – in this way players can look at specific areas that are important to them – perhaps withdrawal times. Our casinos are ranked for the following things: Trustworthiness, licensing jurisdiction, customer service, software, bonuses and withdrawal times, together with things such as the operator’s desire to engage in complaints related dialogue with us – both formally in our capacity as an ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) for Maltese licensed properties and out with this.
The igaming industry never rests – new operators are commonplace – for this reason it can be tricky for players to keep up to speed with everything that is going on, themselves. Very often online casinos appear to be very similar in terms of how they look and what they offer, it can be almost impossible for players to untangle the good from the bad and the downright ugly. Here – we do that for you. Allow us to help you identify a safe and secure operator that prioritises your playing experience.
How to Join an Online Casino
So, you have had a look through our Recommended casinos category, and you have found an operator that you like the look of but you are still a bit apprehensive about signing up. Below we take you through a typical registration process such as may be required by any reputable online casino. It is not difficult, and most regulated operators are required to gather the same details for KYC (Know Your Customer) purposes, so there are huge similarities in each signup process, we will lead you through from start to finish.
♠ Source the Registration button
In our experience, the button for registration is normally located in the extreme right-hand side of the header of the website in question. Usually, the registration button is extremely easy to spot because it is a completely different colour to any other part of the landing page. Some operators label the registration button with different things such as: Sign Up/ Join Now/ Play/ Register or Join Here. Once you have successfully located the button…click it!
♥ Complete the Required Registration Form
Now the Player Registration Form will open and before you can move past it you will be required to complete it in full. If you have been careful to select one of our Recommended Casinos, they will undoubtedly be licensed by one of our top-tier regulators, all will be well versed in their responsibilities relating to data protection, so your information will be stored securely. It is necessary to provide the information requested so that you are able to pass the online casino’s verification procedures successfully. Generally, the highly regulated and trustworthy operators require the provision of: forename and surname, date of birth, email address, mobile telephone number, residential address, country in which you are resident, secret question, and quite often here you will also opt in/out of casino offers made by email, post or text message.
♣ Claim your Welcome Bonus
The majority of the most highly reputed online casinos will provide a Welcome Bonus or a Welcome Package for their new players as a little incentive to signup. Often nowadays operators make provision for different playing tastes by offering more than one bonus to choose from. At this point in the registration process players are often asked to select their Welcome Bonus of choice – it is also a valid option for no Welcome Bonus need be claimed – just go ahead and deposit if that’s true for you. We know that players like the best value for their cash and so we provide detailed Welcome Bonus Reports at ThePOGG so that you can check the real money value of different Welcome Bonuses at some of the casinos you are deciding between. Remember – the majority of Welcome Bonuses need a certain deposit amount to be made – only accept the bonus if you are happy to comply with this amount.
♦ Go Ahead and Make a Deposit
Before you can go ahead and get playing using your bonus funds or complimentary spins, you have to part with some of your hard-earned cash. Please do stick strictly to an amount that you can afford. Most online casinos offer a wide selection of deposit methods so that the needs of all players are met. Remember to make sure that withdrawals can be made to the same method if this is important for you – some deposit methods cannot be used to make withdrawals. Generally, we consistently see the following deposit methods offered by online casinos: ewallets such as Neteller and Skrill, bank transfers, PayPal, various prepaid cards, Crytpocurrencies and credit or debit cards. UK players be aware that deposits by credit card can no longer be made by UK residents and it is illegal for UK residents to take their custom to non-UK licensed operators.
♠ Supplementary Documentation May be Required to Process Withdrawals
The Gambling Commission and other major regulatory agencies insist on the absolute strictest levels of protection to be assigned to player funds held by their licensees. For one thing, to ensure security for players, their money must be segregated in a separate account. Online gambling operators are also subject to substantive regulatory strictures to preventing money laundering, the funding of criminal enterprises and terrorism. Online operators are understandably cautious when it comes to processing withdrawals and their KYC (Know Your Customer) processes are thorough both for your protection and to ensure that no payment that they make would be illegal in nature. While some checks are conducted at point of registration (electronic verification checks are a requirement at point of registration for all UK players), it is at the point of withdrawal that operators might ask customers to forward additional copies of physical documents (in line with the regulatory standards they are subject to) so that they can finalise their KYC process and complete your withdrawal.
For UK residents a list of documentation that is appropriate for submission can be found here Proof of identity checklist. Such strict regulations do not only apply to UK residents but your data should always be managed in a fashion that is compliant with the GDPR.
Requests for further verification documentation are generally used to provide proof of some, or all, of the following: identity, address, income or identity of ownership and there are many different documents that may be submissible for these areas.
Proof of identity: Government issue photographic National ID Card; signed and current government issued passport; an original Birth Certificate dated within 12 months of date of birth, EEA member state government issued identity card; UK photographic current driver’s license; full old-style driver’s license; self-employed construction industry person’s photocard ID (CIS4 card); letter of award from the Benefits Agency; valid firearms certificate – must be current; Home Office issued Residence Certificate (as issued to EEA nationals on production of home country passport).
Proof of Address: utilities bill (electric, gas, landline satellite tv) dated within the previous 3 months; Council Tax Bill – current year only; Valid UK driver’s license (cannot be reused if submitted as proof of identity); Annual Mortgage Statement in original issued form; Bank, Building Society or Credit Union passbook dated in the last 3 months; Solicitor’s letter dated within the preceding three months confirming recent house purchase or land registry confirmation of address; a Council or Housing Association rent card or tenancy agreement for the present year; Benefit book or original notification letter from Benefits Agency (not if used as proof of name); HMRC issued Notice of Tax Due or Self-assessment Tax Due letter for the present financial year; Valid and Current entry on the Electoral Register; Letter from GP’s Practice denoting registration at said practice or a valid NHS issued Medical Card.
Proof of Income: pensions documents or wage/payslip.
Proof of Identity Ownership: account holder holding on to the requested document in a selfie.
Please note that this provides an extensive list of some documentation that may be submissible as proof of the outlined things, this is not a guarantee that an operator will necessarily accept all documentation mentioned readily. We offer these lists as suggestions only – we do not give any assurance that submission of some or all of the documents will lead to successful completion of KYC – this decision is one for the operator. This guidance pertains primarily to UK residents – similar information will be provided on the government website in your country of residence if you look for it.
♥ Pick a Game and Play it!
Now all of the hard work has been done and you can get to the good part – choosing and playing a game. You might already have a particular software provider that you are looking for – many players report Microgaming and NetEnt games as favourites due to their high quality graphics and interesting themes. If you are interested in reading reviews of the big providers, they can be found here. If you are an absolute beginner and have no idea of what games each provider offers, it may be of more use to you to use some of the filtering options built into the player interface. The best online casinos offer filtering by theme – if you know you like a certain theme – this is probably the easiest place to begin. Just remember – before you start playing check that the game you are considering is not excluded from bonus play – this information should be found in the Bonus Terms and Conditions or General Terms and Conditions. We would also recommend choosing a game with an RTP that is kind to players. The higher the RTP of a game the more the game will return to players overall. As a rule an RTP of close to 97% or higher will give you more for your money. If you’d like to know more about RTPs and how they work, we have it covered by our expert here - Online Slot RTPs Explained.
So, there you have it – a complete guide to joining an online casino – not difficult at all! May you win big and often.
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