GAMBLING BEGINNER'S GUIDE

So, you've heard a lot about online gambling – perhaps you have a friend or colleague who plays regularly, and you're hooked on the idea. But where do you begin? A quick trawl through a search engine like Google will reveal that there are literally thousands of casinos to choose from. The sheer amount of choice can be daunting.

Given this, we're going to present this as a Q&A of the top questions we get asked by first time online gamblers.

Q: How do I choose an online casino?

A: Start by working out what kind of games you like to play. There are lots of different types of online casinos out there, and one that specialises in poker tournaments is probably not going to be a great destination for video slots, and vice versa.

Other things to consider when picking a casino to play at include, is it licensed and regulated? Is it audited for fairness? Does it have the games that I want to play? Will it be easy to deposit money into the casino? Will it be as easy to get it back out again? Can I play in my own currency or will I have to deal with Forex?

One piece of advice is to do your research. Find yourself a reputable casino review site from your part of the world, such as www.onlinegamblingsa.com, and read up on what other people have said about your chosen casino. 

Q: Is playing online safe?

A: Yes, but having said that, please exercise a certain amount of common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Therefore, pick a casino that is licensed, and if possible, look for one that has some sort of oversight. 

Internationally, there are a few organisations that enforce consumer rights at online casinos – companies like eCOGRA and Technical Systems Testing make sure that the games on offer are fair, and can sometimes offer mediation services if you have a problem.

If your casino sports a certification from one of these organisations on it's front page, this is a good indicator that it's completely above board.

Q: How do I fund my casino account?

Most casinos will happily accept deposits from a credit card. A lot of the major international casinos are waking up to the South African market and will even let you make deposits in Rands.

If you don't have a credit card, or you don't want to use your credit card for online gambling, you will probably need to look at an e-wallet solution. There are several available, but you'll need to pick one that a) your casino accepts and b) is happy to accept business from South Africans.

One (but by no means the only) good e-wallet solution is called MoneyBookers, and it's accepted by most casinos. You can transfer money into and out of it, and use to both to fund your casino account and to receive winnings into a normal savings account in South Africa.