Where once the merest mention of casinos conjured up images of the bright lights of Las Vegas, Monte Carlo and yes, even Germany’s equally inviting Black Forest-located spa town, Baden-Baden, these days casino fans are far more likely to envisage the more moodily-lit lighting of their own lounge when thoughts and conversations turn to the ultimate high stakes form of gambling. And that’s all thanks to the soaring popularity of the online casino.

Nowadays nest-making millennials don’t have to even leave their front door, nevermind travelling to an airport, jumping on a flight to Nevada (or Monaco or Germany’s enticing Baden Württemberg region) and booking into one of a myriad of glitzy hotels which line Sunset Strip once they touch down, as a huge industry has emerged over recent years around a far more accessible online alternative. An alternative vision which needless to say will save gamers a significant amount of money (irrespective of current exchange rates), yet at the same time offer them no less a selection of entertaining ways to gamble the night away. Or whatever time of day you choose to indulge your passion. That’s another notable difference you see. Online casinos operate around the clock, unlike their bricks and mortar predecessors.

In That Case I take it I Can Play Online Casino Games When and Where I Want?

Well, actually yes and no. Yes, in theory you can participate not only where you want, but when you want, admittedly, however this is providing you reside in certain countries. In practice most nations have various individual approaches and attitudes (not to mention, legal interpretations of) towards the online casino topic, so it’s always worthwhile familiarising yourself with these before you venture any further. Like for example in Saudi Arabia online casinos are outlawed on the grounds of religion first and foremost, as gambling in any way, shape or form (even the Lotto) is illegal. The same rule applies in China, Cuba and many other countries. Then there’s New Zealand. Where, while it’s perfectly legal to play online casinos, the operators aren’t allowed to be geographically based there, as stipulated by the country’s lawmakers. Meanwhile in Mali you’re only permitted to gamble in online casinos if you’re a foreign visitor to the country, while in Iceland it’s OK to frequent high street casinos but not so OK (i.e, illegal) to play either poker or casino games online. And America isn’t exactly clear cut either, for that matter. A country with one of the world’s biggest populations still doesn’t rubber stamp online casino gambling across all of its 50 states. In fact, only 3 – Delaware, New Jersey and (unsurprisingly) Nevada’s inhabitants and visitors – being the fortunate few. If and when America decides to ease its restrictions more generally, just imagine the explosion in online casino users!

Conversely, and perhaps the country with, perceivably one of the most laid-back attitudes towards online casinos is Finland; although Australia would arguably come a close second. Having said that, despite Finnish authorities wholly encouraging – and more importantly, endorsing – citizens when it comes enjoying all sorts of iGaming, it comes with a caveat. That being they can only play online casino games offered by state-approved domestic operators. Australians love a punt at the online casinos as much as the next person (if not more, on account of them being recognised as one of the planet’s biggest online gambling populations); yet once again successive governments aren’t very lenient with offshore online casino providers, with existing laws applying far-reaching restrictions. Elsewhere the likes of Ireland, Denmark, the UK, the Isle of Man and Malta are all universally identified as online casino-friendly.

As a Matter of Interest, What’s Germany’s Stance When it comes to Online Casinos?

On the other hand a country often viewed by non-nationals as seemingly very regulated, strict and sharp-edged, Germany’s stance with regards to the online casino is what you might otherwise expect it to be. Rigid and relatively uncompromising, for want of better words. Not in the same league as many Middle or Far Eastern countries by comparison, yet still considered challenging for those wishing to participate, let’s say. For periods of time, Germans might have been forgiven for confusion over what they can and can’t do in terms of online gambling per se, let alone where they stand over virtual casinos, thanks to a complex system of governance and individual states citing their own rules and regulations; which were again subject to habitual change. Take for instance between 2008 and 2012, when the state of Schleswig-Holstein was the only one where gambling was legalised. Once this mandate was extended across the country, Germany witnessed a turnover of billions of Euros thereafter and to date. Yet perversely the industry remains still unregulated for the most part, despite the legalisation, and the powers that be are still working towards establishing an official – and all-enveloping – licensing program. Matters are made all the more ambiguous due in the main to the adhering to two co-existing laws. Namely the interstate law (or Glücksspielstaatsvertrag; The German Interstate Treaty), and the Glückspeilgesetz; the former involving agreements between separate states. The latter focused on the state of Schleswig-Holstein’s own unique legislation on online gambling, which was looked upon as being fairly liberal when first outlined and ratified.

OK. So, Taking Individual Countries Out of the Equation. Just How Do I Start the Online Casino Ball Rolling?

Right. So the big question is how do you fling open the doors to the convenient and user-friendly world of online casinos and let the fun begin? And essentially, the 5 points you should always be mindful of when starting out for the first time.

• Free Games In any walk of life practice makes perfect, and online casinos are no different. There are plenty of free accounts you can sign up to first so as to get a feel for the games, see if you enjoy what’s on offer and decide whether online casino games are for you or not. It will also give you the platform to interact with other players online, to determine their views and opinions, which can often be priceless. Put it this way; you wouldn’t buy a new car without road testing it first, would you?

• Contact is King Ensure that you choose an online casino games provider which has a contactable customer service and technical support team in place, so that if you experience any issues you’re never more than a phone call away. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark if you encounter any problems.

• Check out Reviews Finding out what other online casino users think about a particular website or games is worth its weight in gold. If you read a raft of negative reviews, then assume that certain websites aren’t for you, whereas more glowing reviews should reassure you should you have any reservations about an online casino games provider. Of course sometimes one person’s meat is another’s poison, so unless users have flagged up something which sets alarm bells ringing in your head, it may be worth forming your own opinions.

• The Need for Speed Online casino games download speeds vary according to where you are in the world and can also fluctuate between service providers. With this in mind if you don’t have a fast broadband connection at home your online gaming quality might be compromised as a direct result of inconsistencies. So trial free games before committing real money so you’re not disappointed later.

• Get the Right Game Face on Everyone will have a different favourite online casino game from the get-go; although this might change after a while. And remember that different online casinos proffer different games, so it’s all about personal preferences. Also note the bonuses providers use as incentives for first time players and ascertain which would work best for you in the long run. Aside from the initial sign-up bonus some operate on point-accumulation basis, with others promoting VIP bonuses, tournament listing bonuses and many more besides.