Free Spins / No-Deposit Offers at Real Money Casinos
A great way to enjoy free casino games is to take advantage of free spins bonuses or free chips signup offers. These give you a shot at winning money – without any risk.
Usually these are smaller bonuses. Think 10 ($1) bonus spins, $20 in chips, or $2 in free Sweeps Coins. You’ll also find a cap on winnings is common – along with a play-though (wagering requirement).
For NJ players, Golden Nugget offers a free $10 no deposit bonus, as does Virgin Casino ($30).
For PA players, Hollywood Online Casino is offering $10 free on signup plus an additional bonus when you make your first deposit.
I do recommend you take advantage of these deals. Even though they are on the small side, many players get lucky – and win real money at the casino. It’s a great way to try and build your casino bankroll for free. Even if you don’t cash out, you’ll often get a win or two that lets you check out several real money games with the casino’s cash!
Online Casino Software: Who Makes the Games?
Many people are surprised that the same games appear on multiple online casino sites – even those which are supposedly competitors.
The reason is that the companies which make the games, and casino site operators, are separate. There are a few exceptions, and also some ‘exclusive’ licensed games – though on the whole, the slots and table games are licensed from casino software makers by the online casino brands.
Casino games are produced by huge companies. Big names include MicroGaming, NYX, IGT and Net Entertainment. In the past, each casino would have only one type of software. This casino software needed to be downloaded onto your PC.
These days, online casinos are mostly browser-based. This means that an individual brand can license games from many different casino software houses.
Some offer 1000’s of games, while others curate their own smaller list of the best titles. This new format also means smaller software houses have access to the big brands.
You can enjoy many more (often innovative) slots and table games which have been created by start-up companies.
Casino Software on Mobile Devices
While desktops and laptops are ideal for casino gaming at home, a new category of casinos has emerged. You can now access slots and many table games on your iPhone and Android smartphones, plus tablets through a real money casino app.
Most games are created with graphics that respond to the size of your screen. You’ll find some older slots have been adapted later – and so will not work as well.
You will find downloadable apps available. These are faster and smoother on mobile devices. This does come at the cost of a more limited game selection.
The only type of game I don’t recommend for mobile phones is live dealer table games. To get the full experience (and not miss out for any disconnections) you need a larger screen for these.
Are Online Casinos Legal?
Let’s start with the obvious – that the prevailing law depends on your location.
Less obvious, though more important, is the following distinction between playing at a casino and operating one:
- Is it legal for an individual player to enjoy real money games from a specific jurisdiction (state, country, province)?
- Is it legal to operate a casino or to provide payment services for real money gambling in that jurisdiction?
The answer to the first question is almost always that players are not breaking any laws. This includes the US federal laws which don’t criminalize players – very few state statutes make play itself illegal.
The second question is more of a grey area. Some states now regulate (legalize) casinos, as well as many countries. Some countries ban outside casinos, while many jurisdictions (for example Malta, Gibraltar) offer global licenses which exclude certain markets.
Information on casinos you’ll find here at onlinegamblingsites.com covers casinos which are unambiguously legal. These include big brands which are licensed at state level and legal within many different countries around the world.
Below is a more detailed look at the legality of online casinos for USA and then Worldwide players. This covers licensing bodies and relevant legislation at country and state level.