The Ultimate Online Casino Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Ready to take the action online? We’ve got you covered with our complete guide to playing online casino games.

The Ultimate Online Casino Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Looking for a new way to experience all the action of the casino floor at your fingertips? Say goodbye to hopping in your car to your local casino or packing your bags for a Vegas road trip! Nowadays, you can tap into epic entertainment from your phone, tablet or desktop device, thanks to online casinos.  

Don't sweat it if you're new to this world, though. We've got you covered with our ultimate guide to online casinos. We're talking the complete inside scoop, from the software used to how to pick the right online casino for you.  

Ready to dive in? Go on, take a read. 


What is an online casino?  

We promised you a complete guide and, here at Bally Casino, that's what you’re going to get! So, let's kick off with the basics. First on the agenda? Setting the scene with an introduction to online casinos.

Explaining online casinos is simple. Also known as virtual casinos, these sites are online versions of classic land-based casinos. Take a surf of the World Wide Web and you'll find plenty of online casino sites, all offering different games and experiences for you to tap into, plus the chance to wager (and win) real money - just like in Vegas.

The history of online casinos 

The internet was an iconic invention for so many reasons. Online casinos being one of them. Hot on the heels of the internet storm, the government of Antigua and Barbuda passed 'The Free Trade and Processing Act', meaning they could hand out licenses to casinos looking to set up business online.  

What happened next is history. Online casinos popped up all over the internet, all in a rush to give casino fans what they wanted. Just three years after the internet hit our screens, it's estimated that there were over 200 online casinos available for players to join. 

There have been a few milestones over the years. Take the development of online poker tournaments. Suddenly poker fans could flex their skills without travelling to the nearest tournament! And the introduction of new laws making rogue sites too hot to operate.  

It's safe to say online casinos have come a long way since the '90s. Old school processing? Not anymore. Nowadays, you'll find fast-paced gameplay, incredible graphics and high-tech streaming in most virtual casinos.  


Get to know the different types of online casino  

There are three main types of online casinos out there: download-based, live and web-based. 

Download-based online casinos 

We know, we know, the internet is an awesome invention, but that doesn't make it fool proof. Sure, we're past the days of dial-up but show us someone who never runs into internet issues.  

Download-based online casinos ask players to download software or extensions to be able to access their games, meaning there's no need to use the internet once you've done so. It will mean that you'll need to give up storage space on your device though, and there's always the risk of malware viruses.  

Web-based online casinos 

All the usual casino action, just on your web browser. With web-based online casinos, all you need to do is open a tab, sign in and kick back with all the latest casino games. Blackjack? You got it. Roulette? You bet. You can even take a spin on some online slot machines! There's no need to download any software to play and forget adding extensions to your browser. 

Live online casinos 

A popular choice with fans of brick-and-mortar casinos, live online casinos are usually the online version of real land-based casinos. Live casinos are similar to web-based online casinos, except you'll only find cards, dice and chips here. If you're looking for slots, then this won't be the casino for you. 

Prefer a wider game offering? You can find live casino options on most web-based online casinos nowadays, so it's worth checking out your options. 

Online casinos vs land-based casinos: What to expect  

For players looking to pull up a seat at the classic casino games without stepping foot outside, online casinos are an awesome solution. But that's not the only reason why playing online is a cool alternative to land-based casinos. 

Location, location, location 

Forget driving to your local casino. With online casinos, you can tap into the action from your desktop, tablet or mobile device. Dive in from your sofa, on the train or during half-time. The choice is yours. 

Opening hours 

Ready to spin the roulette wheel? It doesn't matter what time it is when you're playing online, just head to your favourite online casino and dive into the action. Unlike land-based casinos, online casinos operate around the clock, so you can play whenever. 

Dress code 

While we love seeing our buds looking their very best, there's no need to brush off a suit to play at an online casino. Many land-based casinos operate a 'smart casual' dress code, that you'll need to follow unless you want to risk being turned away at the door.  

Playing online, though? Wear whatever you like – wherever you are! Not having to leave the house is one of the perks of online casinos, after all. You can just sign up, kick back, and get spinning from the comfort of your own home. 


Unless you're rocking up to Vegas in your very finest carrying a lot of bucks, chances are you're not going to receive any special bonuses to play with at a land-based casino. Take things online and it's a different ballpark entirely!  

Many sites offer a welcome bonus for players to get started with when they first join the action. And that's not all. You'll also find a range of online casino bonuses, such as free spins and promotional offers, when playing online. 

Rules & regulations 

Flash your I.D at any land-based casino and, as long as you're of legal age, you'll be allowed to walk straight onto the floor and pull up a seat. Sign up to an online casino and you'll soon see things are very different.  

To keep players safe, and make sure online casino sites are operating in a responsible way, there are strict rules and regulations in place. Breach any of these and you might find yourself kicked out. 

But don't go thinking these rules and regulations don't work in your favour! They're all there to make sure you enjoy an awesome gaming experience without risking your personal details or funds. 

Game choices 

All those slick casino tables take up room on the floor of a casino. The more games the casino has, the bigger it needs to be! Land-based casinos have a cap on the number of games they offer, therefore. But with online casinos, the sky's the limit!  

Without the need to buy more land as the game collection grows, online casinos can offer thousands of games to players – that's more than your standard land-based casino. 

The online suite: Popular online casino games 

Online casinos don't need to stick with the classics when picking which games to offer to their players. By taking things online, casinos can offer a wide range of games – all in one place. We're talking live dealer tables, online slot machines, bingo rooms, scratchcards and more. The list goes on, folks! 

Check out the most common games available online: 

Slot machines 

Packed with excitement, slot games are all the rave in online casinos. Expect fast-paced action and plenty of chances to win without the need for skill. Step inside any online casino and you’ll soon run into a variety of different slot machines. Many casino sites even offer free slot spins to welcome new members.  

Table games 

It isn't a casino without the classics – land-based or online. Ready to try your hand in poker? Or keen to take roulette for a spin? You'll find all the traditional casino tables online. There are even thrilling spin-offs created just for online players!  

Live dealers 

Straight from Vegas to your fingertips. For players looking to experience casino fun without missing out on socialising with their buddies, live dealer games are for you. Pick your online casino, pull up a seat and watch the gameplay unfold in real-time. 

Niche games 

We weren't kidding about online casino sites offering more games than your standard casinos! Bingo games, Slingo titles, instant win scratchcards – online casinos boast plenty of niche games for players. So, you don't have to go far if you're looking to try something different. 

7 online casino strategies  

Looking for some strategies to get you started? We've got you covered. 

Start small  

Diving into the action doesn’t mean you've got to dive into all the action straightaway. The games aren't anywhere fast, so why the rush? Before you go big on the hottest games on the (online) floor, take some time to get to know the games and their rules. And the same applies to your wagers. Until you're up to speed with the game, we recommend leaving those big chips in your pocket. 

Check the odds  

This one's for you, maths fans! Let's talk odds. The headline of any game strategy, online casino players will want to check their odds of winning before playing. Look through any online casino game and you'll soon spot mentions of the Return to Player (RTP) rate.  

A common piece of casino slang, the RTP stands for the amount that casinos pay out to the player relative to how much has been wagered on it. Take a game that has a 95.07% RTP rate. Out of every £100 wagered, the casino will expect to pay out £95.07 on average. 

RTPs won't tell you exactly what your personal odds are of winning, but they're a good guide to check out. 

Know when to call it 

Online games are an awesome source of entertainment, but it's important to know when to cool it. Set yourself a budget before hitting the virtual casino floor. We know you want to have fun playing online, and chasing losses isn't fun. Once you're out of bucks, take yourself out of the action. 

Use the RG tools 

Don't sweat it if you need a hand with your bankroll management. Head to a reputable online casino site and there should be a suite of tools sitting pretty. Make the most of the Responsible Gambling tools to customise your playing experience to suit you.  

If bankroll management is your priority, then look for a Deposit Limits tool – this will let you cap your spends before you play. 

Keep an eye on promotions 

Online casinos are big on offering exciting promotions to their buds. Opt in to hear about the latest promotional deals to avoid missing out on the chance to land prizes, such as free spins or extra bonuses. 

Forget superstitions  

Don't go thinking you can predict the next move in a game. Online casinos use Random Number Generator (RNG) software to keep things completely random. No one knows what the next card or spin will reveal, which is part of the fun. You could argue that this strategy is to avoid having a strategy, but it works. 

Pick a good casino 

It's no good landing a jackpot if the casino doesn’t pay it to you. Forget playing on cowboy casino sites – these folks give our buds in the Wild West a bad name. Make sure you're playing at an online casino that is safe, regulated, and licensed. 

Choosing the online casino that suits you  

Ready to experience the action for yourself? It's time to pick an online casino that's right for you. Crossing the cowboy sites off the list will only get you so far. We want our buds to play somewhere that offers epic action, with exciting games and awesome promotions and bonuses! 

Sound good? Of course, it does. The good news is that there are virtual casino sites out there with fun offerings. The better news is that we've got more than just fun. Here at Bally Casino, we aren't just big on entertainment. We're big on rewards and service, too. We're American-style big. 

Known as Bally's across the pond, we've got plenty of experience creating incredible casinos. And now we've packed all that know-how into our online casino for UK players. It's the iconic American gaming experience, on your phone! 

And don't worry if you've got more casino questions up your sleeves. Our commitment to that famous 5-star American service means our hosts will be right there to help. That's the Bally Casino way. 

Want to read more from our hot-shot writers? Of course, you do. Head over to the Bally Casino blog to get more casino guides and behind-the-scenes views.