An Australian online casino is one that not only accepts players from Australia, but also offers special benefits to them. It is not an online casino that is licensed by an Australian agency or operated from Australia. There are no such online casinos currently existing. Australian online casinos are licensed in reputed offshore jurisdictions such as Malta and Gibraltar. The specific benefits include wagering in Australian dollars, toll free customer support by phone and local payment options.
Below are a series of sections that provide additional information and advice for Australian players getting started at online casinos.
When choosing an online casino you should not go by the visual appeal of the web site or by the tall promises made there. It is easy to create a slick looking web site with attractive graphics and animations. You need to check out the facts presented at the web site. But first you should be aware of which facts to look for. The following paragraphs will act as a basic check list for the factual information you need to obtain.
The first thing you should look for is by which regulatory authority the online casino is licensed. Make sure that the licence number is posted on the web site and that the license has not expired. The best online casinos will provide a link to the license document. The complete name and address of the owners and operators of the online casino should be displayed. It adds credibility to the online casino. Operators that have things to hide will not display such information in the public domain. Check whether the software has been certified by eCOGRA or Technical Systems Testing.
Customer support is an important service that online casinos need to provide. Today all the best online casinos provide customer support through live chat along with the other options. Usually you do not have to sign up at the online casino in order to activate live chat. Try chatting with the representative through this option and get a feel of the quality of the customer support. Examine how good the FAQ section of the online casino is.
Then start delving deeper. In the banking section confirm that the payment option you have in mind is offered by the online casino. Check out the minimum and maximum deposit and withdrawal limits and ascertain that they meet your requirements. If you are planning to wager on the download casino you will need to know the storage space required. This is usually available in the FAQ section.
You will have to choose an Australian deposit option before you start real money wagering. If you are planning to play for free then you need not make this choice. Check through our section on payment options and study the pros and cons of each option before you make a choice. Remember that you cannot change the payment option on your own. You have to do it through customer support and even then it could be a time consuming process.
A brief summary of the deposit options available is given here. Credit cards are common deposit options in Australia. The transfer of funds is instantaneous and you also get some credit. But you may not want your credit card details stored at the servers of the many online casinos you wager at. Electronic wallets allow you to load funds at one point and then deposit at different online casinos. But you need a credit card or a bank account for loading your electronic wallet. POLi is an Australian deposit option, but it cannot be used for withdrawals. Also give weightage to a deposit option if you are currently using for other online purposes.
If you have chosen a credit card as your deposit option, then you have to register the card at the online casino before making the first deposit. For other deposit options pre-registration is usually not required. In order to make your first deposit you have to log in to the online casino using you user ID and password. At the cashier of the online casino you select the deposit option and then your payment option. You have to enter the amount that you want to deposit and any other particulars relevant to your chosen deposit option. The funds are instantly transferred to your online casino account and you can start wagering immediately.
Your withdrawal option is actually chosen by default. If your chosen deposit option permits withdrawals then the online casino will remit your winnings using that option. If the deposit option does not support withdrawals then you will have to accept funds into your bank account, mostly through a cheque payment. Some online casinos may at your cost transfer funds to your bank account directly. Both these methods are time consuming since they require additional work by the online casino. Therefore, unless you have compelling reasons, select a payment option that supports both deposits and withdrawals.
Most Australian online casinos will conduct a verification check before they permit your first withdrawal. For this they would need copies of proof of identity and address such as passport or driver’s licence. You should send these to the online casino as soon as possible so as to avoid delay in your first withdrawal.
In order to make your first, and subsequent, withdrawals you have to log in to the online casino in the usual manner. At the cashier of the online casino you select the withdrawal option and then your payment option. You have to enter the amount that you want to withdraw. Please make sure that it is between the permissible minimum and maximum limits or your withdrawal request will get rejected. You will also have to enter the particulars relevant to your chosen withdrawal option. For example if you are using an electronic wallet, then you will have to give the electronic wallet account number. The online casino will take a few days to process your request. The time varies from online casino to online casino and also depends on your loyalty status. VIP players get priority in withdrawal processing. Once processed, the funds should reach your payment option immediately, unless the remittance is by check.
A bonus is free money provided by the online casino that you can use for wagering on the games it offers. You cannot simply cash out the bonus received. It has to be wagered at the online casino. Most bonuses will be given after you have made a deposit. The bonus would be specified as a percentage of the deposit.
Once the bonus terms and conditions are complied with you will be allowed to cash out the winnings from the wagering. Usually there will be a limit on the amount of winnings that you can cash out. Sometimes you may be allowed to cash out the bonus, but usually it will be withdrawn from your account once you have used it. The most important bonus condition is the wagering requirement. Once you claim a bonus against a deposit you will have to wager a certain amount. This amount is usually specified as a multiple of the bonus and deposit. So you have to keep winning this amount from your bonus. Though this may appear unlikely, it is not impossible, particularly when you are playing online pokies.
Assume a deposit of AU$100 gives you a 100% bonus with a wagering requirement of 20 times the deposit and bonus and maximum cash out of 2 times the bonus. You get a bonus of AU$100 and face a wagering requirement of 20 times AU$200, which is AU$4,000. So when you start wagering with your AU$100 bonus, you have to generate enough funds to be able to wager AU$4,000 in all. Suppose you use up the bonus without meeting the wagering requirements then you do not get any benefit from the bonus other than having played at the online casino. After completing the wagering requirements you end up with a balance of AU$400 in your bonus account. Assuming the bonus is sticky then AU$100, will be withdraw. AU$300 will be your winnings.
There are other types of bonuses with not so stringent conditions and these are discussed in the bonus section.
You cannot carry out a comprehensive due diligence exercise on an online casino. You have neither the time nor the ability for such a task. When an online casino has a license from a reputed regulatory authority, you know that some expert agency has carried out that due diligence. This involves doing a background check on the past experiences of the owners for any fraud, verifying that they have the financial resources to operate an online casino and even scrutinising their management team. Verification of the fairness of the proposed gaming software is also a part of this check.
The responsibility of the licensing authority is not over once the license is issued. It regulates the day to working of the online casino to ensure that the terms of the license are met. These terms ensure that your interests are protected in a number of ways. For example the authority requires that the online casino keeps players’ deposit in a separate account and does not mix it with the operating funds. So if all players ask for their funds back at the same time, the online casino will be able to comply. The licensing and regulatory authority also ensures that the online casino is not making fraudulent claims about its games or promotions.
Playing at licensed online casinos also gives you a credible mechanism for grievance redressal, should the need arise. A reputed authority will issue a licence only after verifying that a grievance redressal procedure is in place, usually through an independent mediator. As an Australian player it is impossible for you to take legal action against an online casino operating from say Malta. But if that online casino is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, then the licensor can initiate legal proceedings if so required. Such steps are rarely required with licensed online casinos, because the provision acts as a deterrent.
eCOGRA was founded in 2003 and wears many hats in the online gambling industry. First and foremost it is a leading independent and internationally approved testing agency, specialising in the certification of online gaming software and systems. Here its prime function is evaluation of the Random Number Generation of the software used by the online casino as to its fairness and computation of the actual return to player on a monthly basis across major games categories. These reports can be accessed from the web sites of the eCOGRA approved online casinos. The eCOGRA testing also involves checks for a secure and reliable gaming environment. eCOGRA approved casinos are granted its Safe & Fair seal, which is displayed on the home page of the web site.
The Safe & Fair seal assures much more than this. It is awarded only when the online casino meets eCOGRA’s stringent guidelines for self-regulation. Some of the important issues addressed by this self-regulation include prevention of underage gaming, combating fraudulent and criminal behaviour, protection of customer privacy, prompt and accurate customer payments, responsible marketing and commitment to customer satisfaction and support. eCOGRA’s team of experienced auditors undertakes scrutiny of the online casino operations on a periodic basis to ensure that its guidelines are complied with.
Over the years, eCOGRA has made a name in dispute resolution as well. Any aggrieved player at an eCOGRA approved online casino can directly file a complaint with eCOGRA giving full particulars of the event. The agency will then promptly examine the issue and deliver its decision that will be binding on the online casino. Therefore the levels of benefits of playing at eCOGRA approved online casinos are many. You will find that most of the online casinos that we recommend carry the eCOGRA Safe & Fair seal, which has as much value as the license, if not more.
Below are a series of articles we put together that cover topics that will be of interest to those who are just getting started playing at online casinos.