Online gambling – whether it’s traditional betting, slots or casino games – continues to be big business in the UK where a host of established high street brands and newcomers compete for players’ money.
Predictably the earliest adopters were those who already betted in shops but welcomed the added convenience of playing from the comfort of their own home.
But new players and gamers are what’s really driving the industry’s success, and yet it can be hard to know how to get started, especially when it comes to picking a site to take your first punt on.
The good news is that it’s actually a lot simpler than many think to start turning your hunches – whose going to be the next PM? Who’ll win Britain’s Got Talent? – into hard cash.
Obviously you’re going to need a device to play on and it’s here that some players would have struggled even a few short years ago when sites tended to rely on Adobe’s Flash to deliver the graphics and sounds needed for that immersive gaming experience.
For anyone playing on a mobile device or a low-end laptop this was a big issue as their device either wouldn’t support the plug-in or would struggle to run it without slowing down or suffering from excessive battery use.
However, due to concerns about performance issues and security, Flash has largely been replaced by HTML 5, a widely used programming language which runs in any modern browser.
If you have Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari or Microsoft’s Edge – the successor to Internet Explorer – then you already have all you need to start playing.
And don’t worry if your only computer is a tablet – HTML 5 is designed to work on mobile devices too so your chosen gambling site should work just fine on your tablet or smartphone’s browser, and if you managed to find the rare one which didn’t there are plenty more to pick from!
In addition, many of the larger sites also offer dedicated apps which you can download for free from your standard AppStore.
Talking of picking a site – this is one of the aspects many new gamers find most confusing.
There are so many brands – some familiar but also plenty of newer ones – bobbing around that it can be hard to decide where to spend your money.
Also adding to the confusion are the myriad of welcome bonuses and free plays offered by the various sites.
Each has their own and often very different rules about how you can play with and withdraw that money, and it’s important to understand the rules before you start playing.
Luckily help is at hand in the shape of comparison and review sites, such as crispygamer.com which offer useful reviews of, guides to, each of the major sites and their rules.
Even once you’ve read up and feel more knowledgeable about gambling online, it’s still worth bookmarking and revisiting at least one guide site as they often provide readers with details of special bonuses and offers the gaming sites are running.
One area we know concerns many is linking their main credit or debit card to a betting site.
It’s important to remember that all the sites accepting bets from the UK are heavily regulated and take online security very seriously but there are ways to further protect yourself.
Some sites allow you to deposit funds using PayPal which adds an extra link between your bank and the site, and as the service confirms all transactions by email you’ll always have peace of mind.
Another popular option is using a prepay MasterCard or Visa which you can top-up online and then use to deposit your gaming funds.
This means your main card is never registered with the site, meaning your bank account and the money in it is always safe.
Hopefully we’ve answered your questions and addressed any doubts that were holding you back so happy gaming and good luck!