The online casino industry was born in the mid-1990s with the rise of the Internet. Gambling – taking risks – is a natural human instinct, and many of us love to play. This fact is proven by the huge success of online casinos the world over; online gambling is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
People love it for many different reasons. Gambling is fun and exciting, and being able to play online from the comfort of your home gives easy access to that entertainment, where you'd otherwise have to travel many thousands of miles to indulge in it.
Beyond the sheer pleasure of playing, there's the mysterious lure of wealth and prestige that go hand and hand with online casinos. Playing online is as real and as rewarding as playing in a land-based casino. Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker having only ever played poker online, and the payouts in online progressive slots and Bingo are some of the highest in the world, with the current record online Jackpot being close on $8 million.
Playing at an online casino is in some cases even better than the real thing. You get to place your bets and chat to interesting new friends, but without the cheesy music or the cigar smoke being blown in your face.
Here are some of the kinds of online casino games you can expect to find.
Slot machines at online casinos work exactly as you've experienced them in the real world. You place a bet and pull a virtual lever, and some drums spin around.
When they come to rest, the images on them line up, and different configurations of images result in different prize payouts. What's exciting about playing slots online is that the progressive jackpots get insanely high, routinely reaching the millions.
The aim of a game of video poker is to assemble the strongest poker hand possible. You place a bet, and the machine deals you five cards.
If you like the look of any of them, you press buttons under them to hold them. The computer ditches the cards you didn't keep and gives you new ones – and that's your final hand.
If it's any decent poker hand at all, the computer pays out at odds that get increasingly higher the better the hand is – low for a pair, huge for a straight flush.
This is a classic table game that originates somewhere in Europe. The object of the game is to draw playing cards whose face value adds up to – or as close to as possible – 21. All high cards are worth 10, and the Ace is worth 11 or 1, it's up to you.
You get two cards, and you may call for more until you go bust or decide to stick. Then the dealer plays, continuing to draw cards until they hit 17 or go bust. If you win, you get paid out at 1:1 odds.
This game is often referred to as the King of Casino Games and is based on pure chance. The game has a wheel with numbered slots on its inside ring, colored red or black. You place your bet on what number you think will come up – or if you're just beginning what color.
The dealer spins the wheel and drops a silver ball into the wheel, which bounces around as the wheel slows down until it comes to rest in one of the slots – and that's the winning number. If it's the one you chose, you win big.
In a game of craps, you roll a pair of dice trying to hit a 7 or an 11 to win while you and your friends place bets about whether you'll succeed or not. Rolling a 2, 3 or 12 is Craps, and you lose the round. Rolling anything takes the game to a second round.
Interestingly, bets are paid out at odds based on whether you correctly predicted the roll, not whether you were successful in making it. It's fast, fun and very social game.
The technical object of the exclusive game of Baccarat is to draw a card hand whose face value is as close to 9 as possible. You draw two cards and add their value – if it's 10 or higher the first digit is disregarded, and you play this game against the dealer.
Like Craps, the winner is not determined by who has the better hand. Rather, you place your bet on who you think will win around: you or the dealer. If you guessed right, you win and get paid out at odds – even if you lose the hand.