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  1. With gambling success stories, many tend to believe that luck has a lot to do with the win. We all know that casino games usually stack odds against the gambler and the house mainly wins. For this reason, countless punters believe that charms may add to their fortune and, with some games, players can use all the luck they can get. Certain gambling games require a level of skill to win, but even these skilled punters have superstitions and carry talismans for added luck. Others may even have a ritual they perform before playing their game of choice. Let’s take a look at the interesting lucky charms people believe in around the globe and explore where some of these amulets originated. Some are well-known beliefs while others have questionable roots, but some believe these charms to bring fortune to the wearer. ✓ American Charms Thanks to the media, American traditions seem to be some of the most well-known ideologies in the world. This rings true for superstitions and good luck charms as well. One of the most popular amulets is the horseshoe. This belief stems from folklore about Saint Dunstan, who struck a deal with the devil and from there on out the horseshoe wards off evil and brings luck. Be sure to position your charm in the right direction though as the u-shape will catch the luck for you if pointed up, but lose it if pointed down. The Rabbits Foot is another well-known lucky charm that America seemed to have put on the map. Its origin is debatable but said to be linked with the European mid-century practice of the ‘hand-of-glory’. As it is not the most upbeat of tales, we suggest you rather focus on the luck of the rabbit’s foot. Not to worry, as you do not need to capture and injure a real bunny. Faux rabbit’s foot charms are available, and you can always have one made in silver or gold. If you want a real one though, be sure it is the left hind foot of a rabbit caught in a cemetery at night. Animals seem to play a big role in the realm of superstitions and one more American folk tale states that alligator teeth are a talisman that will bring the wearer luck and money. It is not surprising that American gamblers wear these odd trophies to ensure big wins then. Alligators have better luck than bunnies though, as their teeth fall out periodically, so gator slaughtering isn’t necessary for these trinkets. Moving toward the more ancient parts of America, Peru has a national symbol represented by an ornate ceremonial axe. It is also a lucky charm in Peruvian culture. The origin of this charm is a little strange though as it used to be a ceremonial axe used to perform religious sacrifices and trepanation. The latter is an ancient Incan surgery performed to remove a piece of the skull. Today, they wear it for fortune and hang it on walls of homes to ward off evil. ✓ European and British Lucky Trinkets Beliefs from the European and British continents seem to be well-known ones too like the four-leaf clover everyone hopes to find. The clover symbol is so well-known as a lucky charm that we can find it in many casino games and although the rare four-leafed version is scarce, clovers have a positive meaning. The inspiration comes from the Christian faith of the Holy Trinity and when there is a fourth leaf; it represents God’s grace. In Britain and certain parts of Europe, they believe an acorn to be the symbol of prosperity, wisdom, fertility, and youth. Legend has it that the Norse god Odin hung himself from an oak tree to get wisdom and from there on, people wear the tiny nut for good fortune. The acorn does not need to be real. Simply pick from a variety of jewellery items made with this symbol. Some European traditions are not that well-known and these two smaller countries have unique amulets they believe will bring luck to the wearer. In Poland, it is a tradition to eat carp for Christmas, but the meal includes some scales from the fish. Superstitious Poles then carry a few of these scales in their wallet for the rest of the year to attract wealth, prosperity, and good luck. Swedes carry a Dala horse which originates from the 18th century. Soldiers would carve these horses out of wood and trade them for food. Since then, it represents luck, perseverance, and good fortune. When it comes to luck, many believe that the key is not just to attract it, but also to ward off evil omens. Nazar Boncugu, aka the Turkish evil-eye bead, is for exactly that reason. The name seems counter-intuitive, but many believe this cobalt blue symbol has the power to ward off curses and ill intentions from other’s staring eyes. People from all over the world place these glass beads on key chains, in their cars, their homes, or wear them as jewellery. It is especially lucky to wear while gambling, as opponents could not block your luck. ✓ African and Middle Eastern Amulets for Luck The very popular Hamsa Hand is now found in most western cultures as a universal sign of protection, but it found its origins in the Middle East and North Africa. It is predominantly a Jewish and Islamic symbol with similar meanings in the religions. Also known as Hamesh, Chamsa, or Khamsa, this charm is a hand with five fingers, but the two outside fingers are often symmetrical thumbs. Linked with the meaning of the number five, it wards off evil and brings the wearer happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. Ancient Egypt had a language made up of symbols, so it is easy to find meaning within the cultural signs, but some symbols carry significant weight. All Egyptians wore the Scarab Beetle to protect them and guide them, even in the afterlife. Punters will recognise the symbol, as many slot games have Egyptian inspiration and the beetle is present, more often than not. In Ghana, West Africa, the age-old tradition of Adinkra symbols originates and the Ghanaian people have a symbol for almost everything. They create their beautiful textiles with these symbols printed on them and wear traditional clothes made from them. Wrap yourself in cloth covered with Mmusuyidee to remove bad luck and attract good fortune. It is not uncommon for these traditional prints to show up in high-end fashion collections, so you might even find a scarf or purse to carry along when you place your bets. ✓ Eastern Money Charms In the East, they usually ordain their homes and businesses with gold and red ornaments and symbols, and in Chinese culture, one will find the luckiest charms of all. Laughing Buddha, also known as ‘Hotai’ or ‘Pu-Tai’, is a figurine of Buddhist origin. A version of this chubby figurine holds a pot of gold or gold nugget, and this represents prosperity and wealth, befitting for gambling luck. Best you rub the smiling figurine’s belly so that his luck can rub off on you. Don’t worry, there is no need to carry a statue into the casino. Because he is such a popular charm, laughing Buddha is available in many sizes and in a keyring shape to travel with you. A Chinese money frog, often found at the entrance of a business or Chinese family home, known as Jin Chan is a three-legged gold bullfrog. He has red eyes, a coin in his mouth, and sitting on a pile of traditional Chinese coins. Chinese folklore tells how the golden toad appears near homes or businesses during a full moon to announce the coming of good fortune and wealth. Be sure to place it in the correct direction, as the frog must face inward to bring money. According to tradition, if it faces outward, the money will flow away from you. The colour red is the national colour of China and represents happiness, beauty, vitality, good luck, success, and good fortune. Most Chinese charms and symbols display this colour, and it is a tradition that children receive a red envelope filled with Chinese coins for New Year to bring fortune. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure added luck when placing your stake. Wear something red for added fortune to beat the odds. Maneki Neko is a Japanese talisman known as the beckoning cat. This figurine comes in different colours and always has one front paw waving. Depending on which paw is up and what colour the cat is, the owner will experience different fortunes. It dates to the 17th century and often one will see it at the entrance of Japanese or Chinese businesses. Some of these charms are available with a mechanical paw that waves at you and others come in luxury materials like jade or precious metals. Look for a Maneki Neko that has a coin in its paw and a koi fish, as this charm will bring fortune and wealth. With a raised right paw, it attracts good luck and wealth. This is the feline to accompany you to a gambling outing. ✓ No Charms? Here are Other Tricks for Luck Seasoned gamblers have their charms of choice, although some choose not to carry a trinket for luck. You may wonder what you can do if you don’t have any of the above talismans, and the following tricks will help. Carrying a momento that is sacred to your family is an age-old manner to carry luck around. Many successful gamblers wear an item of clothing they wore when they first won big, so dig out those lucky socks before you place your bets. Craps players sometimes set up their dice with certain numbers facing up and others blow on the dice for luck to transfer on the die. Astrology followers can visit their gambling horoscope to see whether the planets align for their big win to roll in. Finally, you can always bet on 7, the luckiest number, or in increments of it. ✓ Feeling Lucky? At the end of the day, all forms of gambling come down to odds and in some games the numbers are great, but in others not so much. Whether you knock on wood or cross your fingers, the fact remains that the house always wins. Carrying charms should add to the fun of the game and applying wisdom and limits to your betting ensures that the fun doesn’t transform into a negative experience.
  2. If you are looking for a new hobby and online gambling is the option, here are a few pointers to make it an enjoyable experience every time. For seasoned gamblers, these may be obvious, and the wisdom may have come with expensive lessons, but even experienced punters forget the basics. With land-based casinos closed for long stretches over the last two years, many countries finally saw the importance of a regulated online gambling market as their citizens turned to igaming. Now that we see many new regulated markets and platform providers popping up from everywhere, it is more important than ever to keep your head cool when taking part in remote betting activities. Especially if you are new at this. online casinos offer bonus deals to attract players to their platform and developers do their best to make their games stand out. With all the flashing lights and “Free” banners popping up, would-be punters as well as experienced gamblers can easily get carried away. So, before you get caught up in the moment, implement these 5 steps to ensure a relaxing and entertaining online gambling time. ✓ 1. Do Your Homework We get it. If reading was your thing, you would curl up on a sofa and get lost in your favourite book. The thing with reading casino and game reviews, though, is that it saves you a lot of time and unnecessary frustration. How so? Experienced players do the grunt work for you by checking all the important facts to consider when picking your gambling platform and which games you will wager your money on. If you pick a reputable source, you can rest assured that the casinos they write about and suggest to their visitors have the correct licenses in place. It is very important to only gamble at online casinos that are regulated within your country, as this ensures your right to recourse if you are dissatisfied with the service you received. On top of that, licensed and regulated platform providers need to adhere to strict gambling laws to maintain their licensed status within their respective jurisdictions. This ensures that players’ safety is a top priority to the casino and their staff. A good review will include factors such as payment solutions, available currencies, available languages for customers, and the level of customer service provided. With online casinos, punters need to know how long they will wait for their withdrawal as well. Most good review sites will include details on bonus deals from all the leading licensed operators, but always be sure to read the terms and conditions for yourself, to ensure you understand them. Review sites will help you choose the best game for your preferences too. With the multitude of slot games available, rather read a couple of reviews and play demos, if available, before you place your first bet. The important statistics will be on the review as well as the theme and rules. Should slots not interest you, all other casino games will have reviews too. Where your hard-earned money is involved, it is always better to have a good understanding of the game rules. ✓ 2. Manage Your Most Precious Resources: Money and Time Cash-flow mismanagement is the quickest way to get yourself into trouble with gambling and bring an abrupt end to the fun. The habit of setting a monthly and a session budget should be part of your gambling strategy to ensure that you don’t overestimate your betting allowance. Always make sure that you stick to what your budget allows and never overspend. Breaking this rule, even once, is a slippery slope to problematic gambling habits. Another golden rule of money management for gambling is to never wager with borrowed money. Some you win, some you lose. Take this to heart and walk away from your losses. Borrowing money to place a ‘sure bet’ or to cover your losses is a certain trap and one that you should avoid at all costs. Money is not the only precious commodity you own. The mentioned budgets should go further than currency to include how much time you spend on gambling. Time management is just as important, if not more so, and knowing when to stop even if you must ‘end on a high’ or walk away from a big loss will set you up for success in the long run. This, in turn, creates a winning mindset, which is a key component in every successful punter’s arsenal. Make sure that your time spent gambling fits in with your daily schedule and does not take away from other priorities, such as family time, work, etc. If you find it challenging to stick within the budget(s) you set for yourself, consider talking to someone about these challenges. Impulsive gambling can lead to detrimental consequences. ✓ 3. Make Use of Deposit and Time Limits The third point ties in with our discussion above and will make it so much easier to manage your bankroll. Online casinos and gambling regulators created this tool to help punters stick within their means and budgets. This is a great tool that promotes responsible gambling and helps you live to wager another day. Utilising the deposit limit application takes one more thing off your mind, as you only need to focus on the game and your betting strategy. Most veteran gamblers have learnt that it is too easy to give in to temptation and make that extra deposit in the hopes that the tides will turn or that the table is about to turn hot. In the heat of the moment, you may believe that the next spin or hand will bring your fortune but sticking to your budget is a skill to hone and setting a deposit limit helps you do exactly that. Regulators require online casinos to offer punters the deposit limit tool and, in most instances, you can limit yourself in different forms. Daily, weekly, and monthly limits will make it easy to structure your budget. ✓ 4. Check the RTP and Variance RTP, the acronym for Return to Player, refers to the amount the game pays back to the player over thousands of spins. They normally display this value in percentages. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 95%, it will give back 95c for every €1 spent. Essentially, this statistic communicates how much you can expect to lose. The % difference is the house’s edge, which translates to the percentage of player bets retained by the game in the long run. Although it is a theoretical amount, the fact remains that the house always wins. Some games have better return values and lower house edge and naturally, these should be the ones you play. The accepted average RTP for online slot games is around 95.5% but some slots can go as low as 85% as certain regulators allow for it. Finding out what the game’s RTP is will empower you to make better game choices for greater winning potential. Slot games have one more vital element to consider and that is the payout variance, also referred to as the game’s volatility. They rate it from low to high and it has a tremendous impact on how you should manage your bankroll. A low variance game will pay out often, but the returns are usually small. High variance games have erratic payout structures and spinners can experience dry spells and sudden big wins. These games are popular for the big wins but understand that they can stretch your bankroll with wins awarded seldom. ✓ 5. Ignoring Betting Lines on Games Understanding the mechanics of the game you are playing is key to the success of any prospective punter. Betting lines, also known as paylines, are a line-up of specific symbols on which they will reward a payout. Traditional slot machines used to have only one betting line running through the middle of the reels, but most modern slot games can have anything from five to hundreds of paylines with winning combinations in all types of patterns. Some video slot developers allow the player to decide how many lines they want to bet on before the spin and more lines mean more winning opportunities. Most of these slot games have a set number of lines you would need to bet on, so adjust your bet amount accordingly. Usually, there are two different bet settings. One for the currency you bet on and one for how many coins you will use per spin. This mechanic may confuse punters and others may just ignore the fact, but this can push your bet up without you realising it. If you find that your total bet displayed on the game’s dashboard is more than the bet amount you entered, chances are the structure of ‘bet per line’ is in place. These details are available in the paytable menu or the game rules, another point that many punters forget to explore before spinning away. Here you will see what individual symbols will reward you and how many need to match for a pay-out. The payline structure will explain how stakes apply and wins are split. If your bet amount is split between lines, they calculate your payout according to line wager. For example, a €3 bet on a 30-line slot means you are only betting 10c per line and would pay out relative to this. As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks. So always check the mechanics of the game before playing and find a game best suited for your betting style. When the Fun Stops, So Should You Having fun while gambling is about staying in control of the situation. Incorporating the above steps can help gamblers to focus on the entertainment factor while practising responsible gambling habits. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our recommended and reviewed GamblersPick online casinos.
  3. At GamblersPick we are committed to bringing you coverage of the online gambling industry that puts you first. Whether it’s revealing a new online slot, discussing an important industry news event, or reviewing an online casino we look at it all through the lens of what it means to the player. This player-centric mentality was the driving force behind the creation of the GamblersPick Seal of Approval. Most importantly this Seal of Approval cannot be bought, any of the recommended casinos featuring the emblem have earned it! Our vetting process scrutinises the gambling site looking at five key criteria: their trustworthiness, the quality of their customer service, how they secure your private information, available banking options and their library of casino games. These review criteria were not chosen at random but rather because they covered the most important questions players around the world are asking about gambling. Join us as we specifically answer the 20 most frequently asked questions about online casinos and gambling in general: Trustworthiness ✓Are online gambling sites rigged? This is a very valid question given that a casino could rig games in their favour. This is why recommend always playing at a regulated online. Licensed casinos have their payouts and games tested by third-party auditors as part of their licensing agreement which ensures your safety. ✓Which online casinos are best? This all depends on what you like in an online casino. We always recommend playing where you can use your local currency, transact via a local banking option, and get games from your preferred providers - we cover all this information in our casino reviews. Start your journey with our already vetted list of GamblersPick Select casinos. ✓Who regulates online gambling? The online gambling industry now boasts a host of licensed and regulated gambling jurisdictions. These gambling authorities ensure that online casinos operating in their region follow strict safety and fair play guidelines. For a full list of gambling regulators visit our section on licenses. ✓Where is online gambling illegal? This is a broad question as there is a fine line between illegal and unregulated. Some countries do not offer licensed online gambling but still allow citizens to gambling online without fear of prosecution. We recommend checking the legality of online gambling with a local legal professional to avoid any problems. Customer Experience ✓Are gambling winnings taxable? There is no universal law on whether gambling winnings are taxable. We recommend speaking to a local tax professional or visiting the website of your national revenue service to ensure you are complying with local laws. ✓Can gambling affect your credit score? Interestingly it is not gambling that affects your credit score but where you are seen to be spending your money. Gambling is considered a high-risk activity that could cause your credit score to be adjusted down. However, since it is only a fraction of your income or net worth the impact should be negligible. ✓Can gambling make you rich? For a few lucky gamblers winning a progressive jackpot or big poker tournament has made them rich. However, gambling is not a guaranteed way to make money rather it should be seen as a hobby. Gamble for the entertainment factor, and should you hit a big win consider it a stroke of good luck. ✓How do casino odds work? Whenever you play an online casino game there is the chance that you will win despite there being a House edge that ultimately favours the casino. This is expressed as the game's RTP% (return to player percentage). Should a slot offer an RTP of 96% it means that over time that slot will return 96% of the staked amount to players leaving the House with a 4% margin. There is not guarantee that you will get your money back, however, which is why some lose while others win. ✓Do online gamblers ever win? Yes, there are many stories of online gamblers winning big jackpots. The Microgaming progressive jackpot network for example has paid out over €1.4 billion in prize money. However, the real question is not whether players win but how many players win more than spend. We always recommend playing with a budget that you can afford to lose which ensures you will have a good time regardless of the outcome. ✓Where can I find the best online casino welcome bonuses? With so many online casinos on the market, we have taken the time to both review them and give you detailed information on the available welcome bonuses that you could claim. Visit our Bonuses section for access to nearly 300 welcome offers. ✓What is a No Deposit Bonus at online casinos? When you claim a welcome bonus when joining a new casino, you generally receive bonus credits or spins once you make a minimum deposit. In the case of a no deposit bonus, you will get these credits or Free Spins without having to deposit. ✓Are online casino bonuses worth it? When an online casino bonus meets your needs, it is. If you’re looking to test a casino without risking your own money or want to boost your bankroll to extend your playtime, they are great. Some players do not like having to meet wagering requirements before making a withdrawal and in that case, it is better to only play with your own money. Safety ✓Is it safe to play at online casinos? It is safest to play at licensed online casinos as you are guaranteed that they employ the latest online security and encryption measures to protect your personal and banking information. When visiting a gambling site always look for the “lock” symbol in the web address bar as this shows that the site is secure. ✓Can online casinos cheat? The honest answer is that they can. To avoid this play at a reputable online casino that offers games by well-known Game developers and is audited by recognised third-party auditing firms. This ensures multiple levels of compliance and gives you the best chance of a safe and secure experience. Payments ✓Which gambling sites accept PayPal? If you’re looking for a GamblersPick Select PayPal site to gamble with we can recommend visiting PlayOJO Casino. That being said we offer insights into more than 400 payment methods and the casino who offer them to help you find the best banking options and casino partners. ✓Can online casinos refuse to pay out winnings? Not legally no. If you have legitimately won, then the casino owes you your payout as part of the agreement you entered when joining their site. The only caveat to this is if there is an error that occurred in the game which invalidates the win. Should this happen, a reputable online casino will provide proof of the error and in some cases provide some measure of compensation to ease the loss of a big win. Casino Games ✓Where did gambling originate? Nobody knows if early cavemen placed bets on who could take down the biggest woolly mammoth, but historians have found examples of six-sided dice which could be dated back to 3000 BC. It has also been proven that early Chinese civilisation held lotteries as far back as 2300 BC. However, casinos, as we know them today first, appeared in Italy in the 17th century. ✓Which online gambling game has the best odds? The three casino games with the best odds for players are without doubt Baccarat, roulette and craps which have a House edge of 1.06%, 1.35% and 1.4% respectively. Slots are the most prolific online casino game type but generally hold a 3%-5% advantage for the casino. ✓What are the different types of gambling? The term “gambling” covers a wide variety of activities, which not only includes games of chance like slots, roulette and even lottery but also games of skill like poker and sports betting. ✓Are online casino games fair? Casino games from reputable providers like Microgaming, Playtech, Evolution and others use random number generators which use the law of probability to ensure random and therefore fair outcomes. As part of their licensing agreement, these providers are audited by third parties which adds an additional layer of accountability and security.
  4. While the adage "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" would have you believe that there is no real difference between gambling online or at your local casino, that simply is not true. While land-based casinos do offer certain benefits like the potential to get free drinks, be comped a meal, and the experience of a night out “on the town”, playing at an online casino offers far more benefits for both experienced and beginner gamblers to enjoy. Why Gambling Online is the Best Here are 10 reasons why we believe online casinos trump their land-based peers every day of the week: 1. Perfect Environment for New Players Most online casinos offer free to play versions of the real money games they have on offer. This is the perfect way for new players to get to grips with the mechanics, features and bet sizes of any game they intend to play for real money later. Not only can you play these games for free, but each game comes with handy in-game hints and a detailed help file that explains everything from what each button does to how wins are determined and the games specific return to player percentage. 2. Online Casinos Offer Better Payouts The simple fact of the matter is that the House always has an advantage, whether playing online or at a land-based gambling venue – the trick is optimising that advantage as best possible. This is where online casinos beat out their brick and mortar counterpart’s hands down. Land-based casinos must cover the costs of running sprawling complexes which include restaurants, bars, clubs and all the staff to man these various activities. Online casinos only have support staff and tech-related costs which cost a fraction of what it takes to run an offline casino. This is why online casinos offer payouts of around 96%, this means the average house edge is as low as 4%. 3. Incredibly Range of Online Slots Slot machines are by far the most popular game type whether you choose to play online or offline, this is due to their wide range of themes, interactive features, payline options and jackpot win potential. Plus, individual developers each offer something unique to give their slots even more appeal. Big Time Gaming created their Megaways system offering up to 117,649 ways to win, Microgaming offers incredible progressive jackpot wins on their Mega Moolah slots and so much more. 4. Gamble When It Suits You Unlike online casinos which are open all year round, not all local casinos offer 24/7 access to their games. By playing online you can hop onto your favourite slot machine or play a few hands of blackjack whenever it is best for you. Oftentimes it is also simply not possible to coordinate getting to a casino venue at conventional times given the demands placed on our time by work, travel, family and more. In this instance being able to relax over a cup of coffee and a few spins of the reels when you have downtime available to you is an important feature. When you add this to the fact that you can play on your mobile device online gambling offers the most comprehensive, customer-first, gambling experience you could hope for. 5. Live and Play on Your Mobile The mobile device is far more than just a phone these days, we all run our lives from these tiny handheld computers. Online casinos understand this and offer an engaging gambling experience right there in the palm of your hand. Best of all thanks to high-quality apps and HTML5 these casinos offer the same entertainment on your device as they do when you play on your laptop or desktop computer. Allowing you to gamble whenever and wherever you want to. 6. There is Always a Seat for You A very real downside to gambling at a land-based venue, especially in smaller towns, is limited seating or access to popular games. At an online casino, whether you are playing at peak traffic times or in the middle of the night, your favourite casino table or online slot will be waiting for you to dive right in. This is equally true of buying additional casino chips while playing your favourite game. Online casinos allow you to easily top your chip stack from within the game you are playing rather than expecting you to get out of the action to go get more chips as you would at your local casino. 7. Fantastic Casino Bonus Selection Receiving bonuses at a land-based casino is highly unlikely for a new player. All new players at reputable online casinos will receive some form of welcome bonus. This bonus acts both as a gift basket to make you feel at home and as a safety net with which you can test out casino games without risking your own money. These casino bonuses will include deposit match bonuses, Free Spins, no deposit bonuses, wager free bonuses or a combination of these. Once you are a regular at the casino you will be able to avail yourself of reload bonuses, cashback and Loyalty bonuses. 8. Choose When to Play with Others A big part of ensuring your mental health though, especially during lockdowns is having the choice to play with others when you need contact and give yourself space when that is more important. One of the fastest-growing niches within the online gaming industry is the live casino sector. This allows players to step away from purely RNG casino games to enjoy the experience of interacting with a live dealer and the players around the table. As the market appetite for live games has grown so developers like Evolution Gaming have stepped up to grow their selection beyond traditional games like blackjack, roulette, and craps, to include custom games like Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal Live and Mega Ball. 9. Protect Your Privacy with Bitcoin For players who are looking to further enhance the privacy and security offered by online gambling, there is the option to gamble at a Bitcoin casino. These sites are built on the blockchain, offer provably fair gambling, and ensure that your transactions are hidden from prying eyes thanks to Bitcoin’s incredible encryption. This is over and above any other measures, one can take online to protect their search histories and online banking by using virtual private networks (VPN) to connect to the internet. 10. Safety First When making the decision whether to play online or go to a local casino one must consider the potential health risks. Given the current situation we all find ourselves in, it is prudent to avoid crowds of people and rather play from home. With the ease of access to multiple casinos and swathes of cutting edge casino games, not to mention the bonuses and 24/7 personal support, there is very little reason to play at a land-based casino when with the click of a button you can enjoy world-class entertainment from the comfort of your home.
  5. The online gambling world is a massive industry worldwide and probably one of the most competitive digital markets around. With tons of content released each year at online gambling sites, picking a game as a new player can soon become an overwhelming task. Of course, some of the more prominent industry leaders tend to set the trends, but with the advances in technology of late, even the smaller companies can punch way above their weight. Every now and then, one gaming studio pushes the envelope just that little bit further than their competitors to introduce a game that stands a class apart from the rest. These innovative marvels demand royal mention and their providers deserve praise. It is here that the industry’s gaming awards associations play their part in giving credit, where it is due. Industry Instigators The three foremost gaming awards organisations in the iGaming market are the EGR (eGaming Review) Awards, the IGA (International Gaming Awards), and the Global Gaming Awards (GGA). Should a game provider or casino operator walk away with an acknowledgement of excellence from any of these icons, you can assume that they have dared to venture into the realms of cutting-edge development, service, and innovation. Remembering the Remarkable In an attempt to remember the best entertainment the online casino industry has brought our way, we’ve gathered a list of the most remarkable award-winning games to feature on our desktops and mobile phones in the past 20 years. The following games have proven to be leaders in their time, many of which have received legendary status in the industry and are still widely played today. ✓ King Kong Cash by Atronic (IGA Slot Game of 2008) King Kong Cash deserves an honourable mention here. The game was a VLT phenomenon that boasted new and innovative concepts within the branded slot genre. It was trendy on European casino floors thanks to its 4-level progressive jackpot and a free spin round that were based off scenes from the iconic 2005 King Kong movie. While Altonic no longer exists, their legacy was carried on by GTECH, which is now an IGT subsidiary. ✓ Book of Ra by Novamatic (IGA Slot Game of 2009) This Egyptian-themed game is probably the most popular title of its genre. It has inspired so many copycat versions over the years, such as Book of Dead by Play’n GO. Even so, players keep flocking back to the original. It won its award based off the back of its fabulous Scatter/Wild symbol, which when triggering the free spin bonus, selects a random symbol to become a special expanding icon for that feature round. Each time a symbol lands on the reels and can complete a winning combo, it will expand to cover its reel, thereby providing more winning chances. Combine that bonus round with a Gamble Feature, and Scatter wins, and you have a recipe for success. ✓ Big Bad Wolf by Quickspin (EGR Game of the Year 2013) Quickspin rose to the occasion in 2013 with this title. It has since become their flagship game, having won the EGR award based on the fantastic visual design and animated involvement from the characters on screen. It truly is a stunning sight. Based on the story of the Three Little Pigs, this title offers a flurry of features, including Big Bad Wolf Free Spins, where the K-9 foe attempts to blow down your house. Most notable, however, is the cascading/tumbling reel feature after every win. While many slots use this mechanic today, it was a new concept back in 2013. ✓ Immersive Roulette by Evolution Gaming (EGR Game of the Year 2014) Live Dealer casino games only gained traction around 2009, with the growing momentum of Evolution Gaming. The introduction of Immersive Roulette celebrates one of their award-winning milestones, and it has redefined the immersive quality and innovation of Live Casino games forever. Unlike their other standard Roulette game versions at the time, this one uses multiple close-up camera angles to immerse the player into every action taking place in a single game round. This was an innovative feature unheard of in the gaming world at the time. Not only is each movement captured, but it is rendered in High Definition for the clearest shots around. ✓ Spinata Grande by NetEnt (EGR Game of the Year 2015) NetEnt needs no introduction to online casino gaming enthusiasts. This beautiful Mexican-themed game got the attention of millions of players around the globe in 2015 and continues to thrill gamblers today. The awesome soundtracks, effects, and animations are very engaging. It truly feels like you are standing on a dusty road in a Mexican village playing for money. The dogs barking, passers-by whistling, sounds of pick-up trucks driving by, and the guitar playing the distance are fully immersive Of course, true to NetEnt’s style, the visuals are not the only award-worthy detail. The features are harnessing too. These include Colossal Symbol wins, a Mini-Slot feature, and Free Spins. Just like a pinata, this game contains many surprises when opened. ✓ Jurassic Park by Microgaming (GGA Digital Product of the Year 2015) The Steven Spielberg movie is a cult classic that has driven the franchise to produce a series of great films based on its storyline. Trust Microgaming to bring it alive on the gambling screen and scoop up the accolades at the same time! All your favourite cast members and dinosaurs are available in full view for you to see. You can relive the cinematics of the movie through the energetic soundtrack and vivid visuals presented in the game. As you play, the screen moves through the forest in search of wild and dangerous sights with winning combo animations bringing each dinosaur alive. The game is no slouch in the bonus game department either, which may have been a real catalyst in the decision-making process for the award. There are 5 distinct free spin rounds based on 5 different dinosaurs from the movie. They all provide free games with different add-on modifiers, such as Wild Reels, Multiplier Wilds, Running Wilds, Mystery Multipliers, and Winning Wilds. Welcome to Jurassic Park! ✓ Guns ‘n Roses by NetEnt (EGR Game of the Year 2016) Arguably one of the best rock bands in history is immortalised on the reels of this slot by NetEnt. Yes, there are tremendous features when playing Guns ‘n Roses, such as Appetite for Destruction Wilds, Legend Spins, Solo Multiplier, Encore Free Spins, and a Crowd Pleaser Bonus. But we all know why this game won the game of the year award in 2016 – BECAUSE THE SOUNDTRACK ROCKS! Set before a stage, while you roll the reels, you can select one of 5 of the band’s best songs to play along with you. Once a track is done, and your foot tapping has warmed up, or your air guitar is in tune, you can select another song to rock along to. You simply won’t want to stop playing until you have heard all the jams. Enjoy songs like Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Child of Mine, Paradise City, November Rain, and Chinese Democracy. Here is one hint if you are going to give it a go – wear headphones and crank up the volume! ✓ Wild Toro by ELK Studios (EGR Game of the Year 2017) Elk Studios turns the brutal sport of bullfighting on its head in this humorous and quirky slot game. That’s right, in this game the bull always wins, which is probably why it has so many fans and walked away with the game of the year award only 3 years ago. Designed with real Spanish flavour, the game transports you across Europe to enjoy the bull defeat the matador in a flurry of features. These include Walking Wilds, Extra Wilds, and bonus Re-spins of the reels. The mix of authentic sounds and visuals combined with a great maths model and feature selection made this game the winning contender in its class and a firm favourite in the Elk Studios library to this day. ✓ Lighting Roulette by Evolution Gaming (EGR Game of the Year 2018) Innovations in Live Dealer gaming has dominated the online industry in the last few years. Lightning Roulette has seen great success since its introduction to the market because it combines the table gaming world with RNG jackpot entertainment. No longer is 35:1 the best reward for a straight-up bet. If the lightning selects the winning number prior to the spin, and your chips are in place, you could be looking at rewards of between 50x and 500x your stake in prizes. This unique concept is a crowd favourite, earning it the game award by EGR in 2018. ✓ Monopoly Live by Evolution Gaming (IGA Game of the Year 2020) Everyone’s favourite Hasbro board game, Monopoly, came to the Live Casino world thanks to a partnership between the game maker and Evolution Gaming. The new gambling variant is a remake of the famous Dreamcatcher wheel game with unique Monopoly game elements. This innovation combines the two worlds of live game action and augmented reality to produce something that players had never seen before. It is evident by Evolution’s actions, that boldness and chance-taking can lead to significant payoffs, as this game scooped up the International Gaming Award in 2020. Ponder the Pedigree For the ultimate in online casino action, we recommend that you revisit some of these iconic game selections to remind yourself of what true ingenuity and quality is like on the market. Feel free to play some of these titles at one of our Gambler’s Pick partner casinos for a safe and secure gaming experience.
  6. The world can be divided into two categories: The known and the unknown. In the unknown category, you’ll find a range of impossible and strange occurrences and experiences. One of these is the existence of Aliens and their strange relations with humankind. The term UFO was coined in 1953 by the United States Air Force, and this term has become one that runs hand in hand with the existence of aliens and extraterrestrial beings. The presence of aliens and the conspiracy theories surrounding them are all linked to UFOs and in a sense, the United States. A significant source of theory and speculation is the infamous Area 51 located in the Nevada desert. This location is “top-secret” and used by the military for unknown operations. Over the years, rumours have arisen, leading many to believe that aliens can be found within this secret space. To this day, it is still unclear what really happens in Area 51 as it was only formally acknowledged in 2013. In essence, the CIA was looking for a secure location to test the Lockheed U-2 spy plane in 1955. The location afterwards became known as Area 51. About a decade earlier, there were 2,000 UFO sightings reported worldwide. However, these reports were mainly made by the Swedish Military. Welcome to Roswell You may have heard mention of the infamous Roswell in New Mexico. Made famous by an incident where a rancher, Max Brazzle, went out to check his pasture and came across debris that had crashed there. He allegedly discovered unusual materials and bodies that were not human on the ground. According to some, the technology available to us today is made possible due to reverse engineering from that strange occurrence. Sure, technology is out of this world but could it really be linked to Roswell? Strangely, a week before Brazzle found the debris in his field, the first UFO sighting took place in the US on June 24, 1947. Three years later, Area 51 was created, and in the ’90s the Air Force published records acknowledging the events connected to Roswell, New Mexico. According to reports, it was nuclear test surveillance balloons and not UFOs. For years, Area 51 remained known as a training base for the Air Force, but this didn’t stop the reporting of strange sightings. No More Denial Year after year, UFO sighting after UFO sighting, there was always another story or excuse to deny the existence of aliens and UFOs. To this day, Pentagon’s once covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects remains underway. The program has been renamed and buried in the Office of Naval Intelligence where any strange encounters with unidentified aerial vehicles continue to be studied. While the program is not up for discussion, the existence thereof has sparked excitement within many. With government resources going to this program, many have strengthened their belief in the presence of beings that live in a world outside of our own. Despite the excitement, Pentagon Officials have stated that the main reason for the program is to collect and report on sightings of unidentified aerial vehicles. Some of these findings must be shared with the public every six months by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. According to Former US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, the focus of the program is to seek out any potential threats via breakout aviation technology. While there is hope to find evidence of vehicles from other worlds, the program was mainly created for protection. The program is no longer classified, but the information and activity still are. Aliens, UFOs and Abductions Aliens and UFOs are all the rage, and over the years there have even been stories of abductions. In 1957, Antonio Vilas Boas claimed he was abducted from his farm in Minas Gerais, Brazil. According to Boas, he was examined by humanoid aliens and had relations with an alien woman aboard an egg-shaped UFO. In the same year, several people in Levelland, Texas reported sightings of a large, bright, egg-shaped object. During the sighting, about 10 cars experienced issues with their lights and engines. Another reported abduction was that of Betty and Barney Hill in 1961. The two were abducted South of Lancaster on Route 3 in New Hampshire. According to the Hills, they were abducted and medically examined by small aliens after they saw their spacecraft. In 1965, two police officers from Pretoria, South Africa noticed a shiny, copper-coloured craft landing on the street. At the same time, their patrol car up and flew away while witnesses state they saw a red ball and a bright light in the sky. One of the most significant sightings was in 1965 in Pennsylvania when thousands saw a large fireball in six states and Canada. It caused sonic booms near Pittsburgh, and the US military recovered the object with much secrecy from the town of Kecksberg. In 1966, cameraman Leman Hanson managed to get 10 seconds of colour footage of a UFO on the Catalina Island of the coast of California. In 2006, a saucer-shaped, unit craft was seen hovering over a Chicago O’Hare Airport Terminal. It’s said to have shot up at a speed that left a clear blue hole in the clouds. Betting on UFOs Over the years, there have been many strange sightings and, in most cases, logical or bizarre explanations. For most, the existence of aliens is an idea, a belief, or a fantasy that needs to be a reality. It’s something that we want to believe in, even if we haven’t seen it with our own eyes. Any strange occurrence or object is immediately linked to aliens or extraterrestrial life. Maybe the biggest reason is that we don’t want to be alone, or we want to know that there are more life forces out there. The unfortunate reality is that we might never get an answer, living only with the possibility or belief of UFOs and alien existence for the days to come. This seems to be enough for most as many take advantages of this and even place bets at top sportsbooks! Some, such as Paddy Power, enable you to place bets on the likelihood of discovering alien life. Not only do you get to embrace the theories and conspiracies surrounding extraterrestrial life, but you could also beat the odds and grab a significant cash out too. Out of this World Entertainment While there are many films, video games, and TV series that revolve around aliens and the unknown, there’s no need to miss out on the fun at your favourite casino. Several great space-themed Online Slots will capture the imagination and give you the chance to win big with every spin. ✓ Cosmic Fortune by NetEnt - Blast off with this 2014 slot release that features an adorable space adventurer. Designed with 5 reels and 15 paylines, you’ll have access to Free Spins and impressive bonus rounds thanks to NetEnt. ✓ Max Damage by Microgaming – If aliens get a little too close for comfort, you can count on Max Damage to protect planet Earth! Action-packed and filled with fun ways to win, this slot has 243 ways to win as well as free spins. ✓ Galacnica by Spinmatic – Reels filled with colourful aliens on a planet far, far away is the playground found on this online slot. Create combinations filled with crazy aliens and win both ways while you spin the reels. Visit any of our top online casinos and play extraterrestrial casino games for out-of-this-world fun!
  7. Gambling has an interesting past and has been prevalent around the world since ancient times. As long as people have been competitive, crude ways of gambling have been around. Casino gaming is only a few hundred years old and has undergone many facets of change over the years. Commercial casinos are usually tied back to the USA eventually. American gambling culture is like no other in the world. Gambling in the Old West, in grubby saloons, has become a stereotypical image of traditional Americana but travel a little way south and you will find that paddlewheel riverboats provide a succinct betting pictorial as well. Famous movies, like Mel Gibson’s 1994 film Maverick, pays tribute to the riverboat casino world and provides a great picture of the sort of shady environment that was attached to the industry in its earlier days. While paddlewheel boats represent a vintage era in American history, they are still found in number along the Mississippi River, providing gambling entertainment in the modern era. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax revenues in six states along the river lines, including Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, and Missouri. History of Riverboat Casinos In the 19th Century, there was a strong trade route established between the towns lying across America’s longest river – the Mississippi. As a result, the waterways were busy with traditional paddlewheel vessels, which traders and passengers would use to commute effortlessly along the trade route. They accommodated mostly wealthy merchants and businessmen in the beginning, though professional gamblers soon made these vessels their marketplace. Gambling was first introduced to the vessels as a cure for boredom on the often tediously long journeys up the waterway. Passengers would use their available spare time to engage in games of chance, like poker and other card offerings. The presence of money and the need for entertainment made gambling the natural choice among the elite. As these gambling pastimes became more prevalent, it started attracting professional gamblers from far and wide. Gambling professionals were not well tolerated though and were regarded largely as cheats. Because the waters were not regulated, it allowed for gamblers to move around unchecked. This resulted in strong reactions from the public who were commonly bamboozled out of their money. It is understood that ‘lynch-law’ was used to deal with alleged transgressors at the time. The Decline in Riverboat usage Towards the end of the 19th century, railroads superseded boat travel as a mode of transport. Train travel was far faster and proved more convenient for business. That along with the American Civil war stymied the riverboat transport business in the states. As a result, the riverboat industry turned towards the leisure market, offering travellers the opportunity of taking cruises – a form of escape from the mundanities of life. The gambling affiliation attached to the boats never died out though and gambling became a primary form of entertainment on these cruises. The Laws Many states started outlawing gambling within their regions to protect their residents from problem gambling and to curb gambling associated crimes. Because the riverways were effectively a borderline between states, the boats would take advantage of the fact that they were treated like a no man’s land which provided the perfect grey area jurisdiction for betting trade. Gambling was practiced with no interference from the authorities. Most forms of gambling were outlawed in the USA by the end of the Second World War and it wasn’t until the 1980s before the first states started legalising gambling over waterways. Iowa was the pioneer for the introduction of this form of regulated gambling in 1989 but was followed by Illinois and Louisiana in 1991 and Mississippi, Indiana, and Missouri by the end of 1993. In each of these areas, casino gaming was expressly forbidden on land. Only boats on areas of water could offer this form of play. Initially, they could only offer slots and table games while the boats were cruising on the waterways, but later on, it was decided that docked boats could offer gaming too, which was far safer and more secure for the consumers. The purpose of restricting gambling to boats on waterways was done to limit the geographic and economic scope of gambling within the states. This way, the industry could be better controlled. Unfortunately, there is a lack of uniformity in the industry from one border to the next. Areas in the laws that vary include things such as: The appearance of the boats and the technical requirements: In Louisiana, the boats must resemble the traditional paddlewheel vessels of the 19th century and must be driven either fully or partially by a paddlewheel mechanism. The number of passengers the vessel must be able to carry also varies greatly from one region to the next. Betting Restrictions: Bet limits and loss limits are set by each state independently and may vary greatly. Geographical Restrictions: In most of the states, it is only lawful for gambling to take place while the boat is in transit, however, some have questioned the safety of this and allow the ships to be docked at the time of game commencement as long as the boat is still on the water. Licenses: The number of authorised casinos is set independently by each state. Where Louisiana will not license more than 15 casinos, Illinois will only grant up to 10 permits. Each of the 6 states that have legalised Riverboat gambling have done so independently which has led to these differences and variations. Riverboat Casinos Today Over three decades in and the riverboat casino industry is still thriving and producing strong revenues for each state. They remain a great avenue for job creation while providing an iconic traditional American experience – one that speaks to the heritage of the country. As of 2018, there are 63 Riverboat Casinos in 6 states. This includes both docked boats and those that traverse the rivers while gaming is at hand. These are however not the only form of River Casinos available anymore. Several casinos are located on boats situated in a moat or a waterway that has adjacent access to the main waterway. The government has turned a blind eye to these, as they prove lucrative for the coffers. In some areas, the government has allowed water-based casinos to move away from boats. These operators have been allowed to build their casino establishments on stilts above the river, as long as they are situated over the water as stated in the legislation. Perhaps the biggest factor for the change in the scope of riverboat casinos was Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm winds destroyed most of the riverboat casinos and their facilities along the Gulf Coast of the country. In some states, such as Mississippi, the legislation was changed to allow the casinos to be rebuilt on land if they were within proximity to the waterway. Most of the destroyed operators have rebuilt their casinos. One of a Kind Experience The old-school atmosphere of Riverboat casinos provides players with a totally unique gambling experience, allowing them to traverse back in time and experience true American history. The traditional architecture ensures that all gamers can experience what it was like to gamble over 100 years ago. You’ve seen it in the movies, but you can experience it in real life, too. The boats offer luxury amenities, including bars, restaurants, spas, gyms, hotels, and access to hundreds of slot games and skill-based gaming tables, like poker, blackjack, and roulette. Online Riverboat Dream Such is the premium experience of Riverboat gambling that the theme has managed to traverse the realms of the physical and has found a place to wow digital casino gamers via the internet at online casino sites like the River Belle. If you cannot travel to the United States at this time, the online casino owners have made sure that you can enjoy the next best thing from the comfort of your own home. River Belle has been around since 1997 and was designed with the authentic riverboat feel in place. It provides all the modern perks you have come to expect from online casinos, such as improved return to player ratios, competitive bonuses, and modern, engaging slots and virtual table games. Ride the River to the End The riverboat legacy holds a special place in the hearts of sentimental Americans and there is no evidence that this type of casino experience will die out any time soon. While the legislation on this form of gambling seems to evolve every few years, the base values remain intact, in a well-regulated and now safe gambling environment. The industry seeks to maintain its heritage in one hand while grasping for modern convenience in the other, ensuring customer satisfaction all the way.
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