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  1. If you’re not someone who follows gambling superstitions and beliefs in the impact of astrological events on modern life you may not have realised that 2024 is a Leap Year. In this deep dive into these extra 24 hours, we learn more about its origins, if there is any way it can help you get lucky when gambling online, where in the world it is considered to be lucky or unlucky, and some unusual facts surrounding how it is observed and celebrated. The Origins of the Modern Leap Year The origin of the extra day we celebrate every fourth “leap” year is far more banal and scientific than its superstition-filled celebrations might suggest. During the reign of Julius Caesar, a team of Roman and Greek mathematicians calculated that the planet takes 365.25 days to rotate on its axis. The Roman use of a lunar had one major flaw: it consisted of only 355 days. The decision was made to adopt the Gregorian calendar, the same one we use today, which is a solar calendar and could easily accommodate 365 days a year. Realising it wasn’t a perfect solution, the emperor decreed that the quarters would be tallied together and applied to each fourth year, creating Leap Years. Why February would ultimately be the recipient of the bonus day is unknown. What historians can tell us is that the Romans despised the month of February and had a long history of adding and removing days from it as they toyed with various calendar systems. Can the Leap Year Bring You Good Luck? As expected, as knowledge of this extra day travelled the world, so did the number of superstitions surrounding its ability to bring good luck to those who trusted it. Here are some of how the Leap Year can be lucky for you: Safe Travels: It is believed that travellers who begin their journey during a Leap Year will experience safe travels, favourable conditions, and find good fortune. Born Under a Lucky Star: Children born during a leap year are considered by many cultures to be blessed by their local deity. Some nations even considered them to be assigned unique talents such as charm, good luck, and other gifts. Spin to Win: Gambling during a Leap Year, but especially on February 29th, promises bigger wins and better luck, whether playing Online Slots, table games like blackjack, or even betting on sports. Cross Your Palms: Leap Year investments and business trips were once believed to be imbued with excellent chances of success and higher overall returns. Whether the extra day added more time for success of the gods smiled on the bold, we'll never know for sure. While we love delving into various cultures and their beliefs around good luck charms and other ways to ensure winning big when gambling, it is all in good fun, to ensure you make the most of your time at an online casino, always set a budget, don't chase losses, and leave when the fun stops. 3 Unlucky Leap Year Curses to Avoid The flip side to the 'good luck' coin is how it could turn sour. Here are some bad luck choices and events believed to be connected to this unique extra day. Greeks believe that getting married during a Leap Year is bad luck. The same belief is applied to getting divorced. In both instances, these special years are thought to limit one's access to happiness and contentment. Having a baby on February 29th is considered an ill omen in Scotland. The child is believed to have drawn the attention of the fae realm, which never bodes well for mere mortals. German farmers face every Leap Year with trepidation, expecting it to offer poor harvests and harsh climates. A local proverb says: “A Leap Year will be a cold year.” The rest of the world is more optimistic about the 29th of February than the above countries, with most traditions and superstitions having a positive outcome for those who follow them. Bizarre Leap Year Facts To Impress Your Friends Despite its bland but historically interesting origins, Leap Years have captured the imaginations of the masses and, over time, grew into magic and mysticism. It also resulted in several unusual beliefs: Turning Marriage Proposals Upside Down: Leap Year celebrations were also very progressive for their times. As religious leaders did not recognise the extra day as ‘God-given’, it did not require regular adherence to tradition, allowing ladies to be the ones to propose marriage. Saying No Marriage Carried a Fine: To ensure they were always lucky in love, an edict was passed in the UK that any man declining such a proposal would gift the spurned woman no less than twelve pairs of gloves – to hide her ringless fingers from public scrutiny. Be Kind to Your Elders during the Leap Year: Taiwanese culture requires that family elders receive special meals and are treated with significant levels of care and respect during a Leap Year. They were to be fed a special meal which promised health and good fortune to counteract the chances of passing on due to the year being longer. Enjoy a Special Leap Year Newspaper: To protest the digitisation of the newspaper industry, a new French satirical publication, a Bougie du Sapeur, was launched in 1980. The newspaper offers a tongue-in-cheek look at life in France and boasts a traditional crossword that has become a fan favourite – the only catch is that since the paper is only published during a Leap Year, it takes four years to see if you correctly resolved the puzzle. Sip a Smooth Leap Year Cocktail: The famous London bartender Harry Craddock created a celebratory drink in honour of the Leap Year. The cocktail was first served to guests at the Savoy Hotel on February 29th, 1928. According to its bio in the 'Savoy Cocktail Book', it is "responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail that has ever been mixed". To try this historic drink yourself, add 2 ounces of gin, 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, and 1 dash of fresh lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for ten seconds and strain into a chilled glass. 8 Lucky Gambling Superstitions The Leap Year is not the only time gamblers rely on good luck charms, the will of the fates, and other superstitions to get lucky at the tables. Here are 8 casino-related beliefs to enhance your luck: In China, it is considered good luck to wear red when gambling. The colour is considered to be auspicious and draw wealth. Carry a lucky charm to ensure you win big. Players wear jewellery, carry rabbit feet, and rely on four-leaf clovers to boost their chances of winning. In Italy, it is believed that eating lentils before gambling is good luck. The superstition is based on lentils being shaped like coins or casino chips. Gambling, according to one’s star sign, is popular in the United States, with high rollers and jackpot hunters booking trips to Las Vegas based on their “lucky months”. Casino players in Egypt consider effigies portraying scarab beetles to be good luck. The jury is still out on whether this carries over to slots containing scarab beetle symbols. Itchy hands are a popular myth said to foretell that you will receive money. In some cultures, this makes gambling with itchy hands very lucky. Gambling in South America believes in hanging a traditional ceremonial blade, known as a tumi, on their walls when staying at a casino. The device once used for trepanation is now considered to draw wealth and good fortune. Playing lucky numbers is a way of life for some punters. While this belief is held in many countries, it is particularly prevalent in Asia, where, among others, the number is auspicious. It is such a popular good luck number that Casino-on-Net rebranded to 888 Casino when entering the market. What are some of the local myths, legends, and superstitions from your country that are followed in an attempt to defy the odds and guarantee winning outcomes when gambling online?
  2. With decades of experience in the online gambling industry, we have seen some incredible changes and innovations. Experiencing the evolution from simple table games to stunning video slots, the rise of live casino gaming and, eventually, the transition to blockchain gaming has been mindblowing. We even remember when the most significant decision you had to make was whether to make your first deposit when claiming a welcome bonus via a credit card or this crazy new development called a web wallet. One of the most impactful human creations since the internet is the blockchain. Without it, we would not have cryptocurrencies and the doors they have opened for new business opportunities and restriction-free international online gambling. Despite an increasing understanding and adoption of the blockchain and cryptocurrency, one sticking point for many ‘hodlers’ is the difference between decentralised cryptos and stablecoins. Join us as we explain the differences, discuss what separates them and lay out a guide for choosing the best option for your crypto-gambling needs. What is a Decentralised Token? When Satoshi Nakamoto first created the Bitcoin (BTC) concept, he aimed to give people back economic sovereignty. The idea was to create a new form of currency that existed solely on the blockchain. Any single government, corporation, or individual could not control this new cryptocurrency. Instead, those who chose crypto would determine its value, how it was used, and how it would be stored. It was the financial version of democracy where the idea of “for the people, by the people” would finally ring true. Holistically the concept he created is called Decentralised Finance (DeFi), of which decentralised tokens like Bitcoin are its units of measure. As anyone who has watched BTC's market fluctuations will know, the cornerstone of this type of coin is that its market value depends solely on the community's perception and its willingness to invest. This does, however, mean that Bitcoin prices are prone to wild spikes and drops as investors respond to scarcity scares, FOMO (fear of missing out – significantly when prices increase) and general market bias (interest rate hikes in the US cause BTC prices to rise as investors shift their cash from the dollar to crypto looking for a safe haven from rising costs). What is a Stablecoin? While a stablecoin also exists on the blockchain and is therefore defined as a cryptocurrency, it is the antithesis of Nakamoto’s plan for a self-governed economic system. Following fiat currencies’ footsteps, stablecoins have their market value linked to a real-world currency, precious minerals, or another tangible asset. One of the most well-known stablecoins is Tether (USDT) which has its value linked closely to the US dollar. When transacting online with USDT, you are guaranteed that 1 USDT will be worth $1, making it a far safer digital coin for day-to-day business than a decentralised token like BTC, which can change its value by hundreds of dollars in a few minutes. February 2023 also saw the first Euro-backed stablecoin hit the market. The European-facing stablecoin named Euro Coin (EUROC) aims to offer continental online businesses a functional digital currency that allows them to do business without concern for conversions between USD and EUR. Countries looking to create central bank digital currency (CBDC) versions of their fiat currency are using stablecoin technology. The plan is for many countries to introduce digital versions of their local currency to reduce the costs associated with minting, allow more opportunities for the unbanked, and improve overall transaction and processing speeds. How Do the Two Differ in Practical Terms? When determining which form of cryptocurrency is best suited for your needs, it is helpful to understand their polarising points. Here is how decentralised tokens and stablecoins differ from one another: Volatility: Bitcoin and other DeFi tokens are prone to significant swings in their values. This can make them challenging to use for gambling when looking to practice responsible, budget-driven gambling. Cost of Transacting: While DeFi and stablecoins are processed on the blockchain, current evaluations show stablecoin transactions are cheaper. According to a NASDAQ review: “Transactions using stablecoins can cost as little as a fraction of a penny, regardless of value, and are typically processed in a matter of seconds.” Transaction Speed: Given their limited scope, stablecoin transactions are faster than decentralised tokens. The faster speeds and lower costs make them an excellent starting point for new crypto gamblers. Token Liquidity: Decentralised tokens are traded far more frequently and, therefore, have higher liquidity. This makes them easier to convert into other cryptos or fiat currencies. Privacy and Anonymity: Nakamoto’s vision for a self-governed global crypto economy had user anonymity baked into its foundation, whereas stablecoins are run by corporations and banks and require full user identity disclosure when signing up. Financial Risk: Stablecoins are risk-averse due to their pegged values. It is the digital equivalent of putting money under your mattress. Freedom: At its core, Bitcoin is about freedom from government oversight and market manipulation. Decentralised currencies allow users to determine how they use their wealth. Market Adoption: Decentralised tokens have been available longer than stablecoins, so there is more opportunity to use them for entertainment and business. Secure Value: As the name suggests, Stablecoins provide users access to a digital currency with relatively stable market value, making it easy to manage and use for daily online transactions. Existing Ecosystems: Given the time invested in understanding, monetising, and protecting valuable coins like Bitcoin, the DeFi space offers an extensive suite of tools, wallets, services, and infrastructure aimed at making its use as easy and safe as possible. Once you have a clear picture of which coins offer you the tools and infrastructure you want, the next step is understanding your personal crypto needs. Choosing the Best Crypto for Your Needs To simplify everything we have covered so far, all digital financial tokens on the blockchain are cryptocurrencies. What separates decentralised tokens from stablecoins is whether a single entity owns them. When it comes to choosing the best crypto for online gambling, it comes to: Your appetite for risk – playing a decentralised coin like BTC comes with the risk of major market fluctuations. Cashing out crypto wins as the value per token increases is a bonus, but the opposite is also true. The size of your gambling budget – players with budget constraints might find stablecoins more appealing as the association with a fiat currency makes it easy to manage. How you want to use crypto – if gambling online is only one part of how you use crypto, you will be more likely to wager with DeFi. However, stablecoins might be best if you only buy tokens to play online. How tech-savvy you are – securing precious decentralised tokens means using multiple non-custodial wallets like Exodus or even investing in cold wallets (USB-type devices that store crypto offline). On the contrary, small amounts of stablecoin can be left in your casino account with little concern for their security. Your local regulations – many countries are still defining their online gambling and cryptocurrency laws. Choosing the right crypto-type and online gambling platform is essential when navigating these real-world regulations. We recommend reviewing these factors before choosing which type of token to invest in, as it will have a financial impact and require you to become familiar with new concepts and technologies. How to Choose the Best Crypto Casino! To help you get started in your crypto casino journey, we have handpicked three gambling sites that we recommend reading up on and joining if you like what you see. ✓Bitcoin Games Casino (5-star rated) Bitcoin Games is the official online casino of the marketing leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Signing up with this highly-rated crypto casino will give you access to over 2300 casino games, which you can enjoy on your desktop pc or mobile device. You will also be eligible for a welcome bonus of up to 1 BTC! DeFi Currencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, XRP Ripple, Litecoin, XLM Stellar Stablecoins: Tether, BNB Binance Coin Visit the Bitcoin Games Casino page to read the full review and learn more about the bonus offer. ✓1xBit Casino (5-star rated) This Curacao-licensed crypto casino is incredibly popular with the GamblersPick community, garnering it a five-star review. The site features more than 2000 high-quality casino games, a total of 30 DeFi and stablecoins, and an incredible bonus of up to 7 BTC! DeFi Currencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Dash and many more. Stablecoins: Tether, TrueUSD, USDCoin and more. Visit the 1xBit Casino page to read the full review and learn more about the bonus offer. ✓Kosmonaut Casino (5-star rated) Established in 2020, this beloved crypto gambling site offers players more than 2000 casino games, 6 crypto banking options and a lucrative bonus which comes with an additional 100 Free Spins. DeFi Currencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dogecoin, Litecoin Stablecoins: Tether Visit the Kosmonaut Casino page to read the full review and learn more about the bonus offer. We take great pride in reviewing the best online casinos in the world and highlighting those that would make a great starting point for selecting where to join next. For more options, feel free to browse our full list of cryptocurrency casinos.
  3. The FIFA World Cup only rolls around once every four years, but when it does, it causes a stir that is felt worldwide. It is officially recognised as the most significant sporting event in the world, with industry experts predicting that viewership with reach an all-time high of 5 billion. If these predictions prove accurate, it will eclipse its 2018 World Cup viewership of 3.5 billion! While many consider the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be more relevant to the online betting community, the truth is that it has had an incredible impact on how casino games are developed. Join us as we delve into the popularity of soccer-themed slots and other casino games. The Popularity of Themed Casino Games Before casino games were infused with stories and incredible graphics, the casino had to grab the attention of its intended audience. Many casinos achieved this by providing thematic experiences which allowed them to stand out from the crowd. While a small number of online casinos like the River Belle, Lucky Luke and Cookie Casino have continued this tradition, most of the heavy lifting in terms of player engagement now lies with the casino games themselves. And once again, games where themes, stories, and fascinating new worlds can be explored lead the charge in terms of interest, entertainment value and revenue generation. The most appealing blank canvas in this regard is the humble slot machine. It allows casino Game developers to overlay any setting they can imagine and fill the reels with characters to support the narrative. Bonus rounds and special features can also be themed to add value to the story and increase player engagement through entertainment. Our slot theme page features 64 game groups, including topics like ancient Egypt, Irish Folklore, Superheroes, Horror, Fishing, Bitcoin, Sports, and dozens more. Each of these then contains a myriad of sub-themes to allow fans to find the exact game that meets their needs. The World Cup Boosts Soccer-Themed Games The soccer theme is one of the genres that have seen a rush of new game releases in recent weeks. What has been surprising is how the application of football as a theme has extended beyond just Online Slots to include several other game types. Here is a breakdown of the new soccer-themed casino games you can enjoy in 2022! ✓ Football video slots As we mentioned, video slots are the ideal playground for software developers looking to create colourful and engaging football-themed titles. One of the hottest new releases in this category has been the Spin & Score Megaways slot by Pragmatic Play. The game has you pick a team to support, and each spin of the reels has you trying to score wins of up to 5000x your bet with the help of the ever-popular Megaways reel feature. ✓ Celebrity Soccer Games If you are a fan of classic footballers, you know who Diego “Dios” Maradona is. Maradona wowed fans and critics in his heyday with his splendid footwork and goal-scoring magic. Even the infamous “Hand of God” goal only added to his legend. One of our favourite releases this World Cup is the D10S Maradona slot by Blueprint Gaming. The slot release pays homage to this football rockstar with gorgeous hand-sketched artwork, a high-value Free Spins feature and the chance to score 10,000x your bet. ✓ Football Table Games While not many innovative football-themed table games exist, developers have not left their fans out in the cold. Playtech offers a Soccer Premium Blackjack table where fans can enjoy a hand of European Blackjack in an environment decked with football imagery and paraphernalia. There are also scratch card games like Ultimate Soccer Scratch 2 by Casino Web Scripts, allowing fans to scratch their football itch without kicking a ball. Each card consists of 9 symbols that need to be cleared. Match any three values to score a big win! ✓ Live Casino Games Fans of soccer and dice games are in for a treat with Football Studio Dice by Evolution Gaming. The game is heralded as the industry’s first-ever dice football game and was released just in time to get on board the FIFA World Cup hype train. Like with any football match, you get to bet on a Home team win, an Away team win or a Draw. The game's outcome is determined by the total of two dice for each side. There are also exciting Draw rewards, one of which is up to 80x your bet. ✓ Soccer Crash Games An increasingly popular genre of games is the Crash Games vertical. The premise is simple, you place your bet and watch an object (generally a plane or rocket) travel across the screen. The further it travels, the greater its win multiplier grows. You can cash out at any time and claim your winnings, but if you are still in the game when the object crashes, you lose your bet. Gamzix swapped out an aeroplane for a soccer ball in their sports-inspired Pilot Cup crash game. With an RTP of 96.6% and a simple gameplay mechanic, Pilot Cup is a fantastic way to get into the World Cup spirit. With its global appeal, it is not surprising that there is a lot of interest in playing new games that feature football players and various soccer symbols and features. After all, it all adds to the hype surrounding the FIFA World Cup spectacle!
  4. Online gambling is a fantastic hobby. With its wide variety of themed online slots, strategic table games and jackpot potential, it is no surprise that it is enjoyed in every corner of the world. Here are 12 well-known gambling quotes from deep thinkers, movie stars and people from all walks of life that delve into the heart of what we love and hate about the pastime. Whether the quote is simply a pithy comment or a world-weary analysis, there is always something to be learned from the observations of others. Take Time to Learn the Games and Their Rules ✓"Remember this. The house doesn’t beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself." - Nick Dandolos (aka Nick the Greek) ✓"The majority of casino players leave too much to chance when playing in a casino. To put it bluntly, they don't have a clue as to how to play." - Henry Tamburin This is a staple lesson that we often share here on GamblersPick. With the prevalence of special features, game variants and bonus terms you will encounter when gambling online, it is essential to read the rules and terms. In the short term, it might feel like jumping into the action is the best thing to do. However, in the long run, knowing how everything works will allow you to fully enjoy any casino game and make the most of that casino promotion. There Is No Sure Thing in Gambling ✓"If there weren't luck involved, I would win every time." - Phil Hellmuth ✓"Your best chance to get a Royal Flush in a casino is in the bathroom." - Terrance Murphy (aka V.P. Pappy) ✓"Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit." - R.E. Shay In any discussion of safer gambling, you will see this repeated repeatedly. Gambling is inherently risky, do not use it to earn a salary, make up for short payments or meet any other urgent financial need. Playing your favourite online slot or enjoying a few hands of live dealer blackjack should be seen as entertainment. If you are in a position where you are feeling pressured financially, speak to your loved ones or a financial manager to get financial advice. Do not leave your future in the hands of a game of chance. Gamble for Enjoyment, Not Profit ✓"The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket." - Kin Hubbard ✓"In gambling, the many must lose in order that the few may win." - George Bernard Shaw ✓"Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks. It says goodbye." - Frank Sinatra We follow a simple rule here at GamblersPick if Franky says we believe it. Adages exist for a reason, and we have all heard "the house always wins". This is not a joke. The mathematical design of any casino game gives the house an edge, which means that in the end, they will always be the ones making money. We recommend that you approach gambling like you approach going to your favourite restaurant, going to the movies, or buying nice shoes. Think about it, budget for it, and do it because you enjoy it. Have a Positive Outlook ✓"If I lose today, I can look forward to winning tomorrow, and if I win today, I can expect to lose tomorrow. A sure thing is no fun." - Leonard Marx ✓"Quit while you're ahead. All the best gamblers do." - Baltasar Gracian Never visit an online casino when you are sad or in a bad mood, as it can lead to reckless betting and significant losses. Gambling responsibly means managing your bankroll, managing your time, and not letting your emotions run wild. All of this is best achieved when you are in a positive frame of mind. To be sure, go to your favourite online casino or mobile casino if you're on the move with a positive attitude. That way, you are guaranteed to have a good time, whether you win or lose. Self-Evaluations Are Important. Understand Your Motivations ✓"A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for, and the money won at Faro or in the stock market snuggles into our hearts in the same way." - Mark Twain ✓"I love blackjack. But I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle." - Mitch Hedberg While their approaches are very different, both quotes speak to the idea of understanding your reasons for gambling. It is essential to evaluate your reasons for playing, the time you have set aside and even if your budget still works. If you are finding that you can't go without gambling or are willing to spend money you cannot afford to lose, we recommend speaking to a gambling helpline as you may be at risk of becoming a compulsive gambler.
  5. The world wide web opened unthinkable doors and connected the globe unlike anything else ever could. Like everything in life, the digital age includes pros and cons. On the first Thursday of May every year, techies celebrate World Password Day. No matter the day, we encourage anyone who participates in online activities to refresh their digital watchwords. It may not be “traditional”, but it is one of extreme importance in our digital 21st century. Intel set out to create global awareness of the vulnerable nature of passwords and to educate consumers and businesses on what a solid password looks like. Let’s explore how punters can find out if their casino of choice is a secure platform and how you can secure your digital identity. The Issue with Passwords Most of us have at least a few online accounts that require password access. For many, it is challenging to remember these long secret codes, let alone a collection of them. Add to this the fact that these should contain letters, numbers, and characters and some end up with numerous accounts for the same app because they can’t remember their chosen password. Why is it essential to create a long, unique, character-combination password for each separate account with our details? IT security professionals at Specops report that one of the biggest problems with security breaches comes from password reuse. In other words, an individual has one password that initially passed the password strength goals, and they use it for all their accounts. Interesting Fact: Google’s online security reports that 65% of people reuse their passwords. This problem is further complicated if the password shows up on a list of breached passwords. Should the password become compromised, hackers have access to every account you own if you reuse the same password or variations of it. A Guide to Secure Online Gambling The online casino industry continues to expand at a tremendous pace and, along with that, the regulated remote gambling market. With more online casinos to choose from than ever before and some punters enjoying the newly found safe space of licensed casinos, confusion and a false sense of security is a problem. So, what are the steps you need to take to ensure a safe and stress-free online gambling experience? The first step to secure online entertainment is installing an antivirus program on your device and keeping it updated. Choose a program with high ratings. Free and cheap isn’t always the best route here. Once you have peace of mind that your device and scrolling activities have maximum protection, the following steps will help you. ✓ #1 Pick a Reputable Operator Players from any of the regulated gambling markets around the globe have the advantage of finding locally licensed websites. The country’s regulator usually offers a list of trusted and licensed sites available on their public portal. Another way to confirm the legitimacy of the platform you choose is to check the validity of their licence. Do this by clicking on any of the licensing authority icons at the bottom of their home page. This should redirect you to the said regulator’s website and confirm the licence status as active. At GamblersPick, we have a comprehensive list of trustworthy online casinos available to make this task easier for you. When playing with an offshore operator, the non-negotiable is to check their licence validity. Follow the above licence check and only continue registration with the platform if its licence is up to date. Leading gambling authorities like the UKGC, MGA, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man GSC are safe choices. Remember: Legitimate businesses will not request personal details from you via text or mail. Be aware of phishing schemes, and do not divulge your pin or passcodes to anyone. ✓ #2 Securely Create Your Account Once you have a legitimate platform and confirm their licences, proceed with registration. This requires sensitive information from you as a means of identification to ensure you are of legal age and who you say you are. The good news is that licensed and regulated casinos must follow strict security protocols, including encryption technology, on par with reputable financial institutions. Sharing personal information happens on a need-to-know basis with any online transactions. Punters must always ensure the hosting website has an HTTPS connection. This is especially true for an offshore casino platform. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) appears ahead of the web address, and reliable browsers show the security of a site. An example of this would be the lock displayed in front of the URL on a Google browser. High-level encryption and a secure HTTPS connection offer users a safe setting to confidently share sensitive information. ✓ #3 The Magic Phrase The most significant responsibility we have as players in a digital data network is to create strong passwords and follow the password security tips. Websites that work with sensitive information like financial details and identification documents usually have password strength metres. Some won’t allow a profile with a vulnerable password. Length and randomness are key. The further removed the letters, numbers, and characters are from your personal preferences or hobbies, the better. Experts recommend a minimum of 12 characters to include in your password, but more is better. It is the better option if the combination doesn’t make a recognisable word. Change the magic phrase regularly, and do not use it for any other account you have. ✓ #4 Two-Factor Authentication and Personal Questions Most commonly known for its use in online banking, two-factor authentication is obligatory in some gambling jurisdictions. It uses a process where an additional device, like a mobile phone or key fob token, is required, and a unique one-time pin (OTP) is required during the login process. A successful login does not take place without entering the OTP. We highly recommend using this security feature if your casino of choice has it available. Some operators give the player an option to complete security questions. In the event of a password reset request, these questions come into play and should include details only you know the answer to. The most common among these is your first pet or car or maiden name. Choose details that hackers can’t find online. Alternatively, give unrelated answers, but ensure you remember the details. By using these options, your online gambling account becomes Fort Knox. That is, unless you picked one of the following passwords for the account. Password Fails Specops is a market leader in the digital security industry, and their latest report of compromised passwords tells a tale of naïve, tech-savvy consumers. Decades after the uptake of password security and countless hacking debacles, some still use ‘password’ as their security phrase. It is advisable to avoid passwords containing letters, numbers and character combinations of the word ‘password’ or ‘administrator’. Preferably leave the four seasons and your favourite band or movie out of it too. Interesting Fact: Specops found that 41% of breached passwords contained at least 12 characters and advised for a passphrase to be at least 15 characters long. Top compromised passwords include movie titles, pop stars, rock bands, Star Wars, and superheroes. Sports teams make it onto the list as well. While it is great to be a fan of Rocky, Yoda, Loki, and Premier League Football clubs, these are not wise choices when protecting your digital footprint. Creating Failsafe Passwords Most websites require a password length of at least 8 characters. However, these often make it onto the list of compromised passcodes. In fact, tenacious hackers crack 41% of all passwords containing 12 characters or more. Specops suggests picking a password with at least 15 characters. These characters have to be letters in upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols. Preferably, the letters should not synchronise to form a word and be in random positions. The numbers or characters must not substitute a letter, for example, replacing the letter “E” with a “3”. Less Than Stellar Memory? Unless you are Sherlock and freely access your mind palace, chances are you will forget a lengthy and complex password. Add to this that experts advise password renewals at a regular pace, and it becomes close to impossible to keep track of random characters that mean nothing to you. The solution to this problem is to keep a record of your passwords. We are not referring to your magnet notebook on the refrigerator or the last page of your diary. Using trusted digital password managers gives you access to your passwords. Services like Google Password Manager auto-fill the details you allow it to save. Another advantage of this is that password managers usually check compromised password lists and notify their customers of vulnerabilities. So free up some memory space in your head and secure all your online accounts with random passwords saved to a managing platform.
  6. Most dream about striking it lucky and walking away with the jackpot. Others argue that a successful gambler understands how luck has very little to do with becoming a wealthy punter. So what do the wealthy and famous gamblers have in common, and how did they get to the top? As it is only a handful of people that make it to a level of astonishing wealth through gambling, there has to be a secret. With seven being the industry’s lucky number, we take a look at the top 7 richest gamblers of all time and what they did to get the title and wealth. A hint we can give is that being skilled at numbers has a lot to do with it. ✓ Tony Bloom Anthony (Tony) Bloom hails from the United Kingdom and he carries the nickname ‘The Lizard’. Worth approximately $1.7 billion, he owns a Premier League team and is a professional sports bettor, poker player, and owner of Starlizard, the UK’s largest betting consultancy. Add to his resume that he is the chair for Brighton & Hove Albion football club, and it becomes hard to imagine what this gambling superstar does not do. Bloom’s love for going against odds started as a teen, where he crossed some lines with an illegal ID, but he studied mathematics at the University of Manchester. He worked as an accountant and then as a trader before he became a professional poker player. Since then, he took part in 11 WSOP tournaments, made it to the finals and they report he collected $1.5 million in winnings by 2008. Known as a ‘cold-blooded killer at the poker table’, peers gave him his nickname. Bloom moved into sports betting and owns a few horses as well, which have given him very successful runs. Although Tony Bloom’s wealth comes from various sources, his gambling career gave him a head start and he once stated himself that he believes poker gives a person a good grounding for many things in life. Like how to observe a situation well and read people. ✓ Bill Benter This professional gambler is one of the most famous punters because of how he gambles and how much he has made thanks to his system. Reports say that William “Bill” Benter is worth $1 billion, and he started his gambling career at blackjack tables in Sin City. Benter always believed there must be a way to crack the code concerning the casino’s advantage and with his brilliant maths aptitude, he attempted Edward O. Thorp’s card counting strategy. After 7 years of winning some money, getting banned from Vegas casinos, and realising it is not as lucrative as he had hoped, Benter moved on to greener pastures. Horse racing became his new focus area, and he was hell-bent on making educated investments rather than gambling against odds. The mathematical genius teamed up with Alan Woods and they created a formula for predicting the outcome of horse races. Estimates are that Bill Benter can make around $5M to $10M on a single race day, thanks to his gambling software. Bill has a physics degree and, apart from being known for his brilliant gambling strategy, he is also a generous man known for philanthropy and supporting political groups. ✓ Edward O. Thorp It is little wonder that Edward Oakley Thorp is one of the most famous gamblers in history, as he got a PhD in mathematics and applied his genius to betting odds. The ‘Father of Card-Counting’ invented a formula most people have heard of while he was a university professor. They estimated his current worth at $800 million and naturally, his favourite game is blackjack, but Thorp also enjoys roulette, baccarat, and backgammon. Edward O. Thorp wrote the first book on card counting, called ‘Beat the Dealer’. Here he explained how to tilt the house edge in your favour by tracking the ratio of high and low cards. Together with Claude Shannon, he invented the first wearable computer to take into casinos with his formulas for beating roulette and blackjack. They have since banned these, but the formula remains one of the favourite blackjack strategies. Thorp moved into financial markets and became a hedge fund manager, which is his principal source of income today, but he still loves his game of 21. Edward is one of the original 7 gamblers to be honoured in the Blackjack Hall of Fame. ✓ Andrew Black The co-founder of the first bet exchange, Betfair, Andrew Black, has many streams of income but is one of the wealthiest gamblers of all time. As a sports bettor by heart, he owns a few horses, but it is his gambling business that is his mainstream income. He has an estimated net worth of $500 million and the software he developed for making money on bets changed the gambling industry. He originally worked in derivatives, but as his success in gambling increased, he set his sights on bigger things. Black is also an avid bridge player and his love of this game opened the door for Betfair. One of his favourite opponents in this game was Edward Wray, and this is where he presented his software design for a money-making betting business. Wray was all in and the two launched Betfair at the beginning of the Millenium. Since 2000, the sportsbook gained tremendous momentum, made it to the London Stock Exchange in 2010, and became one of the largest in the world. ✓ Alan Woods He became a legendary Australian horse bettor and his estimated net worth is AUD670 million ($470 million) but the late Alan Woods wasn’t always on the up. In his family home, he grew up playing bridge and despite his mathematical brilliance, the University of New England expelled him for poor performance and lack of attendance. He started gambling during his university attendance, but it wasn’t until later that he discovered his blackjack skill and knack for picking the right nag. Woods carried the nickname of ‘The Playboy Punter’ and after a failed marriage, he became a full-time gambler. This decision led him to Hong Kong and there he and Bill Benter discovered their formula for horse betting. Alan Woods went on to become a sports betting tycoon and created his betting network. The punter never left his apartment to place bets, as he had a team of bettors all over the world who bet on his behalf using his formula. He continued to live a life of luxury and did so from his home in Manila with all ‘The Girls’, a Philippine version of the Playboy Mansion. ✓ Zeljko Ranogajec Zeljko Ranogajec is one of the most elusive gamblers and keeps a low profile, but in the gambling world, he bears the nickname of ‘The Joker’. He holds a record for winning the biggest keno prize worth $7,5 million, but we know him as a blackjack and sports betting enthusiast. Experts believe that Ranogajec’s net worth is around AUD610 million ($430 million) but they also speculate that his gambling turnover can be well over $1 billion annually. The Joker studied at the University of Tasmania and was born in Australia, although his parents are of Croatian origin. He dropped out of university to become a professional gambler. However, he still holds a day job despite his wealth and successful gambling. Ranogajec had the same fate as Bill Benter as casinos banned him due to card counting and so he moved his focus to the sports betting scene. A strategy that Ranogajec admits to using is favourable discounts and rebates, a tactic that allowed him to buy an apartment in the most expensive development in the world. One of his betting partners and university friends, David Walsh, had an enormous influence on his betting strategies. ✓ David Walsh From humble beginnings at the Australian University in Hobart and a well-known friend and gambling partner of Zeljko Ranogajec, David Walsh is a fascinating punter with a different take on betting. With an estimated net worth of $200 million, he utilises the wisdom of crowds and says talent has very little to do with his success. Walsh is also a mathematician, and he believes that when considering formulas designed to predict bets, one should incorporate psychology concepts too. Nicknamed the Tasmanian Devil, Walsh partnered with Zeljko Ranogajec and set up a gambling company called Bank Roll. Through this, they both turned a fortune and had others doing their betting work for them, utilising their formulas and strategies. Some things this eccentric gambler did with his millions included opening the Mona museum, which he refers to as ‘adult Disneyland’ and transferring visitors to this venue in camouflaged ferries. In contrast to his betting partner, Walsh is very open about his gambling and life and makes a habit of sharing his wisdom. ✓ Honourable Mention: Don Johnson Although Don Johnson did not reach the levels of the aforementioned seven punters, he did make waves in the betting community for his approach. We think he deserves a spot on this list because would-be professional punters can learn from the man who broke Atlantic City. Johnson made a small fortune in a very short period in blackjack and he did this without counting cards! During 2011 and 2012, the clever businessman used his negotiating skills and persuaded the pit boss to apply the blackjack rule of lower house advantage and a loss rebate. In his winning streak, Johnson banked $15 million thanks to what we now know as a ‘positive expectation bet’.
  7. Whether it is your first time signing up for an online gambling profile or whether you are a loyal customer of a specific online casino, bonus offers will come your way. And who doesn’t like a freebie or being rewarded for loyalty? A popular rule in basic economics is that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and for good reason. This principle applies to Casino Bonus Offers too. Whether it is a sign-up bonus, a loyalty bonus, or a high roller bonus, there will always be terms and conditions the receiver needs to be aware of. Although picking an offer isn’t a marriage proposal, your hard-earned money is on the table, and nothing can crush the thrill of a great win quite like finding out your bonus deal has strings attached. Here follows some GamblersPick notes on what to look out for when picking your bonus offer. Using these wisely can help you navigate a new online casino to find your favourite games, without harming your bank balance. Bonus Offers 101 The most important factor to consider when selecting a Bonus offer is the legal status of the casino platform presenting it to you. Read reviews about the platform and be sure to check that they have a valid operating license. Risks involved with gambling at unlicensed online casinos range from terrible customer service to losing your money. GamblersPick rates the top regulated online casinos and the best bonus deals they offer to their members, so definitely look at some of our guides. Secondly, punters need to understand that all Bonus offers have terms and conditions and these vary according to the type of bonus on the table, and different operators have different terms. Sign-up Bonus Offers serve the purpose of getting players to wager with the casino for an extended time, so these will have wagering requirements. No Deposit Bonus Offers and Free Spin Offers will usually require a punter to gamble within a set period or lose the bonus. Some Bonus offers only include specific games and many exclude games like Blackjack. Understanding Bonus Types Deposit Match offers often have multiple-deposit conditions, so look out for the fine print on these as well as playthrough or wagering requirements. Certain bonuses encourage players to deposit via specific methods, like e-wallets, and others reward players who use cryptocurrency. This all sounds like a mouthful, but it is not as daunting as you may think. Our Bonus guides are here to make the decision much simpler with all the choices available. An important determining factor is what type of games you like to play. If you love slot games, an offer that includes Free Spins would be the best choice for you. For novice gamblers who still need to find their favourite games, Free Play would work well. High rollers may get more satisfaction from VIP Bonus deals or deposit match deals. We can categorise all bonus deals into three different groups. The first is non-sticky or cashable, the second is type-one sticky bonuses, and the third is type-two sticky bonus deals. As you can guess, this has to do with the conditions relating to withdrawals. Read the fine print before you make your final decision and once you are satisfied with the details, accept your offer, and enjoy some online gambling. Below, we look at some popular conditions that can help you avoid a situation too sticky for your liking. But First, You Shall Wager This is an unavoidable condition for Bonus Offers that include No-Deposit, Deposit Match, and Free Spin offers. These bonuses are subject to wagering requirements, so understanding how this works will ensure that you don’t get any nasty surprises. The fact of the matter is that bonus money isn’t real money, from the get-go. Only after completing your wagering requirements will your bonus money become payable. In a nutshell, a wagering or playthrough requirement is the amount of money the player needs to bet before they can make a withdrawal. Usually, this figure is a multiple of between 1x and 50x your bonus and/or the betting amount. If you received a 100% Deposit Match Bonus and made a €50 deposit with the wagering requirement of 10x your bonus amount, you need to wager 10 x €50 = €500 before you can withdraw any winnings. We must stress how important it is to read through the wagering requirements before choosing a bonus. Some casinos only include the bonus amount, while others require the bonus AND deposit amount multiplied by the wagering requirement. Also, some casinos only allow certain games to contribute to your playthrough requirement or they assign limits to how much certain games contribute. With the above playthrough example, if you select a game that may only count 50% towards the total wagering amount, it will cap at €250, regardless of how much you spend on it. Forcing you to play another game that could make up for the balance required to reach the total playthrough of €500. Free Spins and No Deposit Offers Slot games are by far the most popular choice for online gamblers and, thanks to the tremendous demand, software developers have an abundance of titles for punters to choose from. Free Spins make it that much more fun to explore the options available before finding your favourites. Carefully choose your deal based on the playthrough and pay-out conditions, as these are a given, but some are better than others. free spins offers can sometimes be part of a package bonus deal that includes a deposit match or no deposit bonus. More often than not, Free Spin Bonus offers will apply to specific slot games, have a wagering requirement, bet limits, and an expiry date. Platform operators present Free Spin deals to existing as well as new customers and they usually promote newly released slots through this. The great thing about Free Spins is that it is possible to get a return on the bonus which you didn’t pay a cent for. Naturally, terms and conditions apply, and punters need to familiarise themselves with these before selecting the deal. They may split the number of spins over a period and usually, the player needs to use the spins, or lose them, by a specific date. The offer may give 200 spins, but only 20 are available straight away and you might only be allowed to claim the balance once you make a deposit. A popular sign-up bonus deal is the No Deposit Bonus offer. Once again, the deal with the highest amount flashing for your attention isn’t necessarily the best deal. Wagering requirements apply and usually the bigger the amount they offer, the stricter the requirements are. Keep in mind that No Deposit offers and Free Spins offers could also have cash-out limits. Jackpot Wins with Free Spins or Free Money Every punter’s dream is to hit the jackpot and walk away with bags full of cash. In the event of this happening, while playing with free money and/or free spins, it would be good to know the fine print. First, let’s look at the two different jackpots a player might come across while playing slots. A regular jackpot has a set amount the player can win, while a progressive jackpot grows over a period and resets once someone wins it. Although most casinos allow the player to hit the regular jackpot on their slots while using their free spins, almost all of them have restrictions on the payout amount. For example, a 50% cap of the total amount won while playing with your free spins. progressive jackpots require max bets to qualify and most casinos put a limit on the amount a player can bet while using free money. Some of them even state in their T&Cs that they exclude the progressive jackpots. Remember that wagering requirements will still apply, and players still need to play through the required betting amount before they may cash out. Other Offers and Conditions Many online casinos have loyalty programs, whereby they reward gamblers for spending more time and money with them. These programs can be tier-based where you accumulate points and progress to new levels, or specifically geared toward high-rollers who stake substantial amounts at any given time. Part of these reward structures are better conditions when bonus deals come around, so it is worthwhile to explore what your chosen platform provider offers. New players who create an account will have a couple of Welcome Bonus or Sign-up Bonus deals to choose from and these can have a combination of the above offers available. Some casinos require punters to deposit a minimum amount before they can take advantage of the deals. Others will give their new members no deposit deals, free spins, and even Free Play opportunities. Remember to familiarise yourself with the wagering and withdrawal conditions. Expiry dates can apply to certain bonus deals, especially free spin deals, and some casinos will only allow players to withdraw funds generated from a bonus after a certain amount of time has lapsed. Why Even Bother? These points can make you question whether it is worth it to sign up for a bonus deal, but if you use a reputable online casino and make sure you understand the requirements, bonus deals can be a significant advantage. The above notes will help you make an educated decision on which deal is best suited to you.
  8. Becoming a VIP may not be every punter’s ambition, but let’s be honest, everyone enjoys receiving special treatment. Some throw the term “high-roller” around loosely and perhaps you have a good idea of what a VIP looks like at a land-based casino. In comparison, the perks for online gamblers come in different forms, as it needs to enhance their virtual experience more than anything else. Instead of a luxury hotel room, an online VIP may get a higher deposit match bonus and to make up for the lack of free champagne, online casinos extend invitations to special tournaments for high-rollers. One thing is certain though, online high-rollers get better deals and VIP treatment, so if you want the virtual red-carpet rolled out for you, it is possible. Don’t worry though, some VIP hosts spoil their customers with a surprise now and then, like a bottle of bubbly or the like. Players may think it is unattainable to be dubbed a high-roller as their wagering habits, and budgets, don’t match that of a gambling whale. However, we beg to differ and here we have a few tips that can get you into a virtual VIP lounge without breaking the bank. What is An Online High-Roller? A VIP player at top online casinos will very much function like their land-based counterparts, as they wager sizable sums of money and give the casino a lot of their time. These are the two most basic criteria for high-rolling gamblers. Just like a casino whale would catch the attention of the pit boss by depositing a large sum at their brick and mortar facility, a €4,000 deposit or more will turn heads at the online management office. Receiving that VIP invitation won’t happen unless they detect a consistent wagering rhythm. Once a punter catches the attention of online casino staff because they make big deposits and bet brazenly, they will extend a golden invitation to their coveted VIP loyalty program. This means they want to get to know you better and offer you a tailor-made gambling experience. There is nothing quite like a full-fledged VIP experience at online casinos. Perks can include unique betting limits, tickets to exclusive events, and access to your own private account manager. Champagne on a Beer Budget? If your budget does not allow for large deposits and bold bets, there are other ways of climbing the online status ladder. Using what you have, in combination with what the casino can offer you is one of the easiest and smartest ways of getting exclusive deals. Most bonus deals include deposit match perks, which can go a long way if used wisely. Below we explore the yellow-brick road to your VIP wizard. The path may require some patience, a bit of faking it ‘till you make it, and definitely a lot of savvy. Casino Bonus Offers Because of the fierce competition in the igaming industry, casino platforms do their best to attract customers through bonus offers. This means you will have the pick of the litter with the top bonus offers from the best online casinos. Some online casinos offer deals that include a no deposit bonus and most times, these are available to both new and existing members. All online casinos offer packages to new members, and many of the best casinos have loyalty bonus offers for existing players. These will grant you a wonderful boost to your bankroll and give you a bunch of free spins. In all cases, terms and conditions apply, so be sure to read the fine print in order to maximise the gift. The key here is to pick quality over quantity. Deposit match bonus offers mostly come in the shape of a 100% match, up to a certain amount divided into two to three deposit transactions. Some casinos will give you more than a 1 to 1 bonus, but as we said, there are always conditions that require you to take certain actions before the benefit comes your way. Sometimes, the offers only include certain games, so be sure that the offer is in line with your betting preferences. All free offers come with playthrough requirements, so study these points before you pick a deal and be selective about which games you will use your free spins and bonus on. Picking the best bonus offer to suit your betting goals will go a long way in helping you get to a higher tier, but combining it with the next few tips will make it a sure bet. Loyalty Points Programs Loyalty programs that work on a points-based tier system can help you get to a higher level in the rewards system, by simply gambling at a casino with this type of program. As you level up, the casino will improve their offering to you and, in many cases, they link the level you are on to cashback bonuses. The good news is that qualifying for VIP status usually has a points system attached to it, so you can work your way toward it. Get to know the different levels and what you need to do to level up. Some games may contribute more toward your points than others, so spend the bulk of your time on those. It is also worth finding out whether you keep your level status once you reach it, or whether you need to re-qualify if you haven’t played for a while. Patience and persistence are your best friends here, as you will need to play often and for a while to make the most of climbing the tiers. As the name shows, casinos reward loyal members much more than casual drop-in players. Some casino loyalty programs are by invitation only, and you would need to be a VIP to participate in this type of program. Using your bonus boosted bankroll to play games with better returns can help in this instance. Game Choices to Boost Your Bankroll One of the surest ways to maximise your wager and increase your bankroll to get the attention of casino managers is by playing the right type of games. Obviously, all punters gamble to win, but excellent strategy and game choice will get you there much quicker. Games with lower house edges like blackjack, require skill, so you will need to know a thing or two about the game strategy. Slot games with low stakes and high possible returns can sometimes give your account the balance boost it needs to wager like a high-roller. With table games like blackjack, you can theoretically win more often than you would at a random number generated outcome like a slot machine, but with card games, the wagers need to be higher for a good return. Depending on the house edge, you may look at pay-out ratios of 3:2. Compared to slot payouts, this is a poor return. This being said, there are interesting options like blackjack with win multipliers that could land you big wins. Using slot machines is not as clear cut as card games of skill, however, the returns can be much more attractive. Plus, online slots usually contribute a lot more to loyalty points. Slot machines often have potential payouts at vast multiples of your bet and some have progressive jackpots that pay out daily. Points to keep in mind when gambling on video slot games are the variance, meaning how often the game pays, and stake levels. If a game has a very high variance, it seldom pays, but usually, the wins are bigger, and the opposite is true of a low variance game. Remember that bonus spins and free money have terms attached to them, and these apply to jackpots and payouts most of the time. So remember that they may cap a jackpot win if you used free spins or free money to place that bet. Making It Into the Club The one certain thing is that becoming an online VIP isn’t something that happens in one deposit or bet, as it could in a land-based casino. This is a game of patience, so you may as well use all the tools at your disposal to maximise your odds. Do your homework, pick your online casino, and start wagering. Once you manage to get your profile at a level where the VIP customer care department reaches out to you, be sure to enjoy the perks that come with being a preferred client. You can enjoy customised bet limits and payouts will happen faster. Better bonus deals are at your disposal and you will surely receive invitations to the best tournaments. Oh, and let your host know about a few of your favourite things.
  9. Gonzo’s Quest might seem like a standard video slot from a distance, but this NetEnt game is far from ordinary and the impact it made in the iGaming industry is undeniable. Since the online slot’s release in 2011, many have followed in the footsteps of NetEnt’s brilliant game mechanics. Many features slot players now take for granted, found their origin from the NetEnt classic. The classic 5x3 slot design is merely there to bring comfort to traditional slot players as Gonzo’s Quest included a mind-blowing new feature, the Avalanche reels. Before the Spanish explorer graced our screens, avalanche pays, or cascading wins, was unheard of and to top it off, this game incorporated a progressive multiplier into the mix. Something else NetEnt captured in this innovative slot game was to make it look and feel like a video game, instead of the well-known slot machine experience. The crisp graphics that include the interactive main character ensure that, a decade later, it still competes with the best slot entertainment available. It is mind-blowing and industry-altering stuff, making Gonzo’s Quest a legend in its own right. Gonzo’s Great Inspiration The excitement created by these features was tangible and the effects linger years later, as the title is still one of the most loved in the industry. Fast-forward to 10 years later and Gonzo is our favourite adventurer who now holds a few titles in the online gambling industry. Its award-winning creators commemorated the Spaniard’s 10th birthday by releasing the Gonzo’s Gold online slot for players to continue the adventure. Evolution Gaming released a live casino game based on Gonzo’s Quest, where players can enjoy a Live Casino Treasure Hunt with the company of a game host. Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt includes a Virtual Reality version of the conquistador and plays out in an Incan Temple. Last year, the slot quest expanded with Red Tiger who released Gonzo’s Quest Megaways in collaboration with NetEnt. As you can see, this adventure slot game caused unthinkable ripple effects in iGaming and inspired software developers from far and wide. Now that we know what Gonzo brought to the world of spinning reels, let us explore what brought Gonzo to us. The Historic Interpretation of Gonzo’s Quest The year was 2010 and spinners enjoyed slot games of the time. Classic 5x3 setups were the order of the day. Click spin and watch the reels roll and stop while you wait for that jackpot sound to trigger. That’s the slot life, right? For developers at NetEnt, there had to be more. The hum-drum features of classic slots simply weren’t enough and, much like the ancient explorers, they set out to discover what technology and imagination can produce under the right circumstances. With the spirit of exploring new worlds, only a Spanish conquistador will be worthy of the main character, and so Gonzo came into being. Very few explorers are as famous as the conquistadors of the 16th century. The Pizarro brothers completed several conquests and conquered the Inca tribes of Southern Peru. Gonzalo Pizarro was one of the adventurers that ventured into the Andes. He had one major objective: Find El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. The kingdom and its rumoured riches motivated Gonzalo to search for it, in vain. We can say with all certainty that Gonzo’s Quest is a lot more fruitful than that of his namesake. Gonzo is a charming little animated character who keeps you company while you spin, hanging out next to the reels. The online slot features an Incan City scene as the backdrop, complete with gold temples from the alluring El Dorado. Ornate stone carvings and masks create an original Incan experience that is rounded off with ambient and immersive sounds. Since its release in 2011, we have come to know Gonzo as the virtual face of NetEnt. Gonzo’s Groupies and Big Winners The fan base for Gonzo’s Quest is impressive, to say the least. The game has its own Wikipedia page and dedicated fan sites. NetEnt considers it to be one of their biggest releases ever with all the best online casinos including it in their portfolio of games. In 2014, one lucky winner bagged a €40,000 jackpot on the original Gonzo’s Quest slot, and when you play it, you will appreciate the payout occurrences. Technically, punters can win much more on Gonzo’s Quest and even more in the new Gonzo’s Gold slot. NetEnt created the Avalanche feature that was way ahead of its time and it gave rise to many popular mechanics we know today. The golden stars align as it meets up with Megaways software and one Finnish player experienced the power of this combination. The Red Tiger collaboration that produced Gonzo’s Quest Megaways married the brilliant Avalanche mechanics with a Megaways pay system. With a €20 bet, the player from Finland walked away with her second Gonzo jackpot worth €230,610. Previously, she won a €70,000 prize on the slot. Now we are looking at the actual games we’ve been discussing and if you haven’t yet, it is time to put on your explorer’s hat and pick where you will spin alongside Gonzo. ✓ Gonzo’s Quest Gonzo, the Spanish conquistador, embarks on the quest of a lifetime to find the golden city hidden in the Amazon. With El Dorado marked with an X on his map, all he needs is for you to place your wager and click spin. Discover Inca temples and forgotten treasures in this beautifully designed slot with 5 reels and 3 rows, where you can win 2,500 times your bet. Watch how the unique stone carvings drop onto the reels and disappear into a crushing avalanche when you win. Set in the lush forest, unique Inca stone carvings fill the slot grid, as the low paying symbols. These create winning combinations that explode to make way for new symbols, creating a cascading effect. This allows for multiple wins in one spin, and with each Avalance the win multiplier increases to a maximum of 5x. The mid to high variance allows for wins often enough to keep players engaged, although Gonzo does a great job of that on his own. Free Fall with Gonzo when three Scatters are in sight on reels 1 to 3, where you will get 10 free spins and the multipliers increase up to 15x. ✓ Gonzo’s Quest Megaways Red Tiger did a stellar job with the sequel to one of the most played slots ever released. Gonzo’s Quest Megaways is all that fans love about the original, with the bonus of the Megaways mechanics. The developers held on to everything that makes this slot so popular. This slot comes with a grid that has 6 reels and can yield 2 – 7 rows in each of these, thanks to Megaways. Win an astonishing potential of 20,000x your stake, with up to 117,649 ways to create winning combinations. The graphics are slightly different, and opinions vary on whether it’s better or not. They introduced some new symbols with the old familiar faces and thanks to the Megaways grid setup, the Avalanche feature is brilliant and more dramatic. Similar to the original, question mark wilds are present, but this time, it’s unbreakable. These stay put during avalanche wins. Free Falls are even more exciting because of the larger grid and in certain areas, players get to gamble for more spins. ✓ Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Join the Spanish conquistador in this unique live game show, inspired by the slot game. Gonzo is relentless in his search for El Dorado and in this game, players get to hunt for treasure with the bearded adventurer. Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt is a ground-breaking live-streamed game that combines slot-style gameplay with a game show. This Gonzo title is the first live game that players can enjoy in Virtual Reality mode with the use of a VR headset and remote. The live host and Gonzo will accompany the player as they search for riches hidden behind 70 stones positioned in an Incan cave. The giant wall of stones is where the slot mechanism comes in, as six different symbol stones will drop into the wall, almost like a slot spin. Each of the stones pays out different values and you decide on which you will wager. Players get to pick up to 20 positions on the wall, and the amount of picks multiplies their bet. Random multipliers can drop onto the wall in any of the 70 positions once you’ve picked your stones. The computer can make automated picks on behalf of the player. Should your stone selections drop onto the picks you made, you win! It is a straightforward and fun live gaming experience with breathtaking prizes of up to 20,000x per stone. ✓ Gonzo’s Gold The fun quest continues and no one will convince Gonzo that not everything that glitters is gold. This 5x5 slot is the newest release in the Gonzo series of games and NetEnt included fan favourite features like cluster pays to up the ante. The maximum jackpot in Gonzo’s Gold is 6,500x your stake, making it a very attractive game to play. Land clusters of three or more premium symbols and four or more low paying symbols for exciting wins. Plan your bankroll according to high variance and 25.84% hit rate if you want to hit the big wins. Three or more Scatters will trigger the Free Spins that make Gonzo dance and 10 Spins will kick off with a bonus round afterwards. Depending on how many Scatters dropped onto the reel, the bonus prize can be at least x2 and a maximum of x200. Players also get to choose a Golden symbol for the free spins and the chosen symbol will become an expanding one for the duration of the Free Spins Feature.
  10. In the history of mankind, there are those groundbreaking new innovations that spur us on to bigger and better things. These major inventions include harnessing electricity, the telephone, the motorcar, the internet and now the blockchain. Love it or hate it the development of cryptocurrencies on the blockchain has revolutionised how we view digital assets, our thinking around finance and how the world will transact for the foreseeable future. The Types of Cryptocurrencies While we have all heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and other well know crypto coins there is often some confusion when it comes to terms like decentralised cryptos, stable coins and alt coins. Here are some easy introductions to these terms: ✓True/Decentralised Cryptocurrencies When Satoshi Nakamoto first conceptualised Bitcoin his intent was to create a digital currency that would not reside on a single server but was spread across the Blockchain. This would ensure that no single country, corporation, or person could ever own it or control it. Crypto coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and others which follow this decentralised tradition by residing on the Blockchain and do not have a single controlling owner are considered by industry pundits to be “true” cryptos. ✓Alt Coins As the name denotes Alt-Coins are “alternatives to” an existing cryptocurrency. Due to the fact that blockchain and cryptocurrency code is open source, it allows anyone with the appropriate skill level to develop their own coin. Generally, an altcoin improves on one or more aspects of its original code. An example of this is Ethereum which improved on the transactional aspect of Bitcoin, allowing it to process blocks of transactions in two and a half minutes compared to Bitcoin’s much slower ten minutes per block. ✓Stable Coins Stable Coins are the type of crypto token which is the farthest removed from Satoshi’s vision for his invention for three reasons: They reside on a single server or closed series of servers They are owned and operated by single entities Its value is dictated by a fiat currency or precious metal While stable coins exist on the blockchain and offer all of its speed, security and low cost benefits they are simply the digital-only equivalents of our existing country-based currencies. Most governments around the world are in the process of developing stable coin versions of their currencies with the hopes of one day doing away with costly and short-lived paper and metal money. Visit our full guide to stablecoins for more on this interesting spin off of cryptocurrency technology. Why Crypto Gambling Is Popular With the unique way in which the blockchain stores and shares data it is the most hacker-proof system on the planet. Rather than store information in a single central location, which once cracked, gives the would-be thief full access to the data the blockchain splits it into thousands of tiny data packets. These packets of data are then spread across all the connected nodes on the internet and are each individually secured. In addition to this mind-blowing level of security the fact that it is only moving tiny bits of data around means that it can pass large volumes of information at incredibly high speeds. When applied to lightweight products like a casino deposit this means near-instant banking. Finally, the blockchain does not require you to give confirmable information to access and use it other than a personalised username and an email. It is not perfectly anonymous as there is the issue of using your internet connection (which can be addressed by the information we supplied in our guide to using a VPN for cyber security) and that purchasing Bitcoin is done via a crypto exchange like Security, speedy transactions and high levels of anonymity are some of the reasons that more players are making the move to gambling at crypto casinos. The Top 10 Cryptocurrencies To ensure that we do not fall into the trap of thinking about cryptocurrencies in a limited way we looked to CoinMarketCap to see which digital tokens are the most popular outside of our industry. Much to our delight, the online casino industry has adopted cryptos with open arms. The proof of this is that ten of the fifteen highest rated crypto coins are already in wide use by the best crypto casinos. If you are interested in gambling with Bitcoin and other leading cryptos here is a brief overview of the top 10 casino cryptos and an idea of where you can play with them: 1. Bitcoin – First Decentralised Coin As the first truly decentralised cryptocurrency Bitcoin captured the imagination of the world with its mysterious creator and incredible value growth. It not only drew attention to the potential of digital currencies but also the potential of the blockchain which has seen many industries begin to develop new and exciting innovations, tools and products that have changed the world. The first decentralised crypto coin Incredibly valuable digital asset One of the most secure currencies in the world If you would like to try your hand at playing your favourite online slots and tables games with Bitcoin, we recommend visiting Bitcoin Games casino and 22Bet casino. 2. Ethereum – Decentralised/Altcoin Ethereum is only second in terms of industry awareness and usability to Bitcoin. As a Bitcoin altcoin, Ethereum offers users the same safety and security with vastly superior processing times. Ethereum has set itself up as the “everyday driver” of cryptocurrencies processing up to 1 million transactions each day while Bitcoin only processes up to 250,000. Same secure framework as Bitcoin Ability to process up to 1,000,000 transactions per day One of the cheapest cryptos to use Ethereum’s processing power makes it incredibly popular with online casinos that offer digital token gambling. We recommend visiting Green Spin casino and Bitstarz casino to try it out for yourself. 3. Bitcoin Cash – Decentralised/Altcoin Bitcoin Cash is another Bitcoin altcoin, in this case, it was developed in 2017 from a fork of the original crypto. The benefits of Bitcoin Cash lie in its larger block size which means it is faster than BTC while capping its supply which gives it a similar asset value proposition to its progenitor. Follows the same digital asset mentality as Bitcoin Offers superior processing times as the original coin Very low fee structure If you’re looking to gamble with a cryptocurrency that is incredibly like Bitcoin but offers faster transactions, lower costs and a lower price per coin then Bitcoin Cash could be for you. Try it out today at Kosmonaut casino and 1xBit casino. 4. Cardano – Decentralised/Altcoin Cardano is the ledger that supports the independent cryptocurrency ADA. The digital coin is considered one of the leading alt-coins on the market due to its reasonable cost, widespread adoption by online businesses and incredibly cheap processing fees. Still available at a low price Uses a bespoke low-cost fee structure Widespread use by online shops and gambling sites If you are new to cryptos and want to test the waters with a usable and fairly cheap option, then you should consider buying some Cardano. You can play with it online at Fairspin casino and TrueFlip casino. 5. Tether – Stablecoin Tether is a stable coin that has anchored its value to the US dollar while still offering users the stability, processing speed and security of the blockchain. For banks, businesses, and new crypto enthusiasts it offers the benefits of the blockchain without the fear of massive price fluctuations associated with decentralised coins. Steady and predictable pricing Offers the digital security of the blockchain A popular digital currency for e-commerce We recommend trying out the benefits of cryptocurrency gambling by starting with the market stability offered by Tether. It is available at MyStake casino and Rolletto casino. 6. XRP – Decentralised/Altcoin XRP is the cryptocurrency used by products developed by Ripple Labs on the blockchain. The intent of creating XRP was not to launch the next crypto-asset like Bitcoin but to offer the community a network specifically designed to handle high volumes of digital payments Specifically designed to process high transaction volumes XRP is not mined but rather acquired through trading Ranked as one of the top 10 cryptos worldwide Test out the efficiency and processing power of the XRP network for yourself by using it as your deposit and withdrawal mechanism at both Bet Sensation casino and 1xBit casino today. 7. Dogecoin – Decentralised/Altcoin Developed a commentary on the insane prices that crypto-assets were demanding Dogecoin has positioned itself to be the ‘everyman’ cryptocurrency. Built on the Litecoin framework Dogecoin offers fantastic processing and low costs but has openly stated its supply will be unlimited ensuring none of the price spikes associated with limited-supply coins like Bitcoin. A real-life underdog story Unlimited supply manages price volatility Offers all the benefits of Litecoin Take this playful Shiba-token for a walk today by signing up at either 22Bet casino or Green Spin casino today and playing their selection of online slots, table games and arcade games. 8. USD Coin If you are a fan of innovation and new technology but are sceptical of the crazy price fluctuations of some cryptos then USDCoin could be your perfect solution. This stable coin offers all the processing and security benefits of the blockchain while guaranteeing that each USDCoin will always only cost $1.00. Price per coin will always be the equivalent of US$ 1.00 Enjoy all the benefits of the blockchain Built on the trusted and highly trafficked Ethereum framework USDCoin’s stable pricing anchor makes it the perfect cryptocurrency for players looking to move from fiat currency banking to digital banking without risking their bankroll to currency volatility. Play with it at 1XBit casino and Fairspin casino today. 9. Chainlink Chainlink is considered an Ethereum alt-coin. While it offers users all the expected speed, low costs and security of the blockchain it has the added benefit of integrating transactions that are not based on the blockchain. This is allowing people to seamlessly do business using fiat currencies with blockchain companies. Ethereum-based altcoin Seamless off-blockchain transaction processing Offer tamper-proof cross-blockchain smart contracts Test the high speeds, hack-proof security, and low fee structure of this altcoin for yourself by playing at Casino-Z and 1xSlots casino today. 10. Litecoin – Decentralised/Altcoin Litecoin is one of the early Bitcoin altcoins having been launched in 2011. In addition to offering the same anonymity and security options as its source, the developers behind Litecoin have also engineered the Lightning Network for instant global payments for everything from casino deposits to purchasing a coffee. Hack proof peer-to-peer transaction network Lightning network for instant payments Developers of Atomic Swap for cross crypto trading Try your hand at playing video slots, video poker, blackjack and more using Litecoin to deposit and withdraw at Bet Sensation casino and Green Spin casino today. How To Gamble With Cryptocurrencies Now that you are comfortable with what the differences are between the various types of coins, know a little more about the top 10 cryptos for gambling and have some idea of where to play with each of them let's talk about how to deposit and withdraw with cryptos. Despite being a groundbreaking new technology using them in practice is incredibly simple. To begin gambling with digital currencies all you need to do once you’ve joined your preferred crypto casino is follow the simple steps below: ✓How To Deposit with Crypto To make your first deposit at an online casino with cryptocurrency, plus claim the amazing welcome bonuses on offer, follow these simple steps: Step 1: Click on deposit at the top right of the page. Step 2: Select bitcoin, copy the private depositing address, and enter a relevant promo code. Step 3: Send the bitcoin to the private depositing address from your Bitcoin wallet of choice. With the speed and power of the blockchain, your first crypto deposit will be ready and waiting for you in your account within moments. ✓How To Withdraw with Crypto When it comes to cashing out your winnings the process is even more simple than making your first deposit. Follow these easy steps to withdraw your money: Step 1: Click Profile at top right of page, then click withdrawal. Step 2: Find your Bitcoin wallet address. Step 3: Select Bitcoin, enter your wallet address, the amount to be withdrawn, click withdrawal. For players who are used to waiting up to five business days for a withdrawal crypto-cash out will be mindblowing. At most, you will have to wait 15 minutes before you see your withdrawal become available in your wallet.
  11. 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.
  12. While the US has Las Vegas as its gambling mecca it is Great Britain which has the most widespread and accepting relationship with gambling of any country in the world. While going the races with your dad might be a fond memory of a special occasion for some, in the UK all you need to do to place a bet on any number of sporting events is head down to the local bookmaker which can be found on any high street. With the regulation and licensing of online gambling, this access to betting and casino games is now more ubiquitous than ever. There is no longer a need to leave your home, simply click on your mobile casino app and gamble in the privacy of your own home while watching Netflix or doing your taxes. ✓What Does This Mean for Young Britons? Growing up with this ease of access to gambling be it in town, at your pc or on your mobile phone does raise the question of whether the UK runs the risk of its young people becoming too familiar with gambling. Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission said: “Protecting consumers is at the heart of everything we do, and it is important we understand the ways in which children and young people gain exposure to gambling, the products they are playing, and what factors influence their relationship with gambling.” While it is a hobby there is the risk of losing one respect for the addictive potential that is inherent to the fast-paced risk-reward cycle that makes gambling so thrilling. Especially in the 16-30-year-old age bracket where many financial and societal patterns are being formed and instilled. To gain a practical insight into the mindset of young Brits and their major influences when it comes to gambling the Gambling Commission had global insights agency 2CV survey the target segment using “a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods” to paint them a real-life picture of “this demographic in their own words and reflecting their own voice”. ✓Snapshot of the Survey Results In addressing the intent of the Commission's inquiry 2CV surveyed two market segments sequentially. The first group consisted of having online participants aged 16-30 take part in a series of community exercises over a 10 day period that would test their understanding of gambling and what formed those opinions. The second test was a straightforward survey aimed at 16-25-year-olds. The survey covered their current experience with casinos and sportsbooks, how young they were when they first gambled and several other key indicators to gain an understanding of who and what shaped their view of gambling. The highlights of the report indicated the following: Engagement with gambling throughout childhood and early adulthood aligns to a familiar set of life events and milestones, such as family holidays, first jobs and increasing financial independence. Engaging with gambling or gambling style activities during childhood is common, but participation is primarily passive. Exposure to the positive and negative extremes of gambling (e.g., witnessing big wins or big losses, or being exposed to very positive or very negative attitudes about gambling) at an early age can lead to an increased interest in gambling in later life, and in some cases riskier or more harmful gambling behaviour. Friends and family played an influential role in shaping gambling behaviour, whilst advertising and marketing has less of an influence on young people’s tendency to gamble. Young people are most vulnerable to experiencing gambling harm after achieving independence from their parents and moving out of home. As people grow older gambling behaviour does not stay the same, rather it fluctuates according to personal (and peer) experiences of wins and losses, and alongside changes in lifestyle and responsibility. To ensure that these findings are as true as possible to the experience of the broader UK gambling population all participants were divided across the country’s regional demographics based on gender and socio-economic status. ✓The Family Dynamic While there is an ongoing debate about nature versus nurture in the development of habits and mindsets the 2CV reports shows that the familial views and interactions with gambling impact the development of younger people. It is interesting to see that where family members were seen to be voracious gamblers or actively encouraged the participants to gamble less than 10% of them had a healthy relationship with gambling, while in both cases more than 30% showed a high risk of addiction. ✓Follow The Leader We know all too well the pros and cons of the herd mentality of is an inherent part of the human condition. This is especially strong in younger people as they are creating future support structures. In a region where gambling is so easily accessible, it is not surprising that those friendships play a huge role in forming gambling behaviours. The interesting vacillation point here is that while isolated adults are more likely to fall foul of compulsive gambling disorders, it is more likely that they could develop a reliance on gambling as a form of escapism through social gambling during their formative years. This is supported by the final point in the earlier highlights list where ones changing view on gambling comes about with age, be it for better or for worse is up to the individual. ✓Marketing Is Underplayed Unfortunately, the report underplays the impact of advertising, popular culture, and influencers on enticing younger audiences. The Gambling Commission heading on the topics writes it off with a footnote: “Advertising is primarily a trigger or ‘nudge’ to play as opposed to the reason to start gambling, however more targetable marketing channels – such as social media and email – are more influential.” Yet with the extensive research being done into the impact of video game loot boxes on instilling gambling triggers in children, the bans on certain types of influencer marketing across Europe and limitations placed on venue advertising there is clearly more to this than the 2CV report was able to highlight. Additional exercises or survey questions around video game spend on loot boxes, watching Twitch streamers who either play online slots or are sponsored by betting companies like Barstool Stops and how they were introduced to these mechanisms would have been a nice addition to this already insightful project. ✓Put Your Best Foot Forward Based on their analysis of the two projects 2CV has recommended the following focus areas of for the Gambling Commission moving forward: Education for parents should focus on protecting children from the extremes of gambling (positive and negative experiences) – responsibly modelled play doesn’t appear to have the same impact on people’s future behaviour. Education for young people on what ‘normal’ play looks like will have wide-ranging benefits – enabling young people to benchmark safe play more accurately for themselves, for family and friends. Education and early exposure to gambling ought to be ‘neutral’ (not overly negative or positive) to minimize the risk of unsafe play – e.g., understanding of odds and probability of loss. A more holistic approach to tackling problem gambling within friendship groups rather than individuals will have a longer-lasting benefit – highlighting the influence of friends on play. We can only hope that the Commission sees the value in pursuing a more socially aware campaign of education and support, rather than following the Ministers suggestions we which all revolve around limiting player choice and financially penalising the businesses who operate in the sector.
  13. As lifelong fans of gambling and in particular online gambling it is fantastic to see how many countries are adopting a positive stance towards the hobby. Even if a region does not currently allow local licensing and advertising opportunities, they tend to adopt a ‘no harm, no foul’ approach which allows players to gamble at offshore casinos without any legislative requirements. In a 2021 review of the legal online gambling landscape Slotegrator reported that gambling regulation falls into one of four distinct categories: Those where gambling websites must be licensed by the local regulator (32 countries) Those where only local gaming sites need a license, not foreign sites (32 Countries) Those where online gambling is prohibited, but no legal action is taken against play at foreign sites (28 countries) Those where there are no gambling restrictions at all (93 countries) When looking at the European Union in the context of these categories is becomes clear that the majority of the member states have adopted or are investigating a multi-license regime. ✓EU Free Trade Supports Gambling Regulation For those who are unfamiliar with how the European Union works simply put it is an agreement between 27 member countries that make up most of continental Europe that aim to promote economic and political unity. As a response to the devastating impact of World War 2 on Europe, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1958 to foster financial dependencies. The logic being that when countries are reliant on one another for trade the likelihood of aggression declines. According to a report by the EU Commission in 2021 “82% of products traded in the Single Market are subject to harmonised rules and some 18% of intra-EU trade in goods fall under mutual recognition”. Given that the EU free trade agreement is such a pivotal part of the makeup and longevity of the Union, online gambling became a hotly debated topic as the UK, who was still a member of the EU at the time, promoted full regulation and licensing and expected to be able to trade with its partners. Jurisdictional legislators such as Malta became highly respected markets who expected EU member states to recognise the validity of an MGA licensed casino to trade within the Union. Members that stood against regulated online gambling were seen to be contradicting the compact, and this early friction ultimately led to a burgeoning European online gambling industry. ✓EGBA Striving for Standardised Regulation As with any other multi-party endeavour one of the challenges members of the EU have had to face is how their differing definitions, requirements and even fee structures have become stumbling blocks for their peers. To assist in creating a unified logic to regulation and a set of standards the Brussels-based European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was founded. “EGBA works together with national and EU regulatory authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated and well-channelled online gambling market which provides a high level of consumer protection and takes into account the realities of the internet and online consumer demand.” To achieve a sustainable online gambling regime the EGBA strives to: Achieve a well-regulated and competitive market Define an ambitious set of European industry standards Build an integrity-based betting market Address betting-related match-fixing and corruption In addition to creating forums for discourse and staying on top of the day-to-day minutiae associated with tracking the gambling rulings and legislative decision making of 27 member countries the EGBA is also a founding partner of the EU Athletes program, a member of the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and registered with the EU Transparency register since 2009. A July 2021 decision by the EU Commission to not reinstate the Expert Group on Online Gambling to assist regulators in coordinating their legal efforts could see the EGBA having an even more authoritative voice as it fills the role that the Commission renounced. ✓The French Gambling Legislation Interestingly enough when looking at online gambling regulation it is important not to interchange online gambling and online casino, especially if you are looking to play online slots in France. While many gambling sites will say that online casino is legal in France, they are in fact incorrect, however, it is correct to say that online gambling is legal in the country. This is because in 2010 France had a massive overhaul of its gambling law which both created the current body known as the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) and legalised all forms of land-based gambling including casino games, card games, and sports betting. However, in an unexpected turn of events when addressing online gambling the regulation only made allowance for the licensing of online poker and online sports betting, while online games of chance remained a restricted category. ✓An Avid Gambling Community Despite the exclusion of online slots and other casino games, online gambling has flourished in France with La Française des Jeux (FDJ) being responsible for betting and lottery games, while Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) is specifically responsible for horse racing. The Q2 2021 report by BusinessWire on the financial results of the FDJ reported that the “digitalised and online stakes” showed an impressive 70% growth over its Q1 results reaching €1.1 billion in revenue from stakes of €9.2 billion. Stéphane Pallez, Chairwoman and CEO of FDJ, said: “Our stakes are increasing, both online and in our point-of-sale network. Over the half-year, we accordingly recorded an increase of nearly 9% in revenue compared with the same period in 2019. Barring new restrictions in response to developments in the health situation, the Group expects to maintain good momentum in the second half and is confident in its business and results prospects in accordance with its responsible gaming model.” These reports show that the FDJ’s online performance is tracking perfectly for the body to achieve its target of €2.2 billion for the year. Market analysts expect this to come from just over €19 billion in stakes. However, the growth in both player stakes and overall revenue for France’s online gambling market has raised the question of whether their reasoning for excluding online gambling was genuine. When the regulations were announced in 2010 ARJEL argued that games of chance held too high a risk of gambling addiction. That games like slot machines encouraged high engagement and participation, something they then claimed to be looking to actively discourage. However, with the €9.2 billion in stakes over six months it proves French gamblers are an engaged and active community. Despite numerous calls in recent years for other EU member states to open their borders to regulated online gambling, to protect locals and actively participate in the free trade compact France has silently refused to budge on the issue, deflecting the conversation around casino games to a discussion of regulated online gambling instead. In a decision that further confuses the matter, France declared that its citizens may gamble at international offshore casinos. Yet this puts them at risk of playing with casinos who do not adhere to EU safer gambling standards, reduces channelisation by not offering a casino game option for slots players, and driving revenues offshore which could be funnelled into programs that would uplift the French community such education programs and compulsive disorder treatment centres. ✓The Bitcoin Casino Stumbling Block France is one of the most progressive nations in the world and as such has been at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption. The French are proud HODLERs with nearly 4% of the population owning Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital tokens. Unsurprisingly the lion’s share of this ownership sits with wealthy, tech-savvy men and women in their late mid-twenties to mid-thirties. It should come as no surprise then that in the absence of regulation making online casino gambling illegal a large portion of the French casino market is turning to Bitcoin casinos. Not only do they get to engage in leading online slots and tables games, but they stand the chance to withdraw even more of the valuable cryptocurrency in the process. However, July 13th saw a Parisian court rule that French ISPs had to block local users from accessing two cryptocurrency gambling sites. The ruling came of the back of a decision to hand over cryptocurrency regulations to Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), a securities watchdog with a specific brief to manage digital currency exchanges in the region. In this case while the casino games themselves were not the issue the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in an unregulated marketplace saw the AMF flex its muscle and once again limit French players access to online casino entertainment. Once again, sane minds argue that if France would extend its current online gambling legislation to include online casino games, they could offer local players access to a secure crypto-exchange and secure a valuable revenue resource in the process.
  14. A few short years ago no one in the world understood what digital currency was let alone how it would one day change the world. Yet today discussions around Bitcoin price hikes, Dogecoin as a meme token, the impact of cryptocurrency mining on both graphic card prices and the environment are dinner table chatter around the world. As an industry where speed of processing, data security and the potential for large financial transactions are central to its day to day running the online gambling market has been heavily invested in the development of blockchain technology and the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In this article, we will delve into what separates an online casino from a cryptocurrency casino. Are there tangible benefits? What are the challenges? Can you legally gamble using cryptocurrency and what games can you enjoy? Online Casino vs Crypto Casino – The Provably Fair Difference In recent years, the line between a blockchain casino and a casino that accepts cryptocurrency payments such as Bitcoin has blurred the definition of what a “crypto casino” is. There is an increasing number of online casinos that have begun accepting deposits and will honour withdrawals via your cryptocurrency wallet. Allowing you to gamble at their casino with credits purchased via Bitcoin, Ethereum or whichever token they accept. However, a true crypto casino does far more than just trade Bitcoin for casino credits. These casinos operate on the blockchain themselves. Their websites, their games, your personal information and ultimately your wagers are placed directly on the blockchain meaning it is all protected by the most advanced encryption platform known today. With the unique hash records available when processing transactions on the blockchain, the same technology used to verify Bitcoin transactions, you can track the validity of the outcome of each game you play at a crypto casino. This system of Provably Fair gaming puts the power to review every hand of blackjack, every spin of the reels and every roll of the dice in Craps and verify that the outcome you were shown is true and unaltered by any third party interference. A great example of this Bitcoin.com which now offers casino games on its platform, that is as close the source as one can hope to get when gambling with BTC. Advantages of Crypto Gambling – Count the Cost In any scenario where you are investing your time and money, both precious commodities, we always recommend looking at the facts and making a reasoned decision from there. The advantages of crypto casinos are: Unparalleled security – Given the virtually impenetrable nature of the blockchain it offers gamblers unprecedented levels of privacy and data protection. Less intrusive experience – When transacting via the blockchain the code behind your wallet is what is needed to complete a transaction. In this case gambling at a true crypto casino will require very little personal information from you to sign up and no additional KYC documentation when you cash out. Transactional transparency – The peer to peer nature of the blockchain ensures that you have a full view of who you send money to and receive it from, as well as giving you access to Provably Fair reviews of the individual games you play. Growing selection of licensed casinos – As Bitcoin continues to pave the way for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies so more regulated markets are beginning to accept cryptocurrencies. This ensures you all the benefits of virtual currency gambling with the support of player-centric gambling authorities. Superior banking options – The low costs, advanced security and unmatched processing speeds of cryptocurrencies make them the superior option when transacting online. However, as more casinos accept Bitcoin and other virtual currencies you still have access to web wallets and credit card transactions if you want them. Better payout percentages – With the low cost of operating an online casino on the blockchain and other revenue generation models for operators that include using the power of gambling transactions to mine for tokens blockchain casinos can offer overall payout percentages of up to 99%. This is far better than 93% to 97% offered by traditional online casinos. Casino game selection – Gambling on the blockchain no longer limits you to playing special blockchain games with poor graphics and limited animations. The world’s leading developers like Big Time Gaming now develop for the blockchain offering great casino games for true crypto casinos. Accessing traditional online casinos which transact in Bitcoin means you have access to award-winning slots and live dealer games from providers like Evolution and Netent. When it comes to shifting your online gambling from a known and trusted online casino to a new crypto casino it is worth digging into the pros and cons of the move and making a decision based on a balanced review of the facts and your personal needs. Choosing a Crypto Casino – Hot Button Items When discussing crypto-based casinos with our community and finding out from them what their most important selection criteria were for choosing a new online casino the following points were the most common across the board: Can I trust the casino to pay me? Will they find excuses to delay my payment? How safe is my information? Do they offer good bonuses? When it comes to finding a trustworthy online casino to play at the addition of cryptocurrencies to a casino is in fact an extraordinarily strong trust cue. With the total transparency and Provable Fair nature of the blockchain, these casinos are more exposed to their players than any traditional online casino. When you consider that you can also play at a regulated casino in Bitcoin you have added another layer of security as now have a safe technology platform and a stringent gaming authority both protecting you. The speed with which you can withdraw your winnings has always been a hot topic for online gamblers. Looking at the FAQs of leading cryptocurrency casinos like Bitstarz, BitCasino and Bitcoin Games Casino they all offer instant withdrawals. The protection of your personal and financial information is of paramount importance to all reputable online casinos. In this case, it becomes a matter of degrees; online casinos are as secure as banks when they utilise 128-bit SSL encryption but the blockchain is objectively the superior encryption method and so blockchain-based casinos will always be the safer option. At their core, the types of bonuses you receive at online casinos and cryptocurrency casinos will be the same either deposit match offers, free bonus credits or free spins. However, you may find the wagering requirements less stringent at crypto sites and their overall payout percentages higher which could mean you stand to withdraw more at a crypto casino on paper, but only Lady Luck knows where those chips will fall. Licensing and Regulation – Does it Matter for Crypto? No matter what your preferred gambling platform is, even when playing offline, there is no substitute for the peace of mind that gambling under a globally recognised regulator brings. They are far more than just a marketing watchdog that rakes in licensing fees. These gaming authorities ensure that operators have sufficient funds to pay your withdrawals, manage national safe gambling programs, require license holders to have their business practices reviewed by third-party auditors and work with law enforcement to shut down illegal operations. Adding the technology-based protections inherent to the blockchain to this substantial jurisdictional protection ensures that you have the safest and potentially profitable online gambling experience possible. In Conclusion With the advancements made in the online gambling services available on the blockchain, it is a good time to see if at the very least your current online casino accounts offer the option to transact in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. If you live in a regulated gambling market that has approved Bitcoin gambling it is worth adding the added protection provided by the blockchain to the security you already experience under your current legislation. Cryptocurrencies are growing in mainstream adoption so getting to grips with this technical and financial phenomenon through a medium you already enjoy, online gambling, is an easy way to luddite to crypto-pro!
  15. 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.
  16. With 2021 just around the corner we’ve taken a look at the good, the bad and the outrageous that the online gambling industry has gone through this year. Rather than rehash it all here are 21 lessons we have learnt that will make your gambling safer and more enjoyable in 2021. Gamble with a Clear Head and Heart 1. Make time for friends and family – gambling is a hobby, make time for other leisure activities and the people in your life to keep a healthy balance. 2. Play when you are in a positive frame of mind – to avoid making costly mistakes or becoming overwhelmed its best not to gamble as a form of self-medication. 3. Play sober – getting drunk will make you less focused and could lead to overspending or making a costly big bet that drains your bankroll. 4. Money well spent – everything we do has a cost, whether it’s visiting a museum or eating out, see the money spent at a casino as the cost of a nights entertainment rather than a loss and you will be able to budget for it happily. 5. Be sure to stretch your legs and stay hydrated – be sure to take a break now and then, it will get the blood flowing and make sure you don’t end up chasing losses out of frustration. 6. When you win, cash out and enjoy the windfall – luck is a fickle creature and if you’ve been fortunate enough to land a tidy win then put in your pocket and enjoy it with your loved ones. Make a Plan and Stick to It 7. Decide ahead of time how much you will spend at the casino – budgeting is key to enjoying your time at a casino safely as it protects both your finances and diminishes stress. 8. Only play casino games for a predetermined amount of time – budgeting your time is as important as your money, play for a set amount of time then move onto something else. The casino will still be there tomorrow. 9. Decide ahead of time not to chase any losses – in the heat of the moment it can be easy to chase a loss, however by making a firm decision not to do so beforehand you will be aware of the urge to do so should it occur. 10. Get to know a VIP host or key customer service agent – having someone to speak to, who knows you, can be a great way to stop compulsive behaviour or figure out how to set limits on your account. Who better to help than a casino rep who knows the system inside and out? Manage Your Money 11. Only gamble with money you have available – avoid gambling with your credit card or money you’ve borrowed, losing money you need to pay back with interest is a double loss. 12. Find the best deposit and withdrawal methods for you – depending on the methods you use there are fees, transaction times and even bonuses you need to take into consideration. 13. Budget for progressive jackpot slots – progressive jackpot games like Mega Moolah are known for their outrageous payouts but they can be more expensive to wager on, be sure to create a side budget if you like these games. 14. Join a VIP or loyalty program – casinos offer great rewards, additional promotions, and more personalised service through these programs, all of which are great ways to maximise your entertainment. Learn About Your Hobby 15. Read up on game odds and return to player percentages – various game types offer differing odds of winning and require differing levels of skill, understanding these will help you enjoy the games and manage your budget. 16. Check out guides on casino bonus types – bigger is not always better, understanding the benefits and limitations of various bonus types will help you choose those that suit your playstyle and budget. 17. Take the time to read casino bonus terms and conditions – each casino will have their own set for terms for wagering, deposits, and withdrawals, to make sure you get the most from your bonus take a few minutes and read the fine print. 18. Take your time and test various games to find your favourites – before you spend your money playing a new game test it for free, this way you get to try all the available features and it doesn’t cost you anything. Safety First 19. Sign up and play at regulated casinos – choosing casinos licensed by recognised authorities such as the UKGC, MGA, Swedish Gaming Authority and others ensures you are playing a trustworthy site and that you have access to assistance should you feel the casino is not delivering on their promised service levels. 20. Choose casinos with good customer service reputations – while bonuses and features can grab your attention it is an online casino who takes care of your questions and resolves your queries swiftly that will always win the day. Start ahead of the pack by considering our GamblersPick Select casino partners. 21. Find trusted casinos who actively promote safer gambling tools – your financial and emotional health must always be a priority, any online casino actively promoting safer gambling strategies and tools shows they understand this and will be there for you however the chips may fall. We hope that these 21 tips help make your online gambling experience in 2021 more enjoyable and stress-free. Should you find yourself not enjoying your time online don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust and a safer gambling organisation in your area to ensure the experience remains a fun and entertaining – please don’t gamble with your health and wellbeing.
  17. Most casino games played both at land-based and online casinos involve a degree of luck when the outcomes roll-out. Even blackjack and poker, which are steeped in skill and strategy, involve the luck of the draw when your card hand is dealt out. Punters will grasp at anything possible to improve their odds in these luck-based environments, with some even resorting to superstitious rituals in a bid to earn good graces from the gambling gods. 10 Most Popular Casino Superstitions Below is a list of 10 of the most popular superstitions to circulate the gambling arena. Perhaps you might even recognise one or two good luck rituals that you, or a family member, adhere to when spending a night at the tables or when watching your favourite team play in an important tournament. ✓Itchy Hands? Scratch that Habit There is a long-held superstition that when your palms get itchy, money is coming your way. Perhaps someone has even said it to you in the past. This saying originates from Western Europe. In Bulgaria, if you suffer from ‘the itch’, it’s best you avoid the casino as it is said to be downright bad luck. Serbians hold the opposing view though, as do many other Westerners. In their region, if your hands are itchy, you better drop everything and hit the gambling halls or online casinos, for it’s a sign that money is on its way to you. ✓The Table is not for Counting It is commonly believed by gamblers worldwide that it is bad luck to count your money while you are still seated at the game table. It has become etched into casino etiquette in many regions, where the house will often advise their visitors to step away from the tables before counting their chips. It is such a big part of casino culture nowadays that Kenny Rogers included the practice in the lyrics of his hit song, ‘’The Gambler”. ✓Beware the Devil’s 13 Number 13 has had an unlucky connotation for hundreds of years. Have you ever noticed that hotels and skyscrapers do not have a 13th floor, or that Friday the 13th is a day that supposedly carries heaps of bad luck? Well, this superstition carries over to the gambling industry as well and it’s a wonder that casinos have not removed the number altogether from Roulette wheels and tables yet. Of course, there are those who fly in the face of lucky rituals and opt to play this number just to be otherwise. It would be interesting to see how often the number comes up, to be honest. ✓Faith in 8 While 13 is a number to avoid, many Eastern players have faith in 8. The combination of 888 holds the same degree of luck that 777 does in the Western World. "Did you know that 888 Casino used to be called Casino-on-net but switched to "888" when looking to enter the Asian market. The branding was so catchy, however, that it became their global identity." In China and other eastern countries, it is said that numbers that sound like words that are prosperous are considered good luck. The number 8 in Cantonese sounds similar to the word for wealth, therefore, it is regarded highly by gamblers. ✓Red is the Colour Another superstition that finds its origins in the East, is that the colour ‘red’ is lucky. The Chinese believe that the colour is a symbol of life, joy, and prosperity, so you will find that Asian players will commonly wear red when betting or attending casinos. It is thought that red garments, and especially undergarments, will appease the gods and cause their favour to shine on you. If you have played any number of slots and casino games that boast an Eastern theme, you will have realised that red is a very prominent colour in these titles. It is this colour that draws the superstitious crowds in. ✓Mob Money In America, accepting $50 bills from the cashier can be viewed as bad luck. This superstition ties back to the old mob era. When a mafia hitman killed someone, they would place a $50 bill in the victim’s pocket before they buried the body. Accepting $50 notes, therefore, holds a murderous connection with some US players who may refuse the payout in these denominations. ✓No Whistling Dixie According to some, gambling is a serious affair and should be treated as such, or it could anger the gambling gods. For this reason, whistling or singing at the table is frowned upon and it is believed that it could come back to haunt you in further rounds. Aside from the superstition behind the action, whistling and singing can be off-putting to other players and is just downright bad etiquette, so we would never condone it unless you are playing online. ✓Side Entrance Superstition Originally a Chinese superstition, it seems to have rubbed off in other parts of the world too. It is said that using the main entrance to a casino is bad luck. There are two reasons for this: It is believed that the doors are cursed by Feng Shui masters and using them will invoke bad fortune on your gambling endeavours. Rubbing shoulders with a loser will transfer the bad fortune to you. This is most likely to happen at the main entrance of the casino. If there is no other way into the establishment, be sure to dart in and out when the lines are thin to avoid contact. So, if you see a patron using the side door to access and leave the casino from now on, you know why. Perhaps it’s best that you start finding alternative entrances of your own to the establishment. Fortunately, this is not a worry for online casino gamblers. ✓Wash Away the Worry For those of you are on a losing streak, there is a simple remedy according to Eastern superstition. Simply head to the washbasin and wash your hands thoroughly. This in turn washes away all your poor luck. Winners, however, should not wash their hands, or else they may wash away their good fortunes and invoke some bad luck upon them. If only good fortune was this black and white and that access to good fortune was a given if you had access to a restroom with running water. We would observe the making of many more sanitary millionaires. ✓Betting Rituals 101 Some players use other small rituals when betting at the tables. These vary greatly from person to person. Some of the common ones include the way the chips are stacked, whether you blow on the dice before a throw or not, or whether you place chips with your left or right hand, and others. Often rituals and superstitions are personalised – things that work and don’t work for the individual. In many instances, players stumble across them while gambling. For example, you just so happened to have a great day of wins one day when you stacked your chips in a certain way, now you feel that the only way to repeat that fortune is to make sure the chips are laid out, in the same way, each time you gamble. Get Your Supersitions Here While some swear blind by many of these rituals, others regard them as flaky superstitious rubbish. The question that begs an answering here is – How has your luck been of late? Feel free to join the GamblersPick Community and leave us your thoughts on these and other gambling superstitions. Perhaps you have some to share that we haven't covered?
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