Posts Tagged ‘us online casinos’

Charting the Waters of USA Facing Online Casinos: The Lowdown on What to Expect

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Online gambling in the USA. Take note, it’s a tricky thing. And apparently, it’s not getting less tricky. Now, before I scare you away from gambling at a U.S. facing online casino, let me just say that “tricky” doesn’t necessarily mean impossible. Nor does it mean unsafe or unfair. Let’s face it – until the U.S. government gets its act together, Americans must simply accept the fact that there are far fewer options when making a wager online.

Furthermore, the processing of funds used for online casino gambling is no easy matter either. What exactly does that mean? Well, for the most part, it means that there are fewer deposit options and that withdrawals tend to take longer to process. It also means that if you happen to not get your money, i.e. duped by an unscrupulous online casino operator, there simply is no legal recourse to get your entitled funds.

That said, U.S. residents who just have to get their gambling fix online (which I really can’t criticize considering the odds are far better online than they are at a good ‘ol American land-based casino), need to use caution when surfing the waters of U.S. facing online casinos.

Chiefly, there are three software developers that permit their online casino licensees to accept U.S. wagers. They are Real Time Gaming, Vegas Technology and Rival Gaming. The big dogs – Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic – backed out of the U.S. market a long time ago (to their chagrin), while the smaller aforementioned outfits simply left it up to individual operators to choose for themselves whether or not to pursue the lucrative U.S. market.

The only problem is that NOT all of the online casino operators using these software providers are to be trusted. Not that they are all crooks (although some very likely are), the problem is that anybody with a fair amount of money to put down can open an online casino. Whether or not they can maintain the operation of an online casino without going bankrupt is another matter.

This is what differentiates a white label online casino from…well, a non-white label online casino. Stay tuned for future blog posts here at OCS for more clarification about this and how you can arm yourself with the knowledge to make safe decisions regarding which online casinos to play and which to avoid. In the meantime, please check out our best online casinos page for a shortlist of what OCS and many players consider to be the best online casinos accepting U.S. players. We have done the due diligence researching all of these sites, and their track records speak for themselves.

Rome Casino Graduates to OCS Homepage and Best USA Online Casinos Page

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

An amazing offer from leading USA friendly Rome Casino

An amazing offer from leading USA friendly Rome Casino

Rome Casino has been listed and approved here at Online Casino Suite for well over a year now. One of the very first online casinos to debut under the newly launched Top Game platform, we wanted to give Rome a fair chance at proving themselves, and were certainly hoping they would come through for the players, and consequently, for us as well! The Top Game software platform showed a lot of promise, largely in part because its developers had ties to the white-label Playtech platform, and there was a good deal of buzz on the initial performance of the Top Game platform itself.

However, taking the side of caution, we decided to just give their flagship licensee, Rome Casino, a test run to see how things panned out. Needless to say, the fact that Rome is still approved by OCS, goes to show they haven’t done anything to jeopardize our trust. There have been no direct player complaints (maybe one or two that I can personally think of, both of which were quickly and amicably resolved), and the sentiment within the industry at large is that Rome Casino, and just as important, Top Game, have made a place for themselves in this online business. Granted, the road was a little bumpy in the past. Yet, there are no unresolved issues at this time and there is nothing to lead us to believe anything contrary to Rome’s commitment operating a reputable and noteworthy establishment.

Since Rome Casino first showed up on our online casino reviews page, a steady stream of Top Game software licensees have come out – all mostly catering to the U.S. market. OCS hasn’t gone so far as to approve any other Top Game licensee just yet (many of them are lacking in transparency), but we are certainly open to doing so in the future as more licensees get up to speed with our requirements of being approved, listed and recommended to our readers. For the time being, however, Rome Casino gets our sole, wholehearted recommendation. In fact, as of last week, we have moved Rome Casino to the Online Casino Suite homepage, Best Online Casinos page, and even moved them up on our main Online Casino Bonuses chart.

The latter of these moves was mainly due to the fact that Rome has improved/increased its welcome bonus offer once again. Originally a 200% play bonus worth $200 Free, Rome increased this to a multi-deposit bonus worth a total of $5,000 Free (100% up to $1,000 Free on five consecutive deposits). Now, Rome has increased the initial bonus to a massive 400% up to $3,000 Free and increased the remaining bonuses (on the second, third and fourth deposits) by twofold, worth 200% up to $1,000 Free each – a total of 1,000% Free in bonuses.

The play-through requirement is a reasonable 20x on all casino games other than card and table games. Don’t be confused by the 75x play-through in the general bonus T&C’s – this applies to no-deposit bonuses, which have a maximum cashout of $150. For 25% cash back bonuses on video poker, blackjack and roulette bets (Copia’s Cash Back Bonus), the play-through is an amazingly low 1x. For more information, please read the OCS Rome Casino Review. If you do decide to open an account, please come back to this review and click the “Share Your Experience” link to tell us and other players about your experience at Rome Casino.

U.S. Facing Online Casinos Help Players With Debit Gift Cards for Making Deposits

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
Take Your Pick! Gifts Cards for Online Casinos

Take Your Pick! Gifts Cards for Online Casinos

With the June 1st deadline to enforce the UIGEA fast approaching, many online gamblers are wondering if the “stupidest law ever passed” (thank you Barney Frank) will have an affect on their online gambling activities. In other words, folks want to know if they are going to be able to deposit money – and most especially – withdraw their winnings from their favorite USA online casinos.

Basically, once the UIGEA is mandated to go into effect on June 1st, financial institutions and transaction processors are required by law to block online gambling transactions. But hold on just a second – not every online gambling transaction. You may recall that the UIGEA is filled with carveouts that allow fantasy sports betting, horseracing, and lotteries to accept online wagers. The only problem (and this is a BIG problem) is that the UIGEA does not define “illegal online gambling”, nor does it provide for any solutions or government backing in helping filter out all of the different kinds of online gambling transactions.

The American Banking Association has itself stated that effectively enforcing this law will be nigh impossible. Furthermore, there are so many ways around traditional methods of depositing with online casinos, i.e., credit cards and eWallets like Neteller and Click2Pay, which needless to say, have already enacted measures to block online gambling transactions with U.S. citizens.

One of the most effective methods being used to deposit at online casinos are credit/debit gift cards, which are essentially prepaid debit cards. Unless the U.S. government were to ban all prepaid cards (which they certainly cannot do), this method serves as a non-descript way of making “online gambling transactions”. The way it works is that cards must first be funded – either by direct deposit of paychecks, ACH money transfers, PayPal transfers or cash reloads at participating retail locations. Once the card has been funded, they can then be used to transfer funds to online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, you name it. As for receiving withdrawals, worse case scenario is that players will have to wait a week or more to receive a certified check in the mail.

The question you must be asking yourself now is, “Where can I get a prepaid gift card?”. Truth be told, there are plenty to choose from. And quite frankly, there are likely to be plenty more spawned as the demand to circumvent traditional methods of depositing funds with internet betting sites continues. Remember, the UIGEA does not implicitly make the act of online gambling illegal. It simply prohibits the transfer of funds between financial institutions and online gambling businesses, which is carried out by the operators and not the bettors themselves.

In terms of fees, each card varies (there are plenty to choose from). Granted, some can get expensive. However, this is where your best friend Wal-Mart enters the picture. In addition to the swarming crowds of crazy people, Wal-Mart carries a comprehensive supply of prepaid cards, and also allows you to reload your card for future uses. Retail stores from drug stores to bodegas allow you to do the same. However, it’s Wal-Mart that imposes the lowest fees (around $3), while there’s no fee whatsoever if using the paycheck direct deposit method of funding your prepaid gift card. Depending on the card, a one-time activation fee and monthly fee may also apply.

The best way to go about finding a reliable prepaid debit gift card is to start a relationship with an online casino you would like to sign up with. In other words, open an account at a trustworthy online casino you know to do business with U.S. players (check out our Best USA Online Casinos page), and then contact the cashier while logged into your account. From there, they will be able to guide you on how to get your account funded. Just to name a few, some of the one’s players are frequenting include Green Dot (www.greendotonline.com), Vanilla (www.vanillavisa.com), Wired Plastic (www.wiredplastic.com), and NetSpend (www.netspend.com). These are considered some of the more affordable gift cards out there. For example, WiredPlastic has a one-time activation fee of $9.95 and monthly fee of just $3.95.

The Future of Online Casino Gambling in the United States

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Gambling. Just the word alone brings with it a lot of baggage. A controversial activity – to say the least – what makes gambling different than most other heated issues (like abortion) is the fact that just about everybody gambles, whereas not every woman has or is going to get an abortion.

Just think about it. How many people do you know with a retirement plan or IRA? How many people do you know who own a house? How many people do you know who invest in real estate, the stock market, or even a new business opportunity? Just about everyone you know, including yourself, is – directly or indirectly – participating in one form of gambling or another. The only difference between “everyday” investing and casino gambling is that the latter at least provides a form of entertainment and diversion.

Granted, not every form of gambling has the same degree of volatility, just as every casino game has it’s own volatility level. However, some of the most common forms of investing in today’s financial market are as unpredictable as the most volatile casino games. We have always been told that when you buy property and/or a house, it’s value is pretty much guaranteed to go up. Could you have every predicted the crash in the housing market, which contrary to all “safe” investment practices, have actually lost value?

I could have never imagined that when my father-in-law had to take a new job and move from Florida to Delaware that his beautiful home would not be able to sell, and that his only option would be to settle for a buyout from his company, which was way below what he originally purchased the house for. In effect, it was an unlucky wager. He couldn’t hold out any longer, just like you can’t always hold out as long as you would like to at the Blackjack table. Sometimes you have to take your losses before it’s all gone.

So, where am I going with all this (besides the obvious fact that I’m trying to prove that casino gambling is no different than most other things we do with our money)? Well, in particular, I am trying to bring some attention toward the fight to ban online gambling in the United States. I mean, really, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is one of the most hypocritical laws ever to be passed. Congressman Barney Frank said himself, “the UIGEA is the stupidest law ever passed”, which is actually more apt, considering all the benefits that would come from regulating online gabling and the harm that will come by making it illegal and attempting to enforce an impossibility.

I certainly understand the concern about underage gambling and wanting to protect minors, which truly isn’t the foremost concern of politicians who support an online gambling ban (Believe me, the politicians who have spearheaded the UIGEA, have great backing by the land-based gambling industry, which predominantly considers online gambling a threat to its own welfare. Just do a search on the foremost proponent of the UIGEA – Senator Jon Kyl – and you will find an assortment of kick-backs from the brick ‘n mortar gambling and tobacco/alcohol industries).

However, banning online gambling will not stop minors from gambling at online casinos. Online casinos, especially those being run by inscrutable crooks, will find a way – just as they do to this day – to skirt around financial roadblocks and not only take money from minors, but cheat them out of their money. Even in today’s unregulated online gambling landscape, adult U.S. citizens are frequent victims of fraud and unfair odds. Of course, there are some reputable US online casinos doing business and holding offshore regulatory credentials. However, there are also online casinos being run my the Israeli mafia and being promoted to U.S. citizens.

Now, if the U.S. government would follow suit to Great Britain, where all forms of internet betting, including online casino gambling, poker and sports betting, are being effectively regulated – meaning that at a minimum fair odds are being ensured, and that underage/problem gambling is being effectively prevented and treated – the criminals would essentially be put out of business. It’s exactly the same thing that happened with prohibition, and unless the U.S. government does not wake up and take address of its own hypocrisy, billions of dollars will be wasted, and all the while U.S. citizens – many of whom will be taken advantage of – will continue gambling online.

RTG Software Adds Two New Real Series Video Slots to Online Casino Games Portfolio

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Leading  U.S. facing online casino software developer, Real Time Gaming, aka RTG, has launched two new video slots, boosting their portfolio of online casino games to well over 125.

Although still short of the 200 mark, it’s only a matter of time before RTG’s online casino games portfolio reaches that milestone and earns bragging rights in the company of giants like Microgaming. And not that RTG doesn’t have anything to brag about already. In fact, their current portfolio beats out Rival Gaming, Vegas Technology and certainly gives Playtech and Cryptologic a run for their money. The only one standing out from the rest of the pack is Microgaming. And, as mentioned, nobody comes close to the size of Microgaming’s online casino games portfolio.

On the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, “Lucky Day” is an Irish-themed 5-reel, 25-payline video slot as part of RTG’s “Real Series” of slot machines (now over 60 games in the series). Offering a random jackpot and a free spins feature with a massive 3x winnings on six free spins and a 2x multiplier on the seventh free spin, while permitting a free spin retrigger up to five times (resulting in 35 free spins), Lucky Day has the potential of living up to its name.

For all the hockey fans out there, not to mention fans of free spin bonuses and random jackpots, Hockey Hero saves the day. An entertaining game that probably would have proven popular during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Hockey Hero offers 25 paylines and a chance to be sent to the penalty box for free spin bonuses. Not necessarily what you want to do in a real hockey game, going to the penalty box means more money and a chance at winning a 10,000 coin jackpot.

For more information about Real Time Gaming and the highest rated RTG properties, visit the OCS RTG Casinos page.

PayPal Overblocking Online Transactions Due to Ambiguity of UIGEA

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Many people have wondered why exactly it is that the American Banking Association, the world’s largest credit card companies, and even the Federal Reserve have said all along the supposed US online gambling ban – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – would be nigh impossible to enforce, considering all of the carve outs and discrepancies in the bill. I mean a carve out is a carve out, right? Simply identify which forms of online gambling are illegal and block those out.

As nice as this would be, the reality is that the UIGEA does not give transaction codes for specific forms of gambling that should be deemed legal or illegal. Furthermore, every State’s laws are slightly different, so what may be legal in Kentucky (horse racing) could be illegal in a different State, and vice versa. In other words, the UIGEA has placed this huge responsibility – and what some will say is an insurmountable task – on US financial institutions and payment processors.

Case in point is the recent fledgling of affairs at the South Florida Blues Society, which recently send a member-wide email out explaining that internet transactions for the group are being inadvertently blocked because Paypal has mistakenly listed their website as an online gambling website. Now, of course the South Florida Blues Society is a music fan club and has nothing to do with offering online gambling services. But that’s how it goes when you give payment processors the difficult task of filtering out millions of transactions made every day of the year – some related to gambling, some slightly related to gambling, some for legitimate online gambling and some for illegal online gambling. Oy!

The South Florida Blues Society is now even having trouble processing payments made with Visa and Mastercard – both of which have recently been making a wholehearted attempt to comply with the regulations of the UIGEA – the implementation of which has been delayed until June 1, 2010. At less than two months away, getting the UIGEA “successfully” implemented looks even more daunting and impossible than ever.

Searching for a Tropical Online Casino in the Dead of Winter?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
My Tropical Fantasy at Paradise 8 Casino (Check out my Balance...Booya!!)

My Tropical Fantasy at Paradise 8 Casino (Check out my Balance...Booya!!)

Not sure about you, but where I’m at, it’s the brunt of winter, snow and ice are on the ground, the sky is grey, trees are bare, and needless to say, I’m ready for a little warmth and sunshine. I know beggar’s can’t be choosers, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m also ready for a Pina Coloda, private cabana , some flip flops and palm trees swaying in the tropical breezes.

But, since that’s not going to happen, I do what’s next best – virtual reality. Now, I’m not talking about the whole goggle headset and touch sensor gloves experience or like they do in Avatar, but I am talking about some of the best Web technology out there.  Low & behold, this being an online gambling blog and all, wouldn’t you know that I’m talking about online casino gambling? 🙂

So, in my fantasy to be basking in the sunshine and dangling my toes in the water, I started to mull over all the online casinos with a tropical theme. I started going down the list, and at one point I remembered Casino Del Rio, but soon realized they had turned into an “eco” themed online casino – still not a bad thing, but not what I was looking for in order to fulfill my fantasy. I mean, I eat organic food and recycle and all that, but at the moment, I need a tropical fantasy like a baby needs its bottle! 🙁

After a few more minutes of sobbing and narrowing down online casinos by software platform, I found myself perusing Rival Gaming, and landing upon an online casino, which to be honest, was one that I am not as familiar with as some of the others in my book of top picks. Not that I’ve been impartial to Rival-powered Davinici’s Gold, Superior Casino and Sloto Cash, I just didn’t have the good chance of playing at……drum roll please…..Paradise 8 Casino – the object of my tropical fantasy desires! The funny thing is that Paradise 8 has been around for quite a while, and of all their Rival brethren, actually offers one of the best, if not the best bonus packages currently. Try a $10 no-deposit bonus followed by 100% up to $300 Free, or 2-part bonus up to $800 Free on slots, or 100% up to $350 Free on table games.

Now, I know it may sound peculiar to some of you for an online casino to make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise. However, there is something to be said for full-screen imagery (definitely play in full screen mode people), the right music, and of course, having a couple Pina Coloda’s in your fazizzle.

When you first open Paradise 8 Casino, the first thing you will see is a high definition photo of what is very likely a poolside resort in Hawaii. Choice! The water looked so good, I actually tried to dive into the screen. Okay, maybe I had more than a couple Pina Coloda’s 🙂 For your information, the photo posted with this blog is actually a screen shot of the latest welcome screen at Paradise 8. Ya, so after logging back in, I noticed the lobby screen had changed. I’m not sure if this is a regular thing or a difference between the initial download and regular login screen – either way, it get’s my tropical kicks off.

Backed by some very relaxing tropical lounge music dubbed with little parrots and birds chirping away in the background, I seriously was halfway into my tropical fantasy before I even logged into Paradise 8. The only thing missing was a bikini babe to walk by and remind me that she was way out my league. And honestly, that’s all I needed. Let’s just say the diversion of the online casino games took over from there. So there you have it – If you too are looking for a little tropical getaway via an online casino, Paradise 8 lives up to their name – Your best bet if you ask me. Now, if only I can get turn the virtual reality into reality – bikini babe and all! Signing out then, ’cause I guess I better get to wagering!

Read the OCS Paradise 8 Casino Review for the most current information.

Former Mastercard Executives Mobilizing U.S. Ready Online Gambling eWallet

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

securetradingWhen I first heard (just minutes ago) that former top-level Mastercard executives were coming up with a U.S. friendly online gambling payment processing solution in light of the recent crackdown by Mastercard on internet gambling transactions (with Mastercard’s, of course), I think I got a smile on my face as big as the time Santa gave me a beach cruiser for Christmas. No really, beach cruisers were totally rad back in the 80’s. Before I reveal my age any further, let’s just say that my smile was quickly replaced with a frown on my face as big as the time I saw a man playing with a live rooster on the floor of a moving subway car in New York City.

Okay so maybe not a frown, per say, but definitely a look of concern. As I researched further, I found out that former Mastercard executives are not necessarily cooking up some loopholed, covert payment processor that bypasses current betting restrictions in the U.S., but rather, are mobilizing a new company called Secure Trading, that will be ready to legally handle U.S. online gambling deposits and withdrawals when and if the UIGEA is overturned and online gambling regulations are passed in the U.S.

In other words, Secure Trading is yet another online gambling eWallet ready to cash in on the billions of online gambling dollars generated by U.S. citizens – As will be Neteller, Click2Pay, MoneyBookers and a horde of other eWallets currently being used by online gamblers elsewhere in world. And guess what else? So will Mastercard.

Call me a little bee-ahch, but does the world really need another eWallet that does not take bets from U.S. online gamblers! Sure, I can understand what with Mastercard in the news of late, this would seem like a relevant news bit. But isn’t this like eating a big candy bar in front of a little kid, telling the little tike in between bites that one day, maybe, he can get some candy bar too? Of course all of the eWallets and payment processors are going to jump in the U.S. market as soon as it’s regulated. They would be stupid not to.

So, my fellow U.S. citizens, let’s remember the good name of “Secure Trading”. Some day, you too may be able to use it to make a deposit with your favorite online casino.