The gambling industry has changed completely over the last decade or so. It has moved from glitzy casinos in Las Vegas and Macau to virtual casinos around the world. These best online gambling sites in 2017 are what we will cover in this guide, as we tell you everything you need to know about online gambling bonuses, software and more.
What are the Best Online Gambling Sites?
The term is typically used to refer to real money online gambling sites, which, simply put, allow you to play casino games online for real money.
In the early days, casino games were made to resemble the games you could find in land-based casinos. The slots were basic fruit machines, the table games revolved around roulette and blackjack. If you couldn’t find it in an offline casino then you wouldn’t encounter it in an online casino either.
However, that is no longer the case. These days online casinos are more varied, more feature-rich and arguably more fun than their offline counterparts. That’s why the online industry is growing year on year while the offline one is heading in the other direction. Online gambling sites are the future of this industry, but if recent figures are anything to go by, they are also the present.
The History of Online Gambling Sites
The very first online casino was created by the geniuses behind Microgaming. They created a handful of cash slots and table games and offered these to the world via a never-seen-before gaming platform.
This industry was young, so it didn’t prove too successful because the majority of people still didn’t have the internet. However, many other businesses saw the potential and asked Microgaming if they could license their software. Soon, Microgaming realized that there was more money in licensing the software than in keeping it for themselves, so they changed tact.
They began to focus more on development and licensing. In return they charged a fee, they took a share of the spoils, and they provided the casino with everything they needed. They appealed to the players by creating top games, but they also appealed to the casinos by making them profitable.
After seeing Microgaming rise to success, many others followed suit. Some of the earlier developers included Novomatic and Aristocrat, both of which made their name in offline interactive gambling. Before long, Playtech was created and they quickly began to rival the industry leaders in terms of size.
As the industry grew, so did Microgaming and Playtech. Eventually brands like NetEnt and BetSoft came into the fold.
Best Online Gambling Sites 2017: Software
When you play on the best online gambling sites in 2017 you will notice that many of them use the same or similar games. Even if you play on different casinos, you may find the same games. That’s because casinos are licensees of software that is available to everyone. As a result, they all tend to license the same software.
There are differences in formats based on the different software out there. The bigger casinos will get licensees from many different developers. The smaller ones will stick with one or two. Below you can find a complete list of all popular online casino software currently being used.
- MicroGaming: This is the oldest online casino developer in the world. They got there first, they are still one of the biggest out there and they also release more games than any other developer. They are the masters of the progressive slot and the retro slot and some of their better titles have include Mega Moolah, The Dark Knight, Cash Splash, Jurassic Park and Football Star. They also create many table games, virtual scratch-cards and more.
- Playtech: This developer may have been a little late to the party, but they have since grown into the biggest out there, bigger even than Microgaming. They excel in the variety that they offer. They have binary options software, trading software and more. Playtech also have a wealth of slots and specialize in superhero slot machines, all licensed by Marvel. They have some of the best table games as well, including games of roulette and the much-loved Switch Blackjack, which has since been a hit in both online and offline casinos.
- NetEnt: These are newer, smaller and more focused on high quality graphics. They don’t have as many slots or table games as Microgaming and Playtech, but they get as much respect from players. Their bigger and better titles have included South Park and South Park: Reels of Chaos.
- IGT: A power in the world of land-based casino development, IGT have also moved into online casino developing and have created a plethora of top titles. These include Family Guy, which many mistake for being a NetEnt title. That’s because it has all the hallmarks of NetEnt: great graphics, unique gameplay and a theme taken from popular culture. This is one of the newer and better IGT titles out there, but more and more games are being released that fit a similar mold and that’s helping them to challenge the bigger developers in this industry.
- BetSoft: Using a unique Slots3D platform, BetSoft are able to create slots that look and play better than many other titles on the market. These 3D slots are beautiful to look at and many of them play in the same way. They release fewer titles than other developers, but they tend to be graphically superior.
- Smaller Developers: There are many smaller developers out there trying to make themselves known in this competitive industry. Many of these seem to be based in Sweden, but there are also a number of them based across Europe. They include developers like SoftSwiss, GameArt and QuickSpin, not to forget about longer running and bigger developers like Novomatic and Aristocrat.
Other Online Gambling Site Software
Believe it or not, there is also software out there for more of the best online gambling sites in 2017. There are sites that use their own proprietary software, such as BetFair. But when you’re dealing with sports books (as opposed to betting exchanges), poker rooms and bingo rooms, they tend to license software from other developers.
That’s why you will find many of the same layouts used on countless different sports books. It is why sites like 888Sport, 32RedSport, SunBet and UniBet seem to share nothing in common, yet all use the same software. This does not mean that they are copies of each other. Also, just because one site uses software that is the same as a trustworthy site or a black listed site, doesn’t mean it is one or other itself.
There was a time when poker rooms were all connected to one of four or five networks. You had OnGame, iPoker, PokerStars and Full Tilt and that was it. These days there are still a handful of controlling networks, but there are also many other niche networks and most sites—the smaller ones included—have their own. You can find unique networks everywhere from Unibet, PokerStars and FullTilt, to Titan Poker and 888Poker.
One of the areas that has always been dominated by the same software developers are Live Dealer games. You can find these on most online casinos, whether they use Playtech, Microgaming or BetSoft. However, the vast majority of them have been created by Evolution Gaming. They are the kings of the Live Dealer setup and their software can be seen on 95% of Live Dealer games out there.
Best Online Gambling Sites 2017: Bonuses
As soon as you signup to an online gambling site you will be exposed to a number of different bonuses. These can be unlocked straight away or they can be unlocked when you meet some requirements. It all depends. There are several main bonuses that you will find and these have been discussed in full below:
- No Deposit Bonuses: As the same suggests, this is a bonus that is unlocked without the need for a deposit. It is a bonus that you can get straight away and one that typically comes with a small play-through rate (discussed in the FAQ at the end of the article). The amount that you get is often very small, just $10 or $20, which means that this is more suited to casual gamblers and small-stake players than it is to those who gamble big money frequently. These bonuses are actually quite rare, but they are becoming more and more common.
- Matched Deposit Bonuses: These are bigger deposit bonuses and they tend to cater for the majority of players. You can typically deposit up to $1,000 and get between 200% and 50% extra. These bonuses come with a high play-through rate and there are often additional bonuses attached. But they are some of the best bonuses out there. You should always look out for the percentage amount, which dictates how much you will get; the play-through rate, which will dictate when you can withdraw it; and the steps involved to unlock it.
- Free Spins: These bonuses are rarely used on their own as welcome bonuses, but they are bundled in with matched deposit bonuses and no deposit bonuses and they are also handed out to loyal players in order to get them interested in new games and new features. Simply put, you will be given a select number of free spins, from 10 all of the way up to 500. These always look better than they actually are though as the value of each spin is often very low. In many cases, the value of the spin is the minimum amount you can risk per spin.
- Loyalty Schemes: These schemes reward you for big play and regular play. They can be found on a few of the better online gambling sites out there, but they are actually quite rare. You will often be added to a VIP program that rewards you with points for every game that you play or for every bet that you place. These points can be used to buy things, to convert into tournament tickets and much more.
Best Online Gambling Sites 2017: Deposit Options
There are many ways you can get money into and out of an online gambling site. Each site will typically offer at least half a dozen options, while some offer as many as 20+. It all depends on the site and the region. The main options you can use have been discussed below.
- Credit Cards: There are fees associated with the use of credit cards and some casinos will not let you withdraw to them. However, most players have access to them and they are very safe and reliable. You may need to pay a fee on the site and you will probably be charged by your credit card company as well, with all credit card transactions on online gambling sites being processed as “cash transactions”.
- Debit Cards: If you have a bank account then you should have a debit card, which means you can use this option to deposit and withdraw. There are typically no fees involved, most legitimate online gambling sites accept them, and deposits are instant. You will need to wait up to 5 working days for a withdrawal to clear though.
- Web Wallets: The majority of casinos accept PayPal and Skrill. You can signup to these wherever you are and you should be able to use them regardless of where you live. Of course, not all casinos accept them, but most European ones do. They have very small fees, they can be used in most currencies and they are also very quick, taking anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days to process withdrawals.
- Bank Transfer: This is more popular in regions where online gambling sites are restricted, in which case the casinos try to avoid web wallets and credit cards. They are fairly slow and they may also incur fees, but they can be a safe and reliable way to get money straight into your bank account.
- Bitcoin: There are a number of Bitcoin casinos out there and these are growing each and every month. There was a time when they were a novelty and to an extent they still are. That’s because Bitcoins are not accepted on casinos that accept other payment methods and are only really accepted on casinos created purely to offer Bitcoins. The fluctuating value of this cryptocurrency and the fact that many are cautious of using it means it is not really as popular as it perhaps could be.
FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Online Gambling Sites in 2017
If you still have some questions about online gambling sites then read our frequently asked questions below, all of which can help you out if you are new to these sites and to this industry on the whole.
How Do I Start Playing the Best Online Gambling Sites in 2017?
To start playing you just need to browse a list of websites, choose one that best suits you and then signup. It’s as simple as that.
You should also make sure that you pickup a bonus first. These are available in most online casinos, and with so many available it would be a mistake to signup anywhere without one.
Can Players From All Over the World Play Online Gambling Sites?
They can, but there are restrictions. An online gambling site will typically make itself available to a certain region. To do this it will speak with regulators and commissions in those regions. It will follow local laws as much as possible and it will do all it can to please the law in that country.
However, players from other countries can still join these online gambling sites. In many cases it is up to the player to divide if they are playing legally or not, but they will rarely face any repercussions even if they are breaking the online gambling laws.
Are 2017 Online Gambling Sites Legal?
They are legal in a number of countries but they are restricted in others. However, you may still be able to play even if gambling is illegal in your country. That’s because online gambling sites are able to get around the law by basing themselves in other countries and following the rules and regulations of those countries.
For instance, if you’re based in the United States then online gambling is illegal. But you may still be able to play on online gambling sites that are based in Central America or even Europe, providing those sites abide by the rules of the region in which they are located.
Are 2017 Online Gambling Sites Safe?
If they are legitimate then they are fair. They have many regulations in place to stop them from being exposed and there are also security certificates, encryption technology and more. Hacking is becoming a big problem these days, but when was the last time you heard of an online gambling site being hacked?
That’s because they never are. They are the Fort Knox of the world wide web, and with so much money passing through them every day, they need to be.
Are 2017 Online Gambling Sites Fair?
All online gambling sites are required to abide by certain rules and many of them will work with a third-party auditor. This auditor will ensure that what they are doing is safe, fair and legitimate. You can see the report that the auditor makes on the website in question. So, if you are concerned then read through, do your research and work out if you are dealing with a legitimate and fair online gambling site or not.
Do All the Best Online Gambling Sites in 2017 Require a Download?
There was a time when the only way you could play an online casino was to download some software. Back then, it only worked on Windows and is was only available to those with fast connections. These days accessibility has improved and you don’t even need to download to play.
You still can download casinos, poker rooms and bingo rooms, but most online gambling sites have some form of instant play casino. As for sports books, all of them are instant play.
Do All the Best Online Gambling Sites in 2017 Have Bonuses?
Most of them do an for many players joining a new casino it is an essential requirement. These bonuses were discussed earlier on. There are many different types and they range greatly in size, nature and requirements. So, do your research and make sure you get a bonus before you signup.
What is a Play-Through Rate?
A play-through rate is the rate at which you need to spend your bonus before you can make a withdrawal. These are put in place to stop you from withdrawing your bonus as soon as you receive it. They also help the casino to balance out the odds a little bit.
The play-through rate plays a big role in defining what is a good bonus and what is a bad bonus. However, they are never advertised clearly. You need to check the terms and conditions to see this rate. They will tell you how much you are expected to risk (typically as the number of times you will need to roll-over your bonus) before you can withdraw.
Can I Play 2017 Online Gambling Sites on my Mobile?
You can. In fact, they are becoming more and more popular on mobile devices. This part of the market is growing, so online gambling sites are doing all that they can to cater for it.
There are sites that work exclusively on mobiles and they are also sites that are compatible with mobiles. Simply put, if you own a mobile device and use it to play then you will be able to play the same number of games as you would on your desktop.
Can I Use Responsible Gambling Limits?
You can, and if you have a problem with gambling then you definitely should as well. They can be found on all reputable online casinos, sports books and even on poker rooms. These limits will allow you to block how much money you deposit, as well as how much you lose. If you want to stop access altogether then you can request a “cooling-off period” which will limit access for a specific amount of time; or a “self-exclusion”, which will stop you from gaining access indefinitely.
The best online gambling sites in 2017 have everything that you can find in the biggest Las Vegas casinos, from sports books to race books, casino games, slots and more. They offer you all the convenience and the fun, but you don’t have to leave your home to enjoy any of it and can do it in the comfort of your own home.
This industry is growing, and there have never been a better time to get involved. So, what are you waiting for?