Complete Guide to Registering with an Online Casino
Registering with a new casino can seem a bit daunting, but it's actually quite an easy process. It's also one that we recommend you get familiar with because you'll need to register for every new casino where you play. The primary way that casinos acquire new customers is by giving you special bonuses for first-time clients.
While you can only play legal online casinos while you're within a state where gambling is legal, you can register from anywhere in the U.S. This means you can register in one state, then play as long as you like during a layover, road trip, or brief jump across the state border.
Registering is easy, and doesn't even involve giving your financial information. Still, some information must be provided so that the process is legal. On this page, we'll tell you what to expect, and also let you in on why online casinos need to know what they do.
How to Register an Account with an Online Casino
Registering an account with an online casino couldn’t be easier.
All you need to do is click on the ‘Register’ button on your online casino of choice and you’ll be prompted to enter some personal details.
Most casinos will simply ask for your name, email, date of birth, and address. Make sure you get these right or it could cause problems later.
Then you’ll be prompted to make a deposit. In certain no deposit casinos, you’ll be able to skip this stage. If not, choose your banking method of choice and enter your details. The casino may give you the option to save your details so you don’t need to enter them again when you make your next deposit.
Bonuses are often awarded automatically when you register an account, but if not you may need to enter a promo code, which will either be available through your account management settings or via the casino’s cashier.
Legally Required Information
Casinos are required to know a few things about you to 1) satisfy legal requirements and 2) protect the interest of the casino and other customers. So this requires them getting proof that you are who you say you are.
U.S. law requires that any gambling taking place within a state does not involve bets laid from other states, even if gambling is legal in that other state. Individual states decide the age of legality for gambling. So it is crucial for casinos to know where you are at the time of laying a bet, which involves geolocation software, and that you are 21 or older, which involves some form of identification.
Let's look at the process of how this information is attained, and examine why it is important.
Confirmation of Identity for online casinos
Online casinos will require to know your:
- Name (first and last)
- Date of Birth
- Physical address
- Email address (Most, but not all require this for a confirmation message and, if you opt-in, promotional material)
- Usually, the last 4 digits of your Social Security number (for identification purposes)
First, casinos need to confirm your identity. This is to protect themselves, and also other customers. Unlike off-shore casinos, legal online casinos take confirming personal identity quite seriously. This is first to avoid the heavy fines they'd face for allowing someone to play who cannot legally play (such as minors or someone who has self-excluded).
But this confirmation also protects other clients. If there is someone who has been found guilty of abusing a casino or its clients, that person can be blacklisted. It's important that it is the person, not just an email address, that is identified as the troublemaker, so casinos need to tie each account to an actual, breathing person. This practice is in everyone's best interest.
Relatedly, casinos must be able to provide proof that everyone playing in their casinos is at least 21 years old. This is why most casinos will ask for the last 4 digits of your social security number: i.e., so they can provide proof that you are - in the flesh - who you're saying you are - online.
Guarantee of Physical Location to Bet Online
As federal laws only allow that you bet money in a casino while you are physically located in the state, online casinos have to have a way of knowing where you are while betting. In order to do this, they use geolocation devices.
If you are playing an online game from a smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad), the casino will use the GPS technology in your phone or tablet to confirm your location. This is the same technology that allows map apps to give you directions. Your location must be detectable during the entire time of play. So if go underground or inside a lead vault, your game is disrupted.
With computers, casinos use your IP address to confirm your location. While IP addresses may not give as precise a location as GPS devices, they do allow casinos to know whether your computer is located within the state or not, and that is adequate enough.
Can't I just use a VPN for an online casino?
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are hubs that set up a remote location for your internet use. You may, for example, be in Italy and have a VPN giving you an IP address in Mexico. But while you have an IP address in Mexico, it can still be marked as a VPN IP address. This address is tainted, so to speak, by its being a VPN.
So the question arises, can't I just be in New Mexico and use VPN in New Jersey to play there?
It depends on whether you want to be banned for life from a casino. As mentioned above, you have to provide proof of your identity. And if you are found to be playing while outside the state, a casino will kick you out quickly. Casinos face very heavy fines for allowing illegal play - including bettors not within the state, underage players, and allowing individuals who have self-excluded to gamble. They do not take kindly to this trick and will not give winnings. It's a bad bet.
Banking Methods for Online Casinos
The ease of online casinos is one of the most important factors for many players. No need to brave the traffic to go to the casino, look for parking, and stand in line at the cage twice: to both make your deposit and withdraw funds or cash in your chips. Luckily online casinos bring the ease of online financial transactions with them. By using legal online casinos, you can be sure that your data and money are safe.
Below we'll tell you all you need to know about banking methods for online casinos so you can be sure you know of all your options to find the method that's right for you.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Online casino players currently have many options for both depositing and withdrawing money. These range from PayPal to receiving a physical check. It's important to check with your casino to be sure that you can use a method that works best for you.
Common methods for payment include:
- Visa/ Mastercard
- Online Bank transfer
- PayNearMe at 7-Eleven
- Cage/Cashier window at the physical casino
Most casinos offer slightly fewer options for withdrawals than they do for payments. While it might seem that this is a bit underhanded on the part of casinos, anti-laundering laws place restrictions on both accepting and especially returning money, so some casinos limit their means of sending you money in order to comply with state and federal laws.
Frequently you can find the following ways to receive funds from online casinos:
- Visa/ Mastercard
- Cage/Cashier window at the physical casino
The recent addition of PayPal to many, if not most, online casinos has been welcomed by players. This means that anyone with a bank account who has set up a PayPal account can use this account to send and receive money at a nominal fee. It provides the ease of having a credit card without actually having one.
By far the most popular banking method available through online casinos is the credit/debit card. Just enter your card details and your payment will be processed instantly, so you can start playing in any casino online for real money right away.
Real money online casinos all offer this banking method.
If you’re playing online for the first time, notify your bank first. Many banks have been known to freeze credit/debit cards when they’re used with any business involved with gambling.
Notifying them in advance will prevent you from having to spend hours dealing with their anti-fraud teams.
The second most popular banking method in online casinos is the e-wallet. An e-wallet is any service where you can hold money in an online account. Examples of e-wallets include PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer.
Players often choose to gamble with online casinos for real money using e-wallets because they don’t need to enter their banking details. It also prevents their cards from being blocked and transactions showing up on any bank statements.
Like with credit/debit cards, transfers are instant and the money available to play within a matter of seconds.
Take note that when it comes to PayPal your casino may not have this as an e-wallet option. Only recently has PayPal started to team up with online casinos, due to legal reasons.
If you’re determined to use PayPal, you’ll need to do your research to see if your casino of choice has it available.
Wire Transfers, Checks, and Cryptocurrency
Wire transfers and checks typically take anywhere from three to ten business days to clear. These are less popular but ideal if you don’t want to use your card or e-wallet details together with an online casino.
Most real money online casinos still offer these payment methods, but they do take a while to process. Only use a wire transfer or a check if you’re not in a hurry.
Finally, some forward-thinking casinos have started to offer cryptocurrency banking methods, such as Bitcoin. Again, these transfers are often instant, but due to the volatility of these currencies, you may notice changes in the amount actually credited to your account.
Providing Financial Information for Online Casinos
It might surprise you to hear that you don't have to provide any financial information to register for a legal online casino. In fact, many players never provide credit card or bank information. If you're old school, you can even handle all your financial transactions - both deposits and withdrawals - at the physical casino's cage for your online betting.
Online Financial Transactions and Safety
You may be concerned about the safety both of your personal data (e.g., email address and physical address) and financial data (e.g., bank account or credit card information), and rightly so. Casinos have a great personal interest in keeping your data safe. If word gets out that a casino isn't trustworthy, and customers will just go elsewhere.
But additionally, your money is the casino's money, at least as long as they're holding it. And casinos are going to protect their money. Casinos use a double encryption method to ensure the safety of your deposit and financial data. First, your data is encrypted as you enter the information online; it is scrambled as it goes online so that it couldn't be read by anyone who happened to breach your internet connection.
Next, the data is encrypted a second time when it is stored on the casino's network. So if there was a breach of the casino's server, the hackers would only find a jumbled collection of letters, numbers, and symbols, but not have the key to decode the data.
Is it Safe to Deposit Money in Online Casino?
Online casinos have come a long way. They do their best to ensure your account data is safe with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, and more. However, you need to make sure you’re playing with a casino that will actually pay out your winnings.
This is why you should stick to an established brand. The biggest online casinos in the states with legal online gambling include Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Virgin, and 888.
Don’t play with the no-name online casino headquartered in some country you’ve never even heard of.
Some Surprises about Depositing to Online Casinos
There are some things about financial interactions for online casinos that may be surprising. The first is that the cage (or the cashier's office) at the physical casino can still be used for both depositing and withdrawing. The second is that credit cards are not required for setting up an account with online casinos.
Many brick and mortar casino players making the transition to online gaming may feel apprehensive about the move. But you can still maintain your relationship with your friendly (or gruff) cage manager and do a transfer of funds the old fashioned way - hand-to-hand - if that's your preference. A few casinos will require you to come in physically to open an account in order to confirm your identity, and then you can deposit your money there if you like.
Next, you do not need to have a credit or debit card in order to open an account or make a deposit. As you've seen, there are a number of options for deposits and withdrawals that do not require an account or sharing your financial information.
Online Deposits and Withdrawals by State
You probably know that, in order to gamble online in a state, you must be physically located within the borders of the state during the time of play. The question is frequently asked, "Do I also have to be located in New Jersey (for example) in order to receive or deposit funds?" And the answer is no. You can register for and deposit money into an account from anywhere in the U.S., but you are not allowed to play unless you can be proven to be located in New Jersey.
Casinos use geolocation software and devices (such as GPS on your smartphone) to ascertain your physical location. The ability to do this was a crucial aspect of having online gambling legalized in New Jersey.
That means that you can take advantage of one of the offers to have your initial deposit matched by a casino even if you're not currently in the state. If you have a layover in a city where online gambling is legal, you could take advantage of a bonus offer for new customers. So you can get the $20-30 free bonus dollars and also make a deposit and see that matched.
Most casinos also have matching deposit offers for first deposits, and often those match you dollar-for-dollar for the stipulated amount. Be sure to check your terms and conditions so that you can be sure to take advantage of all the bonus dollars within the time frame.