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Make sure that you’re not throwing your money away.

There are some really constructive and mentally rewarding ways to spend your study breaks — taking walks, meditation, reading for fun, watching a good film or just spending time with friends. But what about actually winning cash playing games online? Everyone has seen the casino ads on TV and social media. But are they for real? And what kind of prizes can you realistically win at one of those sites?

Today, this article will take a dive into the world of online gambling to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be … and really worth your time.

Keep reading to find out.

Are Online Casinos Legit?

First up, it’s worth seeing if these betting sites are genuine and a safe bet. The worldwide gambling industry is a multi-billion dollar concern and a massive money-making opportunity for both private casino operators and governments who regulate and tax it. So, in many countries, gambling has been legalized and brought into the mainstream, including the UK, the US, Canada, and some EU states, where there are proper licensed betting sites that operate under strict conditions of providing fair, safe and secure gaming. If you choose one of these, then you’ll be playing legit games and any winnings you secure will be honored.

Just avoid any gambling site that does not hold a license from a trusted jurisdiction. In the UK that means a site that holds a UK Gambling Commission license. Other licensing territories that are safe include Malta, Gibraltar and any U.S. state that has set up its own commission to regulate betting. 

Which Games Should I Play?

Sign up to any casino site in the world and you’ll find a massive choice of games to pick from, including video slots, table games like blackjack, roulette and poker, video poker, slingo, lotto and keno. So, if you are new to all this then you may be a bit overwhelmed by the variety.

A good way to look at it is that some games have a skill element, while others are entirely luck-based. The latter are called fixed-odds games because you cannot affect the chances of winning by your actions. Slots are the classic fixed-odds games — just spin the reels and cross your fingers that the symbols match-up in a line. Table games like blackjack and Texas Hold ‘em on the other hand require some skill and your choices during the game can affect your odds of winning.

So, if you are a first-time casino player, you might want to start with the slots, which are fun, easy to play and have some decent prizes. If you want to learn to play blackjack or poker you can try your luck on free versions of the games too, where you can’t win real money but you can perfect your own strategies without risking your hard-earned cash. Then, when you are confident, you can move to real money versions of the games.

So Which Games Pay Out the Most?

 In gambling, both online and offline, there is an important figure that relates to any game: It’s called return to player (RTP). This figure tells you how much on average a game will pay out in prizes as a percentage of all the money wagered on it. So, if a video slot has an RTP of 96% (average for the industry) then if you wager £100 on the reels, on average you will get £96 back in prizes. Of course, this is just an average and in truth everyone will experience a different RTP – some higher than 100%, some much lower.

But nevertheless, RTP is an important figure to help you decide if you want to risk your money on a particular title.

Now, here is the important point – not all casino games have the same RTP.

Video slots on average start at 96%, while tables games can be much higher. Some versions of blackjack and roulette, for example, may have an RTP as high as 99%. However, while the return on Blackjack may be much better than that on some slots, the odds, and consequently the prizes, are much smaller. Most Blackjack hands return only 3:2 (bet £2, win £3), which is not fantastic. Playing slots you can win much bigger prizes with bets of just 20p for example.

You can find out what the RTP is in most casino games by looking at the game information screens online, or on the casino website. Most operators also advertise the overall RTP of their games aggregated each month, and sometimes confirmed by a third-party auditor, to show you what kind of payouts you can expect. There are casino blogs and review sites too that will list casinos with the highest payouts based on current figures. These are a good place to start finding a “lucky” betting site to play on.

Also, bear in mind that the jackpot prize on each game will be different. How much you can win depends on how much you are willing to stake, but as a rule, online slots offer the biggest jackpots. Some operate progressive jackpots that take a small percentage of all the money staked on them and add it to a prize pool that can stretch into the millions of pounds or dollars. You can find these at most casinos. In particular look at Microgaming’s classic progressive, Mega Moolah.

How Do I Receive Any Money That I Win?

If you do get lucky and bag a few quid or a few bucks playing casino games then you’ll need to withdraw the funds back into your bank account, or an eWallet if that is what you used to make your deposit. Withdrawing funds is normally pretty straightforward but it can take a few hours for the operator to process your transaction, and then a few days for the money to appear on your bank balance.

It’s worth remembering that if you withdraw to an eWallet then the funds are instantly accessible, whereas banks will take up to five days to make them available.

If you win a substantial amount then you may also find that you have to take the cash out in stages as some operators set a maximum daily, weekly and monthly limit on withdrawals. It’s suggested that you check the terms of any site you sign up with before you deposit to make sure those withdrawal restrictions aren’t too onerous.

In Conclusion – Are Casinos Games Worth It?

In answering this question, it should be pointed that it depends on the individual, your attitude to risk and how much you enjoy gambling. What is important to remember is that while you certainly can win money online, you should never expect it to happen. There is a reason that casino owners are all so rich — those RTP numbers are always below 100% because the House Edge is built into the math model to ensure that the house always wins. It’s not a trick — that is just the way gambling is, both online and offline.

So, if you want to have some fun on your study breaks and don’t mind risking a bit of cash that you can afford to lose, then you should try gambling online. But always play within your means, and never chase your losses.

Good luck and have fun!

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