It Pays to Read the Fine Print,
by Michael Shaye

The most important details are often the smallest. Save yourself heartache and hard earned cash by getting to know the fine print used by online casinos.

Bonus Promotion Terms and Conditions

Where they are: on the website
What to look for: bonus withdrawal conditions

It's online gambling's first commandment: know thy bonus.

For example, the InterCasino homepage claims to offer $80 free every month. Further inspection reveals that the bonus is a match of up to $80 with a $25 minimum deposit. An aggregate of 20 times the bonus must also be wagered. This means on a $50 bonus, you would have to make $1,000 in bets. Finally Baccarat, Roulette and Craps don't count towards aggregate wagering. It's still a great deal, but it's not simply $80 free in your account for nothing.

Use the fine print to protect yourself. If you play at the same casino, check the aggregate amount you must wager at the beginning of every month. Casinos have been known to change this amount without telling players.

Reading the fine print also allows you to choose the bonus right for you. A 100% bonus usually carries a maximum. In InterCasino's case, it was $80. This might not be the best bonus for a high roller who wants to deposit $500. That player would be better off finding a percentage bonus with no cap, or contacting the casino manager and requesting special treatment.

Ecash Rules and Regulations

Where it is: in the software, on the web or on your hard drive
What to look for: transaction history, charges on your account

Some casinos actually charge for checking your balance more than one time a month. There are a number of processing fees that casinos pass on to their players. Don't assume the balance in your account is correct. If you find you are being charged for withdrawing, consider another form of banking that connects directly to a bank account. And if there are strange codes used by the casino next to charges on your account, don't be afraid to call and find out what they are.

There are also jewels here that are beneficial to your bankroll. As it becomes harder to deposit with a credit card, casinos are willing to go that extra mile to get you to deposit with stable methods like ACH. Most casinos grant extra percentage cash awards on top of match bonuses. Don't miss out - check with your casino's ecash provider to see what they offer.

Contest Rules

Where it is: on the website
What to look for: scams

Some casinos that run contests think you were born yesterday. But if you don't check the rules, it's hard to blame them.

Contests offering amazing prizes just for entering are sometimes mathematically next to impossible to win. It may also not accept an entry from your country of origin. So why give away your personal information where the chances of winning are slim to none - especially if entering the contest enables the casino to use your information for marketing purposes.

Software Terms and Conditions

Where it is: in the software
What to look for: things that could affect your computer or game results

It is a gamblers worst nightmare: just when you're winning, your computer crashes. While this is rare, it doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the software rules and regulations of your favorite casino. They are usually buried somewhere in the folder on your computer that contains the casino program.