Nowadays, there are tens of thousands of online casinos planted throughout the worldwide web powered by dozens of distinctive gaming software programs, and the Os Man’s been to them all.
Well, okay, not really. But in the course of his experience almost as long as the history of online casino playing itself, the Os Man has learned a few things – especially what he likes. The following is something of a checklist prepared by yours truly of the fundamentals a proper online casino should have. Keep the following in mind the next time you try a new virtual locale. A modicum of serious thought before the rampant frivolity of play can go a long way to your gambling fun.
• Aesthetic appeal. First impressions are important in meeting people, right? Right. And the same goes for websites. Why else would page designers and webmasters make the big bucks? (And hey, let’s face it – they also get that “master” designation in their job title and description; how many of your colleagues can say the same?)
True, once you get past the homepage, you’ll be entering a casino that probably looks familiar, particularly if you choose an online casino that resides under the umbrella of an affiliate or franchise program. That first page can tell you a lot, though; take a good look and consider: Has it been designed with actual human customers in mind, i.e. is it at all navigable? Does it look like it was created circa 1999 and no one’s bothered to update it? Is it still advertising slots games that you know are three months old as “brand new!”? All these are bad signs, as is the Os Man’s personal pet peeve, an overload of blippy-flashy graphics demanding the attention in a million places at once.
In the Os Man’s ultimate casino, the online outlet’s homepage works *with* him to guide him into the virtual gaming hall, not against him.
• Download speed. Again, this isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but nothing is worse than waiting five minutes to download one simple video slot. The Os Man only worries when software takes too long to download; who’s to say crashes (and thus possible disputes about player balances) aren’t imminent? While casinos sporting larger, more advanced game catalogues may require time to download, there is a limit. Know what’s reasonable.
• Games. Obviously the most important for the discriminating online player, and let the Os Man tell ya that he’s even more discriminating than most. How’s that? The Os Man craves variety! Lots of it!
See, this player needs more than just the latest online pub fruity or three to get his gambling rocks off. The Os Man needs video poker – in several varieties. And table games – the more exotic, the better. One software supplier boasts a catalogue of nearly 60 video poker games, while another includes Wild Viking (progressive and regular versions), Rock-Paper-Scissors, casino solitaire, and War. See? War: That’s what the Os Man’s talking about. You just have to mix it up sometimes and while many online casinos pooh-pooh the novelty games because they don’t draw the customers like online slots or online pokies and blackjack, those that supply the weirdies win the esteem and loyalty of Os Man types everywhere. Like Monty Python, sometimes you simply need something completely different.
The Os Man’s ultimate online casino has lots of bizarre games. Lots.
• Customer service. Nearly as important – like about 99.9999% as important – as the actual games themselves in an online casino is customer service. Maybe it’s ‘cause the Os Man hails from North America, a mystical land where “customer service” isn’t a four-letter word and he demands a bit more than certain suppliers are willing to put out there, but I don’t think so.
The Os Man remains a bit unsure as to why exactly any online casino would skimp on the customer service, yet many still do. Some unscrupulous ‘sites claim to have “24/7 customer service” but more than once has the Os Man requested assistance during traditional non-working hours (U.S. time), only to receive the cone of silence for a good half-hour.
Truth is, it doesn’t take long to determine the quality of a given online casino’s customer service. Try a simple query about anything at all, difficult or easy, technical or mundane. If the response requires more than 10 minutes, say “Bye bye.” If the delay goes between 5-10 minutes, you may want to give the casino another shot or two, but not much more if such a gap in response time persists. Five minutes may be no big deal, but again, slow customer services may be indicative that greater problems exist in other arenas of the online casino, such as the big one. To wit:
• Payout. Some players I know try out a casino by depositing a minimum amount and then attempting to cash out as soon as possible thereafter. It takes a little extra time, but time spent now could well mean money saved later.
Yes, there will always be quite a rigamarole to go through in attempting to collect larger amounts online – after all, that face-to-face element that makes in-store credit-card transactions so taken-for-grantedly easy simply doesn’t exist in the virtual world of casino gaming – but still. Some online casinos have apparently forgotten that their slots players are actual human beings who don’t appreciate the runaround; also unremembered is the fact that customer loyalty ain’t guaranteed.
• Promotional email. Sometimes the depressed Os Man figures that, with regard to promotional email, there are two types of online casinos: Those that never send promotional email messages telling players of new bonuses and those that get the Os Man’s mailbox crammed with spam. And even though the spam may not explicitly state its origin from the casino with which he registered, the Os Man is well clever enough to figure that his email address has been *$%^*$%^ing sold again to some other spammer’s list. Again, it’s a question of respect.
From the Os Man’s ideal casino, only relevant and timely email is sent. However, nothing is better than too much of something. If the Os Man gets spam from an online casino, that’s it.
And really, this is the most important principle while you’re seeking out your own ideal online casino: You can always say “goodbye” and should exercise this right whenever necessary – sooner rather than later, ideally. Someday they’ll learn; after all, it’s not like online casinos stay in business forever. Especially without players.