It always pays to know the lingo or vocabulary of your own hobby, such as online gambling — whether you are a ‘casual’ player (playing free games, or for low stakes), or you are a high roller. Casinos use a mix of terms, some of which they have created and others that are industry-wide, historical or borrowed from players themselves.
To empower you in selecting a casino, then signing up and learning the ropes there, we are equipping you with the following glossary, a list of key terms (which you can save or bookmark for reference, if you like).
Alternative Payment Method — Although most casinos’ bread and butter is players who deposit using their credit or debit cards, there is great demand for safer, simpler, same-as-cash options (that is, anonymous like using currency in stores). Casinos therefore usually offer more than one alternative payment method (such as PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Ukash, Eco and others) besides the usual cards.
American Roulette — The earliest games of roulette in France and Germany had a wheel with ‘0’ and ‘00’ slots for the ball, the two out of 37 slots which belonged to the house bank (as its only edge). The game developed differently in America, in rough frontier casinos, where the wheel had 38 slots, a simpler board and faster betting styles — this is the dominant version worldwide today.
Cash Back — This is bonus credit (casino funds) in the form of money it either matches when a player deposits or a percentage it returns (usually 10%) on a player’s losses.
Deposit (payment) — Inside an online or mobile casino a deposit is money added by a player to one’s own bankroll, to use for bets on the games they choose.
Deposit Bonus — This is a promotional benefit that casinos give their new and existing players when they deposit their own cash (usually a % up to a certain amount, such as 100% up to £100).
European Roulette — As opposed to American roulette (see above), The French and German varieties feature a wheel with 37 numbered slots for the ball, a relatively elaborate board and complex betting styles. This earlier form of roulette developed in elite European casino destinations like Monte Carlo.
E-wallet — This form of alternative payment method (see above) is essentially an online bank account, like PayPal and Neteller, which is safer to use at websites and Web-based casinos than conventional bank accounts or credit cards.
Free Spins — One of the newer ways casinos create a bonus welcome package (especially NetEnt-powered casinos) is to offer a number of gratis spins on a featured slot title, usually from 50 to 100.
Gambling Loss Limit (player protection limit) — A common feature offered to players by high quality casinos that are committed to ‘responsible gambling’ is allowing a daily, weekly or monthly limitation set by the user, which stops one from losing more than that amount (by preventing further bets).
Gambling Stake — When a player makes a bet or wager they enter a certain amount of money upon their choices, depending upon the type of game. This money is then ‘at stake’ or at risk until the outcome of that round or session is decided.
Gambling/Gaming License — Every legitimate online casino is required, obviously, to obtain the proper legal license or permit from the province in which it operates. (Generally the UK gambling license is most highly respected.)
High Stakes — When a player’s bets and wagers are larger than average, or big by anybody’s standards, then they are said to be playing for high stakes (taking more risk). Online gambling allows both low stakes and high stakes.
HTML5 — HTML is the acronym meaning Hyper Text Markup Language, or the programming code of the WWW. HTML5 is the fifth update, the current form, which mainly eliminated the need for multimedia plugins like Flash (optimising online gaming inside a browser), and it made mobile users as important as normal computer users.
Identity Verification — When registering as a new player and before a member requests a withdrawal of funds from their casino account (either winnings or their deposited cash), the casino must confirm the identity, age, legal geographical location, eligibility and so forth, of that player.
iOS — This is the brand name of Apple’s operating system (or ‘OS’), which shares the company’s famous ‘i-’ prefix found on many of its products.
Live Dealer — In the world of online gambling, when somebody plays a table game (such as poker, blackjack, roulette) with a real human croupier (dealer) whom the player sees via real-time video, this is called a live dealer game.
Minimum Deposit — In order for a player to avail certain promotional or loyalty bonuses offered by a casino, such as a deposit bonus (see above), there will be a minimum payment one must make to one’s bankroll (usually £10 at least).
Minimum Withdrawal — Once a player’s identity verification (see above) is completed, in order to withdraw funds one must request at least a certain amount using their chosen banking method (different methods have different lower limits, usually from £10 to £50).
Network — Some types of online games, like poker and real cash bingo, can belong to a group of participating sites, a network, which may share progressive jackpots and members.
No Deposit Casino Bonus — Whenever a new casino member receives free casino cash or free spins before they are asked to deposit their own money, this promotion is described as ‘no deposit’ (more precisely before depositing).
Phone Bill Deposit — Some casinos and other real cash gaming sites (usually the mobile optimised ones) allow a player to conveniently deposit a small amount, with a monthly cap, that is charged to their mobile telecom bill — normally no more than £10.
Photo ID — As with many official or financial procedures, to verify the identities of players a casino will require a simple image of one’s face (like a passport or driver’s license photo) as supporting proof to keep on record.
Pre-paid Card — Many alternative payment methods (see above) come in the form of a cash voucher that can be bought at shops or ordered online. This may be called a ‘card’ yet it is simply a number (like the one on a credit card) that can be used anonymously to deposit to a casino, or shop at countless Web stores.
Proof of Address — Part of the identity verification process (see above) required by a casino is confirming the actual home address of an individual, which is expected to match their banking and other personal details.
Random Number Generator (RNG) — In order for casino gaming systems to comply with outside regulators to verify the fairness of their gameplay, the software must be able to produce true chance results by using code that calls up random numbers. Older companies like IGT and Microgaming own the oldest and most verified RNGs.
Real Money — In terms of online casino entertainment the phrase ‘real money’ is used to denote games that allow players to stake their own cash, versus so-called ‘casual’ games that operate on play or fake money (although this can be bought, as with in-app purchases, using actual cash).
Return to Player (RTP) — Another aspect of the fairness of online casinos is that each game has a minimum percentage of the amount wagered that will be given back through winning spins or hands, depending upon the game (but excluding live dealer games — see above). Wise players check the RTP of any new game.
Self Exclusion — In cases where a player knows one has a weakness for gambling and might overspend, account settings permit one to voluntarily freeze the account according to a preset scenario of excess betting. In the extreme of a gambling addiction, one can volutarily lock oneself out of the casino (or a network) for one year or more, or permanently.
Software — The computer program underneath the visible surface of a casino game, the programming code that makes it operate, is called software — just as for an OS, a mobile app or any other Web-based resource.
Table Game — In the world of gambling (online or offline) the games that take place literally at a table, including cards and roulette, are describes as such. The term is used to distinguish these games from slot games, primarily — bonuses, withdrawal limits and wagering requirements (see below) also use this as a basis for varying rules.
Wagering Requirement — Usually when a casino offers free cash or free spins to new or existing members, or other types of bonuses, there is a restriction placed upon how soon the possible winnings can be withdrawn. The casino will require the winner to bet or play through X-times (usually from 20X to 50X) the amount of the bonus using one’s own money before requesting a withdrawal.
Welcome Bonus — This is the common way to describe promotions created by casinos to entice new members to register and deposit cash. This introductory benefits package usually entails matching funds added to one’s first deposit(s), or a no deposit casino bonus (see above) such as free cash or free spins.
Withdrawal (cash out, payout) — The happiest moment for any casino player probably is reaching the point of requesting a payment from the house of their recent winnings. Eligibility for such a withdrawal is determined by numerous factors, including identity verification and one’s fulfillment of wagering requirements (see entries above), and even maximum amounts that can be requested per day, week or month.