Growth in the global iGaming market continues to accelerate at a rapid pace, with jurisdictions such as New Zealand (and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole) driving this trend.
In NZ, we’ve seen participation at online casinos increase by approximately 22% during the last five years alone, whereas the popularity of offline gambling has declined by 19% since 2004 in the same region.
Of course, the rising popularity of online gambling has also increased the number of operators for punters to choose from. But what are the key considerations when trying to identify the best online casino at which to play?
The Welcome Bonus
We’ll start with the fabled welcome offer, which represents a bonus and clear financial incentive that enables operators to compete aggressively for new players.
While not all welcome bonuses are created equal, many take a similar form in the current market, as they tend to be represented by a deposit match offer (up to a certain value) and a predetermined number of free spins on one or more available slots.
Occasionally, more lucrative bonuses are made available across a player’s first three deposits, with this arguably even more tempting for punters who like to wager more regularly.
Let’s look at Gate 777’s current welcome offer, for example, with this belonging to one of the best online casinos in New Zealand. Here, new players can access a bonus worth up to $1,500, through 100%, 50% and 25% deposit matches across each of the first three completed deposits.
Players can also earn 50 free spins on each of their first three deposits, creating a huge amount of free gameplay that can be deployed on any NetEnt title.
As we’ve already touched on, this type of offer is most suitable for experienced or regular players, who are able to wager enough to realise the full value of the bonus and meet the associated wagering requirements.
This is another key consideration, as wagering requirements are applied to create an amount of money that you’ll have to play through before withdrawing any winnings. This is usually expressed as a multiplier of the bonus amount, and will increase incrementally in line with the value of the offer.
So, you’ll have to read the wagering requirements in full before selecting a preferred welcome offer, while calculating precisely how much you’ll need to commit to unlock any hard-earned winnings!
The Approach to Responsible Gambling
There’s no doubt that responsible gambling is a key focus for iGaming operators in 2021, from mature markets such as the UK to emerging alternatives like New Zealand, Bulgaria and Sweden.
This is definitely something to consider when comparing online casinos, even if you’re not someone who has displayed problem behaviour at any time in the past.
After all, operators that place a strong emphasis on responsible gambling clearly demonstrate a care and concern for their customers, while responsible gambing tools also afford you far greater control over your real-time gambling experience.
For example, responsible casinos will immediately allow you to establish deposit limits as a new player, over the course of a day, week or month as required. Some will even allow you to set loss limits over a predetermined period of time, while you may be able to schedule a short break during which time the operator restricts your account access.
In the search for player-centric operators that take responsible gambling and customer service seriously, you should also look for any partnerships that they’ve developed with charitable organisations that provide practical support for problem gamblers.
Some of the best organisations in this regard include BeGambleAware and gamblingtherapy.org, and any operators approved by these entities have clearly demonstrated their commitment to safeguarding players and their bankrolls.
The Payment Options Available
There’s a good chance that crypto casinos will become increasingly prevalent in the near-term, especially with third-generation blockchains such as Skychain resolving significant issues such as scalability and rising transaction fees.
Of course, the rise of selected Bitcoin casinos has already diversified the iGaming market considerably, while introducing another mode of payment that’s transparent, convenient and completely anonymous for players.
Having an array of payment options is highly advantageous at any casino, not least because it enables you to identify the most convenient and low cost options for you.
Ideally, you should identify casinos that offer a combination of traditional and digital payment options, from Visa debit cards to PayPal, Skrill and Neteller. Sites that accept PayPal are arguably the most convenient, as alternative e-wallets such as Skrill are often excluded from welcome bonus offers.
The key is to determine which payment options best suit your circumstances, before choosing a casino that’s capable of meeting your needs!