In one of the classic scenes of the Las Vegas buddy comedy of The Hangover (2009), the guys roll into the casino ready to win the money they need to settle a debt. They may not be the coolest-looking group of guys – Zach Galifianakis is battered and bruised, Ed Helms is missing a tooth, and okay, Bradley Cooper always looks stylish – but walking into a casino and knowing exactly what to do will always look incredibly cool.

If you’re new to casinos, it can be hard to know where to start. Land-based casinos are mazes that are tricky to navigate, designed to keep you inside and spending money. Thankfully, online casinos are much more straightforward.

Online casinos are an exciting place to gamble and be entertained. Just like any new hobby, though, it can be difficult to know just where to start. Here are our top suggestions for finding the right online casino for you to get started playing.

Decide what you want most from the experience

Online gambling is a booming industry and this means that there are new casinos to choose from every day. Before you even start looking at the casinos available in your region, take a few minutes to really think about what it is that you want from an online casino.

Are you looking for somewhere to play slots on your phone when you have a few spare moments or are you planning on longer gaming sessions? Do you enjoy playing against AI or would you prefer to only play table games with a live dealer? Do you get bored easily and need the biggest game library available or are you more likely to pick a few favorite games and just play those?

Once you know what it is that you’re looking for, it will be much easier to limit your search. There are tons of great online casinos, so knowing what selling points really matter to you is very helpful.

Check out the promotions

One of the best things about online casinos is the promotions and bonuses available. Welcome bonuses usually include free spins and deposit matching. These give players a chance to try a bunch of different games without having to worry quite so much about the cost. Daily or weekly bonuses or prize draws are also popular promotions.

Some of the biggest online casinos, such as New Zealand-based SkyCity, offer some of the best promotions. The link at skycitycasino.com/promotions will give you an idea of the kinds of bonuses and benefits are available.

When you’re looking through the various promotions, pay attention to the small print. Some casinos have extensive restrictions on how bonus spins may be used and require a high number of deposits before you can make a withdrawal.

Payment methods

Most online casinos will offer a range of options for making deposits and withdrawals. These are all generally secure. When choosing a casino, make sure that it has the payment options that you prefer using and are most comfortable with.

The most common payment methods are debit and credit cards, PayPal, digital wallets, bank or wire transfers, and other popular payment apps that can vary by country or region. It is also becoming more common for online casinos to accept deposits in cryptocurrencies – though usually in only the most established coins, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Another important thing to check is the processing time for withdrawals. Some online casinos offer instant withdrawals when you use certain payment methods, while others can take up to a week to be processed. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be able to access their funds at any time, this is an important factor to consider.

Game library

The last major thing to check out before you make a deposit and start playing at an online casino is the game library. Even if everything else ticks all of your boxes for the perfect gambling experience, if they don’t have any games that you want to play, then what’s the point?

Many online casinos focus heavily on slot machine games as they’re so popular and don’t require the extra investment that live dealer games do. If you’re mainly interested in playing slots, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a casino with hundreds or even thousands of games to enjoy.

Live dealer table games are another major selling point for online casinos, since they most closely recreate the land-based casino experience. This option is more expensive for online casinos to run, however, so if that’s what you’re interested in, make sure that the casino you choose has plenty of tables.

Following all of these tips won’t guarantee you a win – it is a gamble after all! – but it will ensure that you find the perfect casino for you.