20 Tips for Slot Machine Playing

Locate the Best Slot

battleship_240x1641. You want to be sure you’ll have a good chance to win, so take a number of different casinos, and look at the payouts for each one. Pick the casino with the highest payout figures. Then, if you can, drill further into the data on each individual slot machine on the site, and find the one with the best payout. Look for a percentage figure in the mid to high 90s. This really is the crucial figure when it comes to picking out the best slot.

2. When looking at payout figures for individual slots, take into account the variability. Many RTG slots, for instance, have high payout percentages, but those high figures are partly the result of ‘random jackpots’. You may have to wait quite a while for such a jackpot to come along, and your everyday percentages may be very different as a result.

Know What You’re After

3. Decide how and why you want to play. Slots with progressive jackpots could give you a massive payout when you’re successful, but you’ll go through long lean spells when you aren’t winning anything at all. An everyday three-reeler may dish out much less exciting prizes, but you’ll be getting payouts on a far more regular basis. If you’re there to win big, a progressive jackpot is likely to be your destination. If what you want is simply a fun hour or two, a three-reeler will give you near-constant action.

4. If you are taking part in a progressive slot, there’s no point in not going in big. Betting less than the maximum amount will probably preclude you from cashing in, even if you hit the jackpot. If you can’t afford to go maximum bet, don’t play.

5. Steer clear of slots with low progressive bonuses. This is probably a sign that somebody has recently cashed in, and it could be a long time before another jackpot is hit.

Stretching It Out

6. When you play a slot, you’re probably fighting against a sizeable house edge – maybe as high as 7 or 8%. So don’t feed in more than you have to. The smaller your individual bets, the less you’re going to lose over the long term.

7. If you want to draw out your play, look for slots that offer in-game free spins. Microgaming’s slot Thunderstruck, for instance, is famed for the large number of free spins that players can rack up. If you’re getting the possibility of strong multipliers on free spins, that’s better still.

8. Higher numbers of paylines may look more exciting, but they can often lose your money at a faster rate. Games with the lowest numbers of paylines will often get you more for your buck, and won’t whittle through your bankroll as quickly. Do make sure you’re not missing out on some sizeable bonuses by going for less than the maximum number of paylines, though.

Multiple-Coin Games

9. If you’ll want to vary the size of your stake, look for multiple-coin (or credit) games where the prizes rise proportionately with the number of coins or credits played. Don’t use games where, for example, the jump from one coin to two coin makes a difference of more than 100% to the payoffs, as you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if you drop down to one coin.

10. With multiple-coin games, always look at the payouts to determine the optimum number of coins. If a three-coin game offers almost the same payout percentages as the two-coin version, then go for the latter. A lot of the time, playing with two-coins will get you a better deal overall than either the single- or three-coin version. However, sometimes, the three-coin bonuses will be more than a proportionate jump from two-coins. In that case, the best edge could well be with the three-coin version. Know your game before you play it.

11. If the payoffs do rise in strict proportion to the number of coins/credits played, play with only a single credit. The house edge counts against you every time you spin, and if the payoffs rise only proportionately, you’ll find your money goes further if you’re betting with the minimum. If you’re exposing your cash to the house edge, you need to be getting a good reward in return.

Tournaments, Bonuses, and Tasters

12. Tournament play is sweeping across the world of slots. Look for free-roll tournaments, as these let you play free of charge for genuine cash prizes. At the very least, you’ll get some good gaming experience without it costing you a penny. And you might even win.

13. Look for sites that offer free plays of slot games, and acquaint yourself with the rules, extras, bonus games, and other features. Only start playing with real money when you know what all of the features do.

14. Don’t scoff at welcome bonuses being offered by online casinos. You may well not get to win the bonus (there’s a reason why casinos often let slots contribute 100% towards bonus wagering requirements, but cut blackjack to 5% or 10%), but you will have considerably more money to play with. At the very least, you’re likely to gain some strong experience at little cost. Look for loyalty schemes as well, as these often allow you to amass points and then exchange them for cash – if you’re racking up the money, you might as well get something back.

15. Good casinos are always adding new titles to their books. Keep an eye for new slots, as these will often be given extra-juicy payouts in order to attract new customers.

Money Management

16. Although you have some control over the terms you’re prepared to accept when choosing a slot, the odds are very much against you succeeding in the long-term. The secret to success is really in how you manage your money. To this end, only take a sum of money you’re prepared to lose, and don’t lift your stakes just because you’re losing.

17. Set yourself a winning target for the night. Alternatively, if you win more than 20 times your bet size, withdraw the profits. You can’t win indefinitely, so you need to make sure you get to keep something of your wins.

18. Many slots have an Autoplay feature. This is an excellent money-management tool, particularly in a relatively mechanical game like a slot machine. You can set how much you wish to spend, and then sit back and let the computer handle the spins for you. You can stop at any time. Alternatively, you can let the computer reach your target, and then leave.

19. Don’t play when you’re distracted, depressed, or drunk.

20. Finally, the best way to manage your money is to not give it to a disreputable casino. Look for lots of strong reviews online and plenty of good reader feedback. There are a lot of casinos ready to take your money, so there’s no excuse for picking one that doesn’t have a comprehensive track record behind it.

Intercasino Christmas Snowfall Sweepstake Promotion

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Top Winners at Casinos, Strike It Rich Online!


 We have heard some crazy stories about people winning life changing amounts of cash at online casinos. A few of us do actually strike it rich at online casinos! We have compiled at list of the biggest winners of the past few years, Enjoy and hopefully one day it will be you that strikes it rich online!

£5.88 Million – Mega Moolah/Dark Knight (ButlersBingo) – John Orchard

The biggest ever win for a UK player was scored in December 2012, when John Orchard’s 30p stake was able to secure him a heady cheque for £5.88 Million. This huge win was partly the result of the progressive jackpot phenomenon. Jackpots build up from game to game, and by creating a collective jackpot that takes contributions from slot games in other casinos worldwide, the winning amounts can become stratospheric. Indeed, the Mega Moolah chain adds even more impetus by having the jackpot built across a number of different slots games – Dark Knight being one of the more popular titles here.

£5.4 Million – Hall of Gods (BetVictor) – Anonymous

At the end of October 2013, an Aberdeenshire fisherman picked up a stunning £5.4 million – the second largest online payout in the UK – after playing the Hall of Gods video slot at BetVictor. This five-reel multimedia extravaganza offers three progressive jackpots, and the fisherman (who has chosen to remain anonymous) netted his multi-million-pound catch having started by putting in a mere 20p. The Hall of Gods is one of the Big Three (alongside Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune) of jackpot titles, and 2012 had already seen two other players (both from Scandinavia) both scooping over £6 Million.

£4.5 Million – Mega Fortune (BetVictor) – Sandro

The last few months have been rather eye-popping for BetVictor, and that £5.4 Million payout came just five months after another sizeable sum, £4.5 Million, was paid out to the player known only as Sandro, in May. This hit came from the third of the big-business five-reel video slots, Mega Fortune.

Almost £5 Million – Millionaires Club Slot (InterCasino) – Omar Baesso

While Victor might have been the online venue of the two biggest payouts of 2013, previous years have seen similarly large amounts switching bank accounts. 2007 saw a pretty sizeable win emanating from InterCasino. Omar Baesso, better known under his online alias of Obaesso, had only played the appropriately named Millionaires Club Slot for the first time that day, and quickly secured slightly over $8 Million – we’re estimating this would have been worth close to £5 Million. This was the biggest payout in dollars at the time, and allowed the blacksmith to give up his factory job and take to the skies instead.

£3.7 Million and £2.6 Million – Mega Moolah (Spin Palace and Ladbrokes Casino) – Mr L and Anonymous

Mega Moolah has paid out some very big cheques to a number of UK-based players. In 2012 and 2013, the sums of £2.6 and £3.7 Million were won by two largely anonymous players. The £3.7 Million was particularly notable for having been won from an iPhone, showing that the world of big-payouts truly can reach you wherever you are.

£1.96 Million – Deal or No Deal (JackpotJoy) – Matthew G

Such has been the success of the Noel Edmonds starrer that its online gaming equivalent has been gulping up coins across the country. Two of the biggest payouts of the last three years have been the result of this game, with this £1.96 Million win in 2010 having been preceded three months earlier by a £1.43 Million win for Paul M. Both of these wins came through the site JackpotJoy, and this site also spawned a £1.89 Million win in 2013 through the Tiki Temple game.

Exclusive BetFred High Roller Bonus!

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The deal is that you deposit at least a thousand pounds. This then gives you the option of accepting the £500 High Roller bonus. Say yes, and the money is yours. As with all of these deals, there is a minimum wagering requirement before you can withdraw that money. However, the requirements are only 20 times the deposit plus bonus (so depositing £1,000 means you’ll need to wager £30,000 before you can withdraw your £500 bonus), so casino enthusiasts should have few problems meeting these terms. Do note, though, that if you’re playing blackjack, only 10% of your winnings will be contributed towards the wagering requirement – so if you can, add in some slots, scratch card and arcade games for faster cash.

BetFred’s deluxe facilities don’t end with the paying out of your bonus. The firm also runs a highly successful Players’ Club, giving you a chance to move up through the rankings – from Bronze and Silver, through to Gold, Platinum, and the rarefied air of the Diamond zone. If invited, you can treat yourself to a range of special offers, from monthly 100% reloads, to the ability to convert every 100 points earned into real cash – try your hand at the slots, and you’ll find the cash registers ringing at three times the rate of the other games! Get promoted to the higher levels, and you’ll be allowed to join exclusive private tournaments and competitions, or take advantage of higher table limits, and special surprises.

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The Invention Of The Slot Machine And The History Of Slots

casinoWhile most gambling games can trace their roots back hundreds – in some cases, thousands – of years, the birth of slot machines dates back merely to 1891. This was a time when America was getting richer and richer, with New York beginning to stake a claim for being the wealthiest city on earth. On the back of all this cash came an inevitable increase in gambling, and a poker craze was sweeping across the population. Sittman and Pitt came up with the idea of creating a machine that would allow you to ‘play poker’ even if there wasn’t anyone else to play against. Their new invention featured five drums, each one containing symbols for ten different cards. In all, you could have fifty different cards. You inserted a coin, and the machine told you your hand. Score a good hand, and won a prize.

The idea of these poker-based game machines spread very quickly, and within a few years, almost every bar in New York had one available for play. However, the early contraptions were primitive, and lacked a mechanism for calculating the value of the hand and dispensing a prize. In the case of a winning hand, you received your reward from the bartender – cash bonuses were illegal, so a free drink or cigarettes would often be doled out instead. Working out how much the hand was worth was also fairly complex, leaving many customers rather bewildered. By 1895, though, a variation had been released that would transform this humble device into the modern slot.

Enter the Slot Machine

CharlesfeyThe new advance would come from a San Francisco car mechanic, Charles Fey, He did away with the fifty different combinations, cutting the number of drums from five to three, and replacing the ten card values on each drum with a choice of five different symbols. Fey felt that card values were a little too arcane, so he replaced them with bold pictures that symbolised diamonds, hearts, spades, horseshoes, and cracked bells. The idea was now very simple. Spin matching symbols, and you won a prize. Three of any symbol entitled you to a bigger reward, and three bells gave you the best payoff available – the iconic golden bells quickly led to the East Coast American audience christening Fey’s invention ‘Liberty Bell’. The final touch was the long lever that you used to ‘start the action’ – leading quickly to the alternative nickname of ‘One Armed Bandit’ – and today’s modern slot machines are remarkably similar in look to Fey’s original.

With its simplified design, and with real cash prizes offered in some areas, the Liberty Bell quickly became the machine of choice for east and west coast bars. However, Fey was notoriously reluctant to share his invention, and insisted on creating the machines himself and renting them out rather than looking for some licensing deal with other manufacturers. The Liberty Bell couldn’t automatically dispense prizes – it was still reliant on an assistant standing by to hand out money – and Fey’s obsession with creating a version with an automatic payout seems to have distracted him. What exactly happened to him is unclear. Some time during 1907 and 1910, the Mills Novelty Company brought out a new machine, the ‘Operator Bell’. This variation retained the now famous liberty bell, but replaced the other symbols with the fruit icons that have since come to define the traditional slot machine – or ‘fruit machine’. Slot historians argue over whether Fey had chosen to go into business with Mills, or whether the Operator Bell was, in fact, a knock-off that effectively ended Fey’s monopoly. Whether he continued to make money or not, Fey seems to disappear into history after this time. Not, though, before he had established himself forever as the creator of the slot machine.

The Slot Machine Goes Global

In the absence of Fey, the Mills Company would continue to make the running. Its owner, Herbert Mills, had a penchant for mass-production – he was referred to as ‘The Henry Ford of Slot Machines – and looked for ways to produce as many devices as possible. Within a few years, over 30,000 were being produced across a string of factories spread across both America and Europe. By 1915, the expensive cast iron versions had been replaced with wooden variations that could be produced far more cheaply, and Mills would leave a huge huge sum to his family when he died in 1929.

Prohibition was brought in in 1919, and alchohol was made illegal. This could, theoretically, have been curtains for the growing industry, as it relied on the presence of machines in drinking outlets across the country. In fact, it turned out to be a considerable fillip. The original Liberty Bell had been unusual in offering cash prizes. However, 1909 legislation had made it illegal to issue cash from these machines – the development of fruit and candy bar symbols may have been a reference to the actual prizes that would have to be awarded after 1909. Without the lure of cash rewards, the popularity of the machines dipped. However, speakeasy owners running illicit drinking establishments figured that, since they were already breaking the laws on prohibition, there seemed little sense sticking to the regulations on cash prizes in slots. And so cash prizes came back. The glamour of the speakeasies only added to the lure of slots, and their popularity with gangsters – who liked their wives to have a game to play while they retired to a backroom to talk business – created a strong slots culture that would never really fade. By the time prohibition was ended in the early 30s, machines were easy to manufacture in large numbers, and had a considerable following. Laws that legalised gambling (particularly in Nevada) led to a golden age of slot machines, as companies now looked to provide variation upon variation. Classic themed machines like the Lion Head, Roman Head, War Eagle, and Castle Front, came out, and the sheer diversity of the slots started to become a marked characteristic.

The Electronic Age

MONEY-HONEY-1963By the 1960s, machines had become electronic, with Bally Technology’s 1963 Money Honey machine offering multi-coin bets and higher payouts. The flashing lights and assorted sound effects of these electronic machines combined with potentially very high jackpots to make the new breed of slot machine extremely popular. Not all of these players were entirely convinced as to the trustworthiness of the machines, and this suspicion would grow as video-based slots came in during the second half of the 70s. Walt Fraley’s 1975 Fortune Coin was the first proper video slot. It had no spinning drums or moving parts, and presented the player merely with a television screen. Behind the screen, it was a computer chip that created the game itself. Without being able to see the reels spinning around, losing slots players became convinced that the computer was ‘cheating them’. This feeling is replicated today, of course, with many online casino players convinced that their losses are down to nefarious activity rather than a simple matter of unfavourable mathematics. Gradually, though, more and more players would come to accept that video slots weren’t necessarily crooked.

In the meantime, though, and annoyed at the frosty reception accorded to Fortune Coin, Walt Fraley had sold his machine to IGT. This company would go on to establish itself as a giant in video slots, creating famous machines like Cleopatra and Wheel of Fortune. These video slots had fewer moving parts to go wrong, resulting in low maintenance costs. They also couldn’t be cheated by the players – the original slots, in contrast, could be manipulated by having devices inserted into them. The microprocessors would also allow for the use of credit cards, giving players no excuse for leaving the machine before they had used up all of their money. And there was practically no limit to the possible innovation, with slots designers programming new games all the time.

Big Cash Draws Big Crowds

microgamingloAs much as anything, it was the increased money that resulted in slots grabbing so much attention. By combining slots across different locations into one big system, progressive jackpots could be built that kept going up and up as more people tried and failed to grab the highest prize. The highest prize ever recorded is $39.7 million, won at a Megabucks slot in the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Many other substantial prizes have been won, though, with a number of other awards going into eight figures. The increased options available with computer versions has also resulted in far more ways of winning cash. The number of ‘reels’ has risen from three to as many as nine, with various options and complex symbols and bet sizes available for the ‘sophisticated’ slots player. By the mid 90s, Microgaming was bringing out its first online slot, and these would grow in popularity in line with the rise of online gaming.

Today’s slot machines, then, offer spectacular graphics and sound, easy access (even from your own home), and a complexity of gameplay options and financial rewards that would have seemed utterly shocking in 1900. In essence, though, the modern slot is merely a slicker front-end for the machine assembled all those years ago by Charles Fey. His name may be little known, but his legacy continues to give millions of players immense excitement and enjoyment to this very day.

The History Of Land Based Casinos

European Origins – Baden-Baden and Monte Carlo
Many casino gcasinoames may have developed in the backrooms and summerhouses of rich patrons in England, France and Italy (the word ‘casino’ itself comes from the Italian for ‘little house), but it’s the spas of southern Germany that took the first major step towards the creation of the modern casino. These early venues included Bad-Homburg, and the Casino Baden-Baden – the latter, in particular, remains one of Europe’s most glamorous locations, and was the place that inspired Dostoevsky to write his story of riches to rags, The Gambler. The idea was that you could spend a few weeks in peace and quiet, taking in the healing waters. As you did so, you could take in a few hands of cards, or spin a roulette wheel or two.

For most people, though, the opulent Riviera-setting of Monte Carlo (in Monaco) would seem to be the place that gave the world its first true taste of the modern experience. The brainchild of Maria Caroline, consort of the Prince of Monaco, the Monte Carlo casino (named after Charles, the son of the royal couple) was seen as a way of bringing in extra funds, and healing the financial problems that threatened to capsize the Grimaldis, the royal family of Monaco.


Also built around a spa, the original Monte Carlo took a long time to take off. A series of managers were tried and sacked before Princess Caroline eventually persuaded the manager of the Bad-Homburg casino, Jacques Blanc, to take over. He embarked on a massive reconstruction programme, and added a concert hall that brought in extra visitors. Stories of players like Joseph Jagger (the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo) only served to make the casino more famous, and by the end of the century, it was established as the Monaco preserve of the rich and famous – although not Monaco citizens themselves, who are banned from even entering the building. Today, the casino retains its glamour (thanks partly to high stakes and a strict dress code), and continues to add huge amounts of money to the funds of the Grimaldis. It’s maybe not the place for hardened gamblers, or for slots enthusiasts. But for serious casino game players, it remains a must-visit.

The 20th Century Gambling Experience – Las Vegas

Las Vegas was originally a sand-covered wasteland in the middle of the desert, but the creation of the huge Boulder Dam (billed as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’) brought huge numbers of workers (and, after its completion, visitors) to the area in the early 1930s. This coincided with the 1931 legalization of gambling in Vegas. A huge injection of money would be applied in the mid 40s, when the mob was introduced to the area by Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel. He needed money to help develop the unfinished casino, the Flamingo, that he had just acquired. The man certainly had vision. The crowds, sadly, didn’t, and it took a few years for the idea of Las Vegas to take hold. A huge rainstorm that washed out the opening day of the Flamingo was unfortunate. But whether it was this, or cost overruns (Siegel had predicted it would cost a million to develop the Flamingo, but the eventual bill was six times this amount), or rumours that he was skimming money from the proceeds, Siegel was killed. Las Vegas, though, very much thrived, and became the playground of the rich and famous – particularly those in nearby Hollywood.

As a venue for gambling, drink and vice, Vegas ruled the roost through the 50s and 60s. Caesars Palace was typical of the time, and its Roman-themed architecture remains eye-catching even today. While Caesars is perhaps better known now as a sporting venue, it remains strong in gambling. Its two wings include one devoted to high stake players, while the other wing (the Olympic) caters for everyday gamblers. Many of these casinos became known for their gaudy neon-lit signs, and Fremont Street is plastered with classic icons of the time – low-stakes downtown outlets such as Binion’s and Four Queens.

Source: www.cemetarian.com

Source: www.cemetarian.com

By the early 80s, Vegas seemed washed up. America was tightening its purse strings, and the mafia money had largely been chased out of the city. Even the 50s/60s neon lights now seemed tacky and dated, while crime was significant. What was needed was a grandiose project that could transform perceptions and bring in a completely new audience – affluent families looking for an interesting take on the annual holiday. By the end of the 80s, just such a project had been created, and the Steve Wynn-driven Mirage opened its doors in 1989. This giant spectacle included gigantic waterfalls, forest, and an erupting volcano. It also delivered great food, and nightly shows by the now world-famous magic duo, Siegfried and Roy.

With the Mirage (and other huge family-friendly buildings, such as the knights-themed Excalibur hotel) bringing fresh money into Vegas, gambling potential became huge again. The opening of the new MGM Grand (the original had burned down in a fire in 1981) created the largest casino in Vegas, offering 3,700 slots (some offering payouts of up to $500K) and 76 blackjack tables. Indeed, so much money could slosh through the tills that a fleet of almost 40 armoured cars spent two days transporting enough cash to fill the coffers. With four separate areas (each with its own theme), this remains a truly spectacular venue. Other 90s casinos included the Luxor and Monte Carlo – a replica of the Monaco-based glamour palace.

It was only at the end of the 90s, though, that Steve Wynn administered a new shot to the Vegas tourist market. Opening in 1998, the Bellagio aped the elegant opulence of the Italian Lake Como town from which it took its name. Decadent yet classy, this massive $1.6 billion project (the most expensive ever built) wasn’t quite as large as the MGM Grand – it contained a miserly 2,000 slot machines! – but it catered for the high rollers who wanted privacy. Its semi-secluded gambling areas and luxurious poker rooms (with pots frequently rising above $1 million!) became the perfect meeting places for the cash-soaked film stars who fuelled the celebrity gambling craze of the 2000s – and its famous fountain has been a mainstay of Vegas-set films ever since.
The hotel and casino, Mandalay Bay, opened in 1999. Its water-themed layout included a huge 11 acre pool area. It also offered a lot of room for gamblers, with its 2,400 slots making it the second largest behind the MGM. Rather than focusing on more traditional casino games, Mandalay Bay aimed for a large piece of the rising sportsbook market, and its 17 screen race and sports area now draws horse and sports punters in huge numbers. Another glamorous resort, the Venetian, was also opened in 1999, and features eye-catching interiors – complete with splendid frescoes on the ceiling. Crucially, for gamblers, it’s now home to the only 24-hour sportsbook in Vegas. The Cosomopolitan, opened in 2010, is one of the newer casinos, and has the glitzy lurid interior to suit. Another Wynn casino, this one called, quite simply, The Wynn, also offers considerable gambling space, with 111,000 square feet of tables and slots.

Of Las Vegas’s gambling revenue, around 50% comes from slot machines, with 45% coming from the more traditional table games. Despite the huge hype surrounding poker, little more than 2% of the overall revenue comes from this game. Vegas as always been synonymous with gambling. However, recent years have seen this becoming a less and less significant part of the overall cake. In the past, more than 60% of all revenue was generated through gambling. That portion has now fallen to under 40%, and it’s now the hotels, shows and shopping centres that bring in the majority of the cash.

It’s also worth remembering that Vegas isn’t the only place in the USA where you can gamble. Foxwoods, near New York and Boston, is actually the largest casino in America, with a gigantic 7,000 slots – almost twice as many as the MGM Grand, for example. Also, as the legalization of gambling across the USA grows apace, local competition is likely to see larger numbers of gamblers staying close to home rather than making frequent trips to Vegas. The state of Kansas, for instance, legalized gambling in 2007. In one year alone (from 2011 to 2012), gambling revenues have rocketed from $48 million to $341 million in 2012 – almost a 604% increase! For many, Vegas may seem to be the epitome of gambling. But its future is far from certain.

The New Supergiants – Macao and Singapore

Vegas’ big overseas rival, Macao, has ascended on the back of great fortunes flooding into Asia – particularly China. Situated in the southeast corner of China, Macao now very much lives up to its name of ‘The Las Vegas of the Far East’. It’s not just its close proximity to new money that makes Macao such a pull, and its liberal attitude towards gambling (and, crucially, the source of gambling funds) is part of the reason why the world’s high rollers now come to Macao rather than the highly-regulated and perpetually curious casinos of Vegas – indeed, in 2012, Macau’s casinos made $38 billion, over six times as much as the whole of Vegas.


Of the casinos, the Venetian Macao is the largest – indeed, this is the largest in Asia. The sister of the Las Vegas version, it has sumptuous interiors and breathtaking views. There’s also 550,000 square feet of gaming and gambling – considerably more than that of even the MGM Grand. The Grand Lisboa is another huge building – reputedly the tallest in Macao – that has over 1,000 slots and 800 tables. Craps and poker are highly popular here. Macao may, in time, lose business to such places as its neighbour, Hengqin. Singapore, which could soon be the banking capital of the world, is also making great strides, and is eating into the lead of Macao and Vegas with astonishing sites like Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

Gamble Your Way to Oktoberfest

octoberfisrt1We all know that gambling and beer don’t mix. But what about gambling followed by beer? Well, of course, the answer’s obvious there too.  And InterCasino is currently running a special offer (for those in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Poland, and the Czech Republic) that allows you to mix the two to delirious effect.

Rather than just playing through a bonus for money, why don’t you simply play casino games, and earn yourself extra points towards a prize draw for one of five €2,200 trips to the famous Oktoberfest beer festival in Bavaria.And the more casino points you earn, the more chances you have of winning, so you can play yourself to a reward more mouthwatering than any you’ve earned before.

Bavaria is one of the greatest experiences any beer-lover can treat themselves to, and this prize will get you access to full seating inside one of the best tents at the festival (October the 5th), along with €300 in spending money. You also get a couple of nights’ accommodation for two at a four-star hotel near to the event, and you’ll even have your own personal assistant to get you from the hotel to the best spots at the festival.
So what do you have to do to be in with a chance? Well, as it turns out, you pretty much just need to play, and play, and play. There are two different promotions, one covering new users (those who have registered and made their first deposit since August 30th), and the other for existing users:

Existing Users – Before the end (23:59 CEST) of Thursday September 26th, you’ll need to deposit at least €100, and you also need to sign up to the Oktoberfest bonus, entitling you to 100% on a maximum of €50. Every casino point earned is an extra prize draw entry. Three Oktoberfest main prizes are available to existing users.

New Users – If you’re new, you’ll automatically be entered for one of two Oktoberfest main prizes. As with existing users, each casino point gets you an extra entry, so the more you win, the more likely it is that you can grab the top prize.

Both Existing and New Users can check their progress on separate leaderboards. And anyone finishing in the top five of their respective leaderboard will be entitled to a 100% bonus, going up to €500 for the leaderboard winner, and falling to a maximum of €100 for the player in fifth place. The credits will need to be wagered just 20 times in order to get the bonus.

This Oktoberfest bonus makes all other casino offers look, well, a little dull. So if you’re looking for a good place to play casino games in the next few days, you’d be well advised to shift your focus to InterCasino, and give yourself a great chance at grabbing the creamiest prize of all.

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Ancient Forms Of Gambling, The History And Evolution

casinoGambling as a pastime may stretch back thousands of years, with some ancient cave drawings hinting at chance-based games – certainly, bone tossing seems to have developed into the dice used by the Greeks and Romans. Many of today’s games, though, seem to have had their origins not in pleasure, but in more functional pursuits. The Norwegian and Swedish kings may have thrown dice in the early 11th century, for instance, to decide which of their countries would take possession of the disputed territory of Hising. This seems positively frivolous compared to the origins of the modern game of Baccarat.

Probably developed from Etruscan civilization (in 800 BC), Baccarat was possibly conceived as a means of assigning religious status to female members of society. The chosen candidates would roll an early form of a nine-sided dice. An eight or nine and they would become high priestesses. The penalties for rolling smaller numbers were steep, though. Five or less, and the unlucky candidate would be drowned. Even a six or seven would earn the undesirable outcome of being exiled. Given these mystical beginnings, it’s perhaps unsurprising that when the modern version of Baccarat started being used with cards, the cards in question were tarot cards – indeed, packs of cards developed from.

Keno, an early lottery-type game, was also started partly for political (and economical) purposes. Over two millennia ago, a Chinaman called Cheung Leung was having trouble raising funds to pay for an army strong enough to protect his city. So he invented the idea of a lottery, a process in which villagers would pay a small amount in exchange for one of 120 different Chinese characters. If they picked correctly, they would get a handsome share of the money as their prize. Cheung Leung, though, took a cut of each lottery, and the success of these ‘games’ gave him the necessary funds to equip the city with substantial defenses. Indeed, it has even been rumoured that the Great Wall of China was itself partly paid for by lottery proceeds. In today’s modern game of Keno, the Chinese characters may have been replaced by numbers, but the game itself is largely unchanged from Leung’s original brainwave.

Gambling for Pleasure

Regardless of why these games first came into being, gambling as a pleasure pursuit was certainly a reality by Roman times. As has been noted, bone tossing wasn’t a new pastime. However, Roman soldiers added their own twist, turning knucklebones into cube-shaped devices (like dice) that could be rolled into their shields – bets would be taken on the outcome. casinoThe Etruscans had an early form of the dice, but it was in later Roman times that the idea of a proper cube-shape would come into being. The rolling of cubic knucklebones also seems to have led to the development of Craps, the most explosive and spectacular of dice games in today’s casinos. Modern Craps may well have derived from the Arabs of the middle ages, though, and they had a multiple-dice game called Azzahr. This passed to the English as Hazard. Somewhere along the line, the game appears to have been renamed Craps, perhaps in a reference to Crabs, the name the French gave to the lowest roll in the game.

Playing Cards

It was, of course, the invention of playing cards that led to an explosion of interest in gaming. It was once again the Chinese who started the ball rolling. The profusion of lotteries in their earlier history had developed into an interest in games of chance. The Chinese were the first to create paper money, in the 9th century.

Image Source: gambling.wikinut.com

Image Source: gambling.wikinut.com

Almost immediately, the Chinese started using the paper money for games of chance, shuffling different sums from one note to another. Arabs became fascinated with these games. Not having a paper currency of their own, they started designing custom-made card packs, adorned with spectacular art. The Arab influence in Spain at this time led to playing cards sweeping across Europe, moving first from Spain to Italy, and then on to France and the rest of the continent. The Europeans weren’t interested in the Arab art that decorated the originals, so they replaced them with pictures of their monarchs instead – this tradition obviously continues in modern playing cards. Packs of playing cards remained expensive gifts until the middle of the 15th century. That was when Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press, and a full pack of playing cards was one of the first projects created with this equipment. Gutenberg had worked closely with an artist known only as The Master of Playing Cards, and the copper engravings created at this time formed the template for all modern card packs.

The Casino Revolution

Before long, European villas were being used for countless gambling games. The word Casino comes from the Italian for a ‘little house’, essentially a summerhouse created for pleasure. At first, casino games were played largely by royals and the nobility. By the 19th century, though, casinos started to open themselves up to the public, and the gambling boom was born. From the thrills of Monte Carlo in the middle of the 19th century, to Benjamin Siegel’s opening of Las Vegas in the middle of the 20th century, casinos have been big business ever since. In many cases, it was the Americans who gave the games their modern twists.

Image4Blackjack had developed from the the French game of Vingt-et-Un (a reference to the game’s best hand of 21). It was the Nevada casinos who came up with the name ‘Blackjack’, using it to refer to a hand that included the Ace of Spades plus either the Jack of Spades or Jack of Clubs. If you received a ‘Blackjack’, you got a payout of 10 to 1, and the allure of such a win drew huge numbers of participants. The payout has since been dropped, of course, but the name remains. Baccarat remained a fairly exclusive European pursuit until the 1950s, when it made a big impact in South America and Cuba (from where the most modern version takes its name of Punto Banco). It eventually made its way into Las Vegas casinos (perhaps with the advice of Frank Sinatra, although many give the credit to casino executive Tommy Renzoni), although the game has never entirely caught on in North America. It’s also true that not every American development has been beneficial for punters – the modern ‘American style’ roulette table has an additional ‘double zero’ square that doubles the house edge compared to the European version.

Slot Machines

Of all the casino games, slot machines are by far the most recent inventions. Early ‘machines’ were based on a form of video poker, and successful players would be given a free drink if a high poker hand was drawn. Such games gathered little interest until 1895, when Charles Fey unleashed the Liberty Bell, the first ‘automatic’ slot machine. Success wasn’t widespread initially, mostly because Fey wanted to rent the machines out rather than allowing companies to buy the patent and create their own versions. Finally, by 1910, he had forged a partnership with the Mills company, and large quantities of slot machines started to be unrolled across America – numbers would increase dramatically again when the intricate iron versions were replaced by easily-shippable wooden designs. Benjamin SiegelSlots were banned during the prohibition era, but continued to gain a glamorous allure through this time – particularly as Benjamin Siegel (better known as Bugsy,) supposedly used a quantity of them to entertain the wives of his business associates. Modern slots are mostly based on the designs that came out in the 1960s, as electric bells and elaborate payouts were created. Slots are today a crucial part of most casinos, and their simplistic, fast, and addictive gameplay makes them an easy money-spinner. Indeed, many American horse-tracks have reversed declining fortunes by installing ranks of slots. Such machines also populate bookmakers across Britain and Ireland. Other casino games may have the weight of history behind them, but the simple modern slot machine remains the greatest draw of all.

The UK’s Biggest Online Casinos

casinoWhen you’re risking your bank balance on the spin of a wheel, you want to know that you’re only playing against the odds, and that the casino itself won’t be acting to make your stay as unsuccessful as possible. You also want to know that you’ll be able to withdraw any winnings you make, and that the site isn’t likely to disappear overnight, taking your funds with you. There are few guarantees in life, and fewer still in the world of gambling. But if you’re to give yourself the best chance of keeping your money, you’ll probably want to be betting with the biggest. Here are five of the largest names in online gambling.

William Hill

One of two traditional bookmakers to appear on this list, William Hill has been in existence since the 1930s. One of the best-known and most trusted names on the UK market, it actually operated illegally for the first 27-32 years of its life. In 1998, it became the first significant high street name to put its sportsbook online, although it initially had to settle for the web site willhill.com, as williamhill.com was already being used by a California winery – the company has since been able to acquire williamhill.com as well. The online casino section would be launched in 2000, and poker would be added in 2003. William Hill would go on to augment its empire with significant assets – including over 500 betting shops, and, in 2008, the services of leading platform Playtech.

As you’d expect of a company of William Hill’s size, it’s pushed out a wide range of options, with live blackjack, roulette and baccarat being joined to the usual rich variety of table games and slots. Live Texas Hold’Em is a nice option for skilled card players who want to add a bit of atmosphere to their games. These are well-crafted Playtech renditions, with glossy graphics and fast operation. More games are available if you download the full suite, although you can play many of the titles through quick flash emulations as well. Multiplayer tournaments are being rolled out, with some of these available to play in for as little as 1p.


Like William Hill, Betfred started out running high street betting shops, with the Done brothers opening their first outlet in 1967. The company was relatively slow to join the online betting revolution, though, and only launched an internet site in 2004. The online casino arm would come a year later.

casino-logobetfredLike William Hill, Betfred uses the Playtech platform, and the site offers many of the same options, with live blackjack, roulette and baccarat being joined by Live Texas Hold’Em. Slots have recently been added, although these work using the Microgaming platform rather than Playtech. Software can be downloaded for the full experience, but you can try out many of the games with instant play. Branding itself ‘The Bonus King’, the site likes to be known for its special offers and strong bonuses. For example, for two days every week, you can get a 100% bonus when you deposit up to £25 (on Saturdays) or £50 (on Tuesdays) in your account. The Player’s Club gives you loyalty bonuses and rewards. Betfred also likes to make the news with large payouts, and its progressive slots have reached some impressive multi-million figures.

Gala Casino

galacasinoGala was created in the early 90s, quickly establishing itself as a giant in the flourishing Bingo industry before moving into the bricks-and-mortar casinos market a decade later. After Gala had taken over the Coral Eurobet business in 2005, the company was rebranded as Gala Coral. It has since started to move away from land-based gaming, and a deal to sell 19 of its casinos to Rank Group looks set to be finalised in the coming months. The company’s main focus now (through its subsidiary Gala Interactive) seems to be on its online businesses.

The relaunched Galacasino.com site offers a clean and uncluttered interface. Despite this, a good choice of games (now mainly offered through the Playtech platform) give you the option of several hundred different titles, from slots to more traditional casino apps. The games are flash-based, and so don’t require extensive downloads, and free play options let you get into the swing without risking any money. The site runs a smart VIP scheme, with special deals designed to keep both new and hardened gamers loyal. Poker is also offered (through the iPoker network), and this has done very well, supplying good profits and approval ratings for Gala Coral in recent months.

Jackpot City

jackpot-citylogoJackpot City has been in existence since 1998, making it one of the older casino and slots sites still running. Itself part of the vast and very well-established Belle Rock Entertainment empire, it uses the Microgaming platform to offer a decent but not excessive selection of games. A limited number of titles are available to play as flash versions, although you’ll have to download the full suite to tap into the entire 450+ range of games. Live dealer versions are now being rolled out, and some interesting multiplayer versions are available – multiplayer roulette, for instance, lets you look around and see who you’re up against.

The site is eCOGRA approved, and is rated as having a high 94.7% certified payout. Customer service also receives strong reviews.


Rather different from the other names on this list, SuperCasino didn’t start life primarily as a betting shop or online casino. Instead, it has broadcast its games on the television since 2005 – it still airs 24-hours a day on Sky channel 862, and also has a regular slot in Channel 5’s schedule. The web-site acts as an online extension, offering a host of extra options you won’t be able to access with a television feed. However, the fact that many of the games are themselves shown live on television may add to the experience and trustability in some eyes.

Image Source: channel5.com

Image Source: channel5.com

The television focus also means that the company is built around live dealing. Live roulette is covered in depth – a number of different varieties of the game are offered, and it’s featured very regularly on the television channel – with baccarat and blackjack also given great live support. Other options include slots and video poker. Multiplayer roulette tournaments are put on several times a week, and the use of Playtech games means that the online emulations are slick and visually pleasing. The range of bonuses and prize draws will reward loyalty.


Celebrities who love gambling, Addicted to Winning!

There’s something about the adrenaline rush of scoring a huge win on the slots or at the blackjack tables that proves irresistible to even the truly rich and famous. Celebrities who gamble aren’t really any different from us. It’s just that when your next film, television series or sporting season can earn you a seven figure sum, your speculative punt gone wrong is the equivalent of our bank-busting bad-break. Charlie Sheen had a reputation for wild gambling – his ex-wife, Denise Richards, claimed he was losing $200K a week at the time of their divorce. However, given that Sheen once bought over 2,600 tickets to a baseball game, just so that he would have a better chance of being first to any balls pumped into the stands, we’re suspecting his losses didn’t bother him much. Much the same could be said of former basketball star Charles Barkley, who seems unrepentant about having lost an estimated $10 million in gambling, including one $100K bet that he lost betting on the 2012 Super Bowl final. The losses aren’t always harmless though, and Barkley’s figure pales into insignificance compared to the $50 to $60 million that fallen golf-star John Daly claims to have lost – including $1.65 million that he lost in five hours playing the slots.


Football has been ripe territory for small fortunes lost, with participants throwing away huge sums that they don’t need on bets that they can’t resist. Wayne Rooney supposedly ran up a £700K debt on sports betting, while John Terry remortgaged his mansion four times allegedly in order to pay back gambling debts. Blackburn and Scottish defender Colin Hendry filed for bankruptcy after becoming addicted to spread betting. Not every footballer has found gambling to be a money-sink, though. Teddy Sheringham won £77K in a single poker tournament, and has racked up significant earnings on the circuit for some years now.

Indeed, where there are celebrity success stories, they do tend to centre around the highly skilled world of poker, where calm nerves combined with the ability to calculate the true odds of winning a hand can be a passport to glittering success.Ben Affleck gamblingPerhaps the most high-profile poker player is movie star Ben Affleck, whose ability to take on the world’s best and come out significantly ahead has been mentioned in numerous publications. His biggest tournament win remains the $356,000 he picked up in the California State Poker Championship – gaining him a ticket to the World Poker Tour. The most successful poker player in Hollywood, though, might well be the secretive Tobey Maguire. The Spiderman star doesn’t like to talk about his poker skills, but his discreet forays into the backroom cash games of the rich and famous are rumored to have secured him earnings in excess of $10 million. Here in the UK, columnist, wit and Only Connect quiz-show host Victoria Coren has made considerable sums at poker, even winning £500K on the London leg of the 2006 European Poker Championships.

Those are the exceptions, though. Like the majority of us, it seems, celebrities who gamble do it mostly for entertainment and for the sheer excitement of risking something significant on the throw of a dice or the spin of a roulette wheel. It’s just that their ‘something significant’ tends to be on a rather different scale to ours. The last twelve months have seen the rise of the Twitter betting contests, where celebrities try to outdo one another with the pictures of their latest win. 50-CentHotshot boxer Floyd Mayweather and rapper 50 Cent (pictured)have raised this almost to an art form, photographing themselves surrounded by the piles of money scored with their latest wagers. Whether their bets are really making them profits over the long term has been questioned though. After all, if you’re betting sizable sums, you can claim to be winning very big indeed – just as long as you aren’t as truthful about your losses. Celebrities, then, aren’t really so very unlike the rest of us..