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If you're familiar with the common activities of Las Vegas, and you're familiar with the Internet, you may be familiar with the marriage, online casinos? Many people, like myself, were fans of the Vegas lifestyle long ago, and only recently became aware of the fact that you could actually place bets on the Internet. I had always assumed there would be too many security problems, but apparently, whether those problems exist or not, online casinos have made the mainstream. It wasn't so long ago that you could be easily unaware of the presence of any online casinos, but recently, due to the copious amounts of cash they are producing, advertisements are suddenly ubiquitous across almost every site on the net. Most people can't even check their web-based email these days without running into an offer from one of the major Internet casinos.

So what are online casinos, how are they different from land based casinos? Well it certainly is a close relative to our old friend land based gambling, as you may well know there are a lot of games within the casino's walls that are already digital at heart. Slot machines run from microprocessors, video poker machines are binary to the core, and many table games have simple logic, which allows them to easily have software versions of the game created. What is possible of course, will be exploited. So as the security of online transactions and privacy caught up with the imagination of the game makers, the free versions of digital blackjack, slots, and a million other games, suddenly gained potential to actually be bet on.

Most online casinos take bets via credit card transactions, or some proxy service designed specifically for online purchases such as Pay-Pal. The standard procedure is to download a package from one of these online casinos and run the software. Within the software there are usually a couple of options, and you can probably play a selection of the games for free before you register. At that point you have the option to visit a registration screen and put in your credit card number, or purchase credits via an alternate method of payment. If you're connected to the Internet the software can communicate with the casino server, and approve your credit transaction. From that point you can choose to gamble for real! The bets you place are almost exactly the same as the bets you would place at a normal casino (be sure to read up on the particular online casino's odds and payout rates, and compare them to standard ones).

The most common question novice gamblers may have about online casinos once they find out it's all for real is, how can I win? How can I actually get paid? Well, for the most part, they mail you a check. Sometimes, if you are using a third party payment option, your account may be credited digitally.

It looks like online casinos are here to stay, even if the US government bans it, it will be hard to stop people from placing bets online. Most of the online casinos in existence today are run as offshore gambling establishments.