Online gambling: Know your terminology

Doing something that is brand-new to you almost always involves a learning curve. Take online gambling. What might seem as simple as searching the internet for a video slot machine capable of entertaining you for a little while quickly becomes an overwhelming enterprise when you start digging into it.

There are a lot of moving parts to deal with. Much of what makes learning difficult can be the terminology.

Online gambling, like just about every other industry, has its own language. There are words and phrases with unique meanings not understood by non-gamblers. That is neither right nor wrong. It just is. So in order to thoroughly understand what's going on in the online gambling environment, new players have to learn the terminology.

Hopefully, your many visits to have helped you to better understand some of the basics of online gambling. We do our best to create content written in plain English. Still, we cannot help but use some of the terminology the industry is known for. Sometimes it can't be avoided. Sometimes there are no other terms to use.

In order to make understanding online gaming even easier, we have put together a list of terms you should probably know. Each one is followed by a detailed explanation.

1. Bitcoin gambling

We decided to start with bitcoin gambling because this is a term we use quite frequently. It is understood in one of two ways. First is literal. Bitcoin gambling is gambling using bitcoin rather than a fiat currency to fund your casino account.

You obviously know that bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. So in order to gamble with bitcoin, you have to make a bitcoin deposit by pushing money from your digital wallet into the casino's wallet. What happens next is up to the casino. Some casinos accept bitcoin straight up and use it to directly fund your account. Others convert it to fiat currency first.

The other way to understand bitcoin gambling is more generically. Just like the word 'coke' is both the brand name of a popular cola AND a generic word that covers all colas, the phrase 'bitcoin gambling' is sometimes used in a generic sense to describe gambling with any cryptocurrency.

Just because you see an article discussing bitcoin gambling doesn't mean the entire piece will be about depositing bitcoin to play your favorite slot machines. The piece could also talk about Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, or any of the other thousands of cryptocurrencies on the market.

2. Payment methods

As long as we are talking about bitcoin gambling, we can move right into payment methods. This is a term that covers both deposits and withdrawals. For some reason, deposits get most of the attention.

The thing about payment methods is that there are no real standards across the online gambling industry. Casino owners and their affiliates are free to choose whatever payment methods are legally acceptable within their jurisdictions. For example, major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are accepted for deposits at nearly every online casino. That is because the Visa and MasterCard brands are accepted worldwide.

Deposit methods generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Credit Cards - These would be internationally recognized cards like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Diner's Club.
  • Debit Cards - These can bank-issued or 3rd-party prepaid debit cards. They are generally backed by a major credit card organization like Visa or MasterCard.
  • Bank Transfer - A lot of online casinos accept bank transfers. The player provides bank account information and then approves the transfer of a certain amount.
  • Third-Party EFT - A bank transfer qualifies as an electronic funds transfer (EFT) on technical grounds. A third-party EFT is slightly different in that it is facilitated by an organization other than a bank. The EFT provider acts as a middleman between the player, the bank, and the casino.
  • Electronic Payment System - Electronic payment systems are systems like NETeller, Skrill, and PayPal. They offer a variety of financial services, including EFTs.
  • Cryptocurrency - Last but not least is cryptocurrency. This is where bitcoin and the rest come into play.

Within these six payment categories there are literally dozens of options. But remember, these are just for deposits. Withdrawals are an entirely different matter.

Withdrawals via credit card involve what is known as a charge backs. Charge backs cost money, so not a whole lot of casinos allow credit card withdrawals. Most online casinos facilitate withdrawals in one of four ways:

  • Electronic funds transfers (EFTs)
  • Checks (either paper or electronic)
  • Electronic payment systems (Skrill, PayPal, etc.)
  • Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin etc.).

There are decidedly fewer withdrawal options than deposit options. It is up to online gamblers to figure out which options are best for them.

3. Jurisdictions

The term 'jurisdiction' is a legal term describing the authority to make and enforce law. For our purposes, a jurisdiction is a legal entity that governs gambling. We will use the UK as an example. Online gambling is perfectly legal in the UK under most circumstances. As a jurisdiction, the UK chooses to regulate gambling by way of a government entity known as The Gambling Commission of the United Kingdom.

Our industry uses the term a little bit more generically than the legal profession. So for all intents and purposes, you can consider a gambling jurisdiction as a country or territory in which gambling is regulated. Examples include Malta, Gibraltar, Costa Rica, Denmark, and even Antigua and Barbuda.

At we take jurisdiction matters seriously. We have created a country search page from where visitors can quickly check if they can play Mega Moolah from their country.

4. Certifications

The term 'certification' is one that causes a lot of confusion. To begin with, certification and licensing are not the same thing. A certification is an official recognition that a casino or game platform has been thoroughly tested and determined to be fair.

A good example of certification is the Certified Fair Gambling certification. This certification is issued by an independent, science-based auditing organization of the same name. The organization was established in 2003 as one through which casinos could demonstrate that their games have been audited for fairness. An online casino with the Certified Fair Gambling certification subjects its games to the organization's scientific scrutiny.

Moving on, a license is an official approval to operate given by a regulatory body. A good example of licensing would be the license issued by the UK Gambling Commission. Operators in the UK cannot simply set up shop and start taking deposits. They must apply for licensing, and be approved, before they can begin operations. Nearly every country that allows legal gambling requires operators to be licensed in some way, shape, or form.

5. Casino owners

Casino owners are the actual individuals or businesses that own and operate casinos. Their properties can include online casinos, land-based casinos, and even hybrid operations. While this definition may seem obvious, we included it here because of the proliferation of casino affiliates in the online gambling world.

An affiliate is not an owner. Affiliates operate independent sites in conjunction with owners. They act as a marketing arm to drive traffic to one or more of an owner's properties. Note that there are far more affiliates online than there are actual owners.

Affiliates are very important not only to casino owners but also internet users in general who can find reviews and suggestions from affiliate websites.

6. Online casino operators

There is not a whole lot of distinction between casino owners and online casino operators, but there is enough to warrant discussing it. An online casino operator is a person or business entity that offers online gambling without actually owning a casino. How does this work? Let us use a Microgaming operator as an example.

Microgaming is known first and foremost as a game developer. They are the company behind the word's most favourite game, Mega Moolah. But in addition to game development, the company also offers a complete gambling platform. Operators can sign up to use that platform in order to power their own gambling websites.

Microgaming's platform is a complete, turnkey solution. All the operator has to do is design and build a website, register that site with Microgaming, and then use the Microgaming platform to do everything else. Through the platform the operator can choose the games he wants to offer. He can use it for marketing, banking, customer support, and so forth.

7. Game developer

Finally, game developers are those organizations that actually produce the games we all play online. Once again, this term may appear self-evident. But there is still some confusion due to the fact that there are game developers that also act as casino owners.

A game developer can concentrate strictly on developing games only. Moreover, a developer can focus on only one kind of game. Some actually do. But game developers can also do a lot more. They can create and offer turnkey game platforms. They can integrate payment systems, multichannel solutions, mobile platforms, and back office packages. Some game developers even offers classes designed to teach new operators how to make the most of their business opportunities.


You should have a better understanding of some of the more confusing terms in the online gambling world. Rest assured there is a lot more to learn. We encourage you to take every opportunity to educate yourself about online gambling. The more you know, the more pleasant your gambling experience will be.

Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.

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