I believe it is always important to remember just how lucky we are to live in the modern age. While some might have been expecting flying cars, hoverboards, and cyborg housemaids at this stage, we are doing pretty well, overall.
From a gambler’s perspective, modern technological advancements have allowed players to access a wide range of casino games from the comfort of their home. Little over two decades ago, those in the U.S. looking to have some fun at the blackjack or roulette tables had to seek out a landbased casino first. Of course, gambling was and is still not legal in all states, making trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City the only way for some to play.
Online casinos these days come in all shapes and sizes. The purpose they all serve is the same: to provide players with the games they want to play, in a safe and trusty environment, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, not all casinos are interested in providing much to players at all. Some exist for the sole purpose of making their owners’ pockets fatter while draining honest players of their hard-earned cash.
While some players take the right measures and do their homework before choosing to play at a particular casino, others learn the hard way. The prevention is better than the cure, after all. When it comes to identifying a rogue casino from an honest one, can you really tell the difference? I think you would probably be surprised. Let’s see how you much you really know.
How Honest are Online Casinos?
Traditionally, newly-qualified doctors and physicians undertake what is known as the “Hippocratic Oath,” which is a pledge to uphold honest ethics and values in line with the profession. In gambling, surprisingly enough, there is nothing similar pledged by casino bosses and those in charge of providing games.
The harsh reality is that some don’t. In order to maximize profit and make as much money as possible, some casinos have been known to bend the rules. Others have bent the rules so much that the rulebook as snapped. Much like any business or field, there are good eggs and bad apples. It just so happens that the online casino business tends to have its fair share of the latter.
Throughout my experiences of playing casino games, I have learned to identify a dishonest casino from one which is less inclined to rip me off. However, while some warning signs are about as subtle as a screaming banshee in a library, others are a little more difficult to detect.
When Something Just Doesn’t Feel Right
Do you ever get that feeling that something just isn’t right? Call it gut-instinct, intuition, or psychic abilities, but when your spidey senses are tingling, there is probably a reason for feeling that way.
I would recommend always trusting your gut instinct. Yes, you might be wrong, but you might also save yourself many headaches further down the line. As time goes on and you begin to understand what to look out for, you will invariably become more adept at recognizing the sites to avoid. Everyone has to start from somewhere, however, so being cautious is never a bad thing.
Below, I will walk you through some obvious – and not so obvious – giveaways that will help you avoid dishonest casinos.
How Fair is Fair?
Unfortunately, there are some players who believe that a casino must be rigged if they aren’t winning all of the time. Things don’t really work that way. The nature of gambling is that you are backing a particular outcome. Things such as odds, probabilities, and common sense also come into play.
Most games have identifiable house edges which can be found out prior to playing. For example, American roulette comes with a house edge of 5.26%. This is should be the same when playing this variant of roulette at any online casino. Notice the word “should.” Things aren’t as ideal, unfortunately, so it pays to really know the casino you are playing at.
Online Casino Fraud and Rigging
Unfortunately, not all online casinos operate legitimately. Many players have learned this the hard way, from losing countless deposits to having their winnings withheld.
What you must know, to truly understand if online casinos are fair, is the number of factors which contribute towards a legitimate casino operation. There are some things which can be mimicked by shady operators looking to pass themselves off as legitimate, but on closer inspection, these can be seen through. It depends on how much you value your security and safety.
So, just how does a player spot a shady casino trying to illegally part them with their money?
Is This Online Casino Trustworthy?
Ask yourself the question above, every single time you are debating on whether to play at any casino. Without trusting the site, its games, and the fairness of the casino overall, you will not have an enjoyable experience. It pays to feel comfortable when playing your favorite games, as fun should be one of the reasons you are there in the first place. That and to win some money, of course.
So how can you really tell if a casino is trustworthy, without first-hand experience of signing up? The good news is that there are many ways to do so. From the licenses a site holds (if the site is unlicensed, turn away and don’t come back), to the security procedures on the site, you should always be protected when playing. It’s kind of like skydiving without a parachute otherwise. There are a number of methods you can use to check out a site before you sign up, so let’s take a look at what these are, below:
Games and Software
One of the first things you will notice about an online casino is the games. That goes without saying. After all, you want access to the most modern, cutting-edge titles out there. When it comes to slots, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and pretty much everything else, playing with old, outdated software (and paying for the privilege) can be akin to a kick in the teeth. More than this, old software and an abundance of obscure and odd-looking games can also have a more sinister meaning.
For the most part, the presence of the top online casino software developers is a good sign. A site with an abundance of games from developers which are not recognizable is, conversely, a bad sign.
Random Number Generators and Testing
The software a casino uses should be legitimate and unbiased. In other words, it should not provide any online casino with an unfair advantage over players. There will always be house edge built into random number generator (RNG) software when playing games such as roulette or slots, for example, but it cannot be excessive or against standard practices.
As an average casino enthusiast, playing your favorite games, you should have nothing to worry about. It is worth mentioning that even legitimate players can be unfairly accused of manipulating software if they land big wins. This is pretty common on unfair online casino sites, so that is just one more reason to make sure you choose your casino wisely.
Licensing and Regulation
Once you have clocked what games are on display on the site, you should have a little indication of how serious this company is.
In the U.S., gambling laws are a little more restrictive than they are in other parts of the world. As such, things can get a little hazy. In 2006, the UIGEA act further threw U.S. online gambling into disarray when a law was passed preventing banks from processing transactions to and from online casinos. This meant that many of the big players pulled out of the market.
When it comes to regulators, the most respected are the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, United Kingdom Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and a handful of others. Of course, many of these commissions cannot – or do not – regulate gambling practice in the US. Many American online casinos, therefore, will be regulated by state laws, or by commissions in Curacao, Costa Rica, and Antigua, for example. You should always check out the regulator and body responsible for awarding the licenses to the casino/s you are playing at.
The most important factor when playing at an online casino is the security on the site. Any online casino worthy of their salt will have the best measures and protocols in place to protect you and your money from hackers or those looking to commit fraud. Aside from the basics, such as a strong firewall and 129-bit SSL encryption, software should be constantly updated and capable.
You can understand why a company who had no intentions of being honest in the first place would probably be a little careless when it comes to security. Especially if they know that their online casino racket will be shut down soon enough. It is incredibly important to check out any online casino’s security policy – which should be available to read on the site – before you go ahead and deposit.
Online Casino Reviews
These days, more and more customers and consumers rely on impartial reviews before signing up for a service or buying a product.
Perhaps a site looks good and all things check out. However, you may have your reservations regarding the fairness of this online casino. One of the most popular tools used to help players to make their decision is reviews. There are a number of sites out there that break online casinos down in order to provide prospective players with “unbiased” and “impartial” reviews. Not all views are impartial, however.
Many online casino review sites are working in partnership with the casinos and receive commissions for referring players to those casinos. Not all review sites operate this way, however. The lesson here is to read as many reviews as you can to get a true picture of the casino you are looking to join.
Before I play my favorite games in any online casino, I first ensure that everything is above board with that casino. As a player, I am aware that there is a house edge on particular games. This essentially means that the casino has a slightly better chance of taking my money than I have of winning theirs. However, when games are rigged, they are almost certain to bleed me dry. There is no fun in that.
It is up to each and every player to ensure that they are doing their best to keep themselves safe. Not all online casinos are out to rip people off. The vast majority are fair and safe. Examining their websites, relationships with the best software developers, licensing and regulation status, and reading reviews, will always help. You can get a better understanding of how legitimate some sites are.
With that being said, you must also ensure that they have the right level of security to protect sensitive information. If a site fails with all of this, or even with most of it, then you can probably assume that they are not fair.
The real point to remember here is that a legitimate site will be fair. You can play game after game, safe in the knowledge that they are operating the right way. An online casino who are careless with security, use shady software and games, and don’t live up to the standards of the rest of the industry cannot be trusted.