With all the choices that exist online today, it’s pretty easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Most players like to stick to just one casino, while others like to try out a couple of different ones. In both cases, if players are not careful, they might end up being a victim of fraud.
This is why it is always important for players to educate themselves and become more aware of the dangers that exist online and how to overcome them; what to look out for, and what to stay clear of.
But before we get into that, let’s talk a bit about why this is important in the first place.
Why should I bother if a casino or sports betting site is legitimate or not?
If I had to put it bluntly, I would say simple, because it’s your money and your well being at the end of the day, and that you deserve to have a good time without having to worry about anything else, or worse, suffer the consequences.
Although we might think these things don’t happen so often anymore, the reality is that these things do still happen, not just in online gambling but in pretty much every sector you can think of. It’s the world we live after all, but it is also up to us to be responsible adults.
Being able to detect a fraudulent site based on how good or bad it looks is not enough. Whilst this factor is sometimes indicative of a website’s legitimacy, it is definitely not the penultimate factor.
In fact, there are quite a few factors you should look out for whenever you stumble upon a gambling site, whether it’s a sports betting site or casino. These factors can range from licensing and regulations to terms and conditions, and good customer support.
There are many ways how illegitimate casinos and betting sites can cheat their players, and sometimes some ways are more evident than others, for instance cancelling or confiscating player winnings.
However, there are other ways that might not be so evident to which players are more susceptible, for example, rigged software, false advertising, lack of game randomness, and no limitations or restrictions on the amount of money players deposit.
The last one is the sneakiest one – no responsible and regulated gambling site will forego placing a limit on how much money you get to bet within a set period of time. Moreover, if you so much as show slight symptoms of addiction, a legitimate casino or betting site will immediately reach out to you through their customer support, and if things still persist, they can and will ban you from their site.
A rogue casino, on the other hand, will not give a dime even if you show you are throwing away thousands every month.
So, what should you look out for when gambling online? Take a look:
1. Check if the site is regulated by a reputable licensing authority
The first step is always to check if the site is licensed by a regulatory body. The second thing you need to look out for is whether that regulatory body is credible. This kind of information is easy to seek out.
You can even get an idea by checking Wikipedia or other big sites for a full list of gaming and gambling regulators around the world, but to save you some of the trouble, some of the top regulatory bodies are:
- Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
- UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
- The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
- Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA)
2. Look up the casino or betting site on Google
Sometimes finding out whether a casino or betting site is legit, is only one search away. Just by googling the name of the site, you will be able to find out everything you need to know from large and reputable review sites. You can find plenty of good review sites that either tackle casino and sports betting sites separately or together.
Good review sites will give a rating out of 5 or 10 and supply plenty of information about the casino or betting site, including by whom it is licensed and regulated, what forms of payment the site accepts, what the wagering requirements are, as well as provide information on bonuses like the welcome bonus.
In the case of a casino, you can also read about the kind of games that are offered, special features, and the theme and concept of the casino, as shown in the example below.
Another thing you might want to try when doing your research is looking up lists of blacklisted casinos and sports betting sites online. Many of them will also explain exactly why the casino or betting site is considered “rogue”.
3. Check whether the gambling site accepts other forms of payment methods besides credit/debit cards
First of all, a casino or betting site that offers other safer forms of payment methods like e-wallets, is a casino that cares for its players enough to provide the service in the first place.Second of all, if the form of payment method is reputable in itself, then you can rest assured that there will be no problems when it comes to safety and security of your bank account. With e-wallet payment methods like ecoPayz, the merchant has no direct access to your bank account but instead has only access to your ecoPayz account.
EcoPayz is the equivalent of Paypal in the gambling world and it does exactly the same thing as Paypal, i.e. that in order to make a deposit, you have to first transfer money from your personal bank account to your e-wallet, so that, in no point in time will the casino or betting site have direct access to your personal bank details since it will only be dealing with the chosen payment method in question.
4. Evidence and verification of RNG
Remember when I mentioned lack of game randomness? What did I mean by that exactly?
Before I explain, I must point out that this factor does not apply to sports betting sites since the outcome of the bet does not depend on a random number generated by a computer, but by the performance of players or horses on the field.
When it comes to casino games, however, the versatility of game results is solely dependent on these “random number generators” since here we are not dealing with “real” cards and slots, but virtual decks of cards and slot reels.
Credence of the RNG is important to show that the outcome of the games is happening by “chance”, just as it would in a non-virtual game, and is therefore not tampered with by the casino itself.
Legitimate casinos will share and provide the necessary information about their RNG on their website and will employ independent and renowned testing companies like eCogra and TST to test and verify their RNG, which will also be shared on their website.
Therefore when stumbling upon an online casino site, try to look out for one of these companies’ seals on the website.
The first step to ensuring our safety online is to become aware of the things we need to look out for. It is our responsibility to safeguard ourselves from fraud, abuse or mistreatment.
Luckily there’s no huge manuscript we have to read, just a little information, like this article, that can really go a long way.
I’m sure everyone would much rather enjoy playing in a safe and fair environment than risk being cheated, so don’t be lazy and do your homework well!