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Online Casino Scams: And How to Avoid Them

Gambling online has many advantages over its traditional land-based alternative, but there are also pitfalls to be wary of. Since the first online casino opened its virtual doors in 1996, something resembling a modern-age gold rush began. However, famous bricks-and-mortar casino operators tended to stay away, and the market was soon flooded with an abundance of new companies looking to jump on the bandwagon. Given the fast-paced growth and rapidly changing online casino scene, regulating it all was no easy feat, and punters were rightly extremely wary of playing for real money online. Thankfully, over 20 years later, it’s now a different ball game. Established regulatory bodies are able to verify operators efficiently, and casino scam sites are increasingly easy to spot.

Legal Casinos

Make sure that your chosen online casino site adheres to proper UK licensing laws and regulations.

Safety First

Modern, up-to-date encryption is key to keeping your personal and banking information safe and secure.

RNGs

Checking if the correct audits of RNGs have been carried out is the best way to see if a casino is playing fair.

Payments

Always deposit funds and withdraw winnings using only reputable, well-tested payment methods.

These four pillars will keep you safe when playing online. UK-based players can be assured that the regulations in place are some of the best in the world, but it’s wise to inform yourself about what to look out for. This page has got you covered. Read on to arm yourself with vital knowledge on the types of scams out there, the warning signs, and ultimately, how to choose the safest casino online.

Are Online Casinos Safe?

There are hundreds of casino sites and the marketplace is positively vibrant and bursting at the seams. The landscape shifts dramatically from deep, dark and dicey caverns of calamity, to entrenched and established casino connoisseurs that have earned trust and respect.

Some of the biggest names in the business are now household names, with millions of daily active players. It’s easy to confide in some of these behemoths because there is so much information out there and they’ve now been in the game for a long time. However, there are also tons of smaller casinos trying to make a name for themselves, and the genuinely meritorious and innovative ones need to be filtered from those that are built by bedroom-hackers and e-felons. So, what are the main warning signs?

Image of an online casino player

If you’ve methodically scrutinised a casino and you spot one of these beacons of badness, stay well away. Once you become accustomed to seeking out the symbols of sanctuary, the process becomes much easier and faster. Plenty of punters pick one place to play, and they stick with it. But, hordes of online casino bonus hunters do tend to shop around for the latest deals and hedge their bets on multiple websites. It’s a potential advantage of playing online, but it leaves you more susceptible to becoming a victim of an online casino scam, so keep the warning signs in mind.

Is Your Online Casino Safe?

So, maybe you have found an online casino that you really like the look of. Perhaps you like the choice of games, or possibly you have taken to the crazy concoction of colours, or even the affable aardvark mascot that dances around for a few seconds every time you load a page. However, it’s important not to be overly distracted by such delights if you want to be certain if casino sites are safe. Take your time to familiarise yourself with the regulatory bodies, and especially the UK Gambling Commission, which issues the mandatory licences that can be perused on its website. To help you run your own validation test, here are the steps you should take.

  • Screenshot of a casino homepage
  • Screenshot of a footer section
  • Screenshot of badges shown on a casino homepage
  • Screenshot of license number in footer
1.
Check the Homepage
Head to the homepage of the casino you wish to check for authenticity.
2.
Scroll to the Very Bottom
All of the licensing information is down there; this may be quite a big scroll on pages with lots of games on them.
3.
Check for Official Badges
These are added to denote that the standards agencies have taken at look at the operator and approved it.
4.
The Licence Number
You can find the actual licence number in the small text, usually in brackets.

If you can’t find this information; if the operator does not have a valid licence, seek pastures new. There is a bona fide bounty of alternatives out there. Additionally, you should ensure you’ve read online casino reviews to get another opinion in case you’ve missed something.

There are different types of certificates to look out for. The respected Malta Gaming Authority and Curacao eGaming, like the UK Gambling Commission, are jurisdictional licences. But there are also security companies that check for criminal activities, and independent software testing companies that regularly audit casino software. These companies, such as eCOGRA and iTech Labs ensure that the random number generators are indeed random. If glitches exist, it provides the casino with an opportunity to correct it.

Reputation and Legacy: Why it Matters

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It can take many years for a company to develop a good reputation. Forged in the furnaces of cyberspace, without face-to-face contact there is a coldness; a distance, that keeps players shrouded in darkness. Dealing with croupiers in other continents and customer support services in separate states sows a seed of doubt in the mind about whether the casino is genuine or not. A casino’s reputation should be absolutely paramount to new players.

You can get a good feeling about a casino by frequenting forums and chat rooms. Opinions of veteran gamblers are not to be sniffed at. And you can be sure that if someone was scammed, they’ll want the world to know about it.

Without blowing our own trumpet too much, we’d suggest you also take a look at our reviews. Anything amounting to a scam, we avoid like the plague. Plus, we’ve all been doing this a long time, and we can spot a toxic gambling site like a canary in a coal mine.

In addition to the many casino operators on the scene, there are a great deal of established and reputable software providers to keep an eye out for. Getting to know these companies makes it easier to work out if a game is rigged, or flawed somehow. If you know the developers and the sorts of games they make, you are on the winning path. It is quite common that fake sites use fake software, so getting to know the licensed games is a good starting point.

Common Online Casino Scams to Watch Out For

The most common issue that online punters face is games that are unfairly fixed in favour of the house. Understanding the return-to-player (RTP) rate of the game(s) you choose to play is key in tackling this issue. As a result of this, reputable casinos will often publish the RTP on their sites, usually with a link to the independent auditor that verified it. Additionally, knowing the normal rates helps you cover yourself. Online slots normally have an RTP of 95-98%, for example. For anything drastically lower than this, and without certified proof on the site, don’t touch it with a bargepole.

Some online gamblers have had difficulties getting their winnings paid out. You should normally expect your money within 48 hours, and a week at the absolute most. However, it hasn’t always been the case. Customer care goes cold, and you get no response, and a sick feeling that you’ll never get your money begins to take over. There are several reasons a casino might not pay up, but you can protect yourself by doing your research on the operator. Use the steps outlined previously on this page to check for a casino’s authenticity, but also take a look at how recently the site was updated and how often promotions run. It could be that an operator left its casino online despite no longer maintaining it.

Another major scam that unfortunate punters have encountered is stolen bank details or personal information. This is an issue not limited to online casinos, but the whole of the Internet. However, online casinos have been involved in such activities before, either knowingly or unknowingly. An operator might be unaware that its data encryption just doesn’t cut the mustard, while hackers find a way to syphon off money or information. Look out for a Transport Layer Security (TLS), or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. If the web address begins with ‘https’, it means the site has such a certificate, and it ensures a secure connection from the web server to your browser.

The Proof Is in the Banking Options

Online casinos with many banking options are generally more likely to be trustworthy. Expect to see options including the mainstream credit and debit cards such as VISA and MasterCard, and e-wallets like PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. Additionally, prepaid cards are also typically accepted, as is bank transfer. If you’ve never heard of the payment method; if it’s called ‘Super Mega Awesome Payment Method’, or such like, it’s worth doing a bit of research online before signing up to it.

Be wary of cash-only operators. Huge banking companies don’t deal with low-level scammers. Stick to payment methods that have been in the e-commerce sector for a long time, and never submit your bank details until you have done a thorough investigation.

A Lack of Customer Support Is a Warning Sign

Avoid any supposed online casino that doesn’t provide a variety of contact options. Established and reputable operators know that customer support is a vital tool in keeping players happy and maintaining a positive image among its community and yonder. You’ll read plenty of feedback regarding customer support services in forums and chat rooms across the internet, and it’s often a solid way to measure the authenticity and the trustworthiness of the casino in question.

As a bare minimum, you should expect to see an email address and a phone number. To be extra sure, seek out operators with live chat services, which are increasingly common.

Predatory Wagering Requirements

Welcome bonuses are one of the primary ways an online operator lures in new customers, and plenty of people bounce from one casino to the next, taking advantage of the free spins and other niceties. However, this resulted in the implementation of increased restrictions and requirements, and less achievable wagering requirements. Some welcome bonuses include virtually impossible conditions that would require stakes so high you’d need to mortgage your own family.

As ever, it’s important to read the terms and conditions. There is a tendency among operators to make the bonus so convoluted that most players don’t really grasp the full requirements they need to comply with to get their bonus money.

You are normally expected to wager the amount you deposited, plus the bonus money a certain number of times before you can cash out. For example, if the bonus offer is 100%, it means that if you deposit £50, you get another £50 free as the bonus amount. Then, if the wagering requirement is 10x, it means you need to wager a total of £1,000 before being permitted to cash out. Additionally, you might need to wager that amount in a specified time-frame. So, if you see wagering requirements of 50x or even 100x, and you have a week to wager it, you won’t see that bonus unless you did in fact mortgage your own family.

Famous Online Casino Scams

The first-ever criminal conviction for operating an online casino was in June 1997. Interactive Gaming & Communications was prohibited from offering and accepting lottery wagers, and then broke the terms of the injunction. The fine was almost $30,000 but since then, plenty more scams have been unearthed.

In May 2016, an affiliate program running its own casinos was caught using pirated NetEnt games on its websites. AffPower was investigated, and it was found that the games were on unknown servers that didn’t belong to NetEnt. It meant that the casino was able to adjust the RTP percentage of the slot as it desired, culminating in bigger losses for punters. Lots of casinos were caught up in the mess, along with several other affiliate sites.

Real Vegas Casino, part of the Curgam NV group, became infamous among the online gambling community in 2015 for extremely slow, or non-existent payouts, and a lack of communication with players about their issues. Do a search for online casino scam sites and you’ll probably find its name appear.

Blacklisted Casinos

If you find yourself leaning towards joining a less established online casino because the games are too good to be true, and the welcome bonus is out of this world, then stop, take a deep breath and search on Google for its name, followed by the word ‘scam’. The games probably are too good to be true, and the welcome bonus might not be legal in this world. Without further ado, here are our picks for the online casinos to avoid for 2017:

These casinos have been blacklisted for several reasons, but the all have failed in some way or another to either earn a valid UK licence, or have simply failed to meet our high expectations with regards to the speed at which they pay out jackpots and winnings, or the level of customer service and privacy precuactions they take. take our word for it, these guys are ones to avoid.

Why Secure Online Casinos Don’t Need to Cheat

Despite the existence of more than a few dodgy dealers, there are lots of perfectly legitimate and secure online gambling houses. Even without resorting to cheating and stealing, online casinos can make a tidy profit because the house edge is an accepted part of the business. Top casinos don’t need to mess you about to become filthy rich. Additionally, the trend is towards a greater market share for online casinos, and much greater profits. It means established and reputable operators can proceed without breaking the rules, safe in the knowledge that their businesses are protected.

Infographic with financial info and statistics on UK gambling industry

UK-based players have the advantage of having arguably the best framework in place for secure and safe online casino gambling in the world. Indeed, the figures indicate that British people increasingly trust in the UK Gambling Commission and other regulatory bodies to help protect them.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our team of reviewers and writers have all been involved in the online gambling industry since its inception. Some of us have worked in land-based casinos and some have worked for online operators. We all share a passion for casino games, and we are passionate about sharing our knowledge and expertise to ensure you plump for the right casino. We hope we can equip you with the knowledge required to gamble safely and responsibly, so you can have as much fun as possible without going over the edge. Consequently, we only review fully-licensed casinos that have stood up to the most stringent testing.

The Joys of Safe Online Gambling

In a safe online casino environment, gambling can be a lot of fun. Many people are deterred from the idea of gambling online due to fear of being scammed, and rightly so. It’s natural to be concerned when you are spending money online. It’s not like walking into your local off-licence and buying a loaf of bread and a tin of beans, nattering with the shopkeeper about the weather before saying ‘Cheerio!’ There’s no service with a smile; it’s a faceless entity that consumes your money, and it doesn’t even care about the weather. Even when dealing with customer service, the weather is probably very different where they are. These natural fears can be allayed if you follow the steps outlined on this page.

If you like a flutter, it’s worth it, too. The advantages of land-based casinos are drying up when you consider the changes occurring on casino websites. Online games are becoming truly immersive. You can already load up a live casino, with professional dealers handing out the cards or spinning the wheel. You can witness the action from multiple camera angles, and some games even let you chat to the dealer and to other players. Add in a virtual reality headset, and you might as well be in a real casino, except you are sitting in your living room in your pyjamas and a pair of slippers.

Conclusion

To summarise, the answer to the question, “are online casinos safe?”, is, only if you take the necessary precautions that we’ve covered on this page. You shouldn’t have any problems if that’s the case.

There are plenty of genuine online casinos out there, and they aren’t hard to find so long as you don’t dive in head-first. Ensure you have a good online casino overview. Protect yourself by knowing your rights, by understanding the differentbanking options out there, checking the terms and conditions, and consulting casino reviews and forums. The world of online gambling will be your oyster, and the path will be clear to have a whale of a time.