When you play at an online casino, you need to be 100% confident that the site you’re playing at is safe and legitimate.
That means making sire the games are fair, and that the casino will pay out when you win.
At the end of the day, it’s your money at stake. So you need peace of mind. This isn’t a decision you can afford to get wrong. There are some dodgy sites out there, and we want to make sure you avoid them.
So here’s a guide to what you need to look for, to make certain a casino is legit.
Probably the fastest and easiest way to find a good online casino is to consult independent reviews at a site you trust.
If you find a reviewer that you consider trustworthy, then you can rely upon them to have thoroughly vetted the casino for you as part of their reviews.
A review should consider all aspects of the casino, including the factors listed in this guide, before deciding whether or not to recommend it.
Beware review sites that simply recommend everything, and don’t contain any neutral or negative reviews.
It’s no secret that review sites can earn commission if players sign up for casinos they recommend. That’s fine, as long as it does not impact on their impartiality.
But these days, you often see sites that just approve every casino they can, so they earn the most money. That’s a clear sign of someone working in their own interests, not yours.
A genuinely credible review site will only recommend casinos that are genuinely good for the player, and will not be afraid to tell it like it is and point out the bad casinos as well as the good.
Every online casino should operate under a license from a relevant gaming authority.
US friendly offshore casinos are usually licensed in either Curacao, Antigua or Kahnawake (Canada). In the EU, licenses are issued in Malta (MGA), Gibraltar or Alderney. Any casino operating in the UK needs a license from the UKGC.
It is a well known fact that some licensing authorities are way stricter than others. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, many awful casinos have UKGC licenses, where regulations are probably the strictest. While some of the best and most trustworthy operators are licensed in Curacao which is considered the least strict.
However, there are some rogue sites out there that don’t have a license at all. These are the guys you really need to watch out for.
How To Verify A Casino License
So your first step, and something that every reviewer should have done too, is to check that a casino is licensed.
Don’t just take their word for it because they display a logo on their site. Click on the link and check the relevant regulatory authority website. Make sure the license exists, is up to date, and doesn’t have any endorsements due to the casino breaching regulations.
Once you have verified the license, you at least know that the casino is regulated, and hasn’t broken the terms of their license in the past. You also have somewhere to go and complain if they don’t treat you fairly.
Another test that is quick and easy to do is to look at the software a casino uses.
The logic here is that if a site is powered by a well known casino software provider such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Play’n Go or RTG, then they are at least providing fair games, and are less likely to be rogue.
It’s worth noting though that in the past, scam casinos have been found to be providing fake versions of popular games, so this test doesn’t tell you anything on its own. But it serves as extra evidence combined with the others.
For example if you find a casino with no obvious license, that also doesn’t use any recognised software, I’d instantly reject them and look elsewhere.
Certified For Fairness
A legit casino will always want to demonstrate that its games are fair.
One way for them to do this is to obtain an iGaming Labs or eCogra certificate.
These are independent auditors who check online casino games to ensure that they are random, fair and not rigged.
If an online casino is displaying a badge from eCogra, IGL or any other auditor, then this is a good sign that they are legit.
However, just like licenses, fake casinos might try to pretend they have certification, so always click the image to make sure it links to the actual certificate on the auditor’s website, and confirm the certification is real.
With any type of online transaction, you want to know that your data is being transmitted and stored in a secure manner.
There isn’t a lot you can do to confirm that a casino is holding your data securely, other than to make sure you check their license as I described earlier. One of the conditions of licensing is having adequate data protection measures in place.
However, it’s easy enough to verify that a website is secure simply by verifying its SSL certificate. This guide shows you how.
This won’t give you any guarantee of overall security on its own, but if a site doesn’t have an up to date SSL certificate then this is a definite red flag and I would not be betting there.
Online casinos have the option to sign up to the Central Disputes System.
This is an independent arbitrator who will step in and mediate if there is a dispute between a player and casino.
If you have an issue that cannot be resolved directly, you can submit a claim to the CDS and they will deal with it on your behalf, for free.
Membership is voluntary, so if you see that a casino has signed up, you can take it as a positive sign and it should give you extra confidence that a casino is trustworthy. No operator would do this if they were planning to scam you.
Checklist: How To Find A Legitimate Online Casino
To summarise, here is a quick 6-Point Checklist that you can use to decide whether or not an online casino is legit or fake.
- Are there any positive reviews from trusted, independent testers?
- Does the casino have a license?
- Is it using a recognized software provider?
- Does the casino have testing certification?
- Does the website have an SSL certificate?
- Have they signed up to a dispute resolution service?
If a casino passes all or most of these tests, then it is highly likely they are a trustworthy operator and not a fake or scam site. If not, or if you’re in any doubt at all, then I would recommend you don’t take the risk.
After all, there are so many decent, genuine online and mobile casinos around for you to choose from, so take your time, follow this checklist and/or an independent review expert, and you’ll be sure to join a site that will give you a great online gambling experience.
Last Updated on March 10, 2021
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