The online casino industry is nothing like the Wild West it used to be. Gone are the days when completely unlicensed, no-name companies would appear from nowhere to cash in on the gold rush that was this new, digital form of gambling.
Back then, you’d have to rely on word of mouth and place a lot of trust into the operator you ended up going with. In most cases, this trust was well placed. Indeed, many of those early companies went on to become some of the absolute giants of the industry.
All that said, gambling online can come with risks outside of an epic bad run at roulette or being smacked in the face with the deck during a high stakes blackjack session. There do still exist in plenty of dubious platforms. Fortunately, such schemes are far harder to get away with since it’s much easier to check if an online casino is legit in 2020!
If you’re browsing around online and you come across a brand-new casino with an exciting looking welcome bonus, the first thing you should be doing is checking for a license.
Most iGaming venues will show their license off somewhere on their homepage. It’s usually right at the bottom but should be pretty big. Funnily enough, fully legitimate, trustworthy companies are quite proud of their credentials and they’re more than happy to show them off.
However, not all licenses are created equal. For example, a license from either the UK Gambling Commission or Malta Gaming Authority will require the company to satisfy much more stringent auditing requirements than one from Curacao eGaming. Generally speaking, the former two agencies carry more clout in the industry.
Each licensing agency will have its own database of registered companies too. It’s no good just taking the word of the casino itself. Head to the website of the agency it claims to work with and see if the regulatory body also lists the company.
Licensing agencies are responsible for checking many facets of the iGaming experience. They work with the casino operators themselves, as well as software providers. Players opting to use venues possessing licenses from any of the largest agencies in the industry can be assured of a fair and legitimate iGaming experience.
Associations with Other Organisations
In addition to their licensing agreements, some companies in the gambling industry really go the extra mile to ensure their games are fair and they stick on the right side of regulators. Working with internationally recognized testing agencies, such as eCOGRA, or player protection groups like Gamble Aware is a great indicator that a company isn’t just some flash in the pan operation.
Just like their licensing agreements, gambling operators will proudly display their membership or accreditation with other organizations. You’ll usually find such mentions somewhere near where you found details of the license. Alternatively, check the casino’s “About Us” or “FAQ” sections for signs of further commitments to healthy gambling industry. You can often cross-reference such associations with the organizations themselves too.
Working with Reputable Operators
The best game designers in the gambling industry have spent decades building up their credibility. Just like the operators themselves, they too work with licensing agencies to ensure their products are up to scratch. With big reputations on the line, software developers like Playtech, Microgaming, or NetEnt are hardly going to mess around with potentially shady operations. With trust being paramount to the industry, there really is such a thing as bad publicity in gambling!
These software creators charge operators heavily to use their games and also perform audits themselves. If you see slots and other games by the largest developers at a given casino, you are pretty much guaranteed to be playing at a fair and legitimate venue.
… And with Reputable Payment Service Providers
Just like software designers, certain payment service providers are very difficult to work with if you can’t show the right credentials. In the gambling industry, the right credentials involve a license. Seeing the likes of Visa or Mastercard listed amongst payment options at an online casino is a good sign that it’s a legitimate place to play.
The absence of these payment processing giants is not necessarily causing for alarm though. There are plenty of perfectly legitimate online casinos that, for whatever reason, can’t accept payment via a major debit or credit card.
That said, if you do find yourself interesting in a no-name company that accepts only a few obscure deposit methods, we definitely advise caution. Check all the other recommendations in this article before you make a deposit with the company. A particular red flag would be a casino only accepting payment in cryptocurrency.
If you follow all of our other recommendations, you’re practically guaranteed to be playing at a legitimate online casino. However, by doing so exclusively, you’ll miss out on loads of great up-and-coming companies. There are plenty of online casinos that are perfectly legitimate but do not have a license, do not work with massive names, and are yet to form relationships with established payment networks.
Even if the online casino you’re eyeing up fails all of the above criteria for a good iGaming venue, you can still check player reviews for reliable information. Sites seen on reputable guides or recommended in Reddit discussions can often provide some of the best welcome promotions on the internet, for example. With most being less recognizable than the industry leaders, these companies use promotions to stand out from the hundreds of others vying for player attention.
Be sure to treat all reviews with suspicion though. Publishing online is very cheap and scammers will take advantage of this from time to time. Look for balanced opinions and avoid taking recommendations from reviews that feel “salesy”.
It’s Easy to Avoid Scams at Online Casinos
If you follow our guidance, you should never fall foul of an online casino scam. As mentioned, the industry has come a long way since its somewhat shady beginnings. These days, the legitimate industry is worth tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue and that figure continues to grow.
Once established, there’s no good reason for a casino to just disappear with your money one day. They already have the games and systems in place to consistently profit from their own house edge. The house always wins and, therefore, it doesn’t need to cheat.