The proliferation of Internet and mobile connectivity has given many people all over the world access to experiences that they have never had before. Online casinos are a sterling example of this; whereas casino gambling was once the preserve of the lucky few, nowadays anyone with a device and a connection can log on and play their favourite casino games anywhere, anytime.
Whatever their favourite game of chance is, and whether they want to play for high stakes, low stakes or no money at all, there are plenty of options to choose from. But with new opportunities, new dangers also arise. In the real physical world, an industry with thousands of reputable companies can get a bad reputation through the behaviour of a few rotten apples, and exactly the same applies in cyberspace.
Many reputable companies run a safe online casino that plays it straight, but you’ll also find a few dodgy outfits bent on ripping you off. Learning to tell the difference is a matter of experience and taking some elementary precautions.
The Basics of Picking a Safe Online Casino
There are two ways that online casinos can be unsafe: deliberately and accidentally. The deliberately unsafe operations are pure scams; their aim is to defraud players by allowing them to make real-money deposits, but never paying out any winnings. They can make even more money out of each player by selling their personal data on to third parties.
Accidentally unsafe online casinos are a greyer area: they may be run with integrity regarding wins and payouts, but for whatever reason, their site security is inadequate, allowing hackers access to your data. Of course, it makes no difference to the punter who has lost money whether a site was unsafe deliberately or accidentally, so avoiding both types and opting for a safe online casino is your primary goal here.
Check the Certifications
There are two hallmarks of a safe online casino: the fairness of its games, and its reputation for prompt payouts, efficient customer service and data security. A safe online casino will have its games audited for fairness by an independent third party, such as Technical Systems Testing, and will display a certificate indicating this audit on site.
If there is no certificate indicating the games have been audited, you’re not in a safe online casino, and there is a chance the games could be rigged. Likewise, the most reputable operations will also have state-of-the-art security software, to protect your personal data and your bank details, and this security certification displayed on the site is another indication that it’s a safe online casino. Other players’ experiences are also helpful when gauging an online casino’s reputation; the online gambling community is active and vocal, and online casinos that renege on payouts will quickly see that news spreading through cyberspace. A little homework online, investigating the reputation of any casino you’re considering playing at, will quickly tell you if the operation is deemed a safe online casino by fellow players, or whether it is best to avoid it.
Check the Host Country
There is no universal international law governing online casinos; each one is subject to the laws of the country it is registered in. So it goes without saying that a safe online casino will be registered in a jurisdiction with strong anti-fraud laws applying to online gambling. These include the UK, Alderney and Malta, among others. If a casino is registered somewhere with a poor reputation for anti-fraud policing, such as Russia, for example, it is best avoided.