Online casinos are not a new thing. Once Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing act in 1994, the first one appeared on the internet almost immediately. Two years later, there were two hundred such platforms online. Today, there are thousands. According to estimates, this industry generates annual revenues of around $60 billion, and that number should increase to $95 billion by 2025.
The rise of smartphone technology and wide-spread internet access has made gambling more accessible and convenient than ever. Nowadays, no one has to walk to a gaming venue to place a bet. They can do it from the palm of their hand, anywhere, at any time. Since the popularity of these platforms is sky-rocketing, many casual gamblers are wondering – are online casinos safe?
Given their proliferation and internet presence, it stands to reason that, over the years, measures and practices have been put in place to safeguard against the dangers of sharing financial information online. Thus, gambling on the internet is a far safer activity than most laymen imagine. These days, finding a reliable casino is an easy task, as all one needs to do is pick one out from a list provided by one of the most trusted online casino sites with legit certification. These websites act as online casino guides, probing gambling platforms, and exposing all that they have to offer.
Below we list a few aspects players need to look for and consider when searching for a secure online casino.
What Makes an Online Casino Reliable?
When looking to place bets online, the main things players should worry about is the safety of their personal information, the fairness of the games, and if the casino can pay them their winnings. These three aspects are not the be-all and end-all of online gambling, but they do provide a general direction of what you should pay attention to before settling on a digital venue.
You can find pertinent information regarding if the platform you are looking at is a safe online casino, in its terms and conditions, privacy page, inside its FAQ section, or the site’s footer. You need to know what to look for and understand how these elements contribute to a casino’s reliability.
Check the License
Many countries do not regulate online gambling. However, those that do have laws that authorize organizations to oversee and license companies that wish to provide such services.
The UK is a major gambling market, and as such, it has the UK Gambling Commission to judge who is fit to provide online games of chance to UK residents, and under what conditions. The same applies to Sweden, which has its Swedish Gaming Authority to do the same.
The Malta Gaming Authority usually licenses operators that wish to service players from all corners of the globe. It is thought of as the best organization of its kind, with Curacao master license holders trailing far behind in terms of credibility.
A gaming license signifies that the operator had to go through a process that included audits and fees to acquire the said license. The licensor vetted the platform as financially stable and capable of offering these services. Furthermore, the operator’s activity remains under the watchful eye of its licensor, who monitors the casino, and reacts in cases of unlawful activity. The regulator’s logo should appear in the website’s footer if the casino has a valid license.
Playing at Unlicensed Sites
According to statistics, up to 20% of online casinos do not have a gaming license. The dangers that lay with such sites include unfair play and identity theft. It’s just not that there are no independent companies that audit their games for randomness, but they may feature lower return-to-players then what you can find listed online. A regulator mandates that slots and RNG table games under its jurisdiction feature RTPs that fall within specific ranges.
An unlicensed casino may also not have the adequate encryption in place to protect player data entered on their site, or it may not have any encryption at all. The absence of such a security protocol makes identity theft simpler, and it puts players at risk that unauthorized parties may get access to their documents and financial information.
If a casino has no license, then players have no recourse in the case of a dispute, from whom to seek a resolution to their issue. The final say remains at the sole discretion of the shady casino they’ve chosen, as there is no impartial arbiter to pass judgment.
Promotional Incentives and Loyalty Schemes
While some players are on the prowl for platforms that feature games from the best online casino software providers, safe online casinos are the priority of others. One way to be sure if a platform that looks appealing is reliable is to look through its promotional offers and see if they feature unambiguous terms and conditions. Newer casinos may entice players with no deposit bonuses, which let new users do some gambling for free, while older ones may stick to tried-and-tested offers, such as a decently-sized welcome bonus. It is not the amounts in these deals or how many offers does a casino provides that matters, but if the terms that come with them are fair. Do the bonuses have reasonable deadlines and wagering requirements?
Another factor to consider is how the casino treats its patrons. Does it feature a loyalty scheme that rewards constant play on the site? If so, have players that have fulfilled the criteria within this scheme have gotten everything promised on time? If the answer is yes, then that’s a good sign that lends itself to the casino’s integrity.
Quality of Customer Support Provided
Quality customer support is of paramount importance to any business in the service industry, and online casinos are no exception. If a platform invests in 24/7 live support, that means it has the means to finance its operations and that it looks to tend to its customer’s needs.
Even though the margin for error while playing online casino games is far smaller than at a land-based establishment, issues will inevitably come up. A game may lag or freeze, your internet connection or a server may go down, there may be problems with your bank transfer. Things happen. So, a casino must have multiple support options, starting from a robust FAQ page to live chat and email support.
Hiring and training multiple customer support representatives requires time and funds. If a site has invested in having someone on hand to render support, at all times, that reflects well on its quality of service and helps build reputation and rapport with players.
While it’s up for debate, which is the best online gambling software, a safe online casino looks to implement both it and extend adequate payment solutions to its users. A reliable platform should only partner with well-established payment providers that will handle player funds securely. If a casino allows the use of popular card options such as Visa and MasterCard to famous e-wallets like PayPal, that means the site is working with known brands and that it looks to have a diverse set of payment methods for players to use.
Those interested in taking up this activity should go through the payment page of each casino they are considering. Reliable sites will look to feature established methods, with small fees and reasonable processing times. They will also ask players to go through a Know Your Customer verification procedure, which is a mandatory anti-money laundering measure that all credible gambling sites comply with these days.
From everything above, it is clear that finding a reliable platform that lets you play games of chance online consists of more than signing up via the first pop up you come across, or at one that flashes a fancy bonus in your face. If you want to enjoy yourself to the fullest, while resting easy that you’re in safe hands, you’ll need to invest some time in choosing a reliable and trustworthy casino. Given that, nowadays, there’s an immense number of options, it’s easy to make a bad call. Thus, you need to understand how all departments of a gaming site affect your use of it, and how they reflect on its quality.
If you make the wrong decision, it may discourage you from attempting to experience online gambling ever again. So, if you are interested in playing slots or table games on the internet, do your homework, and consider everything above. Paying attention to the factors described in this article will help you pick a quality online gaming platform.