Whenever you have an industry that attracts a lot of money and customers, you have something that people will look to exploit at the expense of others, and online gambling is certainly no exception. This industry has been at the center of controversy since the very first first online casinos, and while scam sites are nowhere near as common as people seem to think they are, they do exist.
In the early days, there were more of them. Back then, few big names had gotten involved and online casinos were operated by companies that no one had heard of. There was also very little in the way of reviews, communities and blacklists — nothing you could rely on to tell you whether a casino was legit or not. It was also easier for the scammers to take your money and get away with it, which meant that this industry was rife with scammers.
That is no longer the case though. This is a bigger, richer and more popular industry. It is a lot safer, more tightly regulated and the players are also more aware. Add to this the fact that as soon as a casino makes the slightest move towards scamming someone, the whole online gambling community finds out and traffic to that casino shuts down almost instantly.
There are still players who fall victim to these casinos, but ensuring this doesn’t happen is just a casing of knowing what to look out for.
Spotting a Scam Casino
If you are experienced enough with online casinos, then you can spot a fake site a mile away. They usually make outlandish claims, offering big bonuses and even claiming to allow online gambling in countries where it is illegal. They also usually operate with software that you have never heard of, as the likes of Microgaming and Playtech will not license their software to a site that is not regulated.
Many sites claim to offer their services to US players, and while the majority are fair and legit, some are not. When it comes to sites that appeal to US players, scams are far more common. This is because US players can’t join the biggest brands and the biggest sites, so they tend to take more risks, which is something that the scammers exploit. The legitimate sites will take advantage of this lack of competition by reducing their bonuses and sometimes offering none at all, but the scam sites will do all they can to attract players, knowing that they never have to follow through with any of their promises.
Here in Australia, where online gambling is legal and widely available, scam sites are few and far between and if you stick to sites recommended by the gambling community, sites that are highly advertised and sites that are backed by big names, you should be okay. However, just to be sure, always Google the name of the site, checking for bad reviews, blacklist warnings and other such information. Don’t take the word of affiliate sites, and instead checkout gambling communities, forums and even social media.
Spotting a Legitimate Casino
We have said it once and we will say it again, casinos don’t need to rip you offer to make a profit. In this industry the house always wins, and because blacklisted casinos rarely scam people for long, but fair casinos can stay open indefinitely, it is much more profitable to play it fair. Of course, there are still a few scammers that refuse to do this, but if you stick with the big names and brands, then you should be okay.
It’s not just a case of staying with the BetFairs and Bet365s of the world either. There are many respected casinos out there that are connected to big companies. For instance, Spin Palace has been around for close to 2 decades and it is also owned by BetWay, one of the biggest gambling brands in the world. This information isn’t readily available, but it’s there if you do your research. And research is always key.
The first thing you should do when looking at a new casino is scroll down to the bottom and glance at the badges and logos there. You need to look out for auditors, regulators and security certificates. If we use Spin Palace as an example again, you can see that they have badges showing they are regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority (who also regulate BetWay) and they are audited by eCogra. Don’t just take this info on face value though. Click the links and verify the info. Doing so in this case will tell you that eCogra have run extensive checks on Spin Palace, ensuring their banking options are safe and their games are fair. You can also verify that their secure SSL certificate is real and up to date and that they really are a member of the MGA.