Online casinos have become increasingly popular in recent years. Not only do they offer a wider variety of games than can be found in land-based casinos, but they also offer players the chance to play their favourite traditional casino games from the comfort of their own homes at a time that suits them.
There are even live dealer games around the clock using webcams, which makes online casinos even more appealing!
However, not all online casinos are created equal, and some may be scams or fraudulent. So how can you know whether that new casino you’ve found online is legitimate?
How to Know If an Online Casino is Legit: A Comprehensive Guide
Read on as we'll explore multiple methods that can be used to check if an online casino is legit and safe to play at.
Check for Licensing and Regulation
One of the most important things to check when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino is its licensing and regulation. Legitimate online casinos are required to be licensed by a reputable regulatory body such as the Gambling Commission for UK players or the New York State Gaming Commission if you are in the state of New York, USA.
Different countries and different states or regions may have their own regulatory bodies. These bodies are responsible for ensuring that online casinos are operating fairly and transparently and that they are adhering to strict standards of player protection.
Check the Casino's Website for License Information
Most legitimate online casinos will prominently display their licensing information on their website. This information will typically be located in the footer or the "About Us" section of the website. Look for information about the regulatory body that issued the license, as well as the license number. To make it easier to find online casinos that are licensed and legal, you can use a roundup website such as Top 10 Casino Sites that only recommend regulated online casinos. You can visit the site to easily find new casinos to play and see exactly who they are regulated by.
Verify the License with the Regulator
To ensure that an online casino's license is legitimate, you can further verify it with the regulatory body that issued it. Most regulatory bodies will have a database of licensed online casinos on their website. Look up the casino in this database to confirm that its license is current and in good standing.
For example, in the UK you can search a public register of gambling businesses to see if their license is active and up to date. You can search the register by business name, trading name, domain name or account number, making it easy to search and verify the online casino you are interested in playing.
Check for Fair Gaming Practices
Another important factor to consider when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino is its fair gaming practices. Legitimate online casinos use software from reputable providers that have been independently audited for fairness and randomness.
While there are some methods you can use to increase your chances of winning at an online casino, such as utilising casino bonuses, it is essential to ensure that the games are fair and random. This means that the outcomes of the games are not predetermined and that there is no manipulation of the game results to favour the casino or the players.
By choosing an online casino that has been independently audited for fairness, you can be confident that the games are not rigged and that you have a fair chance of winning. In addition to software audits, look for casinos that display their payout percentages and regularly publish reports on their website to demonstrate transparency and fairness.
Check the Casino's Software Providers
Check to see which software providers the online casino uses. Legitimate online casinos will use software from reputable providers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, or Playtech. These providers have a reputation for fairness and reliability. They are also some of the most well-known and respected software providers in the online gambling industry globally.
The specific software providers may vary depending on the region or jurisdiction. Some regions may have their own locally based software providers that are considered reputable and reliable.
Additionally, some online casinos may use proprietary software that has been developed in-house. Therefore, it is important to research the specific software providers used by online casinos in your region and determine if they are reputable and reliable.
Look for Independent Auditing
Many online casinos will have their software audited by independent testing agencies such as eCOGRA or iTech Labs. These agencies test the casino's software to ensure that it is fair and random. Look for a seal or logo from one of these agencies on the casino's website. However, it’s also worth noting that auditing requirements and legislation can vary between countries and regions.
For example, here are the requirements and how they might differ between the UK and the US when it comes to auditing online casinos:
Auditing UK online casinos
Online casinos operating in the UK are regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, which requires them to have their software audited by independent testing agencies to ensure that the games are fair and random. eCOGRA and iTech Labs are two of the most well-known and respected independent testing agencies in the online gambling industry and are recognised by the UK Gambling Commission.
Auditing US online casinos
The situation regarding independent testing agencies and online casino regulation in the US can vary by state. In general, online gambling is only legal and regulated in a few US states, and each state has its own regulatory framework. In some states, online casinos are required to have their software audited by independent testing agencies to ensure fair gaming practices, while in others, there may be different requirements or no regulation at all.
It is worth noting that some independent testing agencies, such as eCOGRA or iTech Labs, are recognised and respected internationally. Even if an online casino operating in the US is not required by law to have its software audited, it may still choose to do so to demonstrate its commitment to fair gaming practices and gain the trust of its players.
Check for Secure Banking Options
Legitimate online casinos will have a variety of secure banking options available for deposits and withdrawals. They will also use encryption technology to protect their players' personal and financial information.
Look for Secure Banking Options
Check to see which banking options the online casino offers. Legitimate online casinos will offer a variety of secure banking options such as credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.
Check for Encryption Technology
Look for information about the online casino's encryption technology. Legitimate online casinos will use SSL encryption technology to protect their players' personal and financial information. Look for a padlock icon in the address bar of your browser to confirm that the website is using encryption.
Fast Payout Speeds
Another important factor to consider when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino is its payout speed. Shady online casinos will typically process withdrawals in a timely manner, allowing players to receive their winnings quickly and efficiently.
If an online casino has slow payout speeds or delays in processing withdrawals, it may be a sign that the casino is not trustworthy. Some illegitimate online casinos may use withdrawal delays as a tactic to encourage players to continue gambling in the hopes of winning back their funds. Therefore, it is important to choose an online casino that offers fast and reliable payout speeds to ensure that you can receive your winnings in a timely manner.
Is it better to use a credit card to pay at an online casino?
While using a credit card can offer some level of protection when playing at an online casino, it is not a foolproof method for recovering funds if the casino turns out to be fraudulent. Some credit card issuers may be willing to issue chargebacks for unauthorised transactions or for transactions with companies that fail to deliver the promised goods or services, including online casinos. However, this process can be time-consuming and may not always result in a successful outcome.
Set a Budget
In addition to using secure banking options, it is also recommended that you set a budget for your online gambling activities and stick to it. This can help prevent any significant financial losses in the event that the casino is illegitimate or the games are unfair.
Check for Positive Reviews and Reputation
One of the best ways to know if an online casino is legit is to check for positive reviews and a good reputation. Look for reviews from other players and industry experts to get a sense of the casino's overall reputation.
Check for Reviews
Check for reviews on popular online casino forums and review websites. These platforms are a great source of information about online casinos and can help you get an idea of what other players have experienced.
Look for reviews that are detailed and provide specific information about the casino's games, banking options, customer service, and overall experience. Be wary if you can only find reviews on the casino site, or on their social media pages and not in any other places.
Likewise, be wary of fake reviews that may be posted by the casino itself or by individuals paid to write positive reviews. These reviews may be overly positive and not provide any specific information about the casino's games or services.
Check for Awards and Accolades
Legitimate online casinos may also receive awards and accolades from industry organisations. These awards are usually given to casinos that demonstrate excellence in areas such as game variety, customer service, and overall player experience.
Look for information about any awards the casino has received on its website or in its promotional materials. Awards from reputable organisations such as EGR (eGaming Review) or the International Gaming Awards can be a good sign of the casino's legitimacy.
However, it is important to note that the absence of awards does not necessarily mean that the casino is illegitimate, and awards should not be the only factor you consider when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino.
Check for Registration Requirements and ID Checks
Another important factor to consider when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino is its registration requirements and ID checks. Online casinos are required to follow strict regulations to prevent underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud.
When registering for an online casino, legitimate sites will require you to provide accurate personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, and address. They may also require you to verify your email address or phone number. If the casino does not require this information or allows you to register with fake information, it may be a sign that the casino is not lawful.
Many valid online casinos will also require you to submit proof of your identity before you can make withdrawals. This may include a copy of your passport or driver's license, as well as a recent utility bill or bank statement to verify your address. If the casino does not require ID checks, it may be a sign that they are not following the necessary regulations and should be approached with caution.
Check for Accessible Customer Service
Another important factor to consider when evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino is its customer service accessibility. Reputable online casinos will have customer support channels that are easily accessible to players, and they will provide prompt and helpful responses to any inquiries or issues.
Customer Support Channels
Look for information about the online casino's customer support channels. Aboveboard online casinos will typically offer multiple channels for contacting customer support, such as email, live chat, and phone support. These channels should be easily accessible from the casino's website and should be available 24/7 to accommodate players in different time zones.
Response Times and Helpfulness
They will also provide prompt and helpful responses to any inquiries or issues raised by players. This means that the customer support team should respond to inquiries in a timely manner and should provide clear and helpful information to assist with any issues or concerns. If the casino's customer support team is unresponsive or provides unhelpful responses, it is not a good sign.
To test the accessibility and responsiveness of an online casino's customer support team, you can try contacting them via email, live chat, or phone. You can ask them questions about the casino's games, banking options, or licensing and regulation to get a better idea of their knowledge and helpfulness. Additionally, you can read reviews from other players to see if they have had positive experiences with customer support. If there are numerous complaints about unresponsive or unhelpful customer support, it may be a sign that the casino is not authentic.
Check for Reliable and Fair Bonuses
When assessing the trustworthiness of an online casino, it's important to consider the bonuses and promotions they offer. While enticing welcome bonuses might seem appealing, they can be a red flag for an unreliable casino trying to lure unsuspecting players.
Reasonable Bonus Terms and Conditions
Reputable online casinos offer clear, concise and fair bonus terms and conditions. The wagering requirements and other terms must be achievable and reasonable. Ambiguous or vague bonus terms and conditions are a sign of an unreliable casino.
Realistic Bonus Amounts
They will also offer bonuses that are realistic and in line with industry standards. If the bonuses are significantly higher than other online casinos or seem too good to be true, it could be a sign that the casino is unreliable.
No Misleading Promises
When reviewing bonuses and promotions offered by an online casino, it is important to be alert for warning signs. A reliable online casino will not make false promises or use misleading advertisements to attract players. Misleading bonuses or claims without evidence should be considered as red flags.
Final Word: Be Vigilant When Choosing an Online Casino
Knowing how to determine the legitimacy of an online casino is important for ensuring a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Choosing an online casino can be a daunting task, but by following the guidelines mentioned in this article, you can increase your chances of finding a trustworthy and legitimate online casino that offers a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.
Points to Consider:
Check for a valid gambling license from a reputable regulatory authority.
Look for fair gaming practices, including software from reputable providers and independent auditing.
Check for secure banking options and encryption technology to protect your personal and financial information.
Consider reasonable bonus terms and conditions and realistic bonus amounts.
Check for accessible and helpful customer support channels.
Consider the casino's payout speeds and withdrawal policies.
Look for registration requirements and ID checks to prevent underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud.
Before you go…