Looking for safe casinos to play online? Check our ultimate guide for a safe landing!
The single most important factor that should be going through your mind when you’re playing or thinking about playing at an online casino is your safety. If you’re like most people, you wouldn’t walk into a shady area of town with a big wad of cash in your pocket to gamble when there are plenty of better and safer options just a few blocks away. All kinds of things could happen. You could be attacked on the street. Or perhaps, you could get robbed at a cash machine. You could get scammed playing unfair games.
One needs to think about the same kinds of things when playing for real money online. There are many more factors to consider than most people realize. Is the casino operator reputable? Where does the money you deposit actually go? How well are their systems protected against hackers? Can you withdraw as easily as you deposit? Are they hiding anything in the small print of their player agreement?
If even one of these things is not as it should be, it could cost you a lot of money. Gambling on legitimate casino games is fun. Gambling on the casino where you’re playing is not.
How To Find Legitimate, Reliable, And Safe Casinos Online
To be sure that the casino you’re considering or playing at is safe, you’ll need to look past the flashy banners, big bonus offers, and wild promises. You’ll need to take some time to sit and do some research and read. Sure, it’s not as much fun as jumping in and spinning the slots or playing some blackjack, but neither is losing your entire bankroll to a scam.
The good news is that it usually isn’t very hard to find the information that you’ll be looking for. In most cases, you probably won’t have to look around for more than 10 or 15 minutes or so to get everything that you’ll need to make up your mind.
Following are some of the things you should take into consideration before you decide to put your hard earned money down on the games at any online casino.
1# Check Online Casino Player Reviews
If there’s one thing people like to do on the Internet, it’s rate and review and tell you about everything they do. It’s no different with online casinos, and that will help a lot.
Player reviews are a good place to start. You will undoubtedly find a mix of good and bad reviews for any casino that you check on, but you should be able to put the pieces together to get an overall idea about the casino.
In general, give a bit more weight to reviews that share details about the player’s experience. Quick, hit and run reviews that say things like, “They took all my money and then I couldn’t cash out,” or, “I win every time I play here!”, are usually just trolls. If a player really had an unusually good or bad experience they’ll tell you why.
Casino player reviews shouldn’t be used as the ultimate deciding factor, but they will give you an idea of whether or not it is worth continuing with your research. If the reviews you find are overwhelmingly bad, it’s a good sign that you should find somewhere else to place your bets.
2# Look At How Long A Casino Has Been Online
If the reviews are not bad enough to put you off, the next thing you should look at is how long the casino, and even its parent company, have existed online.
Young operations are not necessarily bad, but if a casino operator has been online for five or ten years, it shows that they have some player loyalty. An operation that isn’t running a legitimate business is not going to be able to stay online for very long. As more people have bad experiences and word gets around, they eventually lose their customer base.
Also, if you read the small print at the bottom of a casino’s front page, you can often find the name of the company that operates it. From there, if you run a simple web search for the company’s name, you can find out how long it has been in business. As some companies operate multiple casinos, it could even lead you to some of their other sites. So, even if you’re looking at a new site that doesn’t have much of a reputation yet, you may find that the company behind it has been around for years and has a solid record with players.
3# Look At Who Has Licensed The Casino
Again, if you look at the small print at the bottom of a casino’s main page you’ll usually see some mention of where they are licensed. If the information is not on the main page, it should be in their terms and conditions.
There are several different licensing bodies around the world, each of whom enforces their own set of regulations on the casinos they have licensed. Some licenses are harder to get than others and considered to be a very strong indication that an online casino is legitimate and trustworthy. A casino holding licenses from two or more of these organizations is an even better indicator that their operation is on the up and up.
Licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), and the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner are generally considered to be the most prestigious. Regulations require not only that games are fair, but that player’s personal information and funds are safeguarded among other things. It’s also common to see licenses from the government of Curacao, the Isle of Man, and Costa Rica. The last ones, usually licensing USA online casino sites.
It should go without saying that any gambling site that can not produce a verifiable license for their operation should be avoided.
Look For Information About Financial Practices
Most licensing organizations require that online casinos keep players’ funds separate from their operating funds. The funds must also remain liquid and available to pay out at the request of the player. It’s usually not mentioned on the general pages of the website, but you’ll often find at least some information about how the casino handles money in their terms and conditions.
You should also look over the casino deposit and withdrawal policies of any online casino where you’re considering placing bets. These days, there’s really no reason that any casino shouldn’t have at least one or two instant withdrawal methods available for verified players. If you see that everything requires days of advance notice, staff approvals, or confusing requirements even after you’ve verified your identity you should go elsewhere.
In addition, you can get more clues about the casino banking system, by checking the payment methods available. For example, in UK online casinos it is a good signal to see logos from PayPal and Trustly. The fastest withdrawal casinos in Australia are able to process your request using VISA or BTC, mainly. USA online casino banking is more complicated, having only BTC and Rapid Transfer for fastest withdrawals.
Read The Casino’s Terms And Conditions Carefully
Even if a site has a spotless record and rave reviews from every forum you can find, you should read the terms and conditions very carefully. Most shady operators get away with their shenanigans by burying things in the T&C document.
Legitimate casinos will have their terms and conditions laid out very clearly. There may be a lot of bonus requirements or differing rules for different geographic regions, but everything will be spelt out in understandable language and displayed prominently. The document should cover things like how your account works, what you need to do to make withdrawals, requirements for cashing in bonuses, and where to find help when you need it.
If you come across a site where the terms and conditions are confusing or hard to read — or worse yet, hard to find — you should move on and find another place to play.
Unscrupulous casino operators are often able to hold onto their licenses for a while because they include crazy terms in their player agreement that make it harder for players to collect on bonuses or cash out while keeping the casino technically within the law. If you have to go back and read something three times to understand what it means, it’s not a good sign at all.
Look For Information About The Casino’s Security Measures
Not all casinos will post information about their security, and sometimes that is a security measure in itself. Sometimes, though, they will let you know how and where your information is stored, where their actual servers are physically located, etc.
At the very least, you want to make sure that the casino is using an encrypted protocol when you communicate with the site through your browser. If your browser shows the full URL, it should start with HTTPS://. The “S” on the ends stands for secure and means that your connection is encrypted. If you don’t see the HTTPS, you should see an icon to the left of the web address that looks like a padlock. This also indicates a secure, encrypted connection.
If you can’t find any documentation of the casino’s security, you can try asking their support staff. You probably have about a 50/50 chance of them telling you anything, but it never hurts to ask. The main thing is to run a few web searches and just make sure you don’t find any legitimate stories about the site or player accounts being hacked or player funds going missing.
Some Final Thoughts
It may look like a lot of work, but everything listed above should really take you less than 30 minutes to look up. The most time-consuming item will most likely be reading the terms and conditions. Everything else is just a few clicks to verify pieces of information.
If you have trouble finding any of the information we’ve listed here, don’t be afraid to ask the casino directly. Any reputable casino is going to have support staff that will be happy to answer your questions quickly. It wasn’t mentioned above, but testing a casino’s support staff for responsiveness isn’t a bad idea either. If you do have trouble somewhere, you want to know they’ll help you quickly.
So be safe and do your homework before you put your money down. If you go through the checks we’ve listed above, you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your bankroll from falling into the wrong hands.