Red flags to look out for
How secure an online casino is will not only depend on the specific casino in question, but also on players and their online practices.
To begin with, we believe it is very important for online casino players to be able to identify and avoid certain online casinos that don’t adhere to the highest standards of cyber security. It is equally important to avoid fraudulent websites that are designed to look like legitimate online casinos. but are instead engineered to steal your money.
- Is the casino licensed?
This is the first question you need to address when you consider playing at an online casino. If you happen to have landed at an online casino website that looks attractive, or maybe they have an irresistible offer and you want to give it a go, the least due diligence you can do is to verify that the online casino is licensed.
Generally, an online casino will publish their licensing information on the footer of the site’s homepage. Ensure that the license is issued by a verified gambling regulatory authority. The most reputed gambling licenses are issued by the likes of the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority and Sweden.
Other countries issuing gambling licenses include – Curacao, Alderney, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Italy, Sweden and Kahnawake.
- Is it easy getting in touch?
Online casinos that are genuine, and of high quality, will usually make it as easy as possible for you to be able to reach out for help. A good online casino will offer multiple channels of customer support which generally includes 24/7 customer support, live chat option and email support.
However, when it seems like a mission just to be able to get in touch with someone at an online casino, it is never a good sign. Even if the casino may seem adequately secure, you would be doing yourself a favor by avoiding such an online casino.
- Does the casino have only a handful of games, but a ton of bonuses?
Genuine online casino operators are always working on growing their game catalogue and getting several casino software providers on board. At the end of the day, you are there for the games. However, if you happen to come across an online casino that offers only a few, low-quality games but has a great range of bonuses that are almost too good to be true, it is potentially a red flag of a frivolous online casino.
Such unlawful casinos usually attract players with their exaggerated bonuses, and when the player makes a real money deposit hoping to cash in on the bonus, they are left high and dry.
When choosing an online casino, ensure that they are partnered with well-known and respected online casino game developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, BetSoft, NextGen Gaming, Play’n Go, Yggdrasil, Evolution Gaming, etc.
- Does the casino have lots of bad reviews and complaints?
Do your homework and read up on an online casino before you actually invest money in one. Thankfully, there are millions of other people like you a playing at online casinos and you can find out from their reviews about their experiences with a particular brand.
Furthermore, ensure that you are reading the reviews on an unbiased, third-party online casino review website like our own.
- Late payouts and limited payment methods
Yes, it does generally take an online casino a couple of business days to process your withdrawal requests. In fact, if it is your first withdrawal request, the casino may even have to verify your identification documentation and it could take slightly longer than usual.
However, if an online casino is being reported for consistently not paying their customers for weeks, it could mean that the casino is just trying to scam as many players as they can. Only those players who really go out of their way eventually get paid, and the rest lose hope and their money.
Save yourself from such an ordeal and avoid online casinos known for particularly late payouts and offer a very limited number of payment options.
Secure online casino features
We’ve given you the red flags that you need to watch out for at online casinos. Now, it is time to take a look at some of the security features and technologies that good quality online casinos employ to safeguard their own website as well as the personal and financial data of their users.
Data encryption can be quite a technical concept if we dive in too deep. In lay man’s terms, you can think of it is a secret language. It is like sending a message to your friend which is written in a secret code that only your friend can understand. Therefore, if someone was to intercept the message, they really would not gain anything from it, and you would not lose anything from it.
Virtually every big website today has some form of data encryption on it. Online casinos that are legitimate and well-established will generally have 256-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, or at least 128-bit SSL encryption. This is as secure as the encryption used by your financial institution to safeguard your online transactions. It is the gold standard of data protection these days.
So, how do you know if an online casino encrypts their data? Simply look at the address bar where the website address is – if the address starts with a HTTPS (S stands for secure) then it means the website has a valid SSL certificate and your data is safe. However, if it Is just HTTP, it means that data is not encrypted and a cyber attacker could target the website and steal sensitive information.
Random Number Generator
When you play at a mechanical slot machine at a land based casino, you know that the game is fair. The machine pays out sometimes, even though it does favor the house ever so slightly. However, when you are playing a virtual slot at an online casino – the question that crosses a lot of players’ mind is – how do I know that the game is not rigged? How do I know that every time I spin the reels, the outcomes are not pre-determined and against me?
The truth is, if the online casino you are playing at does not use a random number generator, you simply cannot be sure of this. The game could very well be unfair.
This has always been a huge drawback for even legitimate online casinos that could not prove that their games were fair and square. Until, the random number generator came along. What you need to know is – online casinos that use random number generators are ‘provably fair’.
A random number generator (RNG) is an algorithm which produces, as the name suggests, a random number every time the algorithm is executed. The random number is then used to determine the outcome of your game or round.
Therefore, every time you spin the reel or roll the dice at a ‘provably fair’ online casino, the RNG is invoked to give you random results. Random results, in the context of a luck-based casino game, equates to fair results.
However, just because an online casino claims to use a random number generator, it does not suffice. As a player, you would do well to ensure that the random number generator is evaluated and tested by independent third-party testing firms such as eCOGRA and TST. Only when you know these testing firms have given the casino a thumbs-up can you play with peace of mind, knowing that you are not being unfairly cheated.
High-quality online casinos will foster the principles of responsible gambling and implement them on their platforms. While responsible gambling may not gracefully fall under the category of ‘safety and security’ it is certainly a sign of a legitimate online casino that is trying to safeguard its players from the insidiously addictive nature of real money gambling.
Habit gambling is a serious issue, and players can quickly lose track and control. Many people can go bankrupt chasing losses at online casinos and can completely ruin their lives. Therefore, online casinos which offer responsible gambling features should be considered and prioritized.
Some of the common responsible gambling features include:
Limits – Online casinos will allow you to set limits on how much you can deposit. This can be a daily limit, a weekly limit or a monthly limit. Once you set your limit, you cannot go over it and this way, you can stop yourself from chasing any losses. You may even be able to set limits on how much you can put on stake in a single bet, etc.
Session time outs – When you are engrossed in an online casino game, it is easy to lose track of time. Hours could go by and you may not even be aware of it. Losing track of time usually is accompanied with losing track of money. Therefore, certain online casinos allow players to set reminders or limits on how long they can be logged in at the casino at a stretch.
Underage gambling – Protecting minors from gambling is a huge priority for legitimate online casinos. They could lose their licenses if they fail to do so. Therefore, online casinos may ask players to upload government issued identification for verification purposes before they are allowed full access to all features of the casino.
How online casinos protect themselves from fraudsters
We’ve gone over all the various ways in which you can protect yourself from an unlawful online casino that is out to swindle you. However, there are also many users that are always looking for ways to hack and exploit online casinos unlawfully as well.
So, what are some of the ways in which online casinos protect themselves from such frivolous opportunists?
Terms and conditions
When you sign up with an online casino, you will have to first agree to their terms and conditions. Even if you don’t explicitly provide your agreement, a lot of casinos will consider the act of signing up as you agreeing to their terms and conditions.
These terms and conditions are one of the main ways in which online casinos safeguard themselves from users exploiting them.
For example – wagering requirements
Most online casinos that offer a bonus will do so with some strings attached. One of the main conditions of a bonus offer is that it is subject to a wagering requirement. Such requirements usually stipulate that you need to spend a certain sum of money before you can withdraw winnings made with the bonus money.
Why do casinos mandate this? Well, if there was no such requirement, players would simply register at an online casino, claim a bonus, withdraw the bonus money and walk away richer than they were minutes ago. They could then go on to do this to the next online casino. Obviously, online casinos would not be able to survive the financial ramifications of such exploits. This is precisely why online casinos have plenty of terms and conditions to protect themselves legally and financially.
Not 100% But Close Enough
We live in a world which is more connected than ever before thanks to the internet. While this is very convenient, it is yet another breeding ground for a new generation of criminals – cyber criminals. The average cost of data breach in the year 2020 is expected to exceed a whopping $150 million (totaling up to $2 trillion till date).
Online casinos and any other website for that matter can implement all the safety and security technologies to keep themselves and their clients safe, but your safety is also dependent on what you do. While on the internet, it is important to pay attention to the details, stay vigilant and only transact with trusted sources.
Online casinos have come a long way since their inception. They are much safer today than ever before, but in the rat race universe of cybersecurity, no website can ever be 100% safe and secure at all times.