As gambling laws continue to become more and more relaxed each year, the barrier to entry for those who want to set up their own online casinos is becoming much easier to penetrate.
For players, this is generally good news. When more businesses compete for your attention or money, the better it is for you. With that being said, even if most sites are good, not all of them are acting in good faith.
In this article, I’ll explain what the potential red flags are for online casinos and why you should look elsewhere if you see any.
1 – No License to Be Found
Because of the potential for abuse, when companies set up online casinos, they should obtain a license to operate. It’s important to note that there are several different licenses in existence, so it’s difficult to say which is best. Suffice it to say, in all cases, having any of them is better than having none of them.
If a website can prove to visitors that it has undergone some type of regulatory process from an agency whose job it is to protect gamblers, you can feel much better about keeping your money on it. If it appears that the site in question is simply operating on its own without any oversight, it could be a problem.
Understand that even shady casinos will work fine most of the time. If an online platform screwed over every single player, there wouldn’t be a site. With that being said, if one gambler gets money taken, withheld, or experiences any other complication, that means it’s unsafe for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to play online poker, blackjack, bet on sports, on gambling in any other way, your first move should always be to find the website’s license credentials. It can take a couple a minutes to find them, but if you want your money to be safe, it’s worth looking.
2 – Poor Customer Service
It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook, your banking website, or an online casino, if you use something frequently enough, there’s a chance that you’re going to experience a glitch or malfunction and need to get in touch with customer support.
One of the most notable aspects of highly reputable online gambling platforms is their outstanding customer service. In fact, many of these platforms will have a customer service representative contact you even before there’s a problem.
Obviously, they aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart, but rather to keep you locked in as a customer. In this case (more than others), their tactics are truly beneficial to both sides (you and the house) and it’s a good idea to stick with the sites that prove they care about the players.
I’m not necessarily saying that every website you gamble on needs to have world-class service or a customer support rep that reaches out directly to you before you even have a problem. However, they should have to meet some minimum requirement that proves they’re available when you need them.
Before you deposit money, at least locate the customer service area on the website and determine for yourself if the support team seems accessible. At the very least, make sure that there is a line to call should your account have problems down the road.
Nobody ever really wants to speak with customer support, but when you encounter a problem, the quality of service can truly make or break your entire day.
3 – Bad Payout Systems
Of all the potential issues you might run into when dealing with an online casino or gambling platform, problems with receiving payment is at the top of the list.
Winning real money through gambling is hard enough without having to fight to get that money out of your online account and back into your wallet. The unfortunate reality is that many online gambling sites take advantage of the situation and hold on to your money or make extremely difficult to withdraw it. It seems as if they’re simply trying to design a system so inconvenient that you’ll just leave your money on the platform until you’ve gambled it all away.
The solution to this problem? Check the withdrawal process before you start loading money onto the site.
Make no mistake about it, gambling websites know what they’re doing when it comes to complicating the payout process. As I laid out above, the more difficult it is to get your money off the website, the more likely it is that you’re just going to keep gambling until the money runs out.
Before you make your initial deposit, look at the how the payout systems work. Keep in mind that the protocols can change after your first withdrawal, so look for that in the fine print as well. Personally, I’ve encountered sites where my first withdrawal couldn’t be any easier, only to find that on my second attempt, things became significantly more complicated.
Just a few common issues I’ve seen with payouts are: payment only being offered in cryptocurrency (most notably Bitcoin), websites setting up a minimum amount of action before withdrawals are allowed (typically this is a significant amount of action, not like $50), and websites having an extremely high minimum withdraw amount, some around $500. Finally, one of the more perplexing options that I’ve come across lately involved a peer-to-peer system where in order to cash out, someone had to purchase your site credit (surprise, it worked!).
None of this is to say that online gambling is needlessly complicated in all cases – it’s simply a reminder that you need to be cognizant of how the process works. Do a few minutes of research before loading money on the site and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and angst when it’s time to withdraw.
4 – Bonuses That Are Too Good to Be True
One of the tell-tale signs of a sketchy online gambling platform is bonuses being offered that seem unrealistic. Unfortunately, it can be tough to tell for one reason: Legit bonus offers often seem too good to be true.
Bonuses, if you’re unfamiliar with the concept, are financial perks offered by gaming sites when you initially sign up or after you’ve deposited a certain amount of money. Typically, these will be things like a deposit match up to a certain amount, free money to use toward betting, or even risk-free bets where you’ll get your money replaced as site credit if you lose.
If a website is promising an offer that seems completely unrealistic, like a thousand dollars in forgiveness if you lose, it’s probably not going to be as simple as it sounds. In this case, it’s best to move on to a new platform.
5 – You Can’t Find Many Reviews Online
Because online gambling can be precarious, it’s important to always look up user reviews before signing up. If a site in question has no additional information available online, that could mean something isn’t right.
New online gambling platforms pop up every day. For the most part, they’re safe and reliable, but the sheer volume means that it’s not impossible to sneak in a bad site among the reputable ones. Your best defense is the word of mouth from other users who have tried the site before you.
Taking 10 minutes out of your day to do a quick Google search is worth it. Even if a site is completely legit, you’re probably going to learn some helpful information by checking out reviews. If a site doesn’t have any (or many) reviews, there’s a good chance that it’s been deemed unreliable by other online gamblers.
The world of online gaming platforms isn’t exactly the Wild West, but it’s not far from it either. New sites are popping up faster than regulators can keep track, and this will inevitably lead to some shady places that don’t treat players fairly.
At the end of the day, your most powerful weapon in the fight against these sites, above all, is common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. The good news? You have plenty more options to utilize.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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