Avoiding Rogue Online Casinos

Every industry has a bad side...

It seems like everywhere you look, there is someone trying to sell you something that is too good to be true. In many cases, it is a product that looks or acts nothing like it was advertised, but once you make the purchase, you are stuck with the result. Scammers can be found everywhere, but when it happens online, it becomes even harder to not only determine if you are being scammed, but who is behind the activity.

The online casino world has often been accused of being full of scammers, but that truly isn't fair. There are thousands of online casinos to choose from, and the majority of those are reputable. However, the industry does not come without scandal, so we want to help you feel more confident in the online casino choices you make so you can avoid these rogue operators.

The Safest Sites to Play Casino Games Online

Do you want to skip past all the gory details and get to playing at some of the safest sites online? Well then let's get you to it! While you can feel free to read on and find out how we come up with these recommended sites, we can get you started with the safest sites we have come across for all online casino players.

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This list not only covers which sites we think are the safest but goes a step further to filter the safe sites by those that offer the best quality of software content, the most payment options and the most attractive promotions and bonuses. If you are curious which sites we think are the worst and least safe, well here is our blacklisted sites page for you to review while reading the rest of the info on this page!

What Makes a Casino Rogue in the First Place?

Before we give you some tips on how to avoid rogue casinos, we should define what makes a rogue casino in the first place. There are many players who feel a casino is cheating them because they never seem to win, but again that is more of a fallacy than fact. Casino games are all built with a house edge of some sort - why would a casino operator start a business if they were set to lose money all the time? When people play casino games online, they are playing at a much faster rate, which means that they may feel that they are losing more than normal.

Now, this doesn't mean that some casinos aren't scamming players in some way, Let's look at some of the ways a casino can be considered rogue:

  • Software that doesn't play to the correct math
  • False advertising in offers and promotions
  • Slow payouts
  • No payouts at all
  • Removing money from player accounts
Bad Software

This is less of a concern these days, but in the early days of the online casino industry, there was far less oversight when it came to the games themselves. Some operators were able to "tweak" the payout odds of games, giving them a much higher hold percentage.

False Advertising

You are likely going to have your antennae up when you see an offer that seems too good to be true. These massive bonuses and promotions usually are, especially when they come from a site you haven't heard of before. Rogue sites use these offers to draw you in even though there is no chance of actually winning what is being offered.

Slow Payouts

While there is some lag time in getting your withdrawals processed, some sites use this to hide the fact that they are slow paying you. The site could be slow paying simply to make you reverse your request and play some more, while others are simply not interested in paying players in a timely manner...

No Payment

...or paying players at all. This is a worst-case scenario for players - make a deposit, play some games, then try to get your money only to find out you can't track down the casino at all. While this is an extreme case, it still exists, so it is something to be wary of when managing your casino balance.

Removal of Funds

Some sites will have in their Terms and Conditions a line that outlines their right to remove money from a player account if they feel the player has broken any rules. However, this is another way rogue casinos can hide the fact that they are scamming players. We have heard many stories of players who have logged into their accounts to find their balances gone as a result of some technicality.

What Could Make a Casino Rogue?

This is not as straightforward an answer as you may think. Of course, a casino operator could simply be a criminal who has set up their business to rip off players. However, these days that number is smaller than ever as the software vendors try to do enough due diligence on a possible customer before granting them a license of their products.

Another reason a casino could go rogue is simply that they have mismanaged the money that has been deposited at the site. The industry is highly competitive, and it costs a lot of many to stay relevant. Even though it is a terrible business idea, some companies leverage the player funds to help operate the business assuming that some of the money will be lost by players regardless. The worst case of this leveraging being discovered happened in 2011, when the Department of Justice in the U.S. shut down Full Tilt Poker, only to discover the majority of the $300 million in player funds was not there.

How to Protect Yourself Against Rogue Casinos

Whatever the reason, rogue casinos are a fact of life, and all we can do is put you in the best possible position to not get scammed when you make your deposits online. We have a team dedicated to reviewing every online casino we can find, and from these reviews, we compiled the list you saw earlier on this page. Let's review some of the items we look for when trying to determine the reliability of a site, and what you can do to avoid finding a rogue operator.

Gaming Licenses

The easiest way to confirm that you are playing with a reputable site is to see if they have a gaming license. There are many different jurisdictions which offer online casino licenses, and each offers a varying degree of player protection. We prefer sites that have licenses from the United Kingdom or Malta, as these two jurisdictions require that all player funds be stored in a segregated bank account which is audited on a regular basis. There are other jurisdictions like Curacao and Kahnawake, which aren't as strict as the European regulators, but, at the very least, a casino featuring one of these licenses has had to endure some form of due diligence process.

Software Audits

We understand that there are some casinos that do not have gaming licenses based on where they are trying to attract clients from. For example, Malta and the UK will not issue a license to operators planning to accept bets from the United States. In this case, the next thing we look for is a software provider that has had its games audited by a third party. This is something that vendors are proud to display, so if you are having a hard time finding a logo from an auditing firm, this should raise a red flag.

Casino Reviews

Independent sites like ours are designed to give players the most comprehensive, honest reviews of all the online casino sites we find. We have a review section that covers hundreds of the online casinos you will find, and this includes a blacklist of casinos we simply cannot recommend to players.

Read Casino Forum Sites

There are many player-driven sites that give a voice to players who feel they have been wronged by an online caisno. Now, some of these posts on forums are players venting because they lost their money playing games, so when you are reading a forum post about a site, you want to look for responses from casino representatives. Forums can be a way for sites to perform customer service in the public eye, so if you aren't seeing a response from the casino itself, then you should have some cause for concern.

Trust Your Friends

The odds are that you know someone who has played with an online casino site, so it is worth asking around for recommendations. This doesn't necessarily mean you will find the best sites or sites that aren't rogue, but in combination with our reviews and the forums sites, getting a seal of approval from someone you trust may be exactly what you need to make a final decision.

Make Small Deposits

Even after all of this research, you are still at the mercy of the casino after you send them your money. We always recommend that you play within your means, but if you are even a bit concerned about the reliability of a site, then you should test it with the absolute minimum deposit amount. Then, you want to manage your balance well, making withdrawals whenever possible and leaving only a minimum amount in your balance. Yes, this could cost you a little bit more in transaction fees, but that is still better than having your entire balance wiped out by a rogue operator.

Can There Be an End in Sight for Rogue Operators?

As we said at the beginning of this page, as long as the industry exists, there will be people who have bad intentions trying to take advantage of players. With the information we have outlined on this page, you will put yourself in the best position to make informed decisions about where to play. However, you may still encounter issues with your casino of choice. If that does indeed happen and you can't get any resolution from the casino directly, you can take your case to the forums, regulators, and sites like ours for assistance.

The online casino industry has always done an excellent job of self-policing, and you as a player are part of that ecosystem. Anything you see that doesn't seem right should be reported so we can all keep these operators in check and continue to provide a safe, secure environment for players to enjoy their favorite casino games.

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