Common Myths About Online Casinos
When the internet began to invade our homes in the 1990s, a whole new world opened up to us at our fingertips. Not only could we access information from across the globe almost instantly, but the way we acted as consumers also changed forever. The ability to make purchases online for goods and services meant we no longer had to leave our homes to perform certain daily tasks.
The gambling industry was one that clearly benefitted from an online presence. The emergence of online gambling sites gave players a chance to bet on their favorite teams or casino games without ever having to leave the comforts of home. However, as with most online behavior in the 1990s, there came some negativity and concern around the online casino world. How were players supposed to trust sites that they knew nothing about and send these companies money via their credit card or another method to play computer-generated card games and slots?
Today, the industry has grown to be one of the biggest in the online world, but there are still many people who don't play at all or play with a sense of uncertainty. These folks fall into the trap of believing some of the most common myths about online casinos. We are here to help change the minds of those who may still be on the fence about playing and those who play under the guise of a conspiracy theory. These are the most common myths about online casinos.
Disclaimer: While we are debunking several myths about the safety of the online casino world, there are still a few rogue operators that players should steer clear of when looking to play. Check out our rogue casinos page for more details.
Myth #1: Online Casino Games Are Rigged
This is one of the most popular complaints about online casinos. Since players are not sitting in front of a dealer or in a physical location at a slot machine, many of them believe that the games are rigged in the house's favor. This could not be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that players are much more knowledgeable than ever before, and online games provide game history which would allow those who wanted to the chance to run results through an algorithm to see if there are any discrepancies from the general game odds.
Today, it wouldn't be in the best interest of a casino to try to rig the games in their favor. The way that information goes viral these days, any bad press could ruin a business in a highly competitive space. As a result, sites go out of their way to ensure players feel safe about the games they are playing. Casino software suppliers spend thousands of dollars having their games audited for accuracy and reliability, and the passing grades are often celebrated in public so that everyone can see the results of the audit itself.
Online casino games are not rigged, but you are likely to play many more hands in the same amount of time as a live session, so you may see your bankroll dip faster as a result.
Myth #2: Online Gambling Produces More Underage Gamblers
One of the biggest concerns that many watchdog groups had when online casino sites launched was how to control underage gambling. As opposed to having to walk into a live casino and produce ID before playing a game, a minor could theoretically sign up for an account and play for real money from their homes or mobile devices.
Again, this is a complete myth. First, all casinos require players to use credit cards or other means to deposit into their accounts, and in many cases, ID needs to be verified to make a deposit in the first place. Yes, it is true that a minor could steal a parent's credit card, create a fake account in their name, and make a deposit, but those cases are very rare these days. The KYC departments of many casinos can seem frustrating given the amount of documentation they require from players, but in the long run, this is to protect both the user and the operator from fraudulent behavior like this.
Obviously, a casino cannot stop a parent from letting their child use their online casino account, but we are very hopeful this is not a common tactic, and this goes much deeper than the casino's fault in the matter.
Myth #3: You Can Card Count Playing Online Games
This one makes us giggle in the office. Card counting is a great way for players to gain an advantage over the casino. However, casinos take measures to prevent this from being done, and in the case of catching someone in the act, the casino reserves the right to remove them from the property and ban them from returning. Don't you remember the movie 21?
Online casino operators do not have to worry about card counting - it is virtually impossible. You see, most blackjack games use a shoe with 6 or 8 decks in it. When you are playing in a land-based casino, that shoe is cut close to in half, so even if you are counting the cards, you will never get to the end of the shoe where you can take the most advantage of it. When you are playing online, the cards are shuffled - all 8 decks - every hand, because the computer can do that instantly. As a result, every hand you play is essentially the first hand of the shoe.
Every. Single. Hand.
This applies to single-deck blackjack online as well - the cards are shuffled after every hand. So, if someone you know says they have a system to count cards online...they don't. Whatever they are doing no doubt will come back to bite them in the end.
Myth #4: You'll Never Get Paid If You Are a Winner
Once you hear one story of a player who didn't get paid by an online casino, it is easy to be spooked. Now, this isn't to say that there are some people who are indeed taken by casinos for one reason or another - see our list of rogue casino operators for gruesome details. However, with the millions of players who play casino games online around the world, the number of those who are cheated out of their cash is a very small percentage.
It is true that a casino will do what they can to keep your money in the account - long pending periods, documents that need to be scanned and sent in to confirm identity, etc...but that is no different than someone offering you a free drink or meal at a live table. Ultimately, if you want your money, you are going to get it. However, we always suggest that you only leave a balance on your account you are comfortable losing if something does happen to shut down the casino. Poker players certainly understand that after the abrupt closing of Full Tilt Poker only to find out the company had spent all the player funds.
Myth #5: The Games Freeze If You Are Winning Too Much
There are some players who go on a decent roll when playing online, which is no different than someone in a land-based casino. However, we have read reports from players that games have slowed down or frozen altogether during winning sessions. We think this might be a bit unlikely as well. First of all, if you are winning in an online casino, the casino wants you to play more hands, as the odds dictate that over time, the house always wins. With that in mind, why would they ever slow down the games? The more you bet, the more likely you are going to lose.
Also, we have obviously heard of casinos freezing in the middle of hands. This is typically due to communication breaking down between the casino's servers and the player's device. Most often, it can be chalked up to a bad internet connection. There is nothing to worry about if you have a game stuck in the middle of play - the casino server also knows when the game has stopped, and when you restart the casino software, the hand will pick back up where it left off.
Myth #6: Online Gambling Is More Addictive Than Live Gambling
While the games are much easier to access when you are playing online, the statement that online casinos are more addictive than live casinos is yet another myth about the industry. Yes, you can find more casinos and games to play online, and if you aren't close to a live casino, you can access the games easily. However, in a live casino, you do not have to give them information about yourself, and therefore there is no way to track your play. Online casinos track every move you make from the number of logins to the frequency of your deposits.
Armed with this information, an online casino can be more proactive when it comes to controlling problem gambling. Self-limits can be suggested, as well as temporary breaks from playing. We are hopeful that the land-based industry will take a page from the online casinos and start forcing players to identify themselves when entering a building.
Myth #7: Play-Money Games Let You Win More
Almost every online casino has a play-money area, where you can play the same slots and table games (at least the majority of them) without having to spend real money. This is a great way to learn and practice games, but there are a few folks who believe that a casino sets those games up to allow you to win more than the real-money versions.
This is, once again, a fallacy. First of all, the games are running on the same game RNG as the real-money versions, as they are coming from the same casino software supplier. There would be no reason to make the games feel like players are able to win more without credibility being called into question.
The real reason that people feel this way is that when they play with play money, they don't have the same emotional connection. They aren't risking their hard-earned cash, so they bet with different tendencies. Larger bet sizes, more aggressive strategy...all of this comes into play when someone is playing around with free chips.
Myth #8: You'll Never Earn a Bonus
All online casinos offer generous bonuses to depositing players, but we often hear complaints about how hard it is to earn bonuses. This gets to the point where some players think that you simply cannot earn bonuses the way they are set up and that they are all a scam.
We can assure you that for the most part, these bonuses are not scams. The only bonuses we think are too good to be true are the massive first-time deposit bonuses offering thousands of bonus dollars. The one thing most players do not do when looking at promotions is read the terms and conditions. There, you can often find the real reason bonuses seem impossible to earn - they are typically weighted to games that are better for the house like slots and keno. There isn't enough margin in games like blackjack to allow players to earn bonuses at the same rate - the casino would lose too much in the long run.
To combat this, we suggest you look for sites that offer a match play bonus instead of bonus dollars. These one-time bonuses give you a chance to load up on your first bet, hoping to come away a winner. You will still need to meet a wagering requirement before you can cash out a bonus, but at least you won't feel like you are getting scammed (which you are not).
As you can see, there are many concerns that players have, and some clearly spook players more than others. While the early days of the online casino industry came with some shady characters and business dealings, these are true e-commerce businesses now, with the option of licensing, auditing, and other means of making players feel more secure at the tables.
If there is something you are concerned about with online casinos that you didn't see covered here, we encourage you to send us a note, and we'll help you understand what may be bothering you. Otherwise, go log into your favorite online casino and play with the peace of mind that the operators are not conspiring to steal your money!