What to Watch Out for with Online Casino Scams
When you enjoy playing some games at an online casino like craps or poker, you want to know that the odds are fair, the winnings get paid out, and the casino itself won’t vanish overnight taking your money along with it.
Here are some things to watch out for and a few examples of past online casino scams too.
Lack of Licensing from Safer Jurisdictions
One of the first things to look for is that the website is properly licensed for the location they are operating in. When they’re either operating out of a country that doesn’t have proper laws relating to online casinos or the jurisdiction lacks sufficient protections for the gambler, these are the ones to avoid.
Whether operating out of Canada, the Isle of Man, Costa Rica, or Gibraltar, there are strict laws on gambling-based businesses that must be adhered to. This provides some measure of comfort to gamblers who don’t want to find their money disappearing when they go to withdraw their winnings.
One case in point was the African Palace casino that operated out of an unprotected jurisdiction. Their partial payment of a major prize caught the eye of watchdogs and they eventually made it onto South African TV news shows. When sticking to an online casino in a safer jurisdiction, this problem might have been avoided.
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No eCOGRA Approval
Getting eCOGRA approval of an online casino is not easy. It’s a testing agency that looks at the website and systems used by an online casino to see whether it passes muster for security and other aspects. eCOGRA is based in London, UK and is designed expressly for the gaming industry to ensure safety for all participants.
You can be assured that when an online casino bears the eCOGRA logo signifying its approval, you’re much safer playing there than you would with its absence. The website should also be linking out to their live approval certificate on the eCOGRA site to prove it. It gives some peace of mind that they’re not a fly-by-night operation that intends to take the money and run.
Gaming Software Exhibiting Odd Anomalies
BLR Technologies came under scrutiny by players when the results from betting on craps didn’t seem to tally with the games played. Many gamblers are experts at understanding the odds behind a game and with sufficient games played (the member had placed 3,200 bets), it’s possible to consider the relative odds. Patterns, odds, and statistical probabilities begin to make sense the more you play. And when something doesn’t seem right with an online casino’s software, it often looks that way for a good reason.
The 5Dimes Group decided to pull the BLR casino software from its offering because of the questions surrounding the results presented. This only happened because players understood how the software should have been performing and had the sophistication to understand something was wrong when it didn’t perform as expected. Not every player is so lucky.
The software platform being used is often at fault, rather than the company behind the casino itself. Not every online casino develops their online software in-house. Often, they trust the software provided by third-parties and implement it into their existing website to offer exciting new games to players. This can be where the trouble starts.
The more reputable online casinos avoid using questionable third-party software platforms that run their games because they don’t always know the ins and outs of how the games are calculated. Because their reputation matters to their business, they just won’t risk using a questionable software solution and losing customers due to the negative publicity fallout.
No Payout at All
Unsuspecting players put their initial stipend into the online casino’s account, earn some winnings, and later choose to make a withdrawal. It’s only then that they can discover that the casino is a scam and they will never pay out a dime of the winnings. This kind of smoke and mirrors setup with a flashy home page and fast-moving gaming software is revealed to be hiding an ugly truth that the money was never going to be returned, including the initial amount deposited into their account.
Slow Walking Payments
In a variation on that theme, customers get “slow walked” when attempting to make a withdrawal. Checks bounce, wire transfers fail to get executed and customers wait for months or years to see their winnings paid out. Sometimes online casino websites can disappear overnight when so many payments were slow walked and there was malfeasance inside the organization to the point that there were insufficient funds left to provide payouts to all customers. It depends on the jurisdiction of the casino whether there’s anything that can be done when this happens.
Vegas2Web is a good example of the slow walking problem. Originally started in 2009, payments to customers hit a bump in the road from 2011. Situated in Curacao, they’re licensed by Black Chip Ltd and are under Cyprus island laws. However, they offer gambling in many other countries including the United States.
The Vegas2Web customers waited many months for checks or wire transfers to be completed. In one case, a fraudulent check was given out. In another case, wire transfers were never sent due to supposed computer errors. Eventually, customers received their monies but only after demonstrating incredible persistence in following up after every excuse was given as to why a payment couldn’t be made.
Deal Only with Reliable Online Casinos to Protect Yourself
It should be clear by now that you must be careful which online casinos you choose to play with. No matter how attractive their home page is or how sexy the models advertising their games appear to be, all that glitters is not gold. Sadly, it behooves gamers to be careful to ensure their bets are honored as they should be.
Look for dependable online casinos that have good reputations via online casino review sites. Check to see if they have a valid eCOGRA certification as do sites like Yukon Gold, Luxury Casino and Grand Mondial. Make sure that previous customers are happy, and they operate in a safe jurisdiction that gives you confidence before opening an account and sending money their way. This ensures that your winnings will reach your hands successfully.
Don’t get overly sucked in by the offer of free spins and other incentives to sign up to an online casino site. Do your due diligence on the brand before you gamble with them. While these kinds of incentives are intentionally enticing, your first priorities should be that their games and software are fair, and payouts are made successfully to their customers. Otherwise, it’s just foolhardy and you’ll come out the loser even when you win!