Online gambling has been on an impressive run for over two decades to grow manyfold to a $59-billion industry with an ever-accelerating development ratio. The overall digitalization of the world, higher trust in online technologies, and willingness to get the best services at the comfort of one’s home have contributed to the emergence of bazillions of online casinos, all promising top-notch conditions, out-of-this-world bonuses, and all the benefits you could imagine.
But online gambling is a battlefield for inexperienced players all the same. Whether you’re looking for slots, roulette, or black jack online, you should approach it with extreme caution as most casinos will reveal their true colors only after taking your money, either temporarily until you play it through or permanently if you’ve been unlucky to stumble upon a fraudulent casino.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to be an expert to safeguard yourself against troubles with online casinos – all you have to do is take advantage of a simple yet very effective checklist given below. Coupled with common sense, it will help you to separate trustworthy casinos from the outright scams and shady platforms. Don’t take chances – check the boxes!
#1 Documentation: Licenses, Certificates, Awards
The presence of a license is not a panacea, but the absence of it is a big no-no for two main reasons:
- unlicensed casinos are outside the legal field, so they can act as they will. Yes, they can just disappear with your money.
- since unlicensed casinos do not need to comply with any rules and regulations, they are usually of inferior quality. They tend to offer fewer games, unknown software providers, and bad user experience, compensating it with huge bonuses that usually come with hidden requirements and limitations.
But then again, licenses are different, and though the reliability of this or that licenser is subjective, many believe the best issuers are the United Kingdom, Malta, Kahnawake, and Curacao. Isle of Man, Costa Rica, and Gibraltar are often seen as less credible.
The safest choice would be a casino with a few licenses as it’s harder to meet the demands of several jurisdictions than just one. But even a single license might do if it’s complemented by certificates, seals of approval, and awards. Speaking of which, there are quite a few credible independent software testing agencies – eCOGRA, iTech Labs, BMM Testlabs, Gaming Associates, SQS, etc. – each of which tests the casino software, making sure the gaming process is not rigged. Awards are not that important.
While gladly accepting your ‘unverified’ deposits, some casinos may not even mention verification until you decide to cash out your winnings. And then you might end up frustrated. But even if verification is required as per the AML policies of the jurisdiction, first of all, you have to decide for yourself whether you want to share your personal data with a third party. And if you don’t, then just continue searching for a casino that will allow you to withdraw privately.
There’s no double you want to kickstart your career with a bang. For that, make sure the bonuses you’re going to take advantage of do not contain hidden limitations or requirements. All the info on bonuses is contained on the ‘bonus terms and conditions’ webpage, but it’s nevertheless better to double-check it all with the casino customer support.
Here are the main things that may stand between you and your well-deserved bonus:
- Wagering requirement (applies to almost all bonuses!). A wagering requirement is the amount of money you must wager on the eligible casino games before you can cash out your bonus and sometimes your deposit as well. For example, a bonus of $100 with a 50x wagering requirement can be unlocked by wagering a total of $5,000.
- Limits to the amount of bonus money you can make. Not to go bankrupt, casinos limit the maximum amount of bonus money you can withdraw.
- Other limitations. There may be geographical restrictions, restrictions as to the payment methods, and other obstacles, but all this info must be clearly stated on the bonus T&C webpage.
#4 Gaming Library
Whether you love different genres, or you’re a fan of a single game, the gaming library is an important credibility indicator. The casino may not employ dozens of software providers, but it should have at least a single partnership with a renowned brand, such as, for example, Microgaming, NetEnt, or Evolution Gaming.
In addition, any self-respecting casino would allow you to play for free all its games (except for live dealer games) without registration so that you could get the hang of it without any waste of time on the registration, verification, and so on.
Finally, you have to be able to withdraw your money fast, without fees, and via lots of alternative payment gateways. Though available payment methods will differ depending on your whereabouts, there should be at least several e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, and classic payments (bank cards, wire transfers) to work with.
As for the withdrawal time, get ready for a delay of up to 48 hours as most casinos will take some time to verify your profile before confirming the withdrawal. That said, anything longer than two days is unacceptable.
Before Everything Else, Make Sure Gambling is Legal in Your Country
Got all the boxes checked? Then chances are you’ve found the casino of your dreams and it’s now high time to make sure gambling is legal in your country – which you should have done in the first place, truth be told. Because if it’s not, then you better steer clear of online casinos as breaking the law won’t make you any good. Play wisely!