Online casinos offer gambling and gaming opportunities that simply aren’t achievable at land-based casinos. The sheer number of games is staggering, and many offer improved odds online since their overheads are much lower. However, for all that, there is a very real concern among many players over the safety and security of online betting.
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Playing with anonymity against programmed software offers an easy breeding ground for scammers who can fix results and default on payments. Fortunately, the world of online gaming has come a long way and there are simple steps to follow to ensure your safety and to keep control of your money.
Rules and Regulations Ensuring Fair Play
The Gambling Commission in the UK is the regulatory body that ensures that casinos conform to specific rules and regulations regarding the safety of personal player information, funds and the casino’s own integrity. Never play a casino that is not fully regulated and licensed.
Random Number Generators
One of the biggest concerns players have for online casinos is the legitimacy of “random” spins (for slots) and deals (on card games). All modern games will implement a certified Random Number Generator (RNG) to allay these fears. The RNG is the backbone of any online casino – without a completely reliable number generator, a casino or game cannot be trusted.
However, by using software which offers truly random results (completely verified and checked by independent, 3rd party security specialists) players can gamble with confidence, knowing they have just as much chance of winning as anybody else. This licensing information should be available on any casinos website, so check for it if you aren’t sure about them.
Payout percentages are audited alongside the RNGs to ensure fair play to all customers. The majority of online casinos will publish their approximate payout percentage on their site, usually in the range of 93-96%. This number has to be independently verified as it can hugely sway audiences – a high payout percentage is a massive incentive for players.
Both payout percentages and RNGs are audited by eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), a vetted testing agency and player protection and standards organisation. Any casino with the eCOGRA seal of approval is one you should use happily and with a clear conscience.
Popular and Safe Casinos
There are a few casinos we recommend to players because they are globally-known for being safe, fair and for taking care of their players. These include:
- Jackpot City
- Mr Green
Fully regulated casinos will always proudly display their credentials so that you know you’re in safe hands. If a casino is ever misleading or vague about their licensing, give them a wide berth and advise friends to do the same – if they’re an honest and well-intentioned company, they’ll pass with flying colours.
Handing Rogue Casinos
This is a major topic and will be handled in greater detail in a subsequent post about blacklisted and rogue casinos. In brief, rogue casinos are those that treats players unfairly by violating rules of service, withholding winnings or by biasing their games so that they favour the house.
Whatever the reason, these actions will cause a casino to be blacklisted. Before joining a new casino, always check if it is a legitimate business before depositing any money; there are casino blacklists you can use as a reference.
Problem gambling can be very severe behaviour with extremely compromising effects on a player’s livelihood, work and family. When using online slots it’s imperative that you follow a few rules to make sure you’re playing safely:
- Only bet what you can afford – Winning is never guaranteed, so only bet what you’re willing to lose. Going beyond this limit indicates a gambling problem.
- Remember that playing is about fun first – It’s great to win, but if you depend on slots as a money-making method, you should stop and reevaluate.
- Withdraw when you’re winning – If you get a big bonus round and rake in a profit, take the rest of the day off or start playing with penny stakes. Don’t fritter the money away with low-probability high rolling.
If you think gambling is affecting your relationships or personal life, then get help, speak to someone and try to stop playing for a while. Gambling problems can spiral drastically and land you in enormous debt.
Getting Help from Casinos
Responsible casinos will make an effort to help their players who are suffering from addiction. Services like self-exclusion and blocking software are usually offered which completely inhibit your ability to play for a fixed length of time. They can also make recommendations about managing your finances and changing your behaviour, if you ask.
Keep Calm and Game Responsibly
Responsible gaming really comes down to your mentality and conforming to certain rules, the chief of which is to never gamble what you cannot afford. By only playing with money you’re happy to lose, your experience won’t be a detriment to your personal life or financial situation and you can stay happy. You must tell yourself “well, if I lose this money then that’s me done for the month” and stick to it.
If money is tight right now and you are getting serious urges to play, consider going for a free slots game where you get all the features of normal play without the personal investment. Or locate no deposit bonuses like free spins where you can play for money without stumping up cash.
Most importantly, remember that online slots should always be about having fun. If you aren’t having fun, and you aren’t coming away with any winnings, you should re-evaluate your situation and see what can be done to improve it.