As much as we love casino games and playing them, we all know that there’s a dark side to the world of online gambling. We’ve all heard horror stories of rogue sites, shady practices, and even scams. However, it’s important to note that such cases are the exception and not the rule. There are plenty of trusted online casinos that treat their customers right and offer a safe and reliable place to gamble online.
So how do we know which casino is safe? What is the most secure online casino, and how can we tell legitimate operators apart from the bad apples?
That’s what we’re here to answer. This article is a beginner-friendly guide to finding trustworthy casinos online. We’ll walk you through everything we’ve learned through decades of experience with the gaming industry.
On that note, if you just want us to recommend a few safe casino sites, you should check out our top list of casinos in 2023. All of the venues in our rankings are vetted, tested, and researched for safety, so you can rest assured that any sites you pick from them are completely trustworthy.
How Do I Find a Reliable Online Casino?
If years of reviewing gambling sites have taught us anything, it’s that everything should be approached systematically. Our reviews adhere to a strict set of standards, which you can read all about on our main casino page.
What we’re trying to say is that there’s also a system for evaluating a casino’s trustworthiness. It’s not necessarily foolproof, but it involves a few steps and details everyone should be familiar with.
It’s simple, really – we’ll tell you what to look for in any new casino, and you can use our pointers to evaluate pretty much any site you want. Think of it as a sort of checklist. If you want to know whether a site is safe or not, just go through all the steps. Once you’re done, you’ll have a fairly good idea about what you’re dealing with.
On a side note, there’s a similar process involved with evaluating casino security and encryption. You can read all about it here, along with a handy guide to encryption.
1. Check the Operator Licensing
A legal, legitimate online casino is licensed as a remote gambling business. That’s just the 101 of how online casinos work, and it’s something you should always keep in mind. In fact, most of our experienced readers are probably tired of hearing it. However, understanding licensing is absolutely crucial if you only want to deal with reliable casino sites.
A casino’s license often shapes the entire business. It affects which games the operator can offer, who it can offer them to, and many other aspects of running a highly-regulated business.
If you want to find out where a casino is licensed, it’s quite easy. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the small print. If you’re dealing with a legit site, you’ll find a declaration stating where the company is based and which regulatvie body governs it.
Here’s an example taken straight from Mr Play, a successful and reputable casino.
“Mrplay.com is a brand owned by Marketplay Ltd, a company incorporated under the laws of Malta. The games on this website are powered and operated by Aspire Global International LTD, a Malta-based company with registration number C42296 and having registered office at 135, High street, Sliema SLM 1548, Malta, which is a fully licensed operator under the Remote Gaming Regulations of Malta MGA/CRP/148/2007 issued on the 17 August 2009. Aspire Global International LTD have an Irish Betting License with license reference number 1014834.”
In this example, we can see that Mr Play is regulated in Malta and Ireland (It’s also regulated in the UK, but that’s mentioned further down in the paragraph.) These are all respected authorities – one of several we’ve mentioned in our casino safety guide. Betting on a licensed casino means that it has certain obligations to you as a customer – both legally and practically. Conversely, unlicensed sites would face no repercussions for scamming you – which is why you want to avoid them.
2. Test Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for any business. However, many customers go through casinos without ever needing to contact the service reps. That’s generally a good thing, but it also means that many newbies overlook this crucial aspect of the casino business. Our advice is to contact them whether you need to or not. We certainly do so while reviewing an operator, and so should you if you’re unsure whether a casino is safe or not.
For one thing, it’s a great litmus test of how the operator treats its customers. If the customer service is unresponsive, tardy, or just plain unhelpful, it’s likely a big issue.
So now you might be thinking – why does it matter if I’m probably never going to need them in the first place? For starters, customer support is one of those matters where you rarely need it, but when you do, you really need it. You’re just doing due diligence in case the worst happens. Secondly, a service test reveals the casino’s attitude towards its players. Do they care about their customers, or are they just looking to squeeze as much money out of you as quickly as possible? This is one way to tell.
3. Research the Casino’s Reputation
Good word-of-mouth travels far, and a strong reputation is invaluable to a casino. If something is a bit off about a casino or its treatment of players, you are very likely to see evidence of that. Conversely, big-name sites often have a certain reputation to uphold, which is a good thing.
So how do you measure a site’s reputation, and how should that affect your decision?
A bit of online research is a great start. Professional reviews such as the ones we write can offer a lot of crucial info. However, you can’t always find reviews for casinos you’re interested in. What then?
Online casino user reviews can be useful, but they can also be misleading – especially in this day and age. Operators sometimes pay for fake positive reviews, as well as bad ones for their competitors. It’s a well-known tactic that has ruined the usefulness of user reviews. Still, there are ways of telling whether customer opinions are legit or not. A real user is likely to have real problems/praise, rather than vague statements.
Another step you can take is to look up the owner/operator of the business. This information can be found at the bottom of any casino site – just like the licensing. Most operators own multiple brands. If a company owns several casinos and at least some of them have a good reputation, that’s great news. Otherwise, if a company has been known to run scammy casino brands in the past, you best give their new sites a wide berth.
We should also point out that new and small online casinos sometimes don’t have reputations because they haven’t been around long enough. In that case, we suggest treading carefully. However, giving a small site a chance can work out in the long run – especially if you have specific needs that the big brands aren’t fulfilling.
4. Check Terms & Conditions
Always read the fine print. That’s a great piece of advice in any area, but especially so in the casino business. Here’s an example.
Ever hear someone complain about a casino refusing to pay them out? More often than not, it’s because they agreed to a restrictive set of wagering requirements. If you don’t know what we mean by that, check out this guide to recognizing good casino bonuses. Essentially, most bonuses require you to play through the bonus funds several times before you can withdraw. Not paying attention to that is one of the most common issues newbies have with online gambling.
In order to avoid such problems, we recommend that you carefully read through casino terms and conditions. The issue is that some of them are pages upon pages of “legalese.”
Thankfully, you don’t really have to read the full thing. You just have to be on the lookout for specific things. Here are some examples we’ve come across over the years:
Impossibly large wagering requirements
Wagering requirements on every deposit instead of just bonuses
Fees on deposits and withdrawals
Casinos that reserve the right to deny any and all withdrawals with no explanation
Just open the T&C page and search (CTRL+F) for words like “fee”, “restriction”, “requirement”, and so on. You’ll easily find any problematic lines that way.
As you can see, you don’t have to be a pro to tell which casinos are the safest. Just pay a little more attention than you would with other businesses, and you’re good to go. Follow the steps were described above and you’ll never have to worry about scam casinos ever again.
Having said that, remember that Casino Bloke is always there to help. You can avoid all the hassle by just heading to one of these top safe casinos: