When I made my first tentative entry into the world of online gaming a few years back, I really didn't know where to start. There are literally hundreds of choices out there, and, as with any industry, there are many reputable operators and, of course, a minority of cowboys who get all the publicity when things go wrong. Thankfully, I got lucky and had good-to-excellent experiences with the casinos I chose, but while luck is important when you're actually playing the games, there's no need to rely on it when you're selecting a casino. Today, I'll give you a brief introduction to picking a reliable casino - one that will not only act ethically in all its business dealings, but always look after its players, whether or not they have had a good day at the tables and slots.
If you play at a land casino, the local licensing authority will usually give you good protection against being cheated. For example, in Las Vegas, the Nevada Gaming Commission, a state agency, is charged with ensuring that the games are fair and that the casinos follow the rules. Almost all online casinos claim to be licensed in one jurisdiction or another. However, unlike land casinos that have a physical presence in the jurisdiction where they are licensed, allowing the licensing authority to easily intervene if something goes wrong, online casinos generally do not. So, in order to maintain the prestige of their licenses, the authority needs to have a strong reputation for taking prompt and firm action if one of their licensees doesn't treat their players fairly. In Part Two of this series, I'll discuss a few of the jurisdictions that license online casinos & explain why you can have more confidence in some than in others.
This having been said, simple market forces are probably the player's best friend in regard to protection against fraud. The online casino industry tends to self regulate by virtue of it being so competitive; in many cities around the world there may be just one or a handful of local casinos where you can play, but online, a new gaming site is just a few clicks away. A casino operator who is dishonest or who provides poor customer service generally won't last very long. Word will get around the player community, and the casino's flow of deposits will dry up. Well-known online casino watchdog sites such as Casinomeister maintain lists of reputable and rogue casinos, and these are usually an excellent starting point when making your selection.
A good rule of thumb is that the longer a casino operator has been in business, and the better known they are, the more likely they are to be reputable. If a dishonest operator has a high profile, this will usually work against them. Another positive sign is that the casino's games have been audited by an independent third party such as a major accounting firm. If a particular operator does have this done, they will publicise it on their website, as it's a great selling point for their product.
Unless an online casino has ticked all the above boxes, you won't find me recommending them here. Even if a particular casino has treated me well in the past, that isn't a guarantee that they will get my seal of approval. As per the title of this blog, I'm just "another gambler" - I'm not employed by any casino operator and my primary concern is a great gaming experience for my readers. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to email me at any time at [email protected]
Good luck to you all!
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