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As the world grappled with a cost of living crisis throughout 2023, online scammers have taken advantage of inexperienced online casino players hoping to win big or at least enjoy the thrill that comes with playing such games of chance.

Digital advancements and endless online entertainment options has led shady operators to prey on unsuspecting players, and, while the more experienced players are more discerning, new and seasoned players alike would benefit from a reminder of the red flags to watch out for when engaging with online casinos.

1. Account registration requirements that make sense

For online casino sites that deal with real money, new users are typically required to go through a two-phase registration process. Firstly, users are normally asked to register with the casino itself, at which point players are often required to provide personal details, such as their full name, email address, username, home address and phone number.

The second part of this two-step process generally involves depositing cash into an account for gameplay. Here, some casinos will ask for additional documents to verify a new player’s identity, as part of their KYC and due diligence checks. This part of the process tends to be carried out from an online casino’s encrypted platform to ensure safety.

One important element to keep in mind is that reputable and safe casinos usually ask for this information once and it is saved in their systems.

Less reputable players will often ask for these details and verification documents multiple times. There have also been cases where untrustworthy online casino operators ask users to transfer sensitive information using unencrypted and unprotected means. This is widely viewed as a major red flag, and, if any online casino you are checking out does so, avoid at all costs.

2. Quick payout speeds

Reputable and trustworthy casino websites make use of well-established payment methods, like credit and debit cards, bank transfers and e-wallets. Such casinos allow players to deposit money safely and instantly, and withdraw their winnings within an industry-standard reasonable time frame, ranging from immediate transfers to up to a week.

If you come across a casino that has unreasonable payout times or waiting times before a player can withdraw their winnings – such as months long waiting times, it’s a major sign that the operator may not be legitimate or reputable.

3. How helpful is their customer support?

Especially when dealing with online casinos using real money, players want to know that should they have any issues, customer support is at hand to assist. Indeed, customer support at legitimate and trustworthy online casinos tend to be responsive and helpful, and are available live 24/7 in most cases.

Some less reputable casinos tend to close accounts without legitimate reason, and/or use bots instead of real customer service agents.

4. Fair gaming practices

Part of the fun when placing bets on casinos is that you are not going to win every time, making those instances when players do cash out, all the sweeter.

However, to ensure that games are being won based both on genuine luck and skill, legitimate online casinos use a particular software: Random Number Generator (RNG). This software ensures that results from a game are completely random and fair.

As expected, untrustworthy online casino operators do not employ such technology, heavily rigging their games in ways to ensure players cannot win and the website pockets as much cash as possible.

5. Reviews are king – especially those by seasoned and experienced professionals

Online casinos that have been around the block will be known to the community and are continuously reviewed by industry experts. Casino comparison sites of note limit their reviews to casinos that have been certified by reputable regulatory authorities, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission.

Because different regions and countries have their own gaming rules and regulations, comparison sites tend to focus on regions.

6. Certification

Trusted online casino websites tend to be regulated by various third-party casino regulatory authorities. Indeed, when scrolling to the bottom of such sites, reputable online operators usually display various regulatory licensing by established authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission and eCogra.

Authorities, in the course of revieing an operators, analyse a casino’s use of RNG software, game functionality, payment methods and banking set up, payout percentages and more. One caveat to keep in mind is that it is easy for websites to pretend they are certified by national regulatory bodies, so it is a good idea to visit websites of these authorities to check their online database for the online casino in question.

Before investing your time and money into a particular operator, it is essential to compare different sites to understand which terms and conditions work best for you. While boring, reading terms and conditions is considered a must – and should any points be unclear, always raise them with customer support so as to ensure full clarity.

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