Playing casino games is an entertaining experience, so much so that many Kiwis enjoy them. According to New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs, from 2020 to 2021, gambling activities in the country generated an estimated NZ$2,625,000,000.
However, this figure doesn’t account for offshore online casinos, which represent a significant part of all gambling activities worldwide. Thanks to the evolution of our devices and the sites that offer these games, playing at an online casino is more accessible than ever before.
Yet, before engaging in any online gambling activities, you should always ask yourself if the casino you’re playing at is legit. This article will provide you with crucial knowledge to check any site and ensure it’s safe to share your personal information with the operator.
Table of Contents
Four Elements to Check at an Online Casino
The Casino’s Licence
The first sign of a reputable online casino is its gambling licence. You should be able to find this information easily by scrolling to the bottom of the page. If the licence isn’t shown there, it’s the first sign that you should run away. However, you may still find it in the terms and conditions.
Checking that the licence is displayed on the site isn’t enough. There should be a clickable logo of the gaming commission redirecting you to the certificate on the institution’s official site.
A gaming commission is a governmental entity tasked with enforcing its local gambling laws, but it can also grant licensing to offshore casinos for their online activities. The most common gaming commissions you’ll find online are the following:
- UKGC – United Kingdom Gambling Commission
- GCB – Gaming Control Board of Curacao
- MGA – Malta Gaming Authority
- HM Government of Gibraltar
- Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- Alderney Gambling Commission
- Isle of Man Gambling Commission
Once you know that the site you’re on offers its services legally, you should ensure it does so competently. It’s crucial for any website where you’ll share personal information to provide measures to secure its users.
The encryption certificate is here to show you how a site protects all the data transiting between your computer and the site from third parties. To verify this certificate, check for the presence of a lock next to the address bar in your browser. You can then click on it and select “Certificate” to display additional information. The information you’ll see can be complicated to interpret if you’re not that much into informatics. The key elements you’re looking for are the company providing the certificate (Google, Amazon, or Cloudflare) and the mention of SHA256.
A reputable company such as those mentioned above are able to protect your data effectively. Moreover, SHA256 indicates that the site uses 256-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, which is the latest security protocol you can currently encounter. An outdated protocol puts you at risk, so don’t neglect this verification.
The Payment Methods Provided
In addition to the licence and encryption certificate, the payment methods are an excellent way to find out more about a site’s trustworthiness. If a site only offers Visa and Mastercard, it doesn’t mean it’s not good, but it indicates that maybe the website wasn’t up to the standards of payment methods like PayPal or Trustly, for instance.
Anyone can create a site and ask for your card details, but to offer PayPal, the operator needs to be an approved partner. This implies that the company will inspect the entirety of the casino and ask for specific norms to be respected. Moreover, in case of abuse or discrepancy, this partnership can be cancelled by the payment provider. Logically, this means that offering such payment services requires a certain level of ethics from the operator.
User & Professional Reviews
This last criterion is one you should take with a pinch of salt. User reviews can give you precious insight into a casino and are incredibly revealing of how customer support treats queries.
However, we’re still talking about people, so it can happen that some reviews are posted by angry persons banned from a site for cheating or that they’re bot accounts bought by concurrents to soil the site’s reputation. If you want to read user reviews, the best site is Trustpilot, but there are others, such as Casino Guru, that specialise in casino reviews. When reading a user review, always check that the person posting is an honest account with other reviews posted on the site, and not only negative reviews.
Regarding professional reviews, there are tons of sites that provide insight on casino sites, but some of them can be sponsored by online operators for marketing purposes. You’ll quickly see if it’s a trustworthy review if the site avoids negative aspects of the casino and pushes promotional links to this online casino.
Stay Safe, and Stay Away From Scams
These are the critical elements in ensuring a site offering online casino games is legit. However, there’s another element that can indicate said legitimacy: the site’s creation date.
Usually, scam sites don’t last more than a year, so choosing a site that ticks all the boxes and has been around for a few years is definitely trustworthy. It doesn’t mean all new sites are ill-intentioned, but that sometimes waiting can save you a lot of trouble!