Over the course of the past decade gambling’s popularity has grown at a phenomenal rate across the world. Much of the industry’s growth has been attributed to the online sector, which has opened up glitz and glamour of an online Live Casino to the masses.
Here in Belfast, where there is a dearth of land-based gambling venues, roulette, blackjack and craps lovers are particularly dependent on online casinos. This level of demand has led to an explosion in the number of companies offering online gambling facilities, which brings with it positives and negatives for consumers.
On the one hand, a healthy amount of competition amongst providers leads to better value and alluring promotions. On the other hand, the demands incentivises unscrupulous providers to jump into the market and attempt to make a quick buck.
In this article we will explain the various steps that you take to ensure that you avoid any of these dodgy providers and stay safe whilst you play your favourite casino games online.
Check Your Suppliers Credentials
Just as you need a licence to drive up the M1 on your own, so do online casino’s to operate legally in the UK.
Instead of applying to the DVA in Coleraine for a driving licence, online casino operators must apply for a gambling licence from the Gambling Commission.
Only companies with a licence from the Gambling Commission can operate in the UK, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t unlicensed providers out there.
If you play with a provider that doesn’t possess an up-to-date license you will have no protection if issues arise with your winnings or deposits. To check the credentials of any provider use the public registers and datasets from the Gambling Commission.
Use Two-Factor Sites
It can be really annoying logging in to a website to be greeted by a notification asking you to enter the 6-digit security code sent to your mobile.
What is more annoying though, is having someone in India, Russia or Morocco hack into your account and withdrawing your winnings.
Scams happen and companies are hacked every day, so choosing an online provider with two-factor authentication is just one way that you can help to protect your sensitive personal data and your cash.
Read Terms & Conditions Carefully
One of the toughest lessons you learn as you grow up is that your parents were right when they said, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’ and that’s especially true of online casinos.
If you open up a new tab and search for ‘online casino offers’, Google will inundate you with a host of alluring offers. Some will claim to give you £100 free when you sign-up, others will promise hundreds of free spins on the slots and some may even offer to match your deposits.
These offers however, start to fall apart when you dig down into the terms and conditions. The £100 sign-up offer might only be redeemable after you’ve wagered £1,500. The free spins might only be practice spins with no cash prizes on offer and the site offering to match your deposits might only do so up until £5.
Which all in all, is a pretty sneaky way that some online casino offers pretend that their offers and bonuses are better than they are.
In order to avoid being stung, check out the terms and conditions before signing up to any site and try and choose an offer that doesn’t come with a plethora of disclaimers and limiting conditions.
Read Customer Reviews
There is a limit to how useful reading customer reviews can be, when you’re buying a pen on Amazon trawling through dozens of one-star reviews from disgruntled customers who thought it was a pencil isn’t particularly useful.
However, when you’re making a big decision like choosing which online casino to sign up to, online customer reviews can be game changing.
Try and avoid the emotional reviews complaining about the bad luck that a player has had on a particular game and the glowing 5-star reviews all posted at the same time and with similar grammar and styles…
Instead, dig down into the real reviews, the ones that either praise or lambast how long it takes to reach a human being at customer support. The ones that that eulogise about the user-friendly roulette interface or lambast how often the slots crash and lag out.
If you can get into the meat of these reviews they can pretty much tell you everything you need to know about an online casino. Needless to say, if the majority of reviews are negative, avoid the provider like the plague.
Set a Budget
If you want to sit down one night and wager your rent money on a couple of games of roulette you are very unlikely to be stopped.
When it comes to gambling, a provider has a duty of care to ensure that your gambling doesn’t cause you problems in your daily life. However, it often takes time to establish that a player has a problem with gambling.
If for example, you’re regularly wagering large sums and never winning your account will be flagged up for review. However, if you only have £50 to see you through to the rest of the week and you spend that in one evening, your account is unlikely to be flagged up.
Fortunately though, most trusted gambling sites have tools in place to protect players who feel they might be prone to encounter these types of problems.
Before you start playing regularly, work out how much you would like to spend each week gambling. Don’t work out how much you can afford to lose and scrape by, work out a figure big enough to enjoy yourself but small enough to not worry about.
Then use the ‘betting limit’ tool to enter your weekly limit and the online casino will never allow you to go over that limit.
Remember, gambling is a hobby and should be fun. If it starts to impact on your day-to-day life perhaps it’s time to review your relationship with gambling. If you’re struggling, one tool that could be of use to you is GamStop.
This is a service that allows you to impose bans on your own gambling, whether that be for a day, a week, six months or years. If that isn’t an issue for you and you’ve found this article helpful, good luck playing with a trusted and reputable online casino.