Identifying Dodgy Online Casinos
To help ensure you’re always playing at a safe online casino, here’s a breakdown of all the different ways to spot a dodgy casino site.
Check for a Licence Number On-Site
The first and most simple way of identifying a dodgy casino is by finding and verifying its licence number. This can almost always be found at the bottom of every page, and you can double check its validity by entering the licence number on the UK Gambling Commission website.
Consult the UKGC Public Register
If you are somehow unable to find the operator’s licence number, you can manually search for it in the UKGC public register. There are currently close to 3,000 gambling businesses in the register, but you can search for the company by name or filter through them based on their gambling activities.
Check for Game Testing Certification
Independent games testing agencies like eCOGRA — eCommerce Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance — work with online casino operators and software developers to ensure their games remain fair. eCOGRA regularly audits new casino games to see if they meet regulatory standards, and you can usually find its seal of approval at the bottom of online casino pages. If not, you can easily look up which online casinos, games, and developers have been certified by eCOGRA.
Check the Available Payment Options
Reputable payment options like PayPal will only offer their services to safe and legitimate online casinos and are committed to protecting their users from fraud, so checking for established payment methods like these is a good way of confirming the legitimacy of your chosen online casino. Being encouraged to use untrusted payment methods that you’re not familiar with is a major red flag, so check out the banking section for reassurance.
Keep an Eye Out for Bad Spelling and Weird Formatting
A lot of the time, you can tell a dodgy online casino just by looking at it. Licensed sites should be presented in a professional manner, without any spelling or grammatical errors. Of course, some sites are better designed than others, and everyone is guilty of the occasional spelling mistake every now and then, but if things seem out of the ordinary it’s always best to double check. Also, beware that some scam sites will appear quite sophisticated, so don’t always take apparent professionalism as to be a sure sign of legality.
Does the Bonus Look Too Good to be True?
Often, if a bonus looks and sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. Now, a lot of bonuses at licensed online casinos will appear extremely generous, but these are almost always tempered by restrictive terms and conditions like wagering requirements and are seldom as attractive as they initially appear. If you come across a huge bonus offer that requires you to make a substantial deposit and seemingly comes without any conditions, then please make sure the site is legitimate before going any further.
Consult the User Reviews and Trustpilot
User reviews are a quick and easy way of checking to see if an online casino is a scam. Make sure, however, to use a legitimate and well-known site such as Trustpilot, as a scammer could easily make up user reviews on an unverified platform in order to manipulate potential users. You will, of course, come across negative reviews for licensed operators, but these will usually be dissatisfied customers as opposed to victims of fraud. Plus, Trustpilot tells you if the company is verified at the top of all its pages.
Check that Deposit and Stake Limits Match UKGC Regulations
UKGC-licensed casinos will let you set your own deposit limits when you sign up, and if this isn’t offered to you, you could be signing up to a scam casino. Plus, in April 2023 the UKGC limited slot stakes to a maximum £15 per spin, and the auto-spin feature has been banned since 2021, so keep an eye out for those options. All licensed online casinos will meet UKGC regulation, so it’s a good idea to be clued up on new regulatory developments.