Why Do Casinos Get Blacklisted?
There are a whole host of reasons that might constitute reasonable grounds for us to blacklist an online casino. First and foremost, if a site doesn’t hold a valid operating licence, it’s immediately blacklisted by the TopRatedCasinos team. There’s more to it than that, however. Just as our reviewing process is designed to handpick the top casino sites, our blacklisting criteria has been created to filter out any dangerous, manipulated, or unsafe casinos for our users. The online gambling market is a cluttered space, and our job is to promote its use in as healthy a light as possible, keeping players safe and secure, and highlighting which casinos to avoid.
Here are the key categories we look at before blacklisting a casino.
Revoked UKGC Licence
Licensing makes up the first port of call in our reviewing process, and any casino with a revoked licence is an immediate red flag. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the governing body tasked with regulating the gambling industry in the UK, issuing licences to casino sites that have satisfied the conditions of entry to the gambling market. If a licence has been revoked for any reason, we immediately remove that casino from our list of recommendations.
Casino licences protect players from any manipulated games or sites, and are only attained once a casino has been fully vetted. To maintain a licence, regular audits are performed throughout the year by third-party regulators, such as eCOGRA, who carry out checks to make sure everything is as it should be. A revoked licence is an indication that something at the casino is amiss – whether it’s data protection, safeguarding issues, a fault with gaming technology, false advertising, or something equally serious.
Withholding Customer Winnings
Occasionally we see reports of casinos not paying out to their customers once they’ve won money, despite satisfying all the required terms and conditions. Whether this is an administrative error or something more malicious is beside the point – when a player wins money at an online casino, they rightfully expect to receive their cash as soon as possible following a qualifying withdrawal request. The worst online casinos in this instance might even invent new reasons as to why they’re withholding customer cash, kicking off an undesired exchange of angry emails. No one wants that.
Complicated Withdrawal Process
Closely tied to the above point is an overly complicated withdrawal process. The introduction of newer banking technologies such as e-wallets means there’s really no excuse for lengthy withdrawal processes anymore, and players subjected to this are entitled to think elaborate withdrawal demands are indicative of a casino scam. At the other end of the spectrum, many of the best online casinos seek to prioritise fast payouts for their customers, where players receive their withdrawal requests instantaneously.
Lack of Customer Support
Of all the reasons for blacklisting a casino, this is perhaps the most common. Gambling can be a tense pastime, requiring helpful and friendly customer support at most – if not all – hours of the day. It’s not sufficient, for example, for a casino to abandon its customer support on a Friday afternoon, and not pick it up again until Monday morning. In our book, good customer service involves making use of a number of communication channels – including social media accounts, email, phone support, and live chat features – and keeping response times on all of them to a minimum.
Rigged Casino Games
Part of the regulator’s job is to ensure a casino’s games are functioning as advertised. Each online casino is required to publish its game’s statistics, which includes important information like return to player (RTP) rates – the proportion of wagers that will be returned to players over the game’s lifetime. These rates are calculated by what’s known as random number generator (RNG) technology, and this tech automatically runs the games to examine whether the end results are accurate.
If a casino is hosting a rigged game, players could stand to lose more money over a period of time, increasing the casino’s already intrinsic house edge.
Misleading Bonus Offers
We all know that bonuses are often a key reason for joining and returning to a gambling site. Online casinos know this too, which is why we keep an eye out for any misleading offers that may entice players under false pretences. Now, we always recommend reading a bonus’s terms and conditions in full before committing to a deposit, but this doesn’t mean casino sites should be able to get away with deceptive offers.
One example of such an offer might be related to game contributions or game weightings. Let’s say a casino site offers players a matched deposit bonus of 100% up to £100; this looks like a generous offer, fairly common, nothing untoward here. But maybe in the small print of the T&Cs the deposit funds can only be played on slots with particularly low RTP percentages, making it almost impossible for any low-to-medium budget players to make the bonus count. We think this kind of move is underhand, and will certainly consider blacklisting a site for deploying such practices.
Unfair Terms and Conditions
A more general reason for adding a site to our casino blacklist would be because of what we consider unfair, or unrealistic, terms and conditions. In particular, we take a close look here at the wagering requirements, and how much of a barrier they represent to players looking to take home some cash. A bonus is only ever as good as its terms, and we favour sites that take a player-friendly approach to this.
Since online casinos are a place where millions of people exchange personal data every day, it’s essential that the site has adequate security infrastructure to help safeguard their players. This means encrypting sensitive financial information and any personal details, such as names and addresses, and these layers of security are prevalent at safe casino sites. Security systems are included in regulator’s checks when they issue licences and go a long way in making sure a casino is safe to play at.