Guide to online casino safety

At RightCasino player safety is our number one criteria when assessing online casinos. We only accept trustworthy casinos in our listings, so if you find a casino through our service you can be assured of its security. However, it’s still worth familiarising yourself with the information in this section, which will help you stay safe online no matter where you choose to play.

This guide will cover the following topics:

1. Basic safety online

Every legitimate casino will present a seal from its licensing body on its website. Some licenses are considered more credible than others, with the authorities of Antigua & Barbuda, Malta, Costa Rica, Kahnawake and any European location (particularly Alderney) being the most dependable.

Rogue casinos: The first step to staying safe online is learning how to spot rogue casinos. A small minority of casino websites do not play by the rules, with shady behaviour casting a shadow over the player experience and the integrity of the industry as a whole. These brands are known to exploit players, deny winnings or conduct financial crimes up to and including money laundering and fraud.

Licensing: information is usually displayed at the bottom of a casino’s homepage.

Software: Most casinos do not create their own games. Rather, they host games from a number of software developers. This should be an important factor for all players because more and better software providers mean more and better games.

TIP: Read terms and conditions carefully: Too often, gamblers plunge straight into playing at an online casino without reading the website’s terms and conditions. Whenever money is changing hands, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into. A casino website’s terms and conditions should be easy to locate – if not, consider this a bad sign.

We’d advise taking a moment to scan the whole document, but you should pay particular attention to the following:

General terms/terms of use or similar: These standard terms and conditions will include all of the casino’s basic ground rules. Here you will find information about registration, banking, accepted payment methods and how to opt out of your account. Most websites stipulate that any of their existing terms and conditions are subject to change without warning.

Bonus terms: These are the conditions attached to promotional offers from the casino. You can obtain more information about bonus conditions on our bonus terms and conditions page.

Betting / game rules: This will include information about maximum and minimum bets on all game types and maximum cash-outs. You will also be able to read up on the rules pertinent to different games and review the casino’s policy on suspected cheating.

Privacy policy: All casinos must state how any customer details will be used/protected, as well as informing users of any tracking software that might find its way onto their devices after registration.

FAQs: Every good casino website will offer FAQs that provide solutions to common queries/complaints. These should be your starting point for any issues. At RightCasino we have tried to help our players by collecting all these frequently asked questions and consolidated them into our very own casino FAQ page.

Customer support: If you encounter any problems at an online casino that can’t be resolved by reading the website’s FAQs, the casino’s customer support team should be your next port of call. Many websites offer a live chat function that allows users to type quick queries to a live operator. If not, look for a contact page, which should provide relevant contact details. The efficiency of the customer support teams at online casinos varies from site to site. Our reviews provide a customer support rating for all of our featured casinos. For more about casino customer support jump to the last section at the end of this guide.

Top UK licensed casinos

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Can I play online?

There are a few factors that determine your legal status as an online gambler. First and foremost, you need to find out whether online gambling is legal in your region. If not, you could be at risk of serious repercussions.

Remember, when you sign up at a casino it is your responsibility to establish your eligibility to play. If you sign up and prove to be ineligible, for any reason, you could face a ban and lose your bankroll, including any deposits.

Money laundering and fraud

It is estimated that millions of dollars are laundered every year through online gambling, while some disreputable websites have been accused of serving as fronts for criminal operations. Fraudsters, posing as casino brands, have been known to exploit players by withholding funds and lifting card details.

It’s not just the players that are vulnerable. Cybercriminals posing as players have used online gambling and bonuses to launder ‘dirty’ money through internet transactions. To prevent these abuses, online casinos require players to email scans of their passports or other identifying documents to corroborate their banking details.

2. Blacklisted online casinos

Unfortunately, some extremely disreputable online casinos continue to operate despite their appalling track records for player security. If there’s one name in particular that’s associated with poor online practice, it’s the Affactive Casino Group.

Based in the Netherland Antilles, Affactive is an affiliate operation that serves as a front for Netad Management and its group of equally questionable casinos. Both groups are believed to have been behind the hacking of websites in order to promote their casinos. RightCasino has also reported on a story that suggests Affactive might have links to crime organisations in the United States.

There are numerous reports on industry watchdogs such as Casinomeister an ThePogg that Affactive-powered casinos have withheld player and affiliate funds

Affactive/Netad Management companies claim to be licensed by the fictitious Curacao Gaming Commission. The real licensing body is called the Curaçao Gaming Control Board.

Blacklisting

But how have Affactive and Netland managed to so spectacularly blot their copybooks? There are, in fact, a variety of ways in which online casinos can fall foul of the authorities.

Some of these include:

No Licensing
In truth, it’s rare for a site to have no licensing at all. What tends to occur is for a company’s license to be deficient in one of more of the following ways:

i) Completely false or partially falsified
ii) Illegally obtained or obtained under false pretences
iii) Unverified or in the process of being officially verified
iv) Licensing fails to cover one or more of the areas in which the company is operating

The punishment for licensing infringements is blacklisting.

Player Abuse
This can take a number of forms. In the case of Virtual Casino Group, blacklisting was the punishment for running a scam operation. Further examples of player abuse include failing to pay winnings on time, withholding payments, spamming customers with unsolicited materials and illegally sharing sensitive material such as email addresses, credit card details and so on.

Refusal To Pay Affiliates
A fairly self-explanatory offence that is, alas, all too common. Naturally, such a practice is particularly frowned upon in an industry where trust is at the core of every relationship. In refusing to pay, companies will often claim that this follows a customer’s account becoming inactive and, as such, the company’s terms and conditions no longer apply.

Banned Software
The software in question could be easily hacked, notoriously unreliable and/or demonstrably unfair. World Wide Wagering was blacklisted for the use of biased software. One way in which software might be unfair is if its casino games deliberately have higher payouts on fun/demo mode in order to entice punters into depositing real money. Spielo – Gtech’s gaming product brand – was implicated in this sort of behaviour.

Casinos offering products from Sheriff Gaming have had their licenses revoked. Sheriff was a 3D slots provider based out of their Netherlands until their CEO Stijn Flapper was arrested on suspicion of money laundering. The most famous case of corrupt software in the online gambling niche stemmed from the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet scandal. Between 2005 and 2007, rogue employees from the poker room giants were found to be exploiting a software glitch in order to read opponent hole cards.

Misleading Advertising
There’s a good reason reputable online casino’s terms and conditions pages run to several hundred words – if they didn’t then customers might have a point when they get in touch to complain that that free £100 deposit bonus didn’t match up with their understanding of the term ‘free’. Unfortunately, there are sites out there that aren’t so concerned with the small print and these are regularly found in violation of national and/or international advertising standards legislation. UK licensed casinos are now told to refer to ‘free spins’ as ‘bonus spins’ in television campaigns.

Fraud
To some extent, this is a blanket term covering many of the above practices. However, fraud also covers such areas as viruses, phishing and money laundering. And as a 2011 FBI investigating revealed, fraud can also relate to the manner in which sites interact with both banks and financial backers.

Untrustworthy Casinos

In addition to the aforementioned blacklisted sites, a number of online casinos have indulged in – or been alleged to have participated in – practices that have resulted in the wider gaming community labelling them untrustworthy.

Casino websites you can trust

All of the websites featured on this website have passed a strict vetting process to ensure reliability, security and customer satisfaction. Blacklisted casinos will be highlighted when you read a review. All of this is to ensure that, if you locate your right casino through us, you can gamble with total peace of mind.

3. Online casino licensing

Learn everything there is to know about iGaming licenses: why they’re important, who distributes them and what they mean for players.

All casinos are required by law to hold a license from the jurisdiction where they conduct base operations: this is also true of online casinos. If a gambling website does not hold a license, there is no guarantee that its service is legitimate. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the information on this page so that you only play at credible gambling destinations.

What a license means

Casino license holders have been approved for operation by the territory in which they are based. This means they stick to the laws and regulations set out by that territory.

The process of obtaining a casino license is actually quite lengthy and cumbersome. This is intentional and designed to dissuade illegitimate individuals, criminals and fraudsters from setting up online gambling operations.

Particular regulations and the strictness of gambling law vary from region to region, but typically, licensing bodies must be confident of the following before granting a license:

  • The brand can prove its honesty and integrity, ensuring that none of its staff have a history of criminality or fraud.
  • All cash transactions will be handled above board and that sufficient measures have been taken to ensure customer security.
  • Games will be subject to audits by independent bodies to ensure fair pay-outs (although some casinos choose not to publish audit reports).

Is my casino licensed?

Licensing information should be visible on a casino’s website to demonstrate that it operates in accordance with the law and maintains an expected standard of fairness.

You should find licensing information displayed in the form of a seal in a casino website’s footer (the space at the very bottom of its homepage). When clicked, this seal might link out to the homepage of the board that granted the casino its license. See below:

To be one hundred percent certain that a casino holds an active license, you should visit the relevant gaming control board’s website. Some will publish lists of licensees, while others require you to get in touch and make an enquiry.

History of licensing

Online gambling was made possible in 1994 by the government of Antigua & Barbuda. This island nation in the Caribbean passed the Free Trade and Processing Act, which allowed licenses to be granted to online gambling companies.

Most online casinos operate in similar, small, island principalities, meaning that territories like Gibraltar, Costa Rica and Malta soon emerged as the primary licensing authorities for internet gambling.

It was not until 1996 that a dedicated regulatory authority emerged for online casinos. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake with the goal of keeping online gambling operations fair and transparent.

Today, most of the 900+ internet casinos hold licenses from the handful of jurisdictions that actively granted licenses in the 1990s, due to casino brands’ tendency to cluster in these territories.

Main licensing bodies

All of the casinos featured on RightCasino.com hold active licenses from the following regulatory bodies:

Alderney Gambling Control Commission

www.gamblingcontrol.org

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission

www.gov.im/gambling

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Antigua & Barbuda Financial Regulatory Commission

www.antiguagaming.gov.ag

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

www.gamingcommission.ca

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Costa Rica Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry

www.meic.go.cr

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Malta Gaming Authority

www.mga.org.mt

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Curacao eGaming

www.curacao-egaming.com

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Vanuatu

www.governmentofvanuatu.gov.vu

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

Gibraltar Regulatory Authority

www.gra.gi

PaddyPower, BGO, Vernons, SuperCasino, Jackpot24/7, Metro Play Casino

4. eCOGRA: The online casino watchdog

eCOGRA (e-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation & Assurance) is a third-party watchdog and accreditation agency that helps to ensure online casinos and software developers uphold high standards. eCOGRA is responsible for protecting gamblers from unscrupulous online gambling operators and maintaining a philosophy of good-practice throughout the industry.

The History of eCOGRA

In 2003, eCOGRA was founded by Microgaming in the United Kingdom (where it is still based) as an independent testing agency, specialising in the certification of online gaming software and systems.

The agency’s goal is to audit casino software and the clients who use it to make sure that they maintain good business ethics. Today, eCOGRA’s seal of approval is highly sought-after and is considered a mark of an extremely trustworthy and reliable gambling brand.

In order to receive eCOGRA approval, casino websites must adhere to the company’s nine policy objectives:

1. The protection of vulnerable customers.
2. The prevention of underage gaming.
3. Combating fraudulent and criminal behaviour.
4. The protection of customer privacy and safeguarding of information.
5. Prompt and accurate customer payments.
6. Fair gaming (e.g. RNG and RTP game evaluations.)
7. Responsible marketing.
8. Commitment to customer satisfaction and support.
9. The provision of a secure, safe and reliable operating environment.

eCOGRA also audit pay-out percentages on virtual games to make sure that they run on fair random number generation (RNG) software.

eCOGRA seal

To find out if your online casino is eCOGRA accredited, look at their website footer for the company’s seal.

5. Online casino support

Online casinos employ support staff to help you enjoy the best possible gambling experience. One of the most important aspects of an online casino is the quality of its support staff. These guys are the first port of call for players experiencing issues with pay-outs, software, or any other difficulties with a casino’s service.

Customer support admins are also responsible for answering players’ queries, alerting them to special bonuses, managing and closing accounts and ensuring that everyone is having a good time.

Contacting support

Most casinos will have a contact page on their website, containing contact details for support staff, as well as listing their working hours. The following are common channels for getting in touch with customer support:

Live chat: Many casinos allow players to chat with a support admin in real type via a text window.
Email: After live chat, most casinos prefer that you get in touch via email and will endeavour to respond promptly. When emailing customer support, you may have to quote your account number in the subject line. For cash-outs, you can attach scans of appropriate documentation to emails – bank statements and passports are usually required.
Telephone: During registration, you may be asked to provide a contact telephone number. Often, an account manager or support admin will get in touch shortly after you sign up, in order to answer any questions you might have, or after substantial cash-outs/losses/periods of inactivity. If you choose to contact customer support by phone, you will have to call during working hours.
Post: Some casinos provide a postal address, a preferred means of communication for players with extensive queries/issues. Generally speaking, a postal correspondence will be considerably slower than email.
Fax: Some brands allow players to fax through scans of documents to verify cash-outs.

When customer support lets you down

Unfortunately, there are times when customer support teams at online casinos become uncooperative. They may stop replying to your emails, confiscate funds or even close your account. You don’t have to put up with this and there are independent bodies that can help you get the resolution you deserve.