Are Online Casinos Fair?

onlinecasinoOnline casinos are freely available in 2016. You can load up an account with funds and enjoy slots and table games totally legally for real money.

But with casinos having hundreds of games, how do you know the software is fair? And what do you do if you suspect foul play?

Luckily, there are safeguards to make sure your details and money don’t fall into the wrong hands, and make sure the spin of the roulette wheel is reliable and random every time. Let’s look at how casinos protect their players to ensure a fair game every time.

Licensing and Security

Every UK online casino should have proper licensing, which includes at the very least a license to operate from the UK Gambling Commission.

The law has recently been changed to ensure all British-facing sites have UK licenses. It doesn’t matter if the casino already operates under a good license from a jurisdiction like Malta – they must still apply to the Gambling Commission.

Software providers must also be licensed in the UK to operate. That’s why some online casinos will only offer games from certain software companies if they are properly legal.

To get that license, operators must prove they are fit and proper, and have the requisite funds to pay winners at their casino sites. Look out too for evidence of security certificates. Each casino will be protected by web SSL (Secure Socket Layers) security to make sure personal data and payments are encrypted.

Those security certificates will often be displayed on the casino – look for the provider’s logo on the homepage. If you are playing on a smartphone, some mobile providers may block gambling sites if they don’t possess the right SSL certificate.

For a list of reliable licensing bodies, hit these links:

UK Gambling Commission:
Isle of Man:

Casino Game Audits And Tests

Along with the security certificates, you’ll find auditing certificates on many casinos. Every game has to be audited independently before it makes the open casino market.

Games of chance like slots and roulette have random outcomes governed by RNGs (Random Number Generators) which create special numbers during a spin. Similarly, random numbers are created when a deck of cards in blackjack or baccarat is shuffled and dealt.

Without good RNGs, there is a chance that a roulette game can be weighted towards certain numbers or a slot reel always falls on a non-bonus symbol. That’s why it’s vital that RNGs are put to the test by independent auditors.

There are many approved auditing test labs – some based in the UK – but all do a similar job. They test games to ensure their Random Number Generators do what they say (act randomly) and make it fair for all players. Full-site audits take into account all games and operations.

Testing labs can produce daily, weekly or yearly reports depending on the needs of the casino. They also perform ‘platform tests’ on things like player registration, player privacy and chat/communications.

Most casinos will publish their detailed auditing certificates on-site. You can read them to find out what the tested RTPs (Return to Player percentages) are of each game – and as a result, of the site as a whole.

Good External Testing Bodies:

iTech labs: A leading Australian testing body, iTech produces RNG certificates and analysis reports on card games like blackjack.
eCOGRA: The UK-based testing agency is used by many online gambling sites and even supplies ‘best practice guidelines’ and marketing assistance for operators.
GLI Testing Labs: Gaming Labs International has over 25 years’ experience and supplies testing services to operators, software developers, casinos and lottery providers. Their GLI University provides expertise for regulators who want to streamline their operations.

How To Make Complaints

If you feel there has been a software glitch or error with payment, you can make a complaint. All casinos have a procedure in place, usually starting with the Customer Support.

The UK Gambling Commission also has procedures in place if you suspect illegal activity at a casino. That can be anything from breaching the conditions of a license or breaking the codes of practice. However, the Gambling Commission is unable to investigate every complaint about missing funds or problems with payout percentages. In general, a licensing body has little power to force a casino to pay out or refund stakes.

Only in cases of ‘high risk’ to licensing will they take action. If a casino has proven to be negligent, it will come down to that site’s local jurisdiction to investigate. It’s your job as a customer, therefore, to play at casinos that have licenses from solid and reliable jurisdictions – or sites that have licenses at all.

Safe Banking For Real-Money Players

Fair gaming is one thing, but getting a fair deal on payments just as important. All online casinos should have enough money to pay out to winners, and withdrawals should be quick and accurate.

Many casinos have a ‘reverse withdrawal’ period where the customer can change their minds on cashing out. While that’s a useful tool to have, it shouldn’t give casinos the excuse to hold back on paying out winnings.

Secure casinos usually use the period to assess whether players have abused a bonus or gameplay. That makes it fair for everyone, not just the casino itself. Payments and operations are also audited so that the casino is complying with licensing standards. It’s another way of knowing that you are always getting a fair deal when you gamble online.