Online gambling is a massive industry, continuously growing every year. Estimates speak of the business reaching a staggering value of $81 billion in 2023, thanks in part to the fact that an increasing number of jurisdictions decided to regulate it, and in part to the FIFA World Cup that boosts the amount spent on betting. The number of online gambling operators is growing fast, with new betting sites and online casinos emerging almost every day. With this meteoric rise in mind, let’s take a look at the methods of spotting a legitimate online gambling business in 2023.
License from Where?
If an online casino is regulated, it means that it has some type of permit – a license – to offer its services to players, issued by a regulator. There are several authorities that license online gambling venues, some stricter in their requirements, others relatively loose.
If an online casino or betting site doesn’t list a license (look for the information in the footer area of its website), it’s a major red flag – in this case, the site should be avoided from the start.
There are a few globally recognized regulators that online gambling companies turn to for licensing. These are not created equal either – some are laxer in their regulations than others.
As a general rule, casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) are considered safe. Malta is a member of the European Union, and this comes with some assurances when it comes to the protection of the customers’ rights. Several major international online casinos work under an MGA license. You can find a list of them at https://www.casinohall.net/.
The Curaçao Gaming Control Board is another online gambling regulator that offers licenses to international – offshore – gambling sites. At one time, it was the most-used licensor because of its regulations that were not very strict – of course, it has improved its track record over time, becoming a more trustworthy one. Curaçao-licensed casinos are considered “offshore” pretty much everywhere and are still used with a certain amount of caution by the players – mostly because of the regulator’s past missteps.
Obtaining a license from the UK or Gibraltar is not that common, though. The UK is one of the strictest gaming jurisdictions today, with the UK Gambling Commission not just among the ones with the strictest rules but also applying some of the biggest fines on those regulators that break them. A major international gambling operator was, for example, fined 400,000 pounds recently for publishing a photo with its logo on it on the wrong web page.
There are countless jurisdictions across the world with their own sets of rules and licenses. These usually apply to their local markets – the companies that don’t apply for these licenses can often be blocked from accessing the markets in question. Of course, this doesn’t make them any less legit.
The payment methods used by an online gambling outlet will also give you a hint about how legitimate or not it can be. Established operators are often more flexible when it comes to deposits and withdrawals, offering more than just the usual “bank card – e-wallet” combo. The availability of bank transfer, various online payment operators and fintech products like Revolut, direct payment methods like Sofort, voucher-based methods like PaySafe, and various regionally available payment processors is always a good sign.
Things are a bit different when we expand into the crypto world – but this deserves its own piece, so we’ll discuss it further at another time.
Game providers and Jackpots
Taking a look at the games available on an online casino’s website is always a good idea – it will give you a hint on how serious the operator is about providing you with the best gaming experience as opposed to just making money. In general, the more providers a casino works with, the more likely it is that it cares as much about your deposits as it cares about your good time. The more game providers there are, the more games you can choose from – and the more likely it is that you’ll find what you are looking for.
Jackpots are another thing to look at. The biggest jackpots in the iGaming world are operated not by individual casinos but by the game developers themselves. Mega Moolah’s Mega jackpot dwells on Games Global’s servers, which will probably not allow a shady business without the right credentials to connect to its network. The same goes for other major jackpots out there.
There are, of course, exceptions. Some of the biggest gambling operators today have their own custom progressive jackpots available exclusively at their own properties – this is always a good sign if you’re looking for a legit online casino.
User feedback and reviews
Finally, let’s not forget about the importance of the experience of the real users of various casino platforms. There are several online outlets that have been reviewing and following the development of iGaming operators for decades, with dedicated user bases of thousands, often tens of thousands of players. These outlets will not only have unbiased and objective reviews of the casino websites themselves but also forums or comment sections where the players can share their experiences with the community. And more often than not, the representatives of the casinos are also there, responding to their woes – which is, once again a good sign.
If a casino has issues in one area or another, they will almost immediately emerge at these outlets. Reading the comments – that often go back years – will also give you a hint about the operator’s past behaviour, and their development over time. This will give you the chance to decide whether the casino that has that “must-redeem” special offer is the right place for you or not.
iGaming is an incredibly competitive industry, with new operators emerging almost every day, and this will go on well into 2023. Looking at the right places will help you easily spot whether an online casino is legit or not, and help you avoid unpleasant surprises later.