After playing free slots no download for a while, you may find yourself ready to play the real deal. Your only two options are to go to a land-based casino, or register at an online casino, deposit money, and then play. Land-based casinos are great—you know that they are legit, but what about online casinos? Is there a way to find out if the operator is a legitimate company? 

Yes, there are ways to know, and there are also sites and organizations that have a “blacklist” of casinos that are up to no good. Either these casinos were not legit to begin with, or they have done an abysmal job in customer service. 

Wizard of Odds

The Wizard of Odds is a person named Michael Shackleford. He is a mathematician and used to be a government employee. He gave up his GS-14 salary and started blogging about the casino industry. Today, Michael is one of the most trusted sources of statistical information when it comes to odds about gambling. 

Apart from giving out techniques on improving your odds, Michael also makes it a point to keep his followers in the loop about the goings-on in the industry. As such, he has his blacklist of casinos. 

He has some standards he needs to check before he adds a site to a blacklist. As far as he is concerned, any online casino that does not pay out is not going to be trusted. While he understands that bonuses have rules, he is much more concerned about casinos that have predatory practices. 

Examples of these are: 

  • Non-payment of affiliate royalties

  • Inconsistent results – the results of the games are not truly random

  • Non-payment of gambling winnings

  • Casinos that steal content

As a mathematician, Michael is highly qualified to assess if a game is not producing random results. Casino games must be based on luck, and if he finds out that the results of the spins or dice throws are somewhat rigged, he will include it in his list of blacklisted casinos.

Michael also has a YouTube channel where you can learn about tips and tricks on how you can improve your winning odds. Apart from Wizard of Odds, he runs a math website that teaches mathematics in a fun way. 

Casino.ORG

This organization has been around since 1995. It is one of the most trusted names in the industry, as it offers a variety of information such as, but not limited to:

  • Reviews

  • Real Money

  • Bonuses

  • Game Guides

  • Free Games

  • News

The group’s mission is to help players win more the legitimate way. It provides tips and tricks to players to help them better understand how different gambling games work.

With this group, you can get a ton of insights about how the casino industry operates. If you have this knowledge, you will not get burned. For example, the site provides the meaning of bonus rules. If you do know these rules, you can make the right decisions to improve your odds.

On top of their website is a blacklist link. If you click that link, you will find a long list of the casinos that they do not recommend. The organization endorses hundreds of casinos and also warns its followers of the casinos that have unfair practices. 

Here are some of the parameters they consider before including a casino in the blacklist:

  • Dubious bonus terms

  • Unreliable or untrustworthy customer support

  • Deceitful practices

  • Unfair games—rigged games that are in favour of the casino

Here are some examples of the specific reasons why they flag a casino as untrustworthy:

  • False advertising

  • Payment problems

  • Rigged games

  • Questionable practices

  • Spamming players

There are dozens on the organization’s list, and you may be surprised to see one or two casinos that you may have come across before already.  

Gambling Sites.COM

This website is a massive source of information about all kinds of stuff about the gambling industry. It does have editors and writers who provide guides. They also test out new and old casino operators to see if they are legitimate. 

Over the years, it has developed its own standards to determine whether a casino is worth your deposit or not. Their standards include the following things:

  • Unfair games – they check if the results of the odds are truly random, that the games are not rigged.

  • Non-payment – casinos that refuse payment are scammers, no matter the reason.

  • Slow pay – this is another tactic of scam casinos in which they delay your payments until you end up gambling that money.

  • Predatory terms – this refers to casinos that ask for 100x wagering requirements; it also includes establishments that have high withdrawal minimum or those that limit how much you can withdraw

  • Marketing spam – these are sites that incessantly send you marketing emails.

  • License – of course, a casino that has no license should not operate; the team behind this website takes a look at the licenses issued to gambling websites. If the casino has no license, it is included in the blacklist.

According to this group, there is no such thing as a universal blacklist, and rightfully so. Each player has a different experience with specific casinos, and the operators of this site are one of those players. 

How to Protect Yourself as a Gambler

There is no authority in blacklisted casinos. All the blacklists that you find online are “personal” blacklists. If a person like Michael thinks that a 50x wagering requirement is predatory, then he will include casinos that ask for 50x wagering requirement in his blacklist. Some players, however, are OK with a 50x requirement. 

So, how do you really know if a blacklisted casino is that bad? 

Here are some tips to help you find out if the online casino you are eyeing is a bad one: 

  • Terms – read the terms and conditions of the site. Ideally, you get your money right away if you win. It is alright if the casino asks you to verify your identity as it is standard practice, and it is required by law.  

  • Payment issues – you have to visit forum sites and check out if a casino has bad raps. Naturally, you want to exercise caution here. Casinos have rules that players break all the time, such as gaming the bonus system by signing up with multiple accounts. Use discretion. If the player’s issue is legit, and he was not paid, this should raise a red flag.

  • False Advertising – there are casinos that promise tens of thousands in bonuses in their ads. Once you get to their sites, you will realize that there are so many requirements before you can get the bonuses. This is an example of a misleading ad. If the site has the gall to publish ads like this, can you just imagine what they will do if you deposited money? 

Do not trust casinos with shady advertisements. If they can lie to their teeth through ads, they can withhold your money if they want to, and you will never get justice for it.  

  • Licensing – you can check if the casino you want to play at is duly licensed. All you have to do is to take a look at the casino’s About page. This page, or the footer of any page, must have the license number, and who issued that license. 

The next step is to go to the website of the governing body that issued the license, and then search for the license number. If the website produces the name and says it is licensed, then it means the casino is legit. If the license is expired, walk away.

Now, just because a casino has a license does not mean it is a good one. Many casinos have licenses, and yet they belong to some blacklists because they are not fair to their players. They have shady practices, unbelievable requirements, and sometimes they will not even pay. 

To the eyes of the government, casinos like these are just exercising their rights. If a casino has a license, but it belongs in a blacklist, then use your wisdom and look for another place where you can play. It is better to play at another online casino than to risk your money.  

Summary

There is no such thing as a single repository of backlisted casinos. In the eyes of the government, casinos are just like other businesses—the operators make mistakes. If a casino violates the law and someone can prove this, the licensing body will not blacklist the casinos but may revoke its license. In such a case, the casino is not really blacklisted, but it has been denied the legal right to operate. 

As always, you have to do your own investigation. Never play in an online casino that does not display its license or a casino that does not have a physical address displayed on its website. If in doubt, always go to gambling forums and ask around—listen to what other players say and carefully assess if the casino is legit or not.

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Lauren Sanchez - Author

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