Are Online Casinos Fair?
Lots of people enjoy a trip to their local casino for some blackjack, roulette, baccarat or to play on the slots, but it’s not always convenient to play at a live casino, particularly if you don’t have one close by.
Online casinos represent a good alternative to making the trip to a brick and mortar casino. These days they have a wide range of games and realistic graphics and sound that give a real casino feel, but a lot of people are still skeptical about whether they can be trusted. They feel that if they can’t physically see the cards being dealt or the wheel being spun, that something untoward must be going on
We have a list of all of our approved and certified trustworthy casinos and betting sites. Click here to take a look at it.
The Golden Rule of Choosing an Online Casino
If you want an answer to the question “Are online casinos fair?”, the answer is “it depends”. As in all walks of life there are people who try to get the upper hand using shady tactics. The single most important thing to pay attention to when choosing an online casino is to go with a well known brand. Over the years that online casinos have been in business there have been countless small operations that pop up, last a few months and then fold leaving the players waiting a while to get their money back, if they get it at all. If you want to play online casino games, then you simply HAVE to choose one that you know is above board and is going to be around for a long time.
That’s all well and good, but how are you to know a well established site from a fly-by-night? There are a couple of things to look out for:
- Gambling Portal Approved: Generally if you see a site recommended by a site an authority in the online gambling industry like ourselves, you know that the site is going to be reputable. We, and the other big gambling portals are constantly keeping an eye on the industry and keeping our online casino guide updated with casino sites that are the most trustworthy and offer the best value to customers.
- TV Advertising. If you’ve seen the site advertised on TV then you know that they probably have a big marketing budget and are running the site as a long term project and not just out for a fast-buck.
- Licensed and Audited: Picking a site that’s properly licensed and audited on a regular basis is a must. All of the main online casino sites will licensed and have audits on their security and game integrity carried out by a big independent consulting firm. All of the casinos we recommend meet these requirements and details about their licensing can be found in our individual casino review pages.
- Voluntary Membership of Gaming Associations: Membership of organisations like eCogra (e-Commerce Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance) and RGA (Remote Gambling Association) is a great indicator that the site is a well respected member of the online gaming community and is very likely to be legitimate and above board.
How do Online Casinos Work?
For people who aren’t that familiar with computers, how online casinos work is a bit of a mystery, and you might be wondering how they recreate the randomness of a shuffled deck of cards or the bounce of a roulette ball. They achieve this using a piece of software called a random number generator or RNG.
Basically what happens is before each blackjack deck is set or before the virtual roulette wheel gets spun the random number generator outputs a string to the game software which tells it what animations to show, ie where the ball should land or what cards you should be dealt. Random number generators used by gambling sites often use real natural phenomena to generate their outcomes, such as the noise from radio or TV signal waves, or thermal emission for hot object. The RNG used by online poker site PokerStars even uses cosmic radiation to make sure its deals are fair and totally random!
Testing the RNG will usually be tested monthly, and if the site is reputable, you’ll be able to view the results of the RNG test on their website along with the payouts which the RNG test led to.
Live Dealer Casinos
If you’re still not convinced, many online casinos operate live dealer casino games nowadays. In these games you’re connected to a physical dealer, dealing real cards or spinning a real roulette wheel by video link. You can bet on, and see the outcomes right on your computer screen, as well as chat with the dealer, just as you could do if you were sat at a table in a bricks and mortar casino.