While online casinos and safely on the Web has advanced significantly in the last decade, some online players are still vulnerable to scam artists who exist in the form of Internet operators, and even the most experienced players can still fall prey to the tricks of malicious people taking advantage of a growing industry.
These tricks can cost players a lot of money and can compromise the overall experience of someone who’s new to the realm of online gambling. This is why it is a good idea to play at an Internet casino which is regularly monitored and reviewed by a third party, also known as a watchdog, as well as one which holds a license in an advanced gaming jurisdiction.
What is an online casino watchdog?
Online casinos have become incredibly popular since the introduction of the Internet. With many new players experiencing the Internet gambling scene for the first time, they can be quite susceptible to casino websites which seem trustworthy on the surface, but they are actually rogue or unreliable which players only find out after they have made a real money deposit.
There are sometimes signs which can be noticed, while other scams are quite good at disguising them. This is where online casino watchdogs enter. Watchdogs keep an eye on the digital gaming environment and create strict guidelines for the online operators to adhere to so players have an enjoyable time. These guidelines exist because without them online operators can be established which scam and steal money, offer games rigged to their advantage, and even simply lack customer support which can ultimately hinder a players experience.
These watchdogs put casino sites through intense testing to make sure they satisfy industry standards; if they don’t, they are automatically blacklisted, which you will be able to find by doing a simply Google search.
It’s important to note that some Internet casinos also use ‘watchdogs’ which are also scams. Generally, it’s a good idea to play at an online casino which offers a gaming license from an advanced jurisdiction in conjunction with a top leading independent auditing company that has generated positive reviews online.
Online casinos which are watchdog certified
When we talk about Internet casino watchdogs, we don’t mean any old third party organisation. We recommend choosing online casinos with the best watchdogs available so you know they are adhering to the best standards in the industry. We have found some of the best, due to reviews generated in the online gaming community, as well as being awarded as top leading auditing companies.
eCOGRA – This third party organisation is probably the most prominent and top leading watchdog in the industry. The company stands for eCommerce and Online Gambling Regulation and Assurance, which run independently and produce regular reports of the Internet casino they are monitoring. They test the Internet gaming establishments by adhering to the eCOGRA Generally Accepted Practice (eGAP) which includes ensuring player protection, fairness in games, and responsible conduct by the online casino.
If an online casino is tested by eCOGRA, their logo will be located at the bottom of the Internet gaming establishment’s homepage. If you click on this logo you will be taken to the certificate, which will detail what seal the online casino has received. These include the Safe and Fair Seal for online casinos and bookies; eCOGRA Certified Software that details the online casino uses top leading and approved software; Percentage Payout Report this is generally in conjunction with a Safe and Fair seal and can be viewed to see the potential payouts; and finally the eCOGRA Randomness Reviews detailing an online casino offers random number generated games that meet their standards.
eCOGRA also assists players who have a problem, such as with withdrawing money from the Internet casino, and review the situation without bias and make a decision which the online operators have to adhere to, provided they are certified by eCOGRA. This can give a voice to players such as Aussies who are playing in foreign waters in terms of the Internet gaming establishment.
UK Gambling Commission – The UK Gambling Commission was created as a result of the Gambling Act 2005, and took over from the Gaming Board for Great Britain. Additionally, the National Lottery Commission was also taken over by the Commission in terms of their responsibilities.
The main aim of the Gambling Commission is to make sure the online casinos, as well as land-based casinos as their duties are quite broad, conduct in a way that players are in a safe, secure and reliable environment. If not, they have the right to remove gaming licenses online operators have gained via a gaming jurisdiction, as well as impose heavy fines. Generally, Internet casinos which are located in the UK can only gain accreditation from the Commission, which is why you will notice with some of our recommended online casinos that are located in the UK also have a license from the Commission. However, if they are located outside the UK but do plan on targeting UK players they still are required to apply for a license.
The Commission adheres to the regulations which the Gambling Act 2005 imposes which allows legal online gambling in their jurisdiction, but have advanced and regulated rules in place so players are not being subjected to misconduct.
These two are the main third party organisations which monitor our favourite online casinos and are perhaps the reason we highly recommend them due to the fact these organisations govern them so closely. There is another regulatory body which monitors some of our favourite bookmakers so we thought we’d take a look at that one too.
Technical Systems Testing – TST offers a lot of services but their predominant accreditation for online gambling establishments is called iGaming compliance testing. The company takes a look at what gaming license the online casino has and ensures that the the Internet gaming venue is following all the guidelines associated with that jurisdiction. From carrying out tests to evaluating whether the outcomes of their games are random, to whether or not the payouts are of a good percentage, as well as whether or not the site is susceptible to hackers. Overall, it makes sure players are protected and safe when playing at the tested online gambling sites.
Jurisdiction gaming licences for Internet casinos
Gaming licences from certain jurisdictions are also considered to be watchdogs in the online casino industry, as they require the Internet gaming establishment to go through vigorous testing before being approved. Like third party organisations, there are jurisdiction licences which aren’t actually considered reputable and there are also Internet casinos which falsify licences, so it’s always good to double check and do your research by going to the website of the license, as you will find a complete list of their licensees.
Malta Gaming Authority – The MGA is the main body which is responsible for gambling in Malta and is actually considered the top leading global regulatory body of gaming activities. It acts in accordance to the Lotteries and Other Games Act 2001 and aims to protect players, including both the experienced and the vulnerable, void any fraudulent behaviour, as well as ensure a safe gaming environment for all players. To do this, the MGA remain up to date with the latest regulations, grant licences to online casinos, monitor these licences which have been granted, and more. The MGA grant four different levels of licences to online casinos and they include:
– Class one, where online casinos control their own risk of repetitive games and it is also possible to obtain a class one on four licence which means the class one licensee such as a software developer operates their games on a class four licensee such as an online casino.
– Class two licence which allows fixed-odds betting for events based on a matchbook. A class two on four license similar to class one on four is also available.
– Class three involves a licence which allows online gaming establishments to promote in or from Malta and a Class three on four also exists similar to the aforementioned.
– Class four licence which allows online casinos to host gaming operators on their platform. This is a business to business gaming license, essentially what our recommended online casinos are.
In order to find out what licence the online casino has, click on the MGA logo located at the bottom of the Internet gaming establishment’s homepage and an external window will open with the certificate detailing what level the license they hold is. Here, they may hold more than one level of licences.
Curaçao eGaming – Granting licenses since 1996 for online casinos which operate within Curaçao’s legislative framework to ensure online gaming establishments operate with integrity. This gaming licence application requires online operators to meet high gaming standards, but there are not various levels of licenses rather they are quite broad and cover many bases in one license. Curaçao is one of the few jurisdictions which have advanced gaming laws similar to that of Malta.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission – The AGCC was created in May 2000 to regulate online gambling which is guided by the framework of the States of Alderney and ensures that players meet the highest gaming standards. It puts the Internet casinos through various testing to make sure players are protected. It follows three pieces of legislation including The Gambling (Alderney) Law 1999, The Alderney eGambling Ordinance 2009 and The Alderney eGambling Regulations 2009.
There are a few more jurisdictions including the Isle of Man, Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, and Kahnawake Gaming Commission that are quite popular and follow the same concept as the aforementioned jurisdictions with advanced gaming guidelines however we have mentioned the above as they are the most reputable and are commonly found at our favourite online casinos.
How to ensure online casinos are regulated by a watchdog
It’s always important to first look for a licence. They are generally found at the bottom of the homepage and will either have fine print with regards to the licence or a logo. Some jurisdictions aren’t highly regarded in terms of gambling legislation, so make sure you do your research on the ones we haven’t mentioned.
For example, Australia is one jurisdiction operators need to avoid as it’s illegal to operate an online casino in Australia and advertise to Australian players. They can, however, advertise to foreign players. The above jurisdictions are the best for the top international online casinos. These licences can then be checked in terms of a third party organisation and whether or not it is regulated. If neither a licence or an independent auditing agency exists, then it’s best to avoid the online casino.
Why is it important for an online casino to be regulated by a watchdog?
To ensure the digital casino you are playing at is regulated by both a gaming licence and a third party independent organisation, which reduces the chance of players falling prey to fraudulent behaviour from both the Internet casinos and other online users who can hack unprotected software for personal and financial details.
As the gaming authorities which grant the licences first put the online casino through intense testing, players can feel a sense of trust with these internet casinos. By combining the two, players can feel safe and secure and trust that their money is being used on fair games and they will be able to easily withdraw any winnings. We recommend checking out our online casinos as they are all safe, secure, and trustworthy due to being regulated by watchdogs.