Can you trust online casinos?
Gambling is all about taking risks, but you don’t want to add uneccessary risks by playing at a casino that will cheat you out of your winnings, or not allow you to win at all.
Some gamblers insist that all online casinos are rigged, that ‘impossible’ things happen too often for them to be truly random.
This view is fairly widespread and seems odd to those of us involved in the industry. But online casino gambling is actually a victim of its own success, as the article below tries to explain.
1. Frequency of games
One of the big advantages of online gambling is that you play at your own pace. You’re playing against your own version of the casino, so you don’t have to wait for others to place their bets or be paid out. There are no physical chips or cards or balls, so there’s no ‘clearing up’ to be done between games. The cards are dealt quicker, the Roulette wheel takes less time to spin, the dice are always ready to be thrown.
As a result, you can play many more games per hour than you can in a land-based casino.
But there’s a downside to this. Unusual events will seem to occur much more frequently than they would in a bricks and mortar casino. Not in terms of probablity, but in elapsed time.
As an example, the probability of getting 6 consecutive blacks in Roulette is approximately 1 in 64.
In a real casino, it can take two minutes between spins of the wheel, so this event will only occur on average every two hours or so (2 x 64 = 128 minutes). Playing online, you can get in three spins every minute, or 180 in an hour. Suddenly, the unlikely event of 6 consecutive blacks is happening every 20 minutes (180 / 64 = 21.33).
In both cases, the probability is the same, but the impression is that an unusual event is happening six times more often when playing online, which leads players to the conclusion that the online casino must somehow be rigged.
It’s perfectly understandable, and a hard misconception to shake off. Players generally don’t study probability but have an innate feel for how often results come. Anything unusual makes them suspicious.
But we assure you that the random number generators used by online casinos are completely random and are constantly monitored and tweaked to ensure that the results they generate are as close to ‘natural’ as possible.
2. Playing alone
As mentioned above, when you play online, you’re playing alone. That gives you a great amount of freedom, but there’s an important psychological effect to consider.
Let’s say you’re playing Blackjack in a real casino on a table with four other players and you hit an unlucky streak and lose ten hands in a row. It’s highly unlikely that all the players at your table are having such a bad time as you – the probability is that one or more players at your table will win some of those hands.
Even though you’re losing, you can see others winning, so you know that the casino is honest.
Online, you’re focusing only on your own results. Because you don’t see anyone else win or, more importantly, see the casino lose, those ten losing hands seem to be against all probability.
As with the Roulette example above, it gives you an uneasy feeling that things are not quite right.
Think in terms of pure probability and you’ll see that you’ve exactly the same chance of winning online that you have in a real casino.
3. Past reputations
Online gambling enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity. At times, it was like a new frontier. But like any new venture, it attracted some dubious characters along with the genuine operators.
Everyone involved in online casino gambling has to be honest about this: in the early days, some casinos cheated. It’s an unfortunate fact, and for many years did nothing to improve players’ confidence in the honesty of online casinos.
Fortunately, things have now changed. The online casino industry is one of the most regulated of all businesses. Most of those ‘rogue’ casinos have been run out of town – named and shamed and blacklisted by the numerous industry watchdogs.
These industry ombudsmen exist to uphold the image of fairness and reliability and will step in to investigate and resolve any player disputes. So long as you’re playing at a regulated casino site, you’ll be protected against any wrongdoing.
In the UK, things are even stricter. Since the Gambling Act was enforced, only regulated casinos are allowed to advertise or be promoted. In this case, regulated means licensed in an approved jurisdiction. This caused major headaches as many of the biggest casinos suddenly found themselves outside this so-called ‘White List’. Most have now moved operations to places such as Malta, but some have resisted and are now unable to promote to UK and EU players.
Of course, the big money involved in online gambling will always attract unscupulous operators, so it’s always wise to be wary of new casinos. Our recommended casinos have all been around for enough time to prove themselves trustworthy and reliable – and in the unlikely event that any of them prove to be the opposite, we’ll get rid of them immediately.
So do online casinos cheat?
In conclusion, reputable, long-standing online casinos don’t cheat, they’re not rigged and they are fair.
But before you start to gamble online, you’d be well advised to check out your options. Our casino overview page is designed to allow you to compare and contrast our approved online casinos. When you’ve narrowed down your options, read our individual casino reviews, where you’ll find all you need to know – games, bonuses, languages, deposit and withdrawal options, customer service details.
If you’re nervous about starting to gamble online, we recommend you try out one or more of our secure casinos, safe in the knowledge that the casinos we approve are licensed, regulated and – above all – honest.