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Picking a Safe Online Casino – What to Look For


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Picking a Safe Online Casino – What to Look For

There is no doubt that online gambling is a fledgling industry. Per recent estimates, it will continue growing at an annual rate of 11.4% until 2028, when the global market should hit a projected size of $158 billion. Playing games of chance for real money over the internet is now simpler than ever. However, picking the right platform to enjoy this activity is not, as every month, many new UK and non UK casinos pop up, making it harder to locate credible operators. What follows is a breakdown of the essential aspects of gambling sites that players must consider before registering with one.

Data Encryption & Gaming Licenses

Data ciphering is crucial in any activity that involves sharing financial data over the internet. Thankfully, almost all UK and non UK betting sites feature SSL encryption. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol developed in 1995 that provides privacy and integrity to online communication. Anyone that intercepts data with SSL encryption applied will only see a mix of characters that is impossible to decipher. Players can check if a site has such data ciphering capabilities by looking for the little lock icon in their address bar.

The use of proper encryption is mandatory for any platform that has received a gaming license from a reputable regulator. The UKGC is a public body of the UK government that oversees all gambling activity in Britain, and it decides which companies can offer remote gaming services to UK residents. Non UK gambling sites get regulated by international organizations from countries like Panama, Malta, and Curacao. These are also credible licensors, but they are not as strict as the UKGC when it comes to enforcing player safety measures.

A Diverse Selection of Payment Methods

A quality online gambling platform will partner with several established payment processors. While credit cards are the most accessible option for most people, since April of 2020, UK residents are no longer allowed to use them at UKGC-licensed casinos. That decision came after public pressure got applied to the UKGC to enhance efforts in curbing problem gambling.

Debit cards are still an option for UK players, but using them may cause a wait time of up to five business days before a money transfer goes through. E-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill cut this processing period to less than 24 hours. In 2016, the UKGC acknowledged cryptocurrencies as a cash equivalent and now allows them for use at UK online casinos. Naturally, Bitcoin is the most established digital coin and the preferred option for UK players. Those looking to use altcoins such as Dogecoin, XRP, or Stellar must look for a non UK casino that allows them.

Promotional Offers

Promo deals are the engine that drives this sector, as according to many polls, welcome bonuses are the main reason players choose to sign-up with specific platforms. These are usually deals that contain a percentage match coupled with free spins. The first means that the casino will match a deposited amount to a specific percentage. The latter signifies that the player will receive complimentary reel rotations on one or more pre-determined games.

Other common promotional offers include leaderboard challenges, reload bonuses, special event deals, and loyalty schemes. Systems that reward patronage also can sway players into sticking with a given operator. Such programs usually incorporate point collection based on betting activity. The more a player wagers, the higher he/she advances up the VIP program. Each of its tiers has its perks. These can be things like a personal account manager, cashback, tech giveaways, and more.

Game Library

Having access to a vast catalogue of games makes the difference between playing at a quality casino and a mediocre one. Today, most platforms boast libraries that feature several hundred interactive gaming titles, ranging from modern slots to classic table games. Live-action is also an option on offer almost everywhere nowadays. It lets you test your luck and skill at games such as blackjack and baccarat against a croupier located in an HD studio.

Players need to stick to platforms that are transparent about game specifications, like variance and return-to-player. Such features let players know of the likelihood of them coming out on top in the long-haul. Also, all licensed platforms must undergo game fairness testing conducted by independent agencies like eCORGA or iTech Labs. Players can check if their chosen operator has undergone such audits by looking for these companies’ logos in the casino site’s footer.

Responsible Gambling & Customer Support

Nowadays, premium customer support is a must in any field, and online casino gambling is no exception. An average platform should have a decent FAQ page and timely email support. Those that strive for massive player numbers should also feature a live chat option that is active 24/7. However, for UKGC-licensed sites, it is more common for this live support to be accessible during working hours only or until midnight. That is not a deal-breaker, but having slow and ignorant representatives on staff is, as it substantially sours the overall gambling experience.

All UKGC-licensed casinos tie into the mandatory self-exclusion scheme GamStop. Thus, sites that advertise themselves to UK residents but are not a part of this network are foreign casinos not registered with GamStop. Nevertheless, they still promote responsible gambling, incorporate site-specific self-exclusion, and provide links to organizations that help with gambling addiction, such as BeGambleAware and GamCare. 

Non UK Casinos & Betting Sites Not on GamStop

Problem gambling entered the UK national discourse in late 2020 when a YouGov survey showed that nearly 1.4 million Brits have a compulsion towards playing games of chance for money and betting on sports. Thus, these statistics led the UKGC to implement new measures to limit the engagement level associated with online casino-style products. That meant the addition of spin timers, the removal of auto-play functions, and the introduction of lower max bet limits.

These mandatory measures for all UKGC-licensed casinos caused many players to search out and register with casino and bingo sites not on GamStop. These platforms are far less restrictive in terms of gameplay options, and they boast more sizeable bonuses, better loyalty schemes, and games not available on the UK market. Though, international licensors do not provide the same quality of oversight as the UKGC. So, it is entirely up to the players to weigh these pros and cons when considering betting sites not on GamStop. You can find out more at non-gamstop-casinos.com.

Final Thoughts

In 2018, the American Gaming Association estimated that there were over 2,800 gambling platforms on the internet. Today, that number is likely far sizeable. Therefore, selecting a trustworthy and option-rich online casino is not as simple as some people would think. It is paramount that players never sign-up with an operator at a whim, but research each one that catches their eye to see if it checks many of the boxes mentioned above. That said, what is of even greater significance is for players to gamble responsibly, never overstepping their means.


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