Are Online Casinos Legit? When to Trust Free Spins

There are ever-increasing numbers of new online casinos springing-up every year, and apart from questions about their legality, players are especially interested in the question:

Golden Roulette WheelScott Maxwell LuMaxArt (Shutterstock)

How Trustworthy are New Online Casinos?

Because if they are, success with online gambling boils down to the statistics and probabilities of the game, which should be calculable in order to forecast potential earnings.

In this article we will talk about gambling in the sense of a “luck based game”, whilst remembering how some games might be beaten whilst others cannot.

In a nutshell, if online casinos are fair, then there is a chance of profiting from them.

What You Do in Online Casinos

Firstly, let’s have a look at what most online casinos offer. Whether new or old, most offer traditional casino games like poker or blackjack, but many of the newer casinos concentrate on providing online versions of “slot machines”.

These usually play in any browser or with apps on your phone or tablet. The principle remains as easy to comprehend as the multitude of digital slot machines you find in public places: Watch a few reels spin, and win depending on the final symbols displayed.

Online, many new casinos try to attract customers with free spins on their flagship games. You may already have been exposed to such ads from sources such as Facebook users who claim to have won thousands of pounds with these trial spins.

An initial step towards answering whether online casinos such as these are fair or rigged is this:

Even if the probabilities are calculated fairly and regularly, the “free” spins are usually not free.

For example, you only receive your allotted free spins after paying for a separate number of spins. Or, you only receive your winnings if you also make the same amount with regular betting on the site’s sportsbook.

These little tricks are designed to lure new gamblers and ensure that they invest more than they get “for free”.

Where to Find Them and How to Choose

You can find online casinos everywhere on the Internet. New ones appear all the time and, as mentioned, many offer bonus payments, free spins, or other forms of “welcome packages”.

When judging how trustworthy online casinos are, you should of course use your common sense:

Websites with strange marketing strategies should be avoided, offers that seem “too good to be true” are not true, and anyone asking for your payment information to give you a “free present” does not want to give you a free present.

Here’s a list of five criteria to judge when deciding on the legitimacy of online casinos in the UK:

5 Criteria on How to Spot Legit Online Casinos

  1. Are they licensed by the Gambling Commission? Any provider of online gambling services such as poker, slot machines or even bingo needs to have a licence to offer gambling legally in the UK. This licence is essential and no gambling provider who has it would make you search for it. If you cannot find it, it’s probably not there.
  2. If you really want to make sure, look them up in the Gambling Commission’s official list of licensees – this won’t take long.
  3. Find out the experiences of others with this online casino: Can you google the site and get an impression? If everything is great and no-one ever complains then this may trigger alarm bells. And finding only negative reviews about a site is more than dubious.
  4. At least scan the terms & conditions for certain areas or keywords: Do you have to sign up for a certain period of time? What fees do you have to pay from your winnings?
  5. Review the payment methods. Many online casinos offer PayPal apart from credit cards. This can help you control how much you are investing.

Online casinos that pass these simple tests are usually trustworthy.

Note that while there are certain regulations for gambling machines, for example, that there has to be a chance to win the jackpot in every single game, there is no rule restricting the odds for any games.

The usual physical restrictions also do not apply. For example, you cannot card-count since there are no physical cards and no deck to draw from.

So – Is It Worth My Time?

While online casinos adhering to the rules are legit, they are not necessarily “fair” in the sense you might understand the term.

One golden rule of gambling is that the bank always has an advantage. They have to, otherwise they could hardly maintain expensive casinos in “real life”, or the cost of their server online.

From a mathematical point of view what you can get from online casinos might be fun or excitement if you are the type to get excited about bets, but you cannot expect profits from virtual slot machines.

These have to be the ultimate test in patience and endurance, clicking a button hundreds of times in the hope that a random number generator might declare this round the jackpot.

Simple games like this have one advantage though: People who struggle with the ideas of chance and statistics can develop a sense for the length of winning and losing streaks.

There is a lesson there:

Just because the past four rounds saw red numbers winning, does not mean that it is now time for a black number. Chance simply does not care.

learn to think like a bookmaker!

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Last Update: 3 October 2016


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