While there are many benefits to online gambling, there are also a few things every player needs to look out for. Before signing up with a casino, it is important to ensure that the site is fully licenced, offers multi-platform access, provides a wide range of games and has fair gaming certificate from an independent auditor.
Online casinos use random number generators to provide randomised results for slots, virtual table games, Video Poker and electronic scratch cards. When you push the spin button on the slots or click the deal button in Blackjack, the random number generator (RNG) is always running in the background, ticking over thousands of combinations to provide the next random card, or slot combination.
When working correctly, random number generators ensure that all results, casino bonus payouts and all gaming data is completely random. This is why it is entirely possible to trigger a second slot jackpot payout just a few spins after the first. The problem is that RNG’s are software algorithms that can be manipulated. In theory, a site could change the software to not pay out as it would if the results were entirely random. This has happened before, and chances are it will happen again.
So how do you avoid such treachery? One way is to only play live dealer games or land-based establishments. Since all the results are produced live and in real time, there is no need for random number generators. However, this seriously limits your gambling experience, which is why all top-rated sites are committed to fair gaming use an online casino independent auditor to verify their results.
The quality and trustworthiness of a gaming site can be established by looking at just a few things. Firstly, it is important to check where the site is licenced and who is the regulating body. Regulating authorities like the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority only provide licences to sites that meet their strict criteria for security, fairness and accuracy. They constantly monitor activities and will revoke a licence if the all of these criteria are not upheld.
Instead of looking for the best casino bonus, it is also worth looking at the payout ratio. All top-rated sites will display their payout ratio, which is expressed as a percentage. A good number is between 95% and 97%. This means that all of the money wagered, 97% of the money will get fed back to the players in the form of winnings. The remaining 3%, will be kept for running costs and profit. If you come across a site that does not display their payout ratio, it is best to give it a skip.
After checking out everything else, the easiest way to tell if a site is above board is if they have a fair gaming certificate from an independent auditor. Some casinos claim to have in-house auditors that monitor their results, but they work for the company, which means they might be willing to overlook certain discrepancies. Independent companies like Technical Systems Testing (TST), iTech Labs or Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) have no stake in the company and are hired as external auditors to confirm the payout results.
These auditing companies conduct a variety of checks across all platforms over a period of days and weeks to ensure that a casino is paying out in line with their advertised ratio. If the numbers agree, the provide the site with a certificate of compliance. eCOGRA is another regulatory body the monitors sites for fairness, safety and responsible gaming. A site displaying the eCOGRA certificate is always a good place to start.