Most players who are new to the entire interactive gaming experience are leery of registering at online casinos and processing payments to play the available games for real money. Such concerns are entirely justified given the number of rogue casino operators which have come into existence as of late, where players complain of slow withdrawals, rigged software, inadequate customer support, and lack of security measures regarding personal and banking information.
New customers of web-based casinos often question the fairness of the available games and are wondering whether the results are indeed governed by a random principle. In this article, we will explain how the outcome of online casino games is determined, what security measures are at hand to protect payments and personal information, and what key traits to look for when searching for a safe online casino to register a real-money account at.
How the RNG of Online Casino Games Works
All types of games, available at online casinos run on the so-called Random Number Generators or RNGs. The only exception to this rule are the Live Dealer games which are hosted by flesh-and-blood croupiers and are streamed in real time from the floors of prestigious landbased gambling venues or from the studios of well-known software developers. Other than that, the outcome of each spin of the virtual roulette wheel or slot reels and of every blackjack hand you play at online casinos is determined by the special software programs that are known as the RNGs.
The purpose of this elaborate piece of software is to imitate random outcomes. This is achieved by the RNG generating random, long sequences of numbers which are lacking any logical patterns or predictability, whatsoever. Since randomness is rather difficult to mimic under such conditions, online casinos have adopted what are known as “pseudo” RNGs because they generate outputs without requiring any external inputs.
It all starts with a seed number. The RNG then uses a rather complex mathematical algorithm to calculate another random number that is based on the initial seed. This new random number itself becomes a seed and yet another number is produced using the same complicated algorithm. This process repeats itself endlessly, with each number being based on its preceding one. Because of this, there is no way for players to actually predict the outcome of online casino games – in order to do so, one is required to find out what the initial seed number actually was and nobody has access to such information save for the person who has input the starting seed.
Another thing worth mentioning is that these numbers are indeed quite long and often consist of six or more digits. What is interesting to know is that this exquisite piece of software is always at work, producing its long, random numbers. The RNG is, in fact, generating random outcomes even when no one is betting on a particular slot or virtual roulette game.
Some players are probably asking themselves the question “Is there a way for online casinos to rig the RNGs of their games?”. This is indeed a very valid question as rogue operators have been known to adopt such practices in the past in order to skew the games they offer in their favour. This is where independent auditing agencies come in rather handy. Such third-party auditors test the RNGs of casino games to ensure randomness is indeed at hand.
More importantly, all secure online casinos that value and respect their customers are ready and willing to publish the results of these audits on their websites for all players to see. The games’ theoretical return to player percentages (RTP) are also readily available at the secure gambling websites, with the information being updated on a regular basis.
Players who open their real-money accounts at online casinos which have received certifications by reputable independent testing agencies, such as TST or eCOGRA, can rest assured the games they play comply with the highest security and fairness standards in the interactive gaming industry.
Security Methods Used by Online Casinos for Player Protection
Another question that arises among some players concerns the security measures that are in place to protect financial transactions and the sensitive personal information one shares with the casino in the process of registering there. Highly-esteemed gambling operators are committed to player protection and tend to utilise the below-listed methods to ensure a safe gaming environment for their customers.
Identity and Age Verification
Licensed gambling operators are required by law to verify the identity and age of all players, who sign up with real-money accounts at their websites. This is done for the purpose of eliminating the risk of underage gambling. Since there is no way for operators to visually assess the age of their customers, the latter are expected to send scanned copies of some personal documents for age identification.
Another viable reason which calls for verifying the identity of online casino players is the prevention of frauds, such as identity thefts and money laundering practices. There have been instances of unscrupulous individuals trying to rid themselves of illegal gains by staking them online and then withdrawing the winnings as “clean” money.
Because of this, registered players are asked to provide documents for identification, such as copies of their ID card, driver’s license, or passport. The name on the document must coincide with that on the credit/debit card used for processing the payments. Players are also expected to go through a proof-of-address procedure which involves sending scanned copies of recent utility bills.
The goal is to check whether the address on the ID and that on the bill coincide. This goes to show the player has indeed provided a valid address during registration. Such verification is typically necessary when one requests their first withdrawal but occasionally, you might be asked to go through it again if you attempt to cash out a substantial amount of money from your online casino account.
Secure Socket Layer Data Encryptions
Players who register at regulated and licensed online casinos have absolutely nothing to worry about as far as the security of their personal and banking information is concerned. All big names in the industry have adopted what is known as Secure Socket Layer Data Encryption Protocols (SSL). This is a standard security technology that is also used by millions of financial institutions and payment service websites to process banking transactions in a secure, dependable manner.
The SSL technology is used to establish an encrypted connection between an internet browser and a web server. In most instances, either 128-bit or 256-bit encryptions are implemented for the purpose. Two keys are necessary in order for the encrypted connection to be established successfully. One of them is public and is used to actually encrypt the information. The second key is private and its purpose is to decrypt the encoded data.
This encryption guarantees all sensitive information between the browser and the server remains private. The SSL technology also prevents malicious third-party individuals from gaining access to the sensitive data. Even if one such person succeeds in accessing the information, they will not be able to use it without decoding it with the private key. Websites using this technology are easy to recognise since they display a small padlock icon in the address bar of your internet browser. This indicates the information is safely encrypted. Another way to tell is to look what is in front of the website’s address – it needs to have “https” in front.
Reputable online casinos use state-of-the-art firewalls to control the traffic to and from their websites. These firewalls aim at establishing specific parameters and then determining which incoming and outgoing traffic to and from the website to allow. For the purposes of interactive gambling websites, the firewalls aim at preventing unwanted traffic towards the server of the online casino.
Traits of Secure Online Casinos
With hundreds of web-based casinos to choose from, many players struggle to differentiate between secure and rogue gambling operators. We have listed a few common traits all trusted online gaming providers share. If the casino you have registered with covers all of these criteria, you practically have nothing to worry about.
All trusted online casinos are required to undergo a process of rigorous testing of their software and background before they open their virtual doors. There are special regulatory bodies whose job is to ensure online gambling operators are legit as well as to provide them with licenses allowing them to offer their services legally. In addition, these regulatory authorities are responsible for overlooking whether or not the licensees are complying with the license conditions. Another important function of licensing authorities is to resolve any disputes between players and online gambling operators, if any arise.
Adequate Customer Privacy Policies
Clearly Stated Terms and Conditions
Transparency is a trait all players need to look for when choosing which online casino to deposit and bet at. Before claiming any given bonus, one must at all costs read and understand the conditions and wagering requirements, attached to the promotional offer. Some casino players go as far as taking screen-shots of the said bonus conditions. This seems weird at first glance but there is actually a very good reason to justify it.
Some rogue casinos tend to modify bonus conditions and playthrough requirements whenever disputes concerning players’ winnings ensue. The said Terms and Conditions section is to be found at the bottom of each online casino’s homepage, so make sure you read it in detail before you register an account or claim any bonuses.
Regular Software Audits for Fairness and Randomness of the Games
As we explained in the beginning, online casino games run on pseudo Random Number Generators which do not require any external inputs in order to generate outputs, or in this case, outcomes. A seed number in combination with a complicated mathematical algorithm is used, instead. A problem may arise because these algorithms are by their very nature mathematical formulae and as such, they are actually hackable, provided that the person knows the algorithm and the initial seed number. In other words, they may be tackled with and rigged.
This is where independent testing agencies intervene. The job of such third-party agencies is to perform thorough tests of the casinos’ software and RNGs to ensure the offered games are actually fair. Some of the most well-known agencies dealing with these audits are Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), eCOGRA, Technical Systems Testing (TST), and Gaming Associates, among others.
Some of the responsibilities of these auditors include evaluating the casinos’ Random Number Generators, verifying the payout percentages of the games, and auditing poker systems. If a certain online gambling operator passes the rigorous tests successfully, they are provided with a small seal of approval to publish on the homepage of their website. The results from the games’ payout verification are often published as well. Some testing agencies, like TST, have established a practice of publishing up-to-date information about their clients’ results on their websites.
Broader Range of Secure Banking Methods
Reputable gambling operators can also be recognised by the broader range of secure payment options they offer to their customers. The aim is to allow customers a wider choice as players normally tend to lean towards banking methods they are more confident about. Thus, the greater variety of deposit and withdrawal options aims at ensuring a higher level of convenience for all customers.
Some secure casinos list widespread and commonly known payment solutions which have built a reputation for being safe to use and dependable. The options normally include credit and debit cards by Visa, Mastercard and Maestro, digital wallets such as Skrill, PayPal, and Neteller, as well as prepaid virtual cards by EntroPay and vouchers by Paysafecard. Of course, many of the available options, like Giropay and Nordea, for instance, are region-specific but have proven themselves locally as reliable and secure. The aim is to further the convenience of players from different countries and allow them to use a method they trust and are well familiar with.
Payments to and from online casinos are conducted up to par with the same security standards banking institutions comply with. In other words, processing a deposit into your casino account is as safe as purchasing a product online, i.e. provided that the website uses the 128-bit or 256-bit SSL encryption.
Efficient Customer Support
Another trait of trusted gambling operators is treating their player community with due courtesy and respect. This courteousness is expressed through providing efficient customer support, with trained professionals being available at all times to answer queries, clarify the terms of promotional offers when needed, and assisting players in solving various issues related to their payments, account management, and gameplay. After all, operating an online casino is a business like any other, which is why adequate customer support is among the key ingredients for success.
The importance of adequate customer care is actually two-fold. Since it is players who put their money at stake, they have every right to demand expedient assistance and answers to their enquiries. Established casino operators understand this very well, which is why they always offer a dedicated Live Chat facility where support agents are at hand around the clock, including on weekends and public holidays. This increases both convenience and confidence because players are not required to wait around until they get a response via email – they can directly get in touch with a representative of the casino and ask for advice and assistance.
Of course, resolving errors (which happen only on extremely rare occasions at respected casinos) is far from being the only positive of immediate customer support. Sometimes, a player may be unable to understand how to claim a bonus or may simply wish to know how the progressive jackpot on a given slot is awarded. If the player in question fails to find the information they are looking for, they can always ask customer support for the answer to their question. This works to the advantage of less experienced online casino players, in particular, because it gives them a greater confidence they have registered with an operator they can actually trust.
Ensuring quick and friendly support is beneficial for gambling operators as well. Providing one’s customers with the highest-quality service possible translates into higher levels of satisfaction for players, who, in their turn, would readily recommend the casino and attract more new members. In other words, excellent customer service helps casinos increase their player base.
Encouragement of Responsible Gaming
Customer care is often expressed through the encouragement of responsible gaming, which is something all big names in the interactive gambling industry advocate. It is a well-known fact betting on the outcome of various games is one of the oldest and most widely spread forms of recreation in the world. It remains so to this day. Yet, a certain level of self-control should always be at hand as otherwise players risk falling prey to problem gambling.
Because of this, online casinos are actually required by their regulators to commit to the promotion of responsible gambling and therefore, protect their customers. This is achieved by the adoption of the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies all online casino operators are expected to implement.
There are several different aspects of responsible gambling encouragement, the first one being the protection of minors. This is achieved by the rigorous identity and age verification procedures all players are expected to go through when registering an account. This way, the risk of underage individuals partaking in online gambling activities is brought down to a minimum.
Another important aspect of promoting responsible gambling is enabling registered members of the casino to set deposit limits for themselves. In some instances, there is the option to choose between weekly, monthly, and even daily limits – once you deposit a specific amount, you are not allowed to make more transactions to your account, at least not for the time being. Some online casinos also offer the so-called “game time reminder” which informs players of the amount of time they have spent playing a particular casino game. Many video slots have an Autoplay feature which renders it easier for less cautious players to get carried away. They can, however, set loss limits for themselves during Autoplay to solve this issue.
Another important responsible gambling practice is the introduction of the self-exclusion tools. When any given player feels they are starting to develop a problem, they are allowed to self-exclude from the casino where access to their account will be completely blocked for a specific period of time, usually six months, but this time-frame depends on the gambling operator. Once the exclusion period comes to an end, the player can request access to the account by contacting a member of the support team. Also, it is possible to self-exclude permanently where the account will be altogether terminated and there will be no option to reactivate it.
Finally, all secure online casinos, which value their players and care for their well-being, provide lists with the phone numbers, websites, and addresses of organisations helping gambling addicts deal with their problem. Some of the most well-known organisations of this type include GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous. This information is typically published at the homepage of the gaming operators’ websites, in the Responsible Gaming section.