As online gambling continues to grow, the criteria that consumers should require our online casinos to meet will undoubtedly change. In this article, we’ll fill you in on the basics. If you’re thinking about taking the online gaming plunge, make sure you’re comfortable that the site in question meets all (or at least most) of these requirements . . .
IS THE SITE LICENSED TO OPERATE A GAMBLING OPERATION? AND, IF SO, IS IT IN A COUNTRY THAT LICENSES OFFSHORE CASINOS? This point may seem basic, but believe it or not there have been companies that have claimed to be licensed in countries that do not even issue casino licenses. If the site isn’t licensed in a well-known location such as Antigua, Costa Rica, St. Kitts, or Curacao (there are others), question the site as to the whereabouts of its operation and license. While you’re at it, ask for proof that the casino actually has a license and that the location where it claims to have a license actually issues casino licenses.
DOES THE SITE/COMPANY UTILIZE SOFTWARE FROM A REPUTABLE COMPANY? This is a pretty important factor that is often overlooked. Although there are many casino software providers, we feel there are three that are the cream of the crop. They are Micro Gaming, Cryptologic, Boss Media, and Starnet International. These providers have spent millions of dollars to produce their software, and although they don’t totally control what their clients do, they surely don’t want one of their clients viewed as a disreputable casino because it reflect poorly on them. These software companies also do extensive background checks on their licensees. We’re not saying that a casino that does not utilizes software from one of the aforementioned companies is necessarily dishonest, but if a site is using software produced by a well-known company constantly in the public’s eye (Starnet and Cryptologic are publicly traded companies), that’s a good sign.
DOES THE SITE ADVERTISE FREQUENTLY? Again, this isn’t a sure-fire method to determine whether or not a casino is reputable, but it stands to reason that if a gaming site is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing, it views public perception and familiarity as a top priority. And the blatant cheating of an online public capable of launching verbal attacks on the various newsgroups and message boards is a good way to lose the public’s confidence. If you see a site advertise anywhere and everywhere, it’s a good indication that it is a legitimate operation that plans to be in the industry for the long run.
DOES THE SITE MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU TO CONTACT AN ACTUAL HUMAN IF NEED BE? This is one of our favorite criteria. There is nothing more aggravating than a site that expects players to patronize it without giving consumers the ability to pick up the phone and speak to a representative from the site if they feel the need to. Let’s face it; the online gambler’s confidence in an offshore gaming operation is nowhere near as strong as the land-based casino gambler’s is. This obstacle is even worse when the player can’t talk to a human being. Also, if you’re able to contact humans, are they friendly and courteous and easy to communicate with?
WHEN THE SITE EXPLAINS ITS OPERATION ON ITS PAGES, IS THE SITE VAGUE IN ITS DESCRIPTIONS OR DOES IT GIVE SPECIFIC INFORMATION. We’ve seen sites that will simply state that they use “state of the art” technology to handle transactions. That’s not enough. For example, sites that use software from the respected Cyberroad Corporation go to great lengths to explain their “Ecash” system through eBanx, a Canadian-based Internet finance company, specializing in secure, online transaction processing. If a site appears to be vague and seems to be hiding something by not putting all its cards on the table, the odds are good that the site is hiding something.