Be Smart Online and Play at Trusted Online Casinos The iGaming industry is packed full of online casinos and it seems like new gaming sites are being launched every other week. This is great news for us players because we get to enjoy all those welcome bonuses and promotions but, in this day and age, we still need to be on our guard for online casino scams. Unfortunately, rogue casinos are always finding new and sly ways to slip through the net and find their way online. It’s then down to players to recognise the signs and stay clear of the scams. We have put together some of our top tips and suggestions that will help to prevent you from being caught up in an online casino scam. So, read on and let Casino Billions NZ give you all the knowledge that you need to become a wiser and smarter online casino player. First up is the most important rule of them all: only ever play at officially regulated casinos that hold recognised, valid gambling licenses. Licensing, Regulation & Legacy The number one rule and most important fact to remember if you want to stay clear of rogue online casino sites are to only ever play at licensed casinos. A new casino might be tempting you with huge bonus offers and the chance to play with hundreds of free spins – however, sometimes when a thing seems too good to be true, it is. Don’t let this apparent reward distract you from your first casino safety check: making sure that the casino is fully licensed. You should take the time to familiarise yourself with the world’s leading gambling commissions such as those in Malta, the UK, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Alderney. It’s these regulatory bodies that issue gambling licenses and a casino without one is a casino to avoid. No questions asked. The strict guidelines that casinos need to follow when applying for one of these licenses means that only trustworthy and honest platforms are approved. You’ll find evidence of these licenses in the footer of the casino homepage (large, highly-visible logos) and sometimes on the About Us page. Acquiring a license from any of these gambling commissions is a long and thorough process designed to make sure that rogue businesses are found out. However, there are gambling commissions out there who are not as strict and this is sometimes where untrustworthy casinos slip through. The Curacao Gaming License is famous for its relaxed approval process, so keep this in mind when checking casino licences: all licenses are not created equal. This is definitely not to say that a casino with a Curacao license is definitely rogue. However, it does mean that you should be extra careful with your banking and payouts. Other important checks to help you find peace of mind when playing online is to look for endorsements from independent testing agencies. The sign of an eCOGRA badge in the homepage footer, for example, is a strong sign that the casino is safe and fair. These regular tests ensure that the casino is staying true to the game payouts advertised and that the appropriate security technology is in place. Once you understand what to look for and where to look, you’ll find these checks quick and easy to do. Take for example any of the casino sites that we promote here at Casino Billions NZ, such as Betway and LeoVegas – visit those sites and you’ll find ample evidence of their authenticity. Local NZ casinos such as Dunder Casino and Casino Dingo both offer the right licenses and trust factor that you are looking for as well. Software Providers Next up is the software provider check and this is one that you can quickly carry out if you know your casino games and providers. Leading software studios such as Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech will only ever work with official and licensed casinos. The reason being is that they have too much to lose if they get caught up in any unlawful gaming situations. Playing at online casinos is all about trust, and it’s these providers that supply the pokies and popular table games such as blackjack and poker. So, ultimately, it all comes back to them if players feel that games are unfair or if they are not playing randomly. It has been known for rogue casinos to tamper with games in order to trigger unfair payouts, but these casinos are quickly found out and blacklisted. Again, it all comes down to licensing and you wouldn’t find any unfair gaming at an officially licensed casino. You can often find the software casino providers listed on the homepage, or sometimes they are listed via dropdown menus on the casino games page. Other respected gaming providers to look out for include Betsoft, Thunderkick, Red Tiger Gaming, NextGen Gaming, Elk Studios, Pragmatic Play and Genesis Gaming. Playing at casinos that showcase these high-calibre developers is likely to keep you safe. Banking Options Officially licensed casinos will do all they can to offer you as easy an experience as possible when it comes to banking. After all, they want your loyalty and so they will look to offer as many payment options as possible. The main issue with rogue casinos is the lack of withdrawal options and the slow transactions. These are two classic online casino scams that players fall into: games will payout fairly, but then the casino simply hoards your cash. Another issue related to casino banking scams is when a player’s account suddenly gets closed down without any notice or explanation. We hear instances of this happening all too often and the reason for it is that the casino does not want to pay out any winnings. Scam casinos will always look to keep your money and they’ll use every trick in the book to do so. This is why you should take extra caution if you hear about account closure problems at a casino, as it usually spells trouble for any players who sign up there. By ‘extra caution’, we typically mean ‘don’t go anywhere near them’. Of course, payment methods are also dependent on your country. However, in New Zealand, we have many big-name options available such as Visa, Mastercard, Neteller and Skrill. Keep an eye out for extra transaction fees: while many upright and proper casinos apply fees as standard, extortionate fees could be indicative of a scam attempt. One scam that should instantly raise questions is when a casino offers cash deposit options via the post. This is a very risky option and it’s likely that you will not see your money again. Another factor to look out for is extremely low maximum withdrawal limits: by forcing you to withdraw pittances at a time, the casino can essentially hold on to your money indefinitely. Online Reputation One of the best ways to avoid falling for online casino scams is to search the internet for reviews of the casino’s reputation. Casino Billion NZ and dedicated casino forums contain trusted and honest reviews that help shine a light on each casino. The best thing about our site and the forums is that they contain real opinions from people who are in the same situation as you. Casino players have already signed up to these scam casinos so you can take advantage of their warnings and not make the same mistakes again. Legacy is an extremely important factor when it comes to online casinos. It can often take years to build up a solid reputation and this is something that new players should take seriously when deciding on where to play. The knowledge of experienced casino players is often essential when it comes to pointing out rogue casinos, and you can bet that anyone who has been scammed will want to tell everyone else all about it. You will soon learn what to look out for, but if you ever need a second opinion, then you can count on sites like ours and player forums to help put your mind at ease. Lastly, a quick search for “blacklisted casinos” will bring up plenty of casinos that have already been noted as scam sites. It’s a quick and effective tactic if you are thinking about playing at a casino which is still relatively unknown. If their name appears on the list, then stay well clear. These blacklisted casinos have already been reported and complained about, so it’s simply not worth your time or money to keep looking into them. Instead, dedicate the time to moving on and finding a respectable casino brand elsewhere. | | | Too Good to Be True The old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” often rings true in the iGaming world. Sure, you might find one or two legitimate welcome bonus packages that offer huge amounts of bonus money, but more often and not they’re a bit more grounded than that. We have come across many different offers that promise thousands of dollars in bonus money and hundreds of free spins. But if you look a little closer, some of these promotions are not all that they seem. The terms and conditions show the true value of every offer and, unless you know what to look for, you could easily sign up to a bonus that locks you in to unreasonable wagering requirements or woeful ‘maximum profits’. It’s easily done and this is something that scam casinos hide very well. They use big flashy graphics and bury the T&Cs as deeply as they can. We recommend that you find the time to understand the core details behind the typical casino bonus offers. This way you can quickly check the T&Cs of any promotion and judge whether it is actually too good to be true, or if it’s worth claiming. The ability to pick out the player-friendly and genuine offers from the scam ones is a skill worth practising. In regard to the T&Cs, the wagering requirements are the big thing to remember, along with game contribution percentages, minimum deposits, maximum bet amounts and maximum winning amounts. The larger the wagering requirements, the more wary that you need to be about the casino. For minimum deposits, most casinos will ask for NZ$10, while some will ask for as much as NZ$30 or so. If you’re leveraging an enormous high-roller bonus, the minimum deposit could be upwards of NZ$50 – but this should be taken with a pinch of salt as it’s unusually high! Always do your research before committing to such a high minimum deposit. The maximum bet amount is a small but important detail that limits the bet size you can use to clear your bonus. Obviously the bigger the better. The maximum winning amount is also an important detail to understand. The last thing you want to find is that you win a huge payout with your bonus cash, but the T&Cs state that you can only withdraw a small percentage of that winning amount. Helpful Customer Support A kind and knowledgeable customer support agent is often an underrated area of an online casino. Modern features such as live chat give you instant access to professional help for all your technical and gaming questions. One way to avoid an online casino scam is to test the customer support team via live chat, or a phone line if available, or even a quick email. Ask them some questions about the site and see what information they give you. Are they happy to help? Do they give informative answers that help with your questions? If you get a good feeling from customer support, you’re probably in the clear. Scam casinos will not tend to invest heavily in the expense + training of a great support team! Gut Feeling More often than not, you will get a gut feeling that the casino you are looking at is not quite what it claims to be. A lot of players trust their instincts and lean on the side of caution, and we advise you to do the same. After all, there are literally thousands of high-quality casinos out there that are respected in the industry. So why not stick to brand names that you know and keep your money and details safe? You should now be fully up to speed with how you can best avoid the main online casino scams that are hidden in today’s iGaming sphere. It is devastating that there are people out there who want to scam players, but as long as you follow the tips and suggestions outlined in this article you should be able to enjoy your gaming experience without any worries. Troubling yourself over whether you have already signed up to a scam casino or losing sleep over whether this or that casino can be trusted, is something you can do without. Hopefully, our Casino Billions NZ guide has provided a bit of useful help, and you now feel more confident about playing at New Zealand online casinos than before you read it.