The Hidden Dangers of Gambling Online
Prior to online casinos if you wanted to gamble online, you would have to plan on a trip to a land-based casino.
Depending on where you live, this could mean a long journey and even a hotel stay. However, in 1994 the first-ever online casino was born which would eventually lead to the birth of thousands more online casinos, live casino, as well as mobile casinos.
Today online casinos are easy to find with a plethora of real money games accessible from the comfort of your own living room or while on the move via a mobile device. As long as you have a device that connects to the internet and is able to access the World Wide Web via a browser or download casino apps, you can gamble online.
However, online gambling and its conveniences can come with its downsides, which you should be aware of, and in this article, we are going to look at some of the hidden dangers involved with playing at them.
‘Our goal is to help you understand the dangers involved by pointing out some of the less obvious aspects of gambling online as opposed to giving it a bad name’
Online Casinos Versus Land-based Casinos
Land-based casinos may cost more money because the minimum bets are usually higher than online casinos, and on top of this, you have all the expenses involved with getting there and possibly a hotel stay. However, online casinos allow you unrestricted access 24 hours a day and 365 days a week with far lower stakes and tons more games than a land-based casino.
Whether you want to play blackjack, baccarat, roulette, online slots, craps, poker, or simply place a bet on your favourite sport, there is a website on the Web that can accommodate you. Moreover, accessing these games via the Web is often far more convenient than visiting a land-based casino.
On the surface, it would appear that online casinos give gamblers a much better deal than land-based casinos, but while there are many positives to online gaming, there are also a few hidden negatives.
- Being scammed
- Not being given the right tools
- Rigged games/Results Tampering
Online Casinos Can Be Lonely
Online casinos can be a lot of fun, and they can also fill a void when you are bored and need a hobby to keep you busy. There are tons of table games with different variations of each that can keep you busy. For example, you can spend hours memorising Blackjack’s basic strategy and how to apply it to different variations of the game such as 4 to 8 deck games or how to act when you have the option to surrender or split.
On top of this, slot players have thousands of different themes, titles, and features to sift through giving you hours upon hours of fun. This not to mention the fact that you can easily become engrossed in loyalty bonus deals, casino challenges, and play in multiple tournaments.
With so much fun at your fingertips, there is a downside. Online casino games can take up a fair chunk of your time playing them. While you are playing games at an online casino, you will not have time for friends and family. Plus, there is a real danger that you could start to cancel sports events or social meetings because you want to continue playing your favourite slots or because you need to bet just that little bit more to play through a bonus wagering requirement, then you could also be developing a gambling problem.
Although you could argue that live dealer games offer social interaction because they have a chat option so you can socialise with the dealer or croupier. That said, this is not the type of social interaction that you need and the real danger here is that you could end up losing your connection with friends and family or even your wife or husband.
As humans we need to maintain physical social interaction with friends and family, so try to set a limit on the time you gamble online at your casino.
- Set yourself a time limit how long you can play
- Quit gambling for a while if you find yourself cancelling sports or social events
- Always make time for family, friends, and socialising over playing casino games
- Do not use live dealer games as a replacement for real-life socialising
Online Casinos Can Lead to Overspending
There is a real danger of being able to overspend when you play at an online casino, and one of the main reasons is because online casinos make it extremely easy to make deposits. In fact, all the online casinos are doing is the exact same thing as Amazon or eBay, which is to offer fast payment solutions to their customers. This is because in today’s modern and fast-moving world of eCommerce we all want to be able to pay for goods at the snap of our fingers.
With all these super fast payment methods are our disposal, we can easily top up or deposit more cash into our casino accounts in a matter of seconds via just a few simple clicks or taps. In fact, you don’t even have to exit the game you are playing to deposit or top-up because there are in-game deposit options. This makes overspending is easy; especially when you are both chasing your losses and able to instantly deposit money into your casino account.
If you find yourself in a position where you are making bigger bets to chase a loss, topping up more than you should be, and betting way more than you can afford, then take a break. If you find that you are continuously overspending or chasing losses, then look at some of the tools in the following list to help you stop:
- Set yourself time limits using your casino’s reality check tools
- Try to use the casino’s self-exclusion tool to cool off
- Set yourself table limits to prevent yourself from increasing stakes to chase losses
- Set maximum deposit limits for the day, week, or month
Falling into a Scam
Most online casinos are fair and hold licenses from trusted licensing bodies. For example, any government or EU based casino license guarantees that the casino is safe just because the regulatory processes mean that the licensing bodies keep a constant check on the casino. However, there are other online casinos out there that appear to be legit, but they will scam you.
Maybe the casino looks legit, but it has a license from some island in the middle of nowhere. However, the games are from Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, and NetEnt so surely the casino is trustworthy? In fact, quite often this is how these casinos scam people – by using big-name gaming developers, but when it comes to paying out on big wins, they can worm their way out of it.
Often these casinos do not fall under laws or jurisdictions that make it easy to bring legal action against them. On top of this, they may just simply choose to ignore you, close your account, or make up false reasons why you will not be paid.
In order to avoid this type of situation, make sure you do your research. Check the casino is licensed in your country or by a licensing body like the MGA that covers multiple jurisdictions. Read casino reviews and check the casino’s ratings as well as any comments made by real players that have played at these casinos. Also, check social media as well as forums. If the casino is a scam, you will soon find out just by doing your own due diligence.
- Check the casino’s licensing body to make sure it is trustworthy
- Stick to casinos licensed by UKGC, MGA, or those that fall under EU laws
- Even if the casino has games from a reputable developer always check
- Read casino reviews to find out what real players say about the casino
Sometimes the Issue Is Not About the Player
One of the hardest things to do when checking an online casino is researching the tools the casino has available to help you gamble responsibly. This is especially important if you are new to online gambling because you are less likely to understand the risk of overindulgence. A responsible casino will have tools that will prevent you from overspending or overindulging, getting into debt, or picking up a gambling addiction.
Therefore, you should look to see if the casino has FAQs, help sections, game RTP info, how to play pages, strategy guides, and links to websites that offer help and information about problem gambling.
Most importantly there should be tools that allow you to:
- Set a maximum daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limit
- Set the maximum bet you can make in a single bet (setting table limits)
- Self-exclude yourself for a cooling-off period or longer
- Restrict yourself from certain games
- Reality check (track playing time/amounts bet or lost)
In the overspending section above, we already mentioned these tools as a means to help you avoid getting into debt and chasing your losses, so it is essential you make sure the casino has these available.
Rigged Games or Results Tampering at Untrustworthy Casinos
Very few online casinos can get away with rigging their games these days. Even casinos that are not well-licensed use software platforms that are linked to multiple software providers who ensure all random generators (RNGs) stick to a predefined return to player (RTP) and that they cannot be tampered with even by the casino operator.
Nevertheless, there are some casinos that use shady licensing allowing them to implement their own proprietary RNGs. These casinos may also display a certificate confirming the RNGs have been checked by a reputable company. It is true that the RNGs may well have been checked and approved, but when these tests occurred and how often they occur is another matter. The tests may have happened, but when the casino first opened and never again since.
These casinos could easily cheat you and rig game results because they take advantage of badges and seals of approval to pull the wool over your eyes. However, if you dig deeper you often find the RNG certificate is dated from months or years ago, or there is no date at all. Plus, the casino will most likely have a dodgy license in order to get away with this con.
Here are 5 top tips for avoiding rigged online casino games:
- Only use casino licensed by EU or trusted local government authorities
- Check to if the casino uses eCOGRA quarterly reporting
- Check if the casino offers IBAS as a third-party casino disputes channel
- Check for up to date iTech Labs, Testlabs, GLI, and TST certificates
- Read reviews about the casino - especially here on playcasino.com