Is Online Gambling Fair?

On January 24, 2018 by Muelo

We’re reaching the stage where it’s becoming a lot easier to trust companies that we simply don’t have any physical interaction with. We’re happy to share out bank details with companies like Amazon without ever stepping foot in a shop, meeting a representative or even speaking to a salesperson over the phone. The anxiety of weighing over money to an unknown entity is slowly fading as digital banking becomes more secure, and the scammers that made the early internet a bit like the Wild West are finding it much harder to sucker in new victims.

Despite this increased level of trust when paying for online services, some people are still cautious when it comes to online gambling. And it’s still kind of easy to see why. For many years, laying a bet was done at a bookmakers, or via an agent who may or may not have had a gleaming reputation. Especially in countries like the US, gambling has always had links to organized crime, and of course people who lay bets weren’t always totally trustable. In fact, a huge swathe of global gambling is still managed by criminal enterprises and the industry is still haunted by stories of the ‘Bad Guys’ still having their fingers in a lot of gambling pies.

In the UK, this anxiety is completely unfounded. The gambling industry is heavily regulated, with strict rules and controlled directly by the government as well as the gambling commission, set up to prevent unethical practices and criminality within the UK gambling industry, as well as protection for people who have issues with problem gambling. With a UK based gambling company, placing a bet and receiving your money on time is legally binding, and customers are fully protected in multiple ways, making laying a bet online a very safe affair. But, there’s still a lot to be done about the scammers, fraudsters and confidence tricksters that masquerade as trusted, registered online gambling businesses in order to take advantage of gamblers.

No matter how well-controlled official gambling companies are, it’s actually quite easy for a dummy site or a ‘false frontage’ that imitates a well-known brand, even down to the web address, to be set up in order to catch people out. These websites can be very convincing, even displaying working online machines and the logos of trusted payment methods. But, as soon as enough payments have been made or funds have been ‘deposited’, i.e. the scammers have bought items or transferred money using the freely-given credit card details, then the sites disappear into oblivion, leaving the scammed customer with the headache of cancelling cards and trying to claw money back, or even worse losing money completely from their debit accounts.

There’s also the fear that legitimate sites are ‘conning’ players, i.e. using underhanded tactics to get an advantage over players. Naturally, all casinos no matter if they’re online, offline, big or small will have a house edge, otherwise there would be no profit. But this is different to offering games that make it impossible for the player win anything at all. Again, this may be the case for untrusted websites that aim to scam users, but with an established, licensed and regulated online providers, games must be completely transparent and ethical.

This is done through a variety of methods, using technologies like random number generators that make winning totally random based on the odds of the machine being played. This means that these ‘virtual’ gambling machines found on websites, which many users feel are easier to ‘fix’, are actually total random, just like the cards being drawn or the roulette wheel being spun in any casino. All virtual gaming machines that operate in the UK are tested regular by the 3rd parties, with the technology verified and licensed to ensure that things like online slot machines cannot be designed to only be advantageous to the gambling provider.

If you’re feeling a little bit more convinced to try online gambling, but are worried about coming across these fake websites, there are actually a few simple ways of stopping yourself from becoming a victim. The easiest way of doing this is to only use a trusted online gambling company. This may sound simple, but gamblers can (and will) always look for the best offer, or the best odds so they can make the most money possible, and the best offer could well just be a fake site. By sticking to a provider that is a well-known, trusted name based from the UK or associated territories (i.e. Gibraltar), then the risk of being ripped off is zero.

Take Wink Bingo for example, which has developed a huge, unique community of online bingo players that can happily deposit, withdraw and chat with friends without any fear of having their details stolen or losing any money. Compare this to an offshore online bingo site that doesn’t look as professional, or doesn’t have the sheer number of users like Wink Bingo does, and it’s easy to see why using a trusted provider. They even have a free bingo option, which is quite literally risk-free. No money is deposited, so nothing can be lost (not that it’s remotely possible for this to happen over at Wink Bingo), but you can still enjoy the thrill of winning!

If you really like the look of a site that you haven’t really heard of, or haven’t used before, then you can also protect yourself easily. Just give the name of the site a quick google, and you’ll soon find out if anyone else has had problems. You can also look out for the green ‘trusted’ tick in the top left of the address bar. If this is in place, then you can take it that the site you’re using has been verified by the browser provider and therefore safe.

By just observing some simple rules when gambling online and using common sense when it comes to offers that are just too good to be true, you should be able to avoid the scammers and fraudsters out there. We’d recommend using a credit card that comes with standard fraud and payment protection, so if something does go wrong it won’t be your ‘money’ that gets lost. If you do end up getting stung, then get in touch with Action Fraud as soon as possible. They may be able to help and will help to stop others from falling for the same tricks. In reality though, the likelihood of any money being lost or being ripped off is practically non-existent if you gamble online in the UK.

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