While cases of fraud and theft are rare, it's still entirely possible for a casino to be hacked. Criminal gangs have used DDoS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks on casinos in the past, as well as many other online institutions that deal with money. Gangs then demand a ransom from the operators so that the attack can stop.
Online casinos being attacked are rare, but providers need to be aware of the threat and protect themselves.
If you want to stay safe, always look for the security certificates on the casino homepage (you'll see them at the bottom of the screen). These are provided by operators like Thawte who issue SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates to the casinos. SSL means transactions and personal details are protected behind encryption and out of the reaches of hackers.
Looking for a reliable SSL provider is just the start of your hunt for a secure casino site. Let's take a look at some of the most common features of casino online security programs.
Every player who registers an account with an online casino will need to log their personal details with the site and protect them with a password.
Additional security questions and answers will then be submitted to create an extra layer of protection should their password ever become compromised. Essentially, this is the first line of defence between a player and any threat to the security of their money when gambling online.
It's important to make your username and password totally unique and hard to crack. Consider changing your password regularly and don't keep similar passwords across all your online accounts.
If you're making a first real money deposit you may be asked to provide further ID verification. This protects against unlawful or under-age deposits. Usually, ID verification involves emailing a scan or copy of your driving licence or passport to the casino. Once verified, you can continue with your real cash gambling.
It's not just your money's that at risk when you play. Every casino game is governed by an RNG (Random Number Generator). This RNG is triggered whenever you hit the 'Spin' button on an online slot or 'Deal' button in a game of blackjack.
The RNG decides which set of numbers will be pulled out first. These then correspond to a stop on the slots reels or a dealt card in a blackjack hand.
RNGs are as random as a human shuffling a deck of cards or dropping a ball into a spinning roulette wheel. But they must be truly random, and there's where testers come in.
Independent auditors like eCOGRA and TST provide tests of software to ensure it is totally fair. Most casinos are audited regularly and will display their certificates on-site. Most certificates not only display the authenticity of the RNGs but also list the site's RTP percentages. RTPs (Return to Player percentages) are the average long-term returns paid out to players by casinos. These can vary from site to site, and game to game. If the RTPs are hugely unfair to players, games will be flagged up.
Auditors also test games before they reach the casinos. New slots and table games must be audited before they even leave the developer's factory floor.
Read more on the leading testing bodies:
eCOGRA (http://www.ecogra.org): eCOGRA is an accredited testing body that is approved by many gaming jurisdictions around the world. They perform tests on RNGs and RTPs for 80 major casinos and software providers. They also test security measures and payouts.
TST (http://www.tstglobal.com): TST (Technical Systems Testing) has been offering gaming tests to the industry since 1993. They evaluate RNGs, test game payouts, and provide reports for live dealer games and sportsbooks. They also audit entire poker sites for fairness and provide full security tests for gaming sites.
To operate online, casinos must have licenses from a gaming jurisdiction. There are a dozen or so jurisdictions around the world that regulate and license online gambling.
The requirements of a gaming license insist on players' bankroll money being kept in a separate account, or 'segregated fund', away from the rest of players' money. That means there is always enough money to pay back out to players. No winnings are ever made up of other players' bankrolls.
Licensing jurisdictions will also approve independent auditors for use at casino online sites. Casinos must have measures in place to protect players' details and accounts.
Every casino online that you play at will automatically set a series of restrictions on the amount of money you can deposit or withdraw within a set period of time. While these limits may be adjusted over time, their initial purpose is to protect the players (both from hackers who have acquired their card details and themselves should problem gambling be an issue) and also to ensure that the operators don't fall victim to credit card fraud.
As a player's card details are stored with the online casino, imposing these limits ensures that if the worst comes to the worst and hackers do somehow gain access to your account, it would be impossible for them to clear out your entire bankroll in one transaction.
There are hundreds of reputable casinos operating online in 2017. The software is reliable, the payouts accurate, and payments made on time. But always stick to our checklist before you sign on the virtual dotted line:
Change your password regularly: Keep your username and password difficult to crack. Make sure to change your passwords regularly.
Clear your winnings out: If you're worried about your account being hacked, consider clearing the Cashier every week or month.
Never store passwords on a public machine: Never cache your passwords and watch out for cookies. Keep a list of passwords on a secure drive where you can access them easily.
Only trust top-rated casinos: Our list of the best online casinos have great records on payouts, software, and security. All of our recommended casinos have proper SSL security in place and keep players' funds in segregated accounts.
Listen to other players' concerns: Some casinos have a track record of slow payouts, unhelpful customer support teams, or suspicious software. If a casino has been blacklisted for consistent problems with its operation, it's time to look elsewhere
Casino online sites can be blacklisted for all sorts of reasons: inaccurate withdrawal amounts, slow payments, or welcome bonus offers aren't honoured. Perhaps the software freezes or the spins on that new slot look suspiciously un-random.
Do your homework and avoid blacklisted casinos for the best experience possible. And always check the homepage for:
At CasinoOnline.co.uk, we only list reputable casino sites for UK-based customers. Gamble safe and avoid the worst casinos out there.