The global online casino industry is fast growing towards a mighty valuation of $100 billion. It’s achieved this over only around two and a half decades too. In that time, online casinos have changed dramatically. From their Wild West beginnings that were full of scams and shady sites, the industry is now fully-regulated in many parts of the world.
That said, there do still exist plenty of unregulated casinos. In this article, we question whether playing at such iGaming venues is safe and consider the risks. Although there might be plenty of other options, there are some compelling reasons to play at unregulated casinos – sometimes, necessity being one of them.
Unregulated Casinos Might Be Safe…
The first thing we need to establish is that although all regulated online casinos should be safe, not all unregulated ones will be scams or offer you anything but a great online gambling experience. Ultimately, a casino really doesn’t have to scam you since all its games are built in its favour anyway. Building a scam site has very little longevity as it’s finished once trust dissolves. Meanwhile, building a fair site can pay many years into the future.
That said, there have certainly been plenty of examples over the years of scam casinos and they’ve almost always been unregulated. However, there exist many perfectly legitimate gaming sites that do not have regulatory approval from any gambling agency. That doesn’t mean we recommend new players go out there looking for them though!
Recent innovations in payments and data storage technology, namely blockchain, have created a new breed of online casino. The blockchain casino or cryptocurrency casino always features payments in some form of digital currency and may or may not be built on a blockchain itself. Building casino games on blockchains allows for interesting and potentially industry-shifting features – such as provably fair gambling.
Being so radically new, most crypto and blockchain casinos remain completely unregulated. The cryptocurrency industry continues to fly largely under the purvey of financial regulators and so too do its casinos. Although there are undoubtedly shady sites out there, there is a hard core of enthusiasts committed to bringing cryptocurrency applications to the mainstream. This creates a powerful incentive to offer a service better than the best non-crypto casinos – which are all audited by the best firms in the world and fully regulated. Many crypto casinos are well on their way to competing.
Why Take the Risk?
If you live in one of the countries where gambling is fairly regulated, like the UK for example, there is no real need to take the risk on an unregulated online casino. The UK has more high-quality online casinos and sportsbooks than just about anywhere. There is no shortage of welcome bonuses to play through and new venues open all the time. Having a licence with the UK Gambling Commission is high praise indeed and every casino operating in the UK needs one.
Of course, if you live somewhere where gambling is not locally regulated or perhaps is outlawed entirely, your only option might be an unregulated casino.
Staying Safe at Unregulated Casinos
Disclaimer. The above should probably say, “Staying as Safe as Possible”. Unless you’re committed to using a cryptocurrency casino or some other cutting-edge gambling platform that’s escaped the gaze of global regulators, if you have a regulated option, that’s always going to be a safer bet.
However, when needs must. Here are some things to look out for to decide on a “safe” unregulated casino to play at:
No Horror Stories
They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. However, that’s really not true in the online casino industry. The very first thing you should do after learning of a new online gambling venue that you’re considering joining is to search for the name online. Don’t just search “FakeName Casino” either. Instead, add “Reddit” or “Forum” after it. Online forums tend to be a much better barometer of trustworthiness as they represent the views of sometimes thousands of individuals. The venue’s own branding is somewhat biased.
When you search for the names of some casinos, you’ll find instant red flags. Posts with “SCAM!” and “AVOID” are dead giveaways. However, the absence of such overt bad reviews doesn’t mean you should rush in and deposit. You should always treat unregulated casinos with caution. The safest bet when playing at an unregulated casino is to go with household names which have no negative reviews.
Works with Reputable Names
If you’ve never heard of any of the game providers working with the casino that you’re considering depositing with, don’t let that put you off immediately. Most of the biggest names in the industry only provide their titles to regulated casinos.
However, you should do a bit of research into the companies providing games for the venue. After you register for an account but before depositing any cash with the company, check out the games on offer. Find the developers of a few of them and search their names. If they’re an established company, this is a good sign that you’re considering a fair but unregulated casino.
If a casino is quite forthcoming with information about itself and the information it provides checks out, this is another good sign. Look for the company’s actual name, references to parent companies, and team members. Search around online and see what you can find out about the individuals and entities. While completely unregulated casinos are unlikely to have large sections of their websites dedicated to their team, there might be one or two clues around that can give you a better picture of who you’re dealing with.
Try to Play Regulated!
Even if you don’t happen to live in a part of the world with great regulated access to online gambling, that doesn’t actually mean you need to play at an unregulated casino. Many regulated platforms offer their services to players worldwide. This allows those living in nations with scant access to online gambling to play at many of the industry’s best casinos. Just because a casino isn’t regulated in your country, doesn’t mean it’s not regulated at all!