The safety of both online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos is ensured largely by the principles of the free market and regulatory government agencies. The ideas in this article apply to both types of casinos (live and online), but we’ll be talking specifically about online casinos for now.
Online casinos require a certain degree of trust because you are essentially sending your money overseas to a company that you have no physical contact with. This can be somewhat off-putting to people because it feels like there are no protections. But if you think about it, it doesn’t matter whether you gamble online or at a live casino: you still have to have faith that you are getting a fair game.
The free market is a powerful agent in keeping online casinos safe because competition makes it easy for people to simply switch to new casinos. In today’s age of instant communication, word gets out quickly if online casinos do not treat their customers well. If a casino develops a bad reputation on the internet, word will get around and people will stop playing there. Eventually that casino will go out of business.
The free market is not a perfect system, though. The barriers of entry to the online casino industry are relatively low, so anyone with enough cash can open their own online casino. This has led to instances of rogue casinos that do not play by the rules. These casinos rarely last for long, but they do manage to catch a few unwitting players before the casino is either shut down, goes out of business or starts up again under a different name.
To help counter that problem, several countries have set up regulatory agencies to monitor the online casino world. These gaming commissions act similar to the Nevada Gaming Commission in that they issue licenses to casino operators, monitor all casinos in their jurisdiction and resolve disputes between players and casinos.
The UK, for example, set up the Gambling Commission in 2005 monitor commercial gambling for both live casinos and online casinos. This is one of the most respected organizations because it is operated by a highly functional government and keeps a c lose eye on all casino operators. This gambling oversight committee plus the free market principles described above helps keep the online casino industry safe.
Gambling sites such as Bet365.com are highly respected because they are regulated by such agencies and have longstanding track records for safe games and prompt payments to winners. Sites such as these are required to meet minimum standards of operation that guarantee these casinos will not simply close shop and disappear one night.
There are similar regulatory agencies in other countries as well. Here’s a list of gambling commissions around the world:
- United Kingdom: Gambling Commission
- Gibraltar: Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
- Malta: Lotteries and Gaming Authority
- Australia: Each state has a separate gambling authority
- Antigua & Barbuda: Directorate of Offshore Gaming
- Canada (Mohawk Territory): Kahnawake Gaming Commission
- Curacao: Curacao eGaming Licensing Authority
- Isle of Man: Gambling Supervision Commission
Are these Commissions Effective?
Some of these commissions are definitely more effective than others. Even with a commission in effect, there’s no way to force everyone to play by the rules at all times. I would say that the most effective commissions are the UK’s Gambling Commission and the Isle of Man’s Gambling Supervision Commission.
The commissions based out of small island-nations are better than nothing, but they have had problems with enforcement in the past. However, it’s still much safer to play at a site that has the approval of some commission than a site that has no license anywhere.
In the end, finding a safe gambling site comes down to doing your research, listening to the advice of people you trust and taking it slow. This is where the free market comes into play. Over time, casinos build (and destroy) reputations by their actions. All it takes is a couple of quick Google searches to see what kinds of experiences other people have had with any particular gambling site.
A combination of free market principles, the influence of gambling governing bodies and your own research will help you stay safe 99.9% of the time. If you’re ever unsure of a casino, don’t deposit $10,000 right off the bat. Ease your way into it and build trust with that company. And please, no matter where you play, always play with money that you can afford to lose.
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