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The Basics of Verifying a Safe and Fair Online Casino

28 November 2009 by Devon Chappell

How do you really know that an online casino’s games are fair and that you are not being blindly stolen from? For that matter, how do you really know a brick ‘n mortar casino is on the straight and narrow? Well, I suppose nobody really can know 100% for sure they are getting the fairest hand possible. The number of “skeptic” questions and conspiracy theories, is – theoretically – endless.

Who’s to say casino management hasn’t changed out the source code chip in the specific machine you  are playing, and in reality, is only paying off 10 percent? Who’s to say the source code of an online casino doesn’t get manipulated after having received a fairness accreditation from a third party testing house, or that fake players or employees are not given “accounts with special benefits” generating higher than average payouts so that overall payouts are balanced out come audit time?

Sounds bleak doesn’t it? Well, although these are legitimate questions (questions you should be asking yourself, mind you), there are legitimate answers that should ease any doubts of players thinking that they might be getting an unfair hand. Here is the minimum of what to look for when searching for a safe online casino to play at.

Software: While software can be altered after it has been licensed to online casino operators, there are certain gambling jurisdictions that do not allow for RNG manipulation. Just as there are tamper-proof mechanisms that land-based casino auditors use to tell if a brick ‘n mortar casino has altered software source code on a slot machine, online auditors and testing houses can identify the same. Go with a third party accredited software platform to ensure you are getting the fairest odds possible. Respected third party auditors include Technical Systems Testing (TST), Certified Fair Gambling (CFG), Price Waterhouse Coopers, Gaming Associates and BMM International.

Regulation/Licensing: To ensure that an online casino is being properly regulated, it is important that it is licensed by a reputable, accredited gaming jurisdiction. Costa Rica is NOT a reputable gaming jurisdiction. England, Gibraltar, Alderney, Isle of Man, Kahnawake, Curacao (Netherlands, Antilles) and Malta are.

Payout Percentages: Many online casinos, such as eCOGRA certified online casinos, will publish payout percentages for the previous month on their website. These should be prepared by third party auditors, such as those mentioned above. Payout percentages confirm the amount of money paid out in relation to the amount of wagers made. Anything under 90% is totally unacceptable, although the more competitive number is around 96%. If an online casino using a fairness accredited software platform does not publish payout reports on their website, contact their customer support center to receive last month’s copy. If they will not supply it to you, think twice before playing there.

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