How to Tell if an Online Casino is Legit

Our guide on how to tell if an online casino is legit and worth your time. We reveal the first things that you should look for.

Our guide on how to tell if an online casino is legit and worth your time. We reveal the first things that you should look for.

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Veterans of the online gambling community will vouch for the improvements in security across the industry in recent years.

There was a time where perhaps the biggest ‘gamble’ a person could make was depositing money at an online casino or sportsbook.

Offshore operations weren’t always secure, customer service was dubious, and withdrawing money was an involved process sometimes requiring weeks before you’d see your winnings.

The good news is that things have gotten better. Much better. With the advent of fully licensed sportsbooks and casinos readily available to U.S. customers.

How to Tell if an Online Casino is Legit

In hopes of staying competitive, the offshore community has smoothed their processes as well, allowing a positive experience for those who may not enjoy legalized gambling in their state.

But improved doesn’t mean perfect, and it pays – literally – to stay vigilant on how a casino operates. Here are some tips for ensuring your online gaming experience is legit.

Our Top Tips on How to Tell if an Online Casino is Legit

  1. Check if the casino is licensed
  2. How does your online casino accept deposits?
  3. What information does your casino ask for?
  4. Check the reviews

Now, let’s discuss the 4 tips outlined above.

1. Is the Casino Licensed?

Right now, five U.S. states permit online casino play: Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Each of these states has its own, state-operated gambling governing boards that will manage and distribute gaming licenses based on their own criteria. Obviously, a state-run program has a higher degree of supervision and regulation than an unassociated or dubious governing body located offshore.

When signing up for a new account, you’ll want to look for the seal or insignia of one of these governing bodies on the website or App. In particular, you’re looking for the:

  • Connecticut Gaming Commission
  • Michigan Gaming Control Board
  • New Jersey Casino Control Commission or Division of Gaming Enforcement
  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
  • West Virginia State Lottery

By scrolling to the bottom of the App, you’ll see a declaration that the site is “licensed and controlled” by the appropriate governing body or some words to that effect. This is typically followed by official wording stating that the site is authorized and regulated by this governing body exclusively for use by persons physically present in that particular state.

NJDGE label

Furthermore, there will be:

  • Restrictions (such as a statement that people under age 21 are ineligible)
  • License numbers (usually assigned to a parent company, or a physical location where an associated, land-based casino may be located)
  • Contact phone numbers (one for regulation and law enforcement; another for suspected gambling problems)

These details are often overlooked as ‘fine print’ but they’re one of the best ways to be sure you’re dealing with a licensed casino.

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Casinos with the ‘Wrong’ License

Now take the information above and compare to your favorite offshore casino. At first glance, things may appear to be in order – but subtle differences, such as who issues their license, make all the difference.

The tradeoff for legalized casino gambling in the five states listed above (CT, MI, NJ, PA, WV) are that all other, ‘offshore’ casinos are now deemed illegal. Whether or not they’re licensed in the host country doesn’t really matter. Your money and personal information will not be as secure, and if something goes wrong, you can forget about receiving any help from the governing bodies at home.

Caribbean island such as Curacao are especially prevalent in this area. Yes, these casinos are legitimate – in Curacao. But that won’t matter to anyone in the U.S.

2. How Do They Accept Deposits?

Here’s the good news – there is no shortage of ways to deposit money at a legitimate, licensed casino within one of these five U.S. states. Bank transfer, PayPal, debit/credit card, even good old-fashioned cash will get you up and running in no time.

However, no matter how popular or valuable it may be, no licensed U.S. casinos are accepting cryptocurrency as a means of funding your account. It’s just not happening. So if you’re offered the opportunity to deposit using Bitcoin or another form of crypto, it’s a dead giveaway you’re dealing with an unlicensed – and thus illegal – casino.

Which Casinos Accept PayPal

3. Info Required at Registration

This one may require some more thought from the player. When signing up at a new casino one of the primary priorities is being able to start playing as quickly and as easily as possible!

But you don’t want it to be TOO easy. Beware of any site that is NOT asking for at least the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Zip Code
  • Email
  • Phone Number

If they’re not asking for any of the above, the likelihood is that the casinos is not legit. You should go elsewhere.

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4. Customer Service/Flattering Reviews

If you call the casino, is your call answered promptly? Is the operator helpful and knowledgeable? Are there email or chat options provided for continuing a conversation? Is it easy to find a phone number or other contact information on the website?

Obviously, you’ll want ‘yes’ answers to each of these questions. Potential red flags include:

  • Customer service representatives who continue steering the conversation toward a “can’t miss” offer or other “too good to be true” topics
  • If your question involves withdrawing money, it becomes more difficult to get a straight answer
  • You can’t find a positive review anywhere.

If you live in Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia – congratulations. Legalized online casino gambling is right at your fingertips. So don’t get tricked or ripped off – follow these guidelines to assure you’re playing safely and legally!

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