How to Spot and Avoid Online Casino Scams

online casino scams

Online casino fraud can involve anything from manipulating the house edge to stealing personal information. Yes, it sounds super scary, but if you understand how these scams operate, they won’t be able to pull the wool over your eyes! To keep yourself safe and sound while indulging in your favorite online casino games, you just need to be armed with the knowledge of what to look out for. That’s where we come in handy: to tell you how to spot and avoid online casino scams!

safe casino

Safe Online Casinos

There aren’t many things that are better than being able to win real money through a fun activity that can be done from anywhere—you can play real money casino games from the comfort of your bed or sofa, during your commute, while waiting for a dentist appointment, or even while on hold trying to get in touch with your insurance company (that can take a while!). The possibilities are legit endless, which is why online casino games are growing in popularity worldwide every year.

The rapid expansion of these games is unmatched, and more and more countries are starting to see the online casino industry’s surging economic benefits. But this boom means there needs to be extra online security. Since there has been an explosion of new online casino sites, and the variety they offer players is amazing, it also means that there are some unscrupulous operators out there who simply fleece players of their money through nefarious tricks and scams.

With that being said, most online casinos are legit, but these are the most important casino tips to consider before choosing which online casino to frequent!

Red Flags That Scream ‘Scam’

The following are the red flags to look out for, as well as some warning signs to help you avoid losing your hard-earned money. These signs are almost impossible to spot if you don’t know what to look for and are specifically aimed at beginners who might be tempted by attractive offers that are just money hustles in disguise—wolves in sheep’s clothing. Remember that most online casino scams can (and do) look like legit casino websites.

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You Cannot Find The Return To Player (RTP) Or It Is Very Low

Casino scams are not always associated with payments and fraud—one of the most common scams is manipulating the games so that the house always wins.

The return to player (RTP) is the proportion of wagers that will be paid out to players after a specific length of time. If the house edge is 10% and the RTP is 90%, for example, the RTP is 10% minus the house edge. You can easily tell a trustworthy online casino by looking at their RTP. In addition, the site’s footer or another part of the page will have info about the appropriate gambling enforcement agency that issued its authorization.

Avoid all online gambling establishments with an RTP below 80% or those that don’t display an RTP at all. BTW, an RTP of 94% to 98% is considered average.

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Slow Download Process

Picture this: you’ve just completed an incredible run, and you’re waiting for the money to show up in your account. The wait lasts days, weeks, and even months. Even though you went through the lengthy process of verifying your account and confirming your withdrawal, the casino seems unwilling to pay.

This is a super common type of online scam— they will payout in the beginning, but payments slowly become more complicated and take longer to appear in your account, and the site will say it has to do with a conflict with the terms you accepted when you signed up.

Reading reviews and learning about other people’s experiences is an excellent way to steer clear of this. Look for sites that have multiple options and that use PayPal; this guarantees that you’re given enough options!  The fact that a company can pass PayPal’s rigorous verification process is usually a good sign that it’s legit.

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Request for Personal Data

Shady casinos will not have the proper security measures in place to protect your info, so make sure to only play at reputable online casinos that have the “https” prefix in their URLs, and do not ever provide personal information such as SSNs, IDs, or your bank details.

If any online casino, whether it is legit or shady, asks for any of your personal info that could compromise your identity, do not offer up those details under any circumstances!

Identity theft is a widespread online scam that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is imperative for gaming companies to prioritize the security of their players and implement effective protective measures.

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Bad or No Customer Support/Service

Of course, shady casinos would rather you couldn’t get in touch with them to ask about the status of the money you have invested or won duh. Reputable online casinos will have lots of ways to get in touch with customer service, including 24/7, 365 days a year customer support options—this includes being able to call, email, or chat with them directly throughout the day and the night.

If you can’t find ways to get in touch with an online casino, or if you have trouble accessing any of the contact options they advertise, this can be a serious red flag.

And if any negative reviews complain about the site’s customer service, we recommend that you don’t spend your money there.

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Incredible Bonuses That Don’t Add Up

Countless gambling establishments offer incentives for new players to join, but be super skeptical of deals that seem too good to be true–they probably are! All bonuses that demand an initial payment before you can get your hands on the money before getting the bonus are scams: full-stop.

These kinds of online scams are sophisticated and well thought out—it appears like you’ll get your bonus in the end, but the process is often deliberately lengthy and unduly complicated, and as a result, most people get frustrated and give up halfway through, which means losing their initial deposit.

Check out the sites that have special offers and bonuses that do not require a deposit. The best online casinos will have enough extra incentives to attract players and will not have to rely on any fraudulent deposit schemes to pull in players.

What to Do/How to Report Online Fraud

Among the huge number of legit casinos, there are also a startling amount of fraudulent ones. The info above will help you spot the red flags that indicate a scammy site, but if you are new to playing and realize too late that you have been scammed, then you should take the necessary steps to call them out and report them!

Unfortunately, this won’t help you get your money back, but it will help other players avoid falling prey to them too. Here’s what to do if you’ve been scammed.

  • Report the casino: It is imperative that you report the fraudulent site to the relevant authorities as soon as possible. You can do this through your country’s casino regulator. The more complaints received, the more likely an investigation will be. This is the most likely way for a scam casino to have its operator’s license revoked.
  • Expose them to others: Obviously, you don’t want other people to go through the same harmful experience as you, so it’s important that you expose these casinos to other players. If you have friends who play in online casinos, you should tell them about the site that cheated you. Connect with people on popular gambling forums and write about your experiences there. More than likely, other people will speak up after having the same experience as you. The next person who comes across these posts will probably skip the casino you were talking about.

When you are thinking about reporting a shady online casino site, you need to compile all the info you have about being scammed out of your money because these organizations will only disclose complaints about fraud that have been fully investigated and proven. In other words, have receipts!

Common Complaints About Scam Casino Sites

If you’re wondering how to get your money back after being scammed online, then we’ve got bad news for you—it ain’t gonna happen.

Unfortunately, scam companies are rather skilled at their “jobs,” so even if the website gets on a blacklist as a result of your report, don’t count on seeing your cash again. But rest assured that you can save a lot of other players from falling victim to the same shady scams and schemes.

These are some of the most common casino scams!


Payout Problems

If you are lucky enough to get lucky (sorry) with whatever your favorite casino game is, you should expect a timely payout. This process should only take a few hours, so if you find yourself waiting for a few days, it could mean your money isn’t coming.

Long payment processes and non-payment are the most common complaints about fraudulent companies. Customer service is basically non-existent in these types of scams, so players rightly get suspicious and worried when they are ignored, and many end up contacting the authorities in an attempt to blacklist the fraudulent casino.


Selection Problems

If you deposit your money into a casino, of course, you’ll want to be able to withdraw that money as well! A super common scam in an online casino is not being able to withdraw your deposit–or your winnings.

Shady or scam online casinos will frustrate customers with complicated withdrawal processes or include hidden terms and conditions preventing withdrawals. Make sure you always read the terms and conditions carefully and pay special attention to their withdrawal and payout policies. If you don’t understand what the heck you are reading, look into the online casino on review platforms or avoid them altogether.

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Rigging Games

One of the easiest ways for scam sites to cheat players is to rig the games so that the house always wins—and although this is a saying and can be true, in this instance, players never win. This can happen with any casino game, from slots to roulette to table games, and scam casinos usually have a low RTP on their games, indicating a far larger house edge than usual. Be sure you clearly see the RTP for each game. If it’s below 80%, that’s a major red flag, and you should not invest any of your money on that particular site!


Spyware and Ransomware

There are plenty of computer coders and hackers all over the world, and unfortunately, not all of them are using their skills for good—it’s the opposite in the case of scam online casinos.

Spyware and ransomware are among the most common forms of gambling scams, and their danger has risen dramatically (like bonkers numbers) over the last decade.

Spyware does exactly what you would expect it to do: Spy on your computer and steal personal info. This means your identity can be stolen, your bank account hacked, etc. A lot of people have become victims of extortion and blackmail from this type of cyber attack.

Then there’s the ransomware: This freezes your computer with unbreakable encryption. The only thing you’ll see is a little message from the scammers telling you how much money you have to pay, where you have to pay it, and how you have to pay. Once you pay the required amount, they promise a password to unlock the computer. Think of it like they have kidnapped your computer and everything that is on it.

But they don’t stop there—they just keep upping the ante and asking for more once you have paid the initial amount.

Ransomware is a serious threat, having paralyzed entire government systems in the past. There are several ways to try to avoid this type of scam—the first is by avoiding downloading casino apps and just playing games in your browser. If you want to download the app, make sure you download it from Apple or Google Play Stores or other verified download sites.

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Identity Theft

“Financial identity theft affected 47% of Americans in 2020,” says the Aite Group.

According to a report published, identity theft cases resulted in losses of $502.5 billion in 2019 and increased by 42% to $712.4 billion in 2020. Yikes!

Although only a small percentage of this amount will go through casino scammers, it still happens. Casinos that steal identities simply exist to extract as much data as possible from the people they cheat. They could use this personal info for themselves or sell it to criminals on the black market who are looking for someone else’s information to carry out their illegal activities.

This is a harder scam to spot because it can look super legit, and one of the most common ways to get your information is to block your account and ask you to upload your identity documents. 

And although this is something that legit casinos have the right to do, it’s vital that you make sure that any casino that asks you to do this has all the criteria we discuss in the following section before uploading any personal information!

How to Choose a Legit Online Casino

Of course, you are wondering if it’s safe to play at an online casino! Who wouldn’t be? As a beginner, you need to know the basics of online security and how to choose a trustworthy casino. Here are some things you should look at before you start playing real money online games.


Legit Licenses

One of the primary factors to consider when selecting a virtual casino is to make sure the facility has a gambling license. This should be easy to find on their website—if it isn’t, stop right there—this is a huge red flag.

It is important to show not only the license itself but also where the license came from, as some countries or states are stricter than others. Australia, The UK, Gibraltar, Costa Rica, Canada, and Antigua are examples of countries with strong licensing laws. If the website you are visiting is authorized in a nation other than the one in which it states it is headquartered, you should consider it to be highly suspicious.

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Customer Support

As we went over earlier, shady online casinos don’t want you to contact them. If you want to make sure that the company you choose is legit, check out their customer service options.

It’s always a good idea to try the different options offered at different times—don’t be afraid to email, call, and chat with the customer service team and verify the company at odd hours, like at 2 a.m.

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Check Out the Online Reviews

One of the absolute best things about the internet and social media is that they have provided a place where people to share their issues and experiences with businesses.

Before settling on a casino, do your research thoroughly and be sure to go through and read online gambling reviews to see how the company has treated others.


Research the Software

It is super important to find out what software the casino website is using, so make sure you know the name of the software, or at least Google it to make sure it’s a reputable software provider!


Check Blacklist

It is always a good idea to go through our casino blacklist to make sure the casino is not on there. If so, it’s best to back out of that browser window and never go back—they’re blacklisted for a reason.


We don’t want to scare you—for the most part, online casinos are legit and are a great time! But we would be remiss if we didn’t warn you that there are a number of scam online casinos out there that only exist to bilk people out of their money.

But now that you are armed with the knowledge and some tips about how to suss them out, you’ll be able to spot them—and warn others to stay away, too.

Alyssa Waller Avatar
Alyssa Waller

Alyssa contributes sportsbook/online casino reviews, but she also stays on top of any industry news, precisely that of the sports betting market. She’s been an avid sports bettor for many years and has experienced success in growing her bankroll by striking when the iron was hot. In particular, she loves betting on football and basketball at the professional and college levels.