Gambling was one of the first industries to tap into the borderless power of the internet. and online casinos have been around since the late 1990s. While bans and other legal hurdles have been a barrier to online gambling’s otherwise rapid advancement around the world, it has consistently surmounted these challenges and continued to grow in popularity. 

But the features that make online casinos convenient are what makes some players worried – top on the list is how to establish the legitimacy of an online casino. As with any industry, there are good and bad actors. We take a look at how players can identify a legitimate platform and steer clear from the dubious ones.

Criteria for Legitimacy

Licensing and Regulation

Licensing is the cornerstone of any legitimate business and online casinos are no exception. A legitimate online casino should be licensed and regulated by a reputable body. Since online casinos are prohibited in many countries, it usually means looking further afield for a credible regulator. 

The best offshore online casinos are licensed by bodies such as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority. To obtain and maintain their license, the casino must abide by stringent standards in accountability, transparency, fair play and consumer protection.

Fair Play and Software Integrity

The online casino must not simply state its commitment to fair play – it must set up the infrastructure, controls and procedures to make that happen. At the minimum, it must utilize Random Number Generator (RNG) technology to guarantee the unpredictability of outcomes and therefore prevent game manipulation.

Further, the casino should enlist a third party to regularly audit the business. While a conventional audit firm could do the job, the best casinos also opt in to gambling-specialized governance and audit specialists such as eCOGRA. eCOGRA performs an independent assessment to verify the integrity of the platform and games.

Security Measures

Any online platform where financial transactions occur requires world-class cybersecurity and defense in depth. Online casinos should protect player’s personally identifiable information and transaction data by implementing SSL protection. SSL encrypts data exchanged between the player’s browser and the casino’s platform thus preventing criminals from intercepting and reading the data. 

SSL should be a part of a broader cybersecurity protocol encompassing anti-malware software, firewalls, access control, complex passwords and multi-factor authentication. 

Customer Support and Transparency

Customer support is often not considered a significant factor in identifying a legit casino, but it is one of the most important pointers of a suspect operation. Good online casinos have transparent usage policies and responsive customer support that is always ready to act on customer concerns. They are accessible on channels including live chat, email, phone and help desk tickets. 

Red Flags and Warning Signs

Lack of License Information

The absence or ambiguity of an online casino’s licensing information is a sign of ill intent. Reputable casinos will go out of their way to display their licensing credentials (usually in the footer of the website) allowing players to independently counter check the information directly with the issuing authority. 

Poor Reviews and Complaints

What better way to know that a casino is no good than through the experiences of other players? While there will always be some dissatisfied users, what should be cause for worry is a negative sentiment among the majority of reviews on trustworthy review platforms.

Unrealistic Bonuses and Promotions

Things that are too good to be true often turn out to be scams. Lucrative bonuses and promotions are a widely used tactic by fraudsters keen on luring unsuspecting users to their ruin. Remember, an online casino is a business and so should offer bonuses that do not jeopardize its own financial stability. 

Even when the bonus is real, the terms and conditions could create unachievable barriers to meeting wagering requirements and withdrawing winnings.

Payment Issues

Fraudulent casinos make it easy for you to deposit money but near impossible to withdraw winnings. The hurdles could be in the form of allowing withdrawal of only a fraction of winnings, inordinate delays, unexplained deductions or in the worst case, completely blocking withdrawal.  

How to Verify an Online Casino's Legitimacy

Checking Licensing Information

Confirm that the casino’s licensing is in order by:

  • Reading through the licensing information and note down the license number. Look for anything that seems off.
  • Visiting the issuing authority and verify that the license number and casino match what is in their records. Many licensing authorities have a public register of licensed operators.
  • Check that the issuing authority is a reputable, internationally-recognized body.

Reading Independent Reviews

Run a search query of the casino’s name and “review” on Google and check out the results from major review sites and forums. Just looking at the first 10 or so Google search results should paint a picture on whether or not the casino is legit. Reading through the feedback on gambling review sites is likely to affirm that prevailing sentiment.

Testing Customer Support

Contact customer support to test out their responsiveness, helpfulness, knowledge and overall professionalism. At different times, reach out through the available support channels such as live chat and email. Most times, it will be apparent fairly early whether this is customer-focused or not.

Understanding Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions (T&Cs) are where many criminal casinos work to conceal their nefarious ambitions behind walls of legalese. Legit T&Cs should not be long winded, complex or with a lot of provisions that make gameplay unfair for users. Instead, they should be clear, concise and accessible.

Benefits of Playing at Legit Online Casinos

Safety and Security

Legit online casinos keep players’ personal and financial information safe and secure from unauthorized access and disclosure. By adopting robust cybersecurity measures, the casino creates a conducive environment where users can fully focus on gameplay. 

Enjoyable Gaming Experience

Where a casino consistently enforces fair play across its platforms, players can rest in the confidence that none of their favorite games are a scam.

Peace of Mind

Gambling may be a recreational activity but a substantial amount of money, time, thought and emotion goes into each game session. Playing on legit online casinos means users have peace of mind that their effort will not go down the drain when it's eventually time to withdraw their hard-earned winnings. They know their money will be paid out promptly without any unpleasant surprises.


The internet is a minefield and not every online casino is what it presents itself to be. While there are numerous legitimate casinos, one cannot ignore the existence of bad actors in the industry. Checking the legitimacy of a casino before sinking your money and time into it is vital. 

In particular, pay attention to the online casino’s licensing, cybersecurity, customer support, withdrawal process, user reviews and T&Cs. With that, you can make an informed decision over whether the casino is legit. Choosing the right casino ultimately protects you from financial loss and saves you from the uncertainty of playing on a platform whose real intentions are criminal and/or unethical.

About the author 

Peter Clayton

Peter is one of Indivisible Gaming's developers and has been working with us since 2015. When he isn't busy working on an upcoming game, he loves writing about all the games that he has played and tested. His experience in the industry is second to none, and we are grateful to have him on our team.