The rumors of online casino scams, like everything else on the internet, are greatly exaggerated. Do they, however, exist?
They do, indeed. We’ve identified a number of online casino scams, scandals, and dirty tricks that should keep everyone on their toes. We’ve also discovered scam methods, including how they work and how you can protect yourself, which could save us money and time.
Some began in the real world, and the danger of Las Vegas casino scams is that the perpetrators have had more guards and protections arrayed. Scammers believe that if it works in Vegas, it can work anywhere.
This blog covers all of the real-world scams as well as those born in the Internet Age. Even better, we’ll give you some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your computer, and your bank account. Being forewarned is being forearmed.
If you’re unsure about an online casino, check our blacklisted casino’s list to ensure it hasn’t already been identified as a shady operation.
Theft of Online Casino Deposits
There is always the possibility of deception and theft when money is involved. These are usually associated with deposits in the online casino jungle, particularly first deposits.
The “online casino” behind this scam isn’t interested in building a long-term relationship with you. It’s more like a mugging, and the casinos will almost certainly cease to exist once your money has been taken.
This theft was a major scandal in the early days of online gambling, roughly the 1990s, and early 2000s. It is also the type of scam that does not necessitate a significant investment of time or money on the part of the scammers.
Longer versions of the deposit theft game necessitate the use of an actual operating casino. Customers are encouraged to make small deposits. They continue to play, steadily losing money until they are eventually offered ridiculously large “reload” bonuses to make a substantial deposit.
The results are the same, except that these online casinos delay or confiscate your winnings for fictitious reasons instead of disappearing.
Nonpayment of Legal Winnings
Not everyone is eligible to be on the list of the fastest paying online casinos. Some may even try to avoid paying you at all.
This is a more intermittent, long-term scam that is frequently used in conjunction with deposit theft. Denying a player access to their legitimate winnings on the flimsiest of grounds is heinous, but it can be worked into a long-term swindle with patience.
You make your deposit, play for a while, and then either through a series of small but exciting wins—or a large Grand Prize win—you suddenly have more money in your account than you need for gaming, so you choose to withdraw some of your winnings.
However, the withdrawal process is terminated prematurely because the casino refuses to process your withdrawal. You may be given an excuse, which may be flimsy or false (such as accusing you of deception), but regardless of the excuse, you cannot access your winnings while the online casino can.
There are legitimate reasons why an online casino might refuse to pay out on a legitimate win. For example, your winnings could be linked to sign-up or reload bonus funds for which you have yet to meet the playthrough requirements.
Scams in Online Casino Bonuses
Online casinos don’t have Lady Gaga or even 99-cent shrimp cocktails to entice you to play. They do, however, offer deposit bonuses.
All online casinos, legitimate or otherwise, now offer sign-up bonuses, and the majority also offer to redeposit bonuses. These bonuses must be earned, which means you must wager a certain amount to gain access to them.
The sheer too-good-to-be-true quality of the prize itself distinguishes a legitimate deposit bonus from a likely scam.
A legitimate online casino may offer to match your initial deposit with a bonus of 100% but then require you to wager the equivalent of 30x your initial deposit (referred to as “rollover”) to earn that bonus. This is typical.
Some online casino scams will wait until you lose most of your initial deposit before offering you a massive reload bonus. How does a 400% bonus sound to you? Enticing? Naturally, it is. Never mind the 70x rollover—or the $500 minimum deposit.
By the way, the rollover to earn that $2000 bonus is a $35,000 playthrough.
Personal or Banking Information Theft
While your mother loves you, the rest of the world only knows you through your social information: your name, personal statistics (age, hair color, etc.), and a history of your social activities, particularly those involving money.
A scammer with your name, social security number, and some information from one of your credit cards can effectively destroy your life, clearing out bank accounts, running up lines of credit, and wreaking havoc on that credit rating you worked so hard to build.
Do you want to buy a house? You can disregard that. You should never get another credit card. That is called identity theft.
Stealing your deposit or even refusing to pay your winnings appears minor compared to the devastation that identity theft can cause.
And shady online casinos are perfectly poised to capitalize on this surge in ID theft. After all, they are already criminals. Why not expand their “services” to include identity theft?
Once it has your personal information (you do remember providing it when you signed up, right? ), the online casino can either use it or sell it to a third party, giving up some of that sweet stolen money while erasing (or at least masking) evidence of its thievery.
Malware Must Be Avoided
When you’re the victim of an online casino that injects malware into your system, it’s not always better to give than to receive.
Malware, ranging from simple viruses and trojans to backdoors and spyware that tracks everything you do on your computer, is a very real threat that is not limited to online casinos.
There are almost as many malware delivery systems as there are malware types. For example, malicious code could be embedded in that slot app you downloaded to your iPhone, or that email with the attachment you read yesterday could have opened a backdoor to your computer.
Malware comes in many forms, but they all fall into a few broad categories.
Scams Using Phishing
These emails notify you of fictitious issues with your bank or credit card account. They will frequently use genuine bank logos and even verbiage to convince you of their legitimacy.
They’ll usually provide a link where you can “correct your problem.” “Don’t go there,” as they say in movies.
Ransomware is perhaps the most deserving of our dread. Your computer is infected with a malicious program. It activates at the appropriate time, typically freezing all other computer operations.
It holds your files and apps hostage while threatening to delete or otherwise destroy all data on the machine (or even every machine on your network) if the ransom demands are unmet.
Backdoors are the most common type of malware. Backdoors are simply secret or hidden pathways for outsiders to enter your laptop’s or smartphone’s private domain.
Keyloggers—software that tracks every keystroke, including passwords—can be installed to harvest confidential personal information.
Malware is widespread online, not just in the online casino industry. Still, I include it as a threat from Internet casino scammers because you’re far more likely to get spyware from a site that already has software on your computer than from a site with which you’ve never done business.
Fake Casino Apps
Legitimate online gambling sites provide a proprietary app to play games or use sports and racebooks. These are reliable.
However, many malicious casino apps are available from Apple and Google’s app stores, often masquerading as legitimate ones.
These apps are generally easy to identify because the reviews are filled with one or two-word reviews such as “SCAM!” and “Don’t download!”
Casino Games That Are Rigged
These casino swindles are not hidden. The online casino’s appallingly unfair payout schedule may be buried somewhere in their site map, and you may even find it if you are diligent and persistent.
That is part of the issue. One of the most difficult aspects of identifying rigged games at online casinos is determining them and then proving them.
We’re all aware that the house has an advantage (and if you aren’t, perhaps gambling isn’t for you). We accept it because we believe we can win regardless. Hey, we’re all human.
And variance—the difference between house advantage and lucky streak—says we have a chance, which is all we want.
There are as many ways to rig an online game as there are games. Here are a few of the most common.
Rigging can be quite subtle. The near-miss is a method of encouraging players to keep playing despite consistently losing. On a slot machine, the winning combination—flaming sevens—consists of the first two flaming sevens in the winning position (centerline) and the third slightly above or below the centerline.
You shake your head and press the spin button again, saying, “So close.” The Nevada Gaming Commission has admitted that, while near-miss situations on slot machines may appear deceptive, they are far too common to be prohibited.
They do, however, prohibit “secondary decision” spins that falsely suggest a win is just a nudge away.
If you were in the online gambling world in the early 2000s, you probably heard about the insider collusion scandal that rocked the world of online poker.
Absolute Poker’s eventual insolvency is easily accessible information. Still, the short version is as follows: Employees of an online poker room conspired to cheat players during a tournament in 2007, with one employee playing and the other feeding him information about his competitors’ cards.
Excapsa employees had installed unauthorized software routines that revealed their opponents’ hole cards during each game.
Manipulation of the RNG
Shady online casinos steal money from their customers by manipulating the random-number generators that determine the outcomes of every card dealt, the wheel spun, and the keno number hit.
To generate the results for each game, online casinos use random number generators—or, more precisely, pseudorandom number generators.
Check out this fascinating article if you’re curious about the distinction between pseudorandom and actual random number generation. The short version is that PRNGs are very efficient and reliable for both online and offline gambling devices.
However, when everything takes place behind the anonymizing curtain of the Internet, RNG can be easily manipulated.
In fact, we’ve already looked at and identified them.
Which Online Casino Scam Is the Worst?
I know what you’re thinking. What could possibly be scarier than the horror stories you’ve already told me? The short answer is that the worst online casino scams are the ones you fell for.
And I concur. You have my condolences.
So, to avoid becoming just another virtual chalk outline in the internet’s ongoing war against online casino scams, keep the following in mind: Despite the apparent ease with which you can part with your money, winnings, and even your identity, these online casino scammers are extremely simple to detect.
So, my final response to your question is simple.
This is how to counter coordinated attempts to steal money and information. It can ensure that you are not dealing with online casinos that lose track of your money due to laziness or mismanagement.
Legitimate online casinos have spent a lot of money just to get certified and licensed to operate in your state, province, or country.
And why is this significant? Because certification and licensing imply that the online casino must adhere to specific gaming regulations in your state, province, or country.