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January 2, 2024

How To Know if an Online Casino Is Legitimate—The Complete Guide to Safe Gaming

Discerning honest casino operators from fraudulent ones is more difficult than ever, thanks to the ever-growing number of iGaming venues. Anyone with a gambling website can offer vibrant graphics and enticing campaigns, making the industry attractive to online scammers.

Choosing a trustworthy casino is crucial for your security and the quality of your gaming experience. Our guide will explain how experts evaluate online casinos and determine their legitimacy and quality. 

What Makes an Online Casino Legit?

Experienced punters may have subjective gaming preferences, but a few crucial quality markers determine whether an iGaming establishment is a worthy choice for the average player. Our experts use the following criteria while reviewing online casinos:

  1. Gaming licenses 
  2. Reputation 
  3. Payout rates
  4. Customer support

Source: Michał Parzuchowski

Most online casinos serve a wide range of players from numerous countries, but as business entities, they must have an HQ. Knowing where an online casino is based is crucial because that’s usually also where it gets its first gaming license.

These licenses matter because they’re a guarantee of regulatory oversight. They’re issued by a government agency tasked with regulating the iGaming industry.

Regulatory oversight is vital for player safety because it involves regular audits of the casino software and the casino operator’s business practices. The resulting online gambling license is a seal of approval from the local legal authorities.

Gaming licenses from countries where the iGaming industry is more developed are de facto recognized by players worldwide. Since plenty of online casinos are registered in Malta, a license from the Malta Gaming Authority is typically a sign of legitimacy. 

Here’s a list of the most trustworthy international gaming authorities: 

Gaming licenses are the most important credentials for any online casino and a guarantee of quality for players. You should never play at an unlicensed casino or a venue that doesn’t prominently display its license on its website.

How Legit Are Online Casinos in Canada?

There are plenty of legitimate and legal iGaming establishments in Canada, but numerous scammers also impersonate real iGaming venues to scam punters out of their money. 

The legality of online casinos in Canada is a complex legal issue. On the federal level, online gaming is illegal, but playing at online casinos isn’t.  

Source: Jason Hafso

Recent changes to Canada’s gaming laws have allowed provinces to regulate their iGaming markets as the local authorities see fit, paving the way for numerous provincial gaming regulators in the absence of a single national one. 

Two provincial gaming authorities currently issue licenses to virtual gaming venues:

  1. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
  2. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC)

A license from these government agencies from Quebec and Ontario confirms that a casino has passed all the necessary background checks and audits, ensuring a fair gaming environment and the use of honest business practices. 

To verify whether an online casino has a gaming license from Canadian or other relevant regulators, check its website. The information is usually displayed on the About Us page or an easily visible spot on the homepage. 

How To Tell if an Online Casino Is Legit by Its Reputation

While gaming licenses are the lynchpin of any online casino’s reputation, there are other non-government credentials that most legitimate establishments have—such as industry awards and certificates from third-party auditors.

If you want to avoid online casinos that cheat, it’s best to play at establishments whose reputation has been cemented by third-party auditors. These auditing agencies have decades of experience in examining iGaming websites, and they know precisely what to look for to determine a venue’s legitimacy. 

Different auditors specialize in checking various aspects of a casino business, but most of them examine factors like: 

  • Integrity of the casino software
  • Venue’s cybersecurity
  • Withdrawal process

Shady casinos may tamper with their software to create unfavourable odds, and legitimate but lacklustre operators can have potentially devastating cybersecurity issues. Some fraudulent venues prolong the withdrawal process to ridiculous lengths or indefinitely, so players never manage to cash out their winnings. 

Source: Jack Hamilton

If a casino has been certified by a respectable auditor, they’ll usually display the certificate close to the gaming license. Here are some of the most trustworthy auditing companies for online casinos:

Government agencies that issue gaming licenses also sometimes rely on third-party audits for more in-depth analyses, especially in smaller jurisdictions whose gaming regulators don’t have enough manpower to check hundreds of casinos in detail. 

Customer Support and Casino Legitimacy

A responsive, high-quality support team is another telltale sign of a legitimate online casino. Regardless of how well-organized the venue is, player questions or issues are bound to come up from time to time—which is why successful casinos that want to remain competitive invest in an agile support system. 

If an online casino isn’t easily reachable via phone, email, or live chat, consider other establishments—even if it’s legitimate, it probably isn’t worth your time or money. While an exhaustive Frequently Asked Questions section isn’t a necessity, it’s certainly a plus.

Top 10 Legitimate Online Casinos

Plenty of online casinos fit the legitimacy criteria outlined above, but you may not have the time or the inclination to check each establishment. If you want to find a trustworthy venue quickly, check out the following legitimate casinos. You can follow the links for in-depth reviews.

CasinoLicensesGateway
SpinAwayAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Curaçao Gaming Control Board (CGC)
Visit the casino!
PartyCasinoAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC)
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Visit the casino!
PokerStars CasinoUK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Visit the casino!
SpinzMalta Gaming Authority (MGA)Visit the casino!
KnightslotsMalta Gaming Authority (MGA)
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) 
Visit the casino!
CaxinoAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
Visit the casino!
NorthStar BetsAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)Visit the casino!
888 CasinoUK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) 
Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner (GGC)
Visit the casino!
DraftKings CasinoAlcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)Visit the casino!
PlayOJOMalta Gambling Authority (MGA)
Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)
Visit the casino!

While all these are legitimate and legal establishments, feel free to explore further and discover new and exciting venues yourself—as long as you do your due diligence and ensure the casino is a legitimate one before depositing funds or disclosing personal details. 

Featured image source: GregMontani

Teemu Salminen

Teemu is our go-to pro for Payments and Regulations. He's got the savvy to navigate casino finance.

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