Are Online Casinos Rigged or Legit?

Are Online Casinos Rigged or Legit? Header Image

Legitimate online casinos are not rigged. Casino games are designed with a built-in house edge, which is how both retail and online casinos make their money. There is no reason for reputable online casinos to risk their operating license by rigging games or engaging in illegal activity.

Unfortunately, this logic only applies to regulated and trustworthy online casinos. Some unregulated casino sites do rig games or use unethical practices to make more money off of casual players who are unaware they are being scammed. On this page, we'll go over how to find a legit online casino, how nefarious casinos rig their games, and what warning signs you can look out for.

The Truth About Online Casino Legitimacy

How to Ensure an Online Casino is Legit

When it comes to identifying trustworthy online casinos, the best thing that you can do is stick to playing at regulated sites in legal states. Checking for an official gambling license and verifying a site's solid reputation through research can also be useful tools for finding legit online casinos.

READ MORE: Best Online Casinos for Beginners

Regulated Online Casinos vs. Unregulated Offshore Casinos

Regulated Online Casinos

The most secure online casinos in the United States are the ones that are state-regulated and operating in one of the seven states that has legalized online gaming. Each of these states has strict regulations in place to protect players. All of the online casinos approved for a license in these states adhere to these regulations and have been independently audited for game fairness and player security. This list of legitimate online casinos includes:

Unregulated Offshore Casinos

Are all offshore online casinos rigged? No. Some offer fair casino games on a secure platform. But on the other hand, there are also plenty of online gambling casinos reviewed that do rig their games or cheat players out of their winnings. The biggest issue with playing at an unregulated offshore online casino site is that you can't know for sure, and you don't have any legal recourse if something goes wrong. Positive reviews and international gambling licenses may decrease the likelihood that an online casino is rigged, but there is always an element of risk involved when using an unregulated site.

Verify Gambling Licenses

You can also check if the online casino has an official gambling license. It does not necessarily mean the online casino is rigged if it lacks a gambling license, but the odds of it being fair are greatly reduced. In order to ensure that you are playing in a safe casino, casinos must be checked by regulators before being granted licenses.

Do Your Research

Before you register with an online casino, make sure it is reputable by conducting some research. You can learn more about the website or application by reading reviews from independent, reputable online sources. The Action Network, a company you can trust to provide unbiased reviews of online casinos, is looking out for you, the player, and wants to help you make an informed decision about which brand to trust with your gambling.

Additionally, you should also examine customer reviews of the platform, but keep in mind that many users who lose money will attribute it to the app. In some cases, they will even accuse the casino of being rigged. Ensure you have done your homework by reading third-party reviews and cross-referencing them with other user reviews to get the best idea of what an online casino offers and if it is truly legitimate or not.

READ MORE: Best Online Casinos for Beginners

Methods Used By Rigged Casinos

While the top online casinos rely on their house edge to make money legitimately in the long run, less reputable sites take shortcuts like rigging games and lowering their payout speed to take advantage of players. Here's a look at the unethical techniques used by rigged casinos.

Tampering with the RTP and the RNG

Rigged online casinos alter some of the key components that generally make them fair to play. The code has been changed in such a way that the percentage of Return to Player (RTP) has been lowered. The RTP is a number that indicates how much money has been returned to players as they place their wagers. If a casino game has an RTP of 97%, for example, that means that players are likely to make $97 back for every $100 wagered.

Since this is an average, the results may differ from player to player, depending on the level of luck. The odds of online casino games favor the house, but not so much that you will ever feel cheated — if you are playing a fair game, of course.

It is possible for an online casino developer to lower the RTP in order to lower your chances of winning money. An increase of even one percentage point can mean the difference between you winning and the game taking your money. Rigged online casino games typically have an RTP so low that they are no longer worthwhile to play since winning is practically impossible.

Every online casino game utilizes a Random Number Generator (RNG). A reputable online casino developer will include an RNG in each game in order to ensure that the results are always completely random and legitimate. As a result, you can determine how likely you are to win an online casino game based on the "luck" component.

The developers of a rigged casino remove the RNG to eliminate any chance of winning. There is only one outcome here — you lose your money and hand it over to the game.

Misrepresented Odds or RTP

Some casino games, such as online slots or video poker, may use RTP as a selling point for a game. For example, online slots with a listed RTP of 99% would be very likely to entice players, as they are promising an impressive theoretical return of $99 back on every $100.

The example above went into detail on how programmers could tamper with the RNG of online casino games to produce poorer win rates than the game theoretically should. But as another form of deception that is much easier to program, a rigged online casino could simply advertise or list a game's RTP as much higher than it actually is, encouraging players to play certain games under false pretenses.

Exorbitant or Hidden Fees

Depending on the banking method that you use, there are sometimes fees involved when you make a deposit or withdrawal at a real money online casino. On a reputable site, these fees will be in line with the actual cost of these transactions, and in most cases there are free and low-cost options available.

That may not be the case at an untrustworthy online casino. These sites may add exorbitant processing fees to standard payment methods like credit card deposits or bank transfers. And in some cases, these fees are hidden in the fine print or not disclosed at all.

Payouts Delayed or Not Processed

Casino games have a house edge that tilts the odds in the casino's favor over an extended period of time, but in the short run, players can get lucky and win. Legitimate online casinos accept this fact and have no problem processing withdrawal requests with a quick payout speed to keep their customers happy.

Rigged online casinos take the purely random outcomes of gambling out of the equation and guarantee themselves a win every time by refusing to pay out winning customers. When you reach out to customer support, you may be ignored, or you may receive excuses as to why your payout speed is so slow.

Some players get frustrated with these payment delays and cancel the withdrawal request, choosing to continue playing instead of having the funds in their account frozen. They either go on to lose the money as these shady online casinos hope for or eventually request another payout and run into the same problem.

Fraudulent Activity

When you sign up for a new account at an online casino, you are required to fill out a registration page with personal information, including your name, email address, mailing address, and phone number. The registration process is a safe and secure one if you are signing up at a trusted online casino. But in the hands of an unscrupulous operator, your personal data and banking details could be at risk of theft or phishing scams.

READ MORE: Online Casinos With the Best Odds

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

We've discussed some of the ways to identify a trusted online casino on this page, including verifying it has a legitimate gambling license, reading reviews, and checking for a solid reputation online. You should also keep an eye out for these potential warning signs before you start playing at a new casino.

Bonuses and Advertising That Seem to Good to Be True

Welcome bonuses are used by all online casinos to entice new customers to try out their site. For example, with no FanDuel Casino promo code required, new sign-ups who deposit $10 on FanDuel receive $20 in site credit in eligible states (NJ, PA, MI, WV). Other legitimate sites are currently offering a 100% deposit match bonus on your first deposit.

These are great offers that are standard in the industry among the top online casinos. Now that you have an idea of what welcome bonuses usually look like, imagine you stumble on a site with a 500% match on your first deposit. Or a site advertising 100% RTP on its slot machines.

Unregulated offshore online casinos offering amazing promotions aren't all rigged, but if something seems too good to be true, it often is. You should proceed with caution when you notice a red flag.

Software That Looks or Behaves Strangely

All of the best online casinos have outstanding site interfaces and game graphics. Casino apps and mobile desktop sites are optimized to allow you to play slots and other games on your phone or tablet. These are polished products that function well.

Be suspicious of online casinos that don't look right or function as they should. Some rigged casinos steal game elements from other sites to use on their own site, and the result isn't always polished or professional. The same goes for the games themselves; casino games with altered logos or glitching graphics may have been tampered with.

Use of Cryptocurrency

Most offshore casinos offer cryptocurrency as one of their online banking options. There isn't anything inherently wrong with this, but it's worth noting that crypto payments are difficult to trace, and there is often no recourse for retrieving lost cryptocurrency in the event that fraud takes place. This makes crypto a popular option among rigged online casinos.

More Information About Online Casinos

The only way to know for sure that your casino isn't rigged is to play at a state-regulated legal online casino. If you'd like to learn more about online gambling, specifically the best online casino brands and the best virtual games to play, check out The Best Real Money Online Casinos in the U.S.