Everybody makes mistakes, so if you happen to run into an online casino dragging out your payment, you can always turn to AskGamblers for help. However, some casinos will do this on purpose and lead you on for too long, prompting you to wonder if you're playing at a place that's worth your time.
People hustle in virtually every industry, so why should iGaming be different? Luckily, we can help you learn more about online casino scams and how to avoid them by paying attention to a few simple telltale signs. Hopefully, after today's post, you won't ever make the typical rookie mistakes and fall prey to people in it for your money.
So, let's start with some gambling lingo and answer the question: What are online casino scams?
What Are Online Casino Scams?
Online casino scams are carefully thought out and executed schemes that trick one of the parties out of their money. The reason we said "one of the parties" is because gambling scams can go both ways and signify either:
- Rogue casinos stealing from its customers or
- Fraudsters stealing from casinos
Today's blog post is dedicated to both: in the first segment, we will go through the signs of dishonest casinos and then guide you through the list of casino online scams, that is, different ways in which online casinos can swindle you out of your money. Finally, we will also share some of the biggest gambling frauds stories we heard along the way.
Ready for a journey into the dodgy world of rogue online casinos? Let's go!
Signs of a Rogue Casino
Before we take you through a list of online casino scams, let us first point you to some of the signs that the casino may be dishonest and running a scam.
Of course, some of these are only signs and don't necessarily mean that a casino is in the business of scamming people (not having a valid licence is a surefire sign, though!). Keep a close eye on these signs to avoid online casino scams and not go through the ordeal of having your money, or worse, stolen.
Casino frauds come in all shapes and sizes, and one of the most commonly employed online casino scams is slow or delayed payment. A shady casino might take weeks or even months to pay its players back, despite being in breach of its own Terms and Conditions. Sometimes, a casino will delay payment because of the lack of cash flow, while other times, it will try to encourage players to take another bonus and play more while refusing to cash out. Both of these instances are considered rogue behaviours and should not be taken lightly.
Frequent Change of Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions guide your every action at an online casino, and you have the right to be informed of the slightest change in these overarching documents in a timely manner. However, rogue casinos will sometimes change their terms on an impromptu basis, or in other words, when need be. A casino may even change T&Cs in the middle of a dispute in an attempt to corroborate its claims.
Having a licence issued by a proper gambling authority is an essential precondition for a casino to operate within the limits of the law and guarantee players they're betting on a safe platform. Unless a valid licence from a gambling regulatory body is clearly stated on the website, you should stay away from the casino in question, as this might be the first in the series of online casino system scams. And if a casino is operating without a licence, you can bet they have more ways to trick their players up their sleeve.
The next on the list of online casino scams concerns fraudulent advertising practices. False advertising covers a broad spectrum of scams, but they all boil down to not respecting the Terms and Conditions. Online casino bonus scams are the most common type of false advertising and may include last-minute increasing of wagering requirements or decreasing the max cashout amount after you've finished wagering your bonus.
It's no secret that we're all in the marketing business. However, spamming players, websites, or forums with a heavy advertisement is not considered a good marketing practice and may be seen as one of the online casino system scams. If you get dozens of ads or pop-up messages a day from a casino, you might consider moving on to another website.
Most Common Online Casino Scams
Now that we've pointed you to the most common signs of a rogue casino let us take you through a handy list of online casino scams encountered by players most frequently.
A casino taking its sweet time to transfer your payment might mean that it lacks cash flow and doesn't necessarily signal a rogue casino. However, if you notice any of the following practices, then make no mistake: you are at risk of falling victim to a casino that works outside the limits of the law.
Casino scams can be run by a single website or involve extensive online casino franchise scams, but either way means that you should steer clear of them.
Deposit theft is exactly what it sounds like: after encouraging you to make a deposit, the casino makes it impossible to withdraw your funds. For most rogue casinos, deposit theft is the first source of income, so they resort to sketchy patterns of behaviour to swindle you out of your money. On the list of online casino scams, deposit theft certainly takes the No. 1 spot.
Upon signing up, such a casino may close your account or suspend your account while making you jump hurdle after a hurdle before you can reactivate it. Some casinos make customer support agents take you for a ride or play dumb when you ask for help.
These casinos reckon that most people will get over their $20 deposits and move on. However, with more considerable deposits in play, most punters will feel compelled to act against a casino, more often than not leading to the casino's closure.
With billions of dollars stolen every year, identity theft has become a major global issue, affecting most industries, iGaming included. Rogue casinos in this business are scammers themselves or serve as a pipeline for gathering information and selling it further.
Online casinos pull the identity theft trick through account freezing, i.e., suspending your account until you provide an ID or proof of address and stealing credit card information directly to clone your credit card(s) and take your money.
Of course, legitimate online casinos are bound to anti-money laundering regulations and KYC procedures and are obliged to ask you to upload some ID. However, blackmailing you into uploading a piece of identification by freezing your account is undoubtedly an acceptable practice, so make sure you only play at legitimate casinos and, if possible, based in countries where the laws on data mishandling are strictly enforced.
This is another in a series of the most common online casino scams and is pretty simple: online casinos will rig the games and let you get a taste of the win before stripping you off all your money. In the era of iGaming, these scams are relatively easy to pull off, as all a casino needs is to spice things up with a bit of rigged software.
These are the two most convenient ways online casinos run the rigged games scam:
- Hosting games from scam casino software companies
The operators working with software providers who manipulate their games are well known to seasoned punters; however, those names might mean nothing to newbies, making them the perfect prey. As a rule of thumb, seeing household industry names on the list of providers can give you some comfort as big suppliers don't work with rogue operators.
- Running pirated versions of games
This is another example in the rigged game's playbook; some operators will stop at nothing on their way to take players' money, resorting to running pirated versions of casino games. Again, new players will have more trouble spotting a difference between the original game and its pirated copy and will risk losing tons of money playing a game with software tweaked into the casino's favour.
To stay on the safe side, always check the casino's licence and look for the casino's RTP (Return-to-Player). Licensed casinos regularly task third-party agencies to check their stated RTPs so that you can have peace of mind playing.
Tricking you out of a couple of dozen bucks isn't lovely; however, there are casino frauds that go beyond deposit theft and are much more intricate and dangerous. We're talking about malware, a type of computer software that can mess up your device for good.
Malware ranges from being annoying, like slowing down your device, to being a major source of concern and having the ability to corrupt all of your data. Once you download malware-infected software, it's usually too late to take a step back: most times, an online casino will simply block your device and ask for money, most commonly in untraceable cryptocurrencies, to let you keep your files private.
The easiest way to avoid online casino scams involving malware is to refrain from downloading any software for which you aren't 100% sure is safe.
Biggest Casino Fraudsters
In the world of casino scams, some of the fraudsters we found took that proverbial cake! With the ingenious use of technology, these fascinating minds stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from casinos, and some even managed to get away with it!
Without further ado, here are three of the biggest gambling scams ever to be staged on the casino floor!
The Infamous Rosselli Brothers
To start the list, we present to you the Rosselli Brothers, who stole nearly $40 million from casinos across the US in the span of five years.
Widely considered one of the most sophisticated gambling scams, the Rosselli Brothers were a group of fraudsters who got filthy rich by forging people's identities to open credit lines at casinos.
All it took was to hire someone tech-savvy enough to break into a national credit database and a heck of a lot of planning. They started credit accounts at casinos using people's names, feeding $50,000 into each, pretending to be regular high rollers, and paying off their casino markers regularly to avoid getting detected. (If you're unfamiliar with the term casino marker, check out our glossary of gambling terms to learn more!)
By 2000, their credit lines reached over $1 million, allowing them to sweep just as much from the casinos' feet! The same year the Rosselli Brothers exited the business of casino frauds with millions in their pockets.
Another thing worth noting is that the identities of the Rosselli Brothers was never revealed, and they went down completely anonymous in the history of online gambling!
Cannes Contact Lenses
We're taking our list of the most notorious gambling scams to Europe. In 2011, several casinos in Cannes were hit by a group of four gamblers carrying out a high-tech casino fraud. Through innovative use of technology and joint effort, the clique made up of an Italian and three Frenchmen walked away with over $80,000!
While playing stud poker, they would discerningly mark cards with symbols using invisible ink while wearing contact lenses designed to reveal the ink.
They raised no suspicion on their first outing, and they ran off with tens of thousands of dollars in a single night. However, when they came back for a second time, a sequence of unlikely wins prompted the casino management to give the whole situation a closer look.
The group was caught shortly after that, although they first gave the authorities a hard time deciphering the master plan behind the scam.
Radio Roulette Ball
The name might sound like a matchmaking radio show, but the radio roulette ball is a casino scam from the 1970s, which remains one of the most impressive gambling frauds ever pulled off.
The story goes like this: A rogue roulette dealer in a casino in France developed a passionate interest in amateur radio and decided to use it to make money off the casino he worked at. In cahoots with his brother and his sister-in-law, our protagonist used a weightless radio receiver and a small transmitter to instruct the roulette ball where to fall.
The rogue croupier would swap the ball with the receiver installed into it while his sister-in-law controlled the transmitter from a table nearby. The dealer's brother placed bets, and by working together, they had the ball miraculously falling on one of six possible numbers with astonishing accuracy.
The group was so successful they walked away with around $1 million in a single week! But as luck would have it, the sister-in-law caught the eye of the casino owner. Although she showed no interest in him, this was enough for her to catch the management's attention, who floated the idea that the rising roulette losses coinciding with the woman's visits to the casino could be more than happenstance.
The casino management put the two and two together but still struggled to get to the bottom of the scam. Finally, they ordered the casino floor to be searched for radio devices and helped the authorities arrest the fraudsters.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed?
As you can see, rogue online casinos can run various online casino system scams: from the deposit and identity theft to inserting malware or rigging the games. When you join a gambling website, make sure to check for the signs of a shady casino. Whether it has false advertisements or changes its T&Cs frequently, several telltale signs can reveal an online casino real money scam.
To avoid online casino scams, here's a handy checklist to which you should stick before creating an account at a casino:
- Check for licences - Before you even visit an online casino website, always check if the casino carries a valid licence. If not, then move on and find another one that adheres to the rules other than its own.
- Don't download suspicious software - Unless you're 100% certain that software is safe, refrain from downloading casino apps; they might be developed by a rogue casino or infected with malware.
- Research - Doing your homework and researching casinos is very important. Try to stick to casinos with reviews on relevant websites and explore what other players say about them.
We hope we managed to shed some light on casino frauds, and we can't wait to hear your thoughts about it in our Forum! Until next time, stay on the safe side and make sure you always play responsibly!