Millions of dollars are gambled on games of online blackjack every single day. Players put their trust in the casinos that provide these games and the developers that create them, but should they be so trusting?
Online casino scams are nowhere near as common as they used to be and the industry has tightened its regulations and cleaned up its act, but scams still exist. In this guide we’ll show you ways that you give these scams a wide berth and make sure you play only fair and legitimate games of blackjack.
Blackjack Sites and Software to Avoid
There are a few important things to look out for if you want to avoid blackjack scams online, including:
The big developers (Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt) all work closely with auditors and have strict regulations in place. They are fair, they are safe, and thankfully they are not the exception.
But there are developers out there that are little less fair. Where the aforementioned developers are concerned, the payouts are all set at the point of creation and audit, and they can not be tweaked by the casino. But it’s a different story with developers like Realtime Gaming.
If you’re not sure about the legitimacy of a casino, look for a major, reputable gambling band and avoid the ones you have never heard of before or the ones that give licensees too much control.
A fair casino should use software that is audited, but the casino itself should also be audited. This information is often overlooked by casual players, but it shouldn’t be because it can make a massive difference in determining the legitimacy of a casino.
The biggest auditor is eCOGRA and you can find the repots that they complete simply by looking for the eCOGRA logo at the bottom of your chosen online casino. If it’s there, click it and see what it has to say. If it’s not and you can’t find any other audit reports or certifications, it’s best to continue your search.
A game that offers low payouts isn’t necessarily a scam, but it’s certainly not a game you want to play. Blackjack is a game of low margins, a game where you can gain an edge over the house with minimal luck and optimal strategy. But that only applies when the house edge is less than 1%.
If it is any higher than this then you will struggle to win consistently even with luck and strategy on your side. It’s not always easy spotting the games that offer terrible house edges, but there are a few basic rules that can help you:
- Report: The full payout percentages of all games should be listed somewhere on the site. Where blackjack is concerned, look for a house edge of less than 0.5%, which equates to a payout of 99.5%.
- Decks: Typically, the fewer decks there are the lower the house edge will be.
- Bonuses: The more bonus games and side bets a blackjack variant has to offer, the higher its house edge is. These additions serve to distract the experienced player and attract the casual player.
Limited Banking Options
The banking options that a site uses can be a great indicator of its legitimacy. Web wallets like PayPal and Skrill, as well as most credit cards and debit cards, don’t want to facilitate illegal payments. That’s why so many US-based online casinos only accept wire transfers as a payment method.
In the US this is a necessity because gambling is tightly controlled and major financial organizations don’t want to involve themselves with it. But in countries like Canada, where gambling is freely available and much more relaxed, there is no reason for a site not to include a host of banking options.
Other Tips for Finding Scams
- If you’re not sure, try Googling the name of the game or casino. Scams don’t last more than a few days before being exposed, and if you have encountered a scam then you will find a host of negative comments, reviews and more on Google.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies to promises of “winning strategies” as well as extraordinary bonuses and other extras.
- Look for support options. Scam sites do not operate valid phone lines and they rarely offer a Live Chat service. They do pretend to offer such services, however, so you will need to dig a little deeper.
- There are a lot of great Bitcoin casinos out there, but there is also a trend for scam sites to use Bitcoins. They are untraceable and fast. You could be robbed of every penny before you know it. So, don’t avoid Bitcoin casinos altogether, but be extra cautious when using them.
Blackjack Sites and Software to Use
Now that you know what to avoid, you should also have a fairly good idea of what you need to look for. But there are a few other points worth mentioning just to make doubly sure that you’re dealing with a legitimate site and game:
- Loyalty Programs: If you find a casino that offers a loyalty scheme, stick with it. These are great for increasing your return playing table games like blackjack.
- The Big Two: There are many great software developers out there, but if you’re overly cautious then you may want to stick with games created by either Microgaming or Playtech.
- Protection: If you are concerned about a particular online casino, make sure you use a web wallet like PayPal or a credit card. That way, if you’re scammed you can file a chargeback and get your money back.
- SSL: It’s an obvious one, but one worth mentioning nonetheless: always make sure that the site you are playing on has an SSL certificate, which will be displayed via a padlock symbol and a URL that begins “HTTPS”. Any casino that does not have an SSL should not be trusted as it is not safe.
- Always Classic: Say no to Pontoon and Spanish 21. Classic Blackjack is much better where odds are concerned.