on May 30, 2017
At the dawn of online gaming, online casino operators have struggled to prove their systems, security protocols, and most importantly, that their games are reliable and fair. Eventually, a whole new branch in security showed up that focuses specifically on internet privacy, security and integrity.
Over the past two decades, many independent auditors came forward, taking the responsibility to reassure players and other stakeholders that everything is in line with the guidelines and the regulations. Here we’re going to show you the companies, the systems and the approaches to security that allow players to enjoy online gaming without ever worrying about their well being.
What are Casino Player Fairness Systems?
Online casino fairness systems focus on the products. To be precise, all of the below listed systems and entities target the casino games the operator provides, the RNG and integrity of the casino’s systems in terms of privacy protection. However, you will also learn more about the recently introduced, in our opinion, “fairness” system that focuses on Bonus Players.
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What is Bonus Guard? – The Holy Grail of Bonus Players
For years, casino players have been fathomed by long, unclear, incomplete bonus terms & conditions. Can I play this game? Am I allowed to play table games? Is there a maximum bet I should worry about? These are some of the frequently asked questions by passionate, but casual players as well.
The Bonus Guard introduces the Max Bet feature, which guarantees you will not, you cannot break the bonus terms & conditions. Anybody can make a mistake, and this is why the Bonus Guard is an amazing tool. Nonetheless, the Max Bet feature is only one segment of the Bonus Guard.
Bonus players are given access only to the games they’re allowed to play with bonus money. If say, the game is available for real money play only, you will be given the option to place bets with the remaining CASH balance. If you do not have any real money, you will have to opt for a different game that is available for bonus money play.
Usually, bonus players omit the maximum bet limit term. Another common mistake bonus players do is they simply are unaware, that, for instance, they are playing a game that is not available for bonus play. Rogue casinos have been known to practice this, and if the player wins, the winnings are voided on the grounds that the player breached the T&C as a bonus player.
One of the first online casinos that have implemented the Bonus Guard in their gaming platforms are Freaky Vegas Casino and SlotsMillion Casino. If you are a bonus player yourself, consider choosing your next online casino based on the presence, or absence, of the Bonus Guard.
Eligible games are Slots
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Provability – SoftSwiss State of the Art RNG System
Although rare, available in SoftSwiss powered online casinos, the Provability randomness system has definitely shifted online gaming to the right direction. This fairness system allows casino players to check how the outcome was decided. In other words, the operator or the software provider can PROVE the outcome and the RNG were fair.
This is done by allowing the player to have its part in the outcome deciding procedure. Regardless of the type of the game, if it’s based on RNG, the Provability system can be applied. For the time being, only the games produced and provided by SoftSwiss support this truly unique fairness system. In a way, there’s no need for independent audits, because Provability is truly random.
Slots and Roulette are the games that find the greatest use of the provable fairness. After all, it’s intriguing how the ball lands on the 0 twice in a row, or why you haven’t won for 15 consecutive spins on any slot game produced by SoftSwiss, not that it has happened to anyone. The impeccable BitStarz Casino and the relatively recently introduced Loki Casino feature SoftSwiss products, including the Provability or Provably Fair system.
Independent Online Gaming Software Audits – Proof of Integrity
The previous two were seamlessly integrated system in existing online gaming platforms, meaning players are able to experience the benefits in real time. But there’s more. Before this kind of fairness systems were introduced, the online gaming community had to rely on individual, independent audits. These are the experts in their field. The audits are carried out by testing the Random Number Generator integrated within the servers of the operator.
Seeing the seal of one of the below mentioned, or other software testing and auditing companies guarantees all outcomes are random indeed. Fair online gaming and trusting casinos are a reality because of these guys like this and their counterparts.
What is iTech Labs?
iTech Labs is one of the leading online gaming systems and mobile applications auditors. They have offices on 3 continents, Europe, the Americas and Australia. The biggest online gaming centers are well covered, such as Malta, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Alderney, Isle of Man and all other markets that require a mandatory domestic license, including Denmark, Spain and Italy. They provide RTP and RNG certificates. The RTP audits are performed on single player games, like slots, for instance, whereas RNG audits are carried out on multi-player games, for example a Multiplayer Roulette, Multiplayer Blackjack etc.
– What is Splitting Cards in Blackjack? Splitting 10s – Borderline Good Decision.
In addition, iTech Labs also specialize in platform testing, meaning a casino can order a privacy and player protection audit as well. Of course, if they do so, and they prove to be fair, reliable and they demonstrate integrity, they’ will be given the official seal of iTech Labs along with a certificate with which the casino can truly boast.
Some of the senior management individuals have been at the forefront in the shaping of the Australian online gaming regulations. They do not provide one, general certificate. Each of the audits is based on the licenses the casino holds. For example, an audit undertaken in a UK online casino will differ from the one performed on an Alderney or Isle of Man licensed casino.
Unfortunately, Curacao is not on iTech Labs’ list. However, Antigua and Barbuda and Kahnawake are on their map. Then again, we have seen a handful of Curacao licensed online casinos certified by iTech Labs. We assume these certifications came with a hefty price tag.
eCOGRA – Leading Independent and Approved Testing Agency
eCOGRA was founded back in 2003, and to this very day, it is United Kingdom’s “leading independent and internationally approved testing agency”. It is an approved and recognized entity by the UK Gambling Commission, which opens a lot of doors for them. eCOGRA’s services focus primarily on the products, the integrated platform of the casino. They too provide official seals to online casino operators who have successfully passed their rigorous tests. The RTP listings online casinos usually advertise are the result of eCOGRA’s audits.
However, their approach differs from the one of iTech Labs. eCOGRA incentivizes self-regulation. In a way, the auditor provides training how to behave when things go south. eCOGRA also provides a mediation platform, players can file disputes, complaints against eCOGRA certified casinos. It’s the extra buffer, the safety net every player needs when everything else fails. The voice of the player is heard if there’s a need for it.
eCOGRA is becoming the official online gaming testing agency in other countries besides the UK. Denmark and the Czech Republic have been added to their portfolio as of not so long ago. Seeing eCOGRA’s logo at the bottom of the page guarantees you will be given a fair chance at winning, regardless of the type of game you want to play.
What is Gaming Labs (GLI)?
Gaming Labs is another great online gaming testing agency, but this one sheds light on the gray area US online casinos as well. Sure, it’s present in Europe and Australia, but the US element is what intrigues us.
The GLI offers other services on top of the inspection, certification and the consulting almost all other auditors provide. GLI’s array of services includes forensics and Anti-Money Laundering training, protocols and detection systems.
Yes, they can audit the entire software, the games, both the RTP and the RNG, but they can also do so much more. They have offices literally all around the world, from China and Australia, across South Africa and almost any country in the EU, all the way to the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Chile.
Like its counterpart, iTech Labs and eCOGRA, GLI is shaping the online gaming industry as we know it, specifically emerging online gaming markets.
NMi Gaming – Always One Step Ahead in the Online Gaming Safety & Security
Last on our list of the most prestigious independent online gaming software auditors is NMi Gaming. Due to the surge of new online casino operators on the market, there was a demand for new, more online gaming testing agencies. Its labs are based in Italy, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands and United Kingdom, however, they do have their very own representatives scattered worldwide.
So what can NMi do to make the casino look better, be safer, and how can it convince players that everything is “a OK”?
Well, NMi’s portfolio of services includes full compliance testing and auditing of all casino games, the platform itself, and it tests the integrity of the security systems and protocols. In simple words, NMi provides an all-inclusive treatment that basically guarantees the casino entertains players in a safe, fair and reliable online gaming environment. Due to the fact that they are a key factor in the shaping of the official regulations and laws, they are one step ahead of the trend, being able to advise their clients what needs to be done.
However, it does not act like a mediator between casino players and casino operators in the event of any disputes or complaints.
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Thorough, Complete, Clear Terms and Conditions
We’re perfectly aware that this might seem odd and counterintuitive, but playing in an online casino that has covered the frequently occurring issues, AND has advertised them accordingly gives us a sense of security. If you stumble upon an online casino with incomplete, shady looking terms and conditions, that’s a red flag, and you should reconsider your options.
This does not mean the casino is “liberal”. Any confusing, unclear situation, if not included in the T&C can be used against you, because all decisions of the casino are final. Keep that in mind.
The rule book should not only be thorough and complete, but it should also be clear. Shady online casinos usually use poor language, poor vocabulary. For example, they can say “wagering requirements” and use a different term in the T&C, like “playthrough requirements”, or use a totally different jargon , for instance in sports betting, it’s “roll over”.
There’s no “seal” of approval that says if the T&C are OK. If you don’t like to take any chances, follow our lead. We’ve gone through the T&C of any casino we’ve reviewed multiple times, to make sure there isn’t any rogue, predatory term.
What Are Casino Player Protection Systems?
So far we looked into the control or security systems that identify and specify if a casino offers fair products. But what happens if the casino still fails to deliver the service you expected and the casino promised?
Believe it or not, this can happen. Many players get stuck in a situation when they have to wait for days, even weeks because they’ve breached a given term, or the casino simply suspects that you’ve done something wrong.
Furthermore, online gaming should be enjoyed responsibly. There are casino players who simply get carried away easily. The convenient deposit methods allow them to deposit as much as they please, which sometimes may not be the best idea. Online gaming regulators, especially the UK Gambling Commission have made efforts to bring forth a solution for this problem.
CDS (Central Disputes System) – RTG’s Very Own Auditor
The Central Disputes System is not the best example, or should we say, the most reputable one, but for the purpose of covering as many companies as possible that protect the player’s interest, we decided to talk about it.
It deals with complaints and disputes against RealTime Gaming casinos only. In a way, it is RTG’s biggest client, and this raises a conflict of interest. Nonetheless, RTG fans who feel they are mistreated in any way can file a complaint with the CDS. Here’s the kicker, the CDS contacts the RTG casino and attempts to resolve the issue. There’s NO public discussion where the player’s voice could be heard, and the casino could defend against such a dispute.
Then again, having some kind of a fallback way out is still better than not having anyone to complain to. Nevertheless, it is a plus. The CDS certificate usually plays in favor of the casino. Only a percentage of casino players have managed to get what was rightfully theirs.
eCOGRA is much more advanced platform where disputes are settled. However, it does not deal with RTG casinos.
Online gaming is primarily meant to be entertaining. If you’re feeling some kind of pressure, or say you’re not getting the thrills anymore, you’re doing something wrong. In most cases, players actually burn out. At times, as these, there’s a need for Responsible Gambling systems. These were first introduced as part of a UK Gambling Commission incentive. It turned out to be a great hit amongst passionate casino players. Below you can find more about the types of limits that are available to you.
Deposit, Wagering, Session Limits
Ideally, a player who has had problems with self-control should set at least a deposit limit. It can be a daily, weekly or monthly deposit limit. However, there are players who are successful and who spend a lot of time playing. This kind of players can opt for wagering or session limits. For example, after you’ve wagered €/$/£2,000 you will not be allowed to play anymore, at least not until the cycle is over. Session limits limit the time you spend at an online casino. Regardless of the bet size, you can limit your play to 1 hour per day for instance.
These tools are great for players who like to relax and enjoy every moment playing their favorite games, without worrying if they’ve overspent or overplayed.
So you don’t like to limit your online casino fun, but you still want to have someone tap your shoulder after a while, say every hour. Online casinos have introduced reality checks. Since the very first moment you log in, a timer starts counting. After half an hour, or after a whole hour, the screen will dim and a notification pops up. Because the games can be so entertaining, and the adrenaline rush after a big win is overwhelming, players get carried away more often than not.
This feature is usually available in online casinos that are part of the latest generation, recently established online casinos.
GamCare – Player Protection at Its Best
The UK Gambling Commission is probably the pioneer when it comes to protection of players who have lost all sense of control. It is a strong advocate of responsible gambling and protection of vulnerable groups, such as minors. GamCare is an organization, a platform if we may say so, which provides counseling, training and a helpline to players who are in need of it.
Players from the UK can get in touch with them at 0808 8020 133, or they can do so by sending an email at [email protected]
In short, GamCare is the white knight for casino players who are desperate to get a hold of their passion for online gaming.
Gamblers Anonymous – Get Personal with GA
Unlike GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous is more personal. Besides providing players with counseling and help, it’s also a radar for any meetings on the grounds of the USA. It has nothing to do with EU, Canada or Australia. Gamblers Anonymous or GA, is the go to helpline for any burned out, passionate casino players. If you have a query for them, you can contact them at [email protected]
Due to the situation in the USA in regards to online gaming, the GA does not see much attention from the online gaming community. However, it’s a pretty big deal for casino players who like to visit bricks and mortar casinos.
Casino Player Protection Systems – An Internal Cost for the Casino
These certifications, audits cost money. Big time online casino operators that have multiple online casinos under their belt find it easy to obtain the aforementioned certificates, order independent audits and provide the services for the vulnerable. That’s why we don’t judge newly launched online casinos based on these grounds.
However, an SSL certificate is mandatory indeed. Without it, any casino looks like a sham. In the early stages of a casino’s lifecycle an audit is probably not the first thing that comes to mind to the operator. Nevertheless, it becomes inevitable few months down the road.
These truly are an internal cost, but the benefits are priceless. Trust, integrity and in recent time it’s become a prestige as well.