Spotting a Rogue Casino

A "rogue" casino is a term that was coined by the popular players advocate site, Casinomeister, where you can find a rogues gallery! It's amazing how many players spell it "rouge" (the French for red) rather than rogue though! A rogue casino is essentially one that is out to shaft you and while the landscape has changed for the better down the years, they still pop up!

In 2006 the online casino landscape was in generally good shape for players. All the proper legit operators were outranking the fly-by-nights and the player was well looked after. Then the USA implemented the UIGEA which was designed to stop Americans from gambling online (it stopped short of making it illegal though). With a few handpicked "trophy" arrests under vaguely related pretexts like "money laundering" and "bank fraud", the DOJ scared away 95% of all the good, legitimate operators. Since then, American players have often been right-royally screwed over and there are now just a handful of decent operators left serving that market.

The withdrawal of the big operators resulted in more criminal organisations appearing, trying to tap into a suffocating market where players are eager to play and regulation doesn't exist. In Europe however, where the landscape is still very much regulated, the big operators still dominate and if you are outside the USA the chances are you will not need - or even come across - rogue casinos. But there are still warnings to be heeded:

1) First up, beware the large "free" money bonus. Every casino, good and bad, offers a signup bonus which a cynic would argue is normally designed to make it easy to deposit and hard to cash out! That is because a bonus will always have what's called a "wagering requirement" (WR) before you can cash out, normally of 20x deposit and bonus as a minimum. A rogue outfit however will often offer a stupidly-big signup bonus with stupidly-low wagering requirements (10x or even less) designed to make you think you can win easily! You won't - and even if you do, you won't get paid. Many people fall for it but hopefully now you won't! remember - if it looks too good to be true, then in online-casino-land it definitely is!

For what it's worth, I never take a signup bonus, even at a legit casino because it ties me down to silly wagering. I prefer to cashout when I am winning and take losses on the chin.

2) Secondly, look for transparency. A legit casino will be transparent, tell you who is behind the operation and usually have seals from places like eCOGRA or the UK Gambling Commission and their licensing jurisdiction (there is more info on licensing jurisdictions on the trust factors page and I would urge you to read that). Bottom line is you should know, and feel comfortable with, who you are dealing with.

3) Spam, Glorious Spam! Please, please don't fall for the unsolicited email. That's how most rogues get their business. Offers created to prey on human greed are the order of the day - buy a few million email addresses and spam away on the basis that just 0.1% take-up would result in significant cash! Any email from any casino you don't already know: delete! Even just signing up gives a rogue your identity to sell on!

Of course, you can always simply bookmark Top Online Casinos and stick to those I have already played and tested as another option.