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Spot the Rogue




Or in other words, how to pick an online casino to either avoid or to join. Your choice.

Due to the nature of gambling and the Internet, there is a certain element that is ready to take your money. What is astonishing, is that players are often surprised when they are ripped off by online casinos that are nasty looking or have qualities that are questionable. This section will give you something to work with in order for you to spot this cagey "element".

Some players are careless where they play, and deposit their cash at any online casino that makes offers that are too good to be true. Other players are a bit more frugal, and will spend the time to scrutinize a casino before jumping in. Like a peaceful lake in the countryside, you never know what lurks at the bottom; pretty dainty little mermaids or Jason from Friday the 13th.

I hope you are the latter of the players, the player who is frugal and careful. A fool and his money are soon parted; you gotta be a fool if you don't check out the casino website first. So please take the time to do a little investigative work. It will pay off in the end, and besides--it's kind of fun! So let's take a look behind the curtain...sometimes the man behind the curtain is not the great Oz.

Step #1: Google the Casino Name

One thing you need to clearly understand - Google is our friend when it comes to doing any research on the Internet, especially pertaining to the online casino element. The mind boggles at what you can find; Google can really save your ass. I should never ever receive a complaint for any casino listed in our "Rogue" or "Not Recommended" section.

How NOT to search: Do not simply search for the casino name. For instance, if you search for "Cirrus Casino" your results will be merely a list of websites that promote this "evil" casino. This is a pitfall. You need to engage the search engine a bit more and type in the name of the casino with the term "problems" or better yet "rogue" and you will get a more realistic result. The Google results of Cirrus Casino Rogue will give you what you are looking for. You need to try this with any casino you are considering doing business with.

It doesn't take more than 30 seconds to do a proper Google search. This is not rocket science; this is common sense.

Step #2: Take a good hard look at the casino's website.

Think of the casino website as a handshake between you and the casino operator. During this "handshake", do you have a warm fussy feeling, or do you feel like running to the closest hot steamy shower?

What is the name of the casino?, is it something generic, or does it have meaning or is memorable? Naming things is a crucial part of setting up a business and it may reflect directly on how many resources an operator has invested in this business. If they aren't implementing a fair amount of ingenuity, this may be a direct reflection on their approach to the gaming community - specifically YOU the player.
Example: 32Red vs 32Vegas There is a specific reason why 32Red is named 32red. Their CEO Ed Ware told me that it has to do with roulette = roulette is the most famous/synonymous game associated with casinos. 32Red is one of the most popular numbers in a brick and mortar casino (if 32Red has come up several times during the evening, the manager knows they will have less money to count than usual!). It's short and memorable. The characters are all extremely close to each other on the keyboard of your PC. So here we have a really cool name that has meaning and purpose.

32Red has been in the business for a number of years, and its reputation is second to none. So what's up with 32Vegas? I logged on to 32Vegas' chat support to ask them what the meaning of 32Vegas was supposed to convey. She told me it was just a cool name. What a stupid response. It's clearly a name devised to ride the coattails of an extremely successful group. It confuses the players. It also offers "you the player" a peek into the mindset of this casino. Do you want to give them your money?
Knowledge is power
Their website should be able to answer the following questions::
  • Who is their software provider?
  • Where are they licensed?
  • What company is behind this operation?
Many casinos are proud of their software since there are some very good providers - Microgaming, Cryptologic, Playtech, Boss Media, Real Time Gaming, WagerWorks, etc. If a casino is not divulging who their software provider is - hmm - red flag. Perhaps they're hiding something.

Where are they licensed? If they claim to be licensed in Costa Rica or any other place in Central America, you can be sure that they are unlicensed - in other words, they do not have a gaming license but only a business license. Caveat - there are a number of casinos that have their servers based in Costa Rica which are reputable operations. When in doubt - check our Accredited List, or pose a question in our forum.

Beware of an overindulgence in awards - especially awards that are not hyperlinked. They could easily be faked.

Step #3: Look at the website's content

Remember, Google is our friend. Copy a small amount of unique text and Google it.

Here is an example of how I did this with Madbonus:
Madbonus Screenshots.
It indicated that there is a relationship between Madbonus and Casinobar - both have cheating software, by the way. Anyway, these guys are copying each other's content. When you find copied content, ensure that the casinos are not related by either software provider or casino group. Templates will be shared by these groups. But believe me, that's not the case in this example. These guys are totally unrelated (besides having crap software).

Step #4: Make sure their terms and conditions are crystal clear

Rogue casinos will either try to outsmart the bonus player, or make hidden stipulations. Do not be suckered in by deals "too good to be true." You know the deal about that - I shouldn't have to say it. Most reputable casinos have very modest bonus offerings - and they are crystal clear on what they expect from you as a player. Do not, under any circumstances:
  • Do not open more than one player account at a casino. If the casino is part of a larger group, contact their customer support and get it in writing that you can have a casino account at each casino in their group. Ensure you understand all bonus terms.
  • Do not gamble if you are not of age, or if you reside in a jurisdiction that prohibits online gambling.
  • Understand their payout procedures. Some roguish casinos will pay out winnings via monthly payments, and decrease these payments if you don't play a certain amount of this back.
  • Do not make deals over the telephone. Get everything in writing
Rogue operations will use the above mentioned to void winnings. It happens all the time. Please note: accepting bonuses is not obligatory, and a majority of player issues stem from bonus problems.

Finally: Customer support

If they boast of having "live chat", give it a whirl and ask them a few basic questions - even if you know the answers:
  • Who is their software provider?
  • Where are they licensed?
  • Do they have a third party auditing their software?
. You'll be surprised how many "live chat" people don't have a clue what's going on with their casino. Many of these people are just there to give you bonus offers and fleece the unwary. Side note: sometimes it's fun to jive with these people.

The same goes for email support. It should be quick - and coherent. If they are struggling with the English language, or the native language of their website - move on. Many player problems stem from poorly written or misunderstood Terms and Conditions.

Lastly, money and a fool are soon parted; it couldn't be truer with online gambling. Like I said earlier, it's not rocket science - it doesn't take much to figure out who is on the take, and who is legit in this industry. "Stay alert - stay alive" as we used to say in the paratroopers. It's still the wild wild west out there.
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