We all want to avoid dishonest online gambling sites. To do that, you either need to do plenty of research to stay on top of what’s happening within the industry or get the information in a neat package from a reliable source.
I’ve been in this industry for 15+ years and still spend hours every day to keep track of the latest developments and to make sure each of the recommended websites continue behaving correctly.
If you live in the US, your options are different from the rest of the world. Australia, Canada and the UK have slightly varied selections of internet gambling websites as well, but the US market is distinctly different from the rest of the world.
When anyone asks me which sites to join, I always recommend a few in order to take advantage of the best odds in the market (a single site rarely offers the most competitive odds for every game you’re going to bet on). Plus, signing-up is free – you only risk a couple of minutes out of your life (the time it takes you to write down your personal details) – in fact, it only takes seconds to sign-up at Bitcoin gambling sites.
As mentioned, available sites for the rest of the world are mostly alike (and there are lots of ’em, too). PinnacleSports.com is a fantastic option for sports betting and often provides the best betting lines in the industry with ”reduced juice” moneyline bets. Again, though, I firmly believe the best way to go for sports bettors is to sign-up at multiple sites – therefore I recommend Bet365.com and WilliamHill.com as well.
Non-US gamblers also have plenty of options when it comes to online casino games. Many online casinos come with games by some of the highest-quality software providers in the online casino world – such as NetEnt, Cryptologic, and Microgaming – and also the ones who come up with the most innovative slots. They work well on mobile and feature some of the all-time favorite brands such as Mega Moolah, Jurassic Park, and Dark Knight Returns. There’s also some nice innovation going on with live dealer casinos.
US gamblers have limited options with online casino games – perhaps even more-so than with sports betting. Reliable and high quality brands are far and few between – fortunately there are still some left (our casino section has you covered). It’s rare to find US online casinos with strong track records – sometimes it feels like finding Bigfoot – but unlike Bigfoot, such casinos do exist.
Finding reliable poker sites is even harder since you need lots of active customers to operate a successful online poker room (plenty of players means plenty of games and big prize pools… and vice-versa) – this requirement alone eliminates all but few options within the US.
Outside of the US, you have the busiest site in the world in PokerStars, plus other high traffic options such as 888 Poker and Party Poker. At PokerStars, you’ll have the biggest prize pools and the most opponents to choose from (all excellent reasons to sign-up) but their recent actions have angered a significant part of their loyal customer base, so with that in mind 888 and Party Poker are formidable options as well.
If selection is thin outside of the US, it gets even worse for those living in the US. My top recommended overall gambling site – (Bovada Sportsbook) – was also my top recommendation for US online poker players. They were recently bought out by Ignition Casino though and their players were transferred over to Ignition Poker. It will take a little time before I am willing to recommend them since they are so new in the industry.
Finding Safe, Top-Quality Sites
At the risk of sounding pompous, I consider the recommendations at LegitGamblingSites.com the best on the internet (especially from a safety point-of-view). All of these real money online gambling sites have served their customers in a respectful manner throughout the years and, simply put, are the finest of their kind – to the point where I’m unable to find better options even though I’ve been involved in the online gambling industry for more than a decade and a half.
So why is safety my primary criteria? And why should it be yours?
Firstly, there’s little reason to deposit money to an online casino or a betting site unless you can rely on getting your winnings paid. Winning, by itself, is difficult (and let’s face it: unlikely) so the least you can do is to make sure you’re really going to get paid when you do win. Not all reliable gambling operators are excellent, but then again, no gambling operator is excellent unless it’s reliable.
Secondly, there are many dishonest gambling operators online. Setting-up an online casino, accepting payments and even acquiring some sort of license is all too easy (and many operate without a license). As a result, for every legitimate operation, there are 10 or 20 rogue ones, and I’m being generous here. The more you know about this industry, the smaller your list of internet’s best gambling websites becomes.
Finally, many informational gambling portals are heavily influenced by advertising income. I wouldn’t be surprised if 99% of them made their recommendations entirely based on who pays them the most money. Writing honest reviews is a breath of fresh air… and quite necessary, too.
To summarize, there’s plenty to look out for, and it’ll take some serious research and experience to be able to tell a good site from a bad one. I follow industry news and discussions daily, read plenty of studies and reports, and have done this for several years already.
Knowing What to Look for
With that said, you may get the urge to try-out some sites outside of what’s been mentioned here at Legit Gambling Sites – perhaps you’ll even try a site recommended by someone else. (I can’t blame you – I, too, like to play daredevil every now and then.)
The only way to know if a site is legitimate is either to have years of experience from the industry (includes following online forums daily) or doing extensive research right now; the benefit of reading my recommendations is to save a lot of time and effort since I have the experience and have done the research for you. If you’re going to do the research by yourself, make sure to check if the site does the following things well:
- Processes deposits quickly and with minimal fees.
- Operates fair games with reasonable house edge percentages and betting odds.
- Answers customers’ questions swiftly and helps them as thoroughly as possible.
- Processes cashouts quickly and with minimal fees.
It’s not enough for a site to handle these areas well right now; in order to be legit, a site must have taken care of these areas for years without significant problems.
And if they’ve had problems, how were they handled?
Bonuses, software quality, jackpot sizes, etc. are all important considerations but they should only come after you’ve considered the essentials mentioned above. It’s no accident that gambling companies like to advertise the non-essentials. You can offer the most lucrative gambling bonus in the world but it means nothing unless the bonus money can be cashed out, the games are fair and the customer gets serviced by excellent customer support.
Fortunately, people like to complain. Searching Google for “[Site Name] Complaints”, “[Site Name] Scam” or “[Site Name] Payouts” is a decent way to find out if a site has been involved in anything suspicious. Make sure to check the search results closely – truly legitimate gambling websites often have complaint and scam types of results because there are websites that auto-generate those pages in order to get visitors. So make sure that the results represent real opinions by real people.
Should a site pass all the criteria, details like bonus terms and house edge become real considerations (“house edge” is a term commonly used in the casino world to represent the % of a casino’s cut on average – in the poker world this is referred to as “rake” and in sports betting its known as “juice” or “vig”). Finding out all there is to know about bonus terms, for example, is a tall order for a beginner (I explain each site’s bonus terms in my reviews and consider them when reviewing websites).