Blacklists and Rogue Sites and Scammers, Oh My! You place your bet, hit spin, watch as the images scroll by and wait impatiently as they settle into place. One bar… two bars… three bars. The computer screen begins to flash, and the speakers let loose a fury of alarms. You’ve won! You can hardly contain your excitement and immediately begin plotting where all that cash is going. The next day, you eagerly head to your favorite online casino to see how the payout is going. Instead, you see an error message. Your account has been inactivated. Thinking it’s some sort of mistake, you message the company and ask for their help. Days go by and you hear nothing, so you message again. Sadly, you begin to realize that the site you’d spent all that time on, enjoyed so much, and had faithfully deposited money into expecting a return, was a scam. These days, there are numerous check in place to keep the bad guys at bay. However, people still occasionally fall victim to scam sites. Even if the financial loss is minimal, the emotional distress these sites cause is enough to leave a person devastated. Although there are some rotten online casinos out there, you should not let them spoil your fun. It’s easy to avoid the bad casinos if you know what to look for. Blacklists Numerous sites around the world are devoted to keeping tabs on the behaviors and actions of online casinos. Although there’s no single entity that tracks the bad ones, individual websites, as well as forums, can be a wealth of information. Companies can wind up on a blacklist for any number of reasons, as there’s also no set criterion. It’s up to each list creator to determine who belongs on their list and why they place them there. Most commonly, companies will appear on a blacklist for failing to pay winners or for being slow to pay. A handful of especially dishonest ones will actually close accounts of winners and refuse to respond to messages. Depending on the business’ country of origin, people who have been scammed may have no recourse. On the flipside, some blacklists will add online casinos the creator hasn’t won at, so whenever possible, seek out a blacklist that explains either specific reasons for each company noted, or, at the very least, provides a full list of reasons why a company will be added. Some of the reasons an online casino will be blacklisted include: Failure to pay players Failure to pay affiliates Closing accounts of members without just cause Citation of obscure rules for nonpayment Confiscation of winnings Slow payments Unfair policy Rigging of games Site issues, like bad coding or malware Poor customer support Rogue Casinos It’s safe to say that any establishment which finds itself on a blacklist is more than likely a rogue casino. The term has come to refer to any online casino that’s has either dishonest or unethical business practices. In addition to the reasons a site might be blacklisted, a rogue casino might also: Use false means to lure players Falsely claim affiliations with consumer protection agencies or software companies Lead players into breaking policy so winnings can be confiscated Threaten players Use pirated software or stolen graphics Sell member information How to Protect Yourself As noted earlier, a person who falls victim to a scam or rogue online casino may not be able to take any legal action. Each operation is subject to the laws of the country it resides in. Because some countries have very lax laws or no laws at all, a rogue or blacklisted casino might not be doing anything illegal. For this reason, it’s essential for people who use online gambling venues to protect themselves before they get scammed. The easiest way to do this is to research the site using a search engine. Type in the name of the casino and then add phrases like “rogue casino,” “blacklist,” “complaints,” or “problems with,” and see what turns up. Some people just like to complain, so check out the details. If the site appears on numerous blacklists or shows up on multiple forums in which people complain about non-payment, take heed. Of course, a site can still be a bad apple even if nobody has noted it publicly yet. Take time to read the terms and conditions of any website you’re considering signing up with. Be on the lookout for any vague or unethical rules. You should also examine the guidelines for each game you play to ensure everything there is on the up and up too. Taking home a jackpot or a big win can be literally life changing and online casinos can be a lot of fun. So while there are a few sites out there that are determined to scam you out of your money, it needn’t spoil your good time. Be diligent about which sites you use, do a little research, and you’ll minimize the chances of having a sour experience.