If you play slots often, there have probably been times when, if you did not know better, you might have been convinced that someone tampered with the machine you have been playing, fixing it so it would hardly ever pay out. Or perhaps there is a certain machine that has been lucky for you in the past, but lately seems to be so tight you cannot help but wonder if it has been adjusted to pay out much less frequently than before.
While slots, historically, have certainly been vulnerable to manipulation, both by manufacturers and players, the vast majority of licensed gambling establishments today, both online and offline, are very closely regulated. In other words, the chances of your being cheated by a slot machine in a big gambling establishment are virtually nil.
Most gambling jurisdictions have explicit laws pertaining to the operating of land-based slots. The first stipulation is that only licensed operators can offer slot machines to the public for gambling purposes. There are also specified limits on the total number of machines that can exist in any one establishment and what is the maximum bet. There are strict regulations as well on the minimum allowable return to player (RTP). While in practice, the minimum RTP might be only 75% or 80%, you are much more likely to find machines with a payback percentage that is substantially higher than the minimum. Otherwise, if a particular casino was so greedy as to install only machines that paid the bare minimum, the word would get out that this is a place where the machines are much tighter than most, and the casino would lose a lot of business to its competitors.
Any slot machine operator that deliberately chooses to ignore the rules for its own personal gain runs the risk of losing its license. Slots are a highly profitable business and the lifeblood of any land-based casino, so it would be foolhardy indeed to try to tamper with a form of gambling that has proven to be resoundingly successful worldwide.
Of course, from time to time there can be a malfunction in a particular machine. Any player who encounters a mechanical problem in the course of play can request immediate service. If necessary, the machine will be opened, and if the problem is not immediately fixable, the player’s money will be refunded and the machine will be taken out of service.
On the other hand, it is erroneous for a player to assume that the reason for a recent run of bad luck is that the casino made the machine tighter. The payout rates for any given slot machine were built into the program on the machine’s computer chip at the time the machine was manufactured. A casino cannot change the odds without replacing the chip. A casino also cannot alter the odds on its slot games without a legitimate reason and prior permission from the regulating gaming commission for that region.
Safest Online Slots for Money
Online slot machines are also generally safe. However, in much the same way that certain common sense guidelines apply when making any other website purchase, the same holds true for betting real money on online slot machines.
The following are seven basic things to be mindful of if you wish to play slots online. Strict adherence to these guidelines should give you a high level of assurance that you are playing on a safe and secure site and that the particular slot machine you have selected is giving you a more than fair chance to win.
1. Play only in well-known, reputable, licensed casinos, preferably those with an established track record of at least several years online.
Longevity says a lot in the ever-changing world of online gambling. No casino could stay in business for 10 years or longer if it were not running a legitimate operation and providing a safe and secure playing environment for its customers.
With a newly created casino, although it could be completely aboveboard, too, you are still taking your chances, which is not something you should be doing with your hard earned money. Also, read the information on the website about the casino’s license. Go with a licensing organization that has an excellent reputation like Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney, or Kahnawake. Avoid casinos licensed in Curacao, which is more lax in its standards.
2. Check the casino’s software.
Play slots in casinos powered by software from established companies you know you can trust like Microgaming, Playtech, and IGT. Some online casinos use one company exclusively for all of their slot games, while others prefer to see multiple providers for greater variety. In terms of providing safe games, either approach is fine, but if the company is one you have never heard of, take a few minutes to do some background online research on how long it has been in business and other casinos using its software. Reputable casinos take their cue from the military and use 128-bit encryption software, so don’t settle for less. The website should be forthcoming about who its software providers are and the steps taken to ensure that all of the information you provide on the site is protected.
3. Look for a casino that does not keep players in the dark about average payouts.
Don’t just take the casino’s word for it that its slot games offer a high percentage rate of return to the player. Demand to see actual documentation to that effect provided by an independent auditor. One sign that you absolutely have nothing to worry about is a casino with the seal of approval from eCogra. The letters stand for eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation, and it only affixes its seal to those online casinos that continue to meet its strict standards for security and fairness. Every month eCogra posts updated reports of the casino’s average payouts on slots and other games, which you can check for yourself on the website.
Technical Systems Testing (TST), part of Gaming Laboratories, Inc., is another reputable organization that many casinos use for certifying the fairness of its games. Players do not get the benefit of monthly reports, but other information is provided assuring you that the casino is trustworthy.
4. Use a casino that accepts a variety of banking methods and provides quick and hassle-free withdrawals.
Most online casinos make depositing money a cinch, but steer clear of those where withdrawals are a hassle and/or withdrawal processing times are ridiculously long. Look for a casino that accepts a variety of methods for both deposits and withdrawal, including ewallets, as opposed to just checks and wire transfer. Check reviewers’ comments, including those of other players, and avoid sites where there are a bevy of complaints about withdrawals taking forever.
5. Play in large casinos.
Large online casinos are preferable to smaller ones for several reasons. First, the variety of games is much greater, so you are bound to find a bunch of games to your liking. If one game isn’t going well, you can always switch to another. There is also safety is numbers. When thousands of people from all over the world are logged on and playing at the same time, the casino isn’t the only one making money. Many players are, too! Consistently large numbers of players are indicative of a casino that is sufficiently well financed to pay all winning players, even big winners, promptly.
6. Play only in casinos that offer 24 hour customer support.
The casinos are open 24 hours a day, so anything less than 24/7 support, including phone or live chat (preferably both), and not just email, is unacceptable. Any casino that is genuinely concerned with the security of its site and protecting its customers should provide this service.
7. Be proactive about protecting yourself at all times.
Before you sign up with and start playing slots on any site, have your computer thoroughly checked by a qualified licensed technician. Make sure your software is up-to-date and that you have adequate antivirus protection. Do a background check on the site you are considering before signing up. When you have made your choice, select a password that you will remember but others will not be able to figure out and don’t share it or any other unnecessary private information with anyone.
If you follow these simple guidelines, playing slots online or on your mobile device should be just as safe as playing in a licensed brick and mortar casino.