For most people, the biggest hurdle to online gambling is the legitimacy of the casinos. As the player, you must trust these outfits with your bankroll and any potential winnings, and you want to be confident that the money will be there when it comes to time to withdraw it.
1. Local Laws and Regulations
The first step is to know the local laws and regulations regarding online casinos. You're affected much more by local law than you are by the laws governing the gambling house. If it is illegal for the company to provide you with gambling services, then you might not have much recourse if things go sour.
2. Brand Awareness
Rely heavily on brand awareness. If a major European casino has an online presence, then it is likely to be a legitimate one. Gambling houses, especially online ones, come and go, but the ones that stick do so due to earning a reputation for fair treatment of their clients.
The best online casino is the one that is completely transparent. Be wary of websites that make information difficult to find and obfuscate the details in the information that is available.
4. Gaming Software
Typically, gaming software is as good an indicator as brand awareness is. If a casino uses a trusted platform, such as IGT, Playtech or Microgaming, then it is good sign you can trust the casino as well.
5. RTP Percentages
Ideally, payout percentages for online casinos should be above 98 percent, and practically all the major ones are. Be wary of establishments that have lower RTP percentages or don't make the information available.
6. Auditing and Public Reports
Respectable casinos use a third-party auditing service as a matter of transparency. One of the reasons that you can rely on the software brand is that you can easily verify the auditing. The best operations are audited regularly and post that information for public consumption because they're proud of it.
7. Licensing Jurisdiction
The licensing jurisdiction is the government or organization that provides the gambling house with its gaming license and then regulates gambling operations. You can verify with the jurisdiction the casino's record of transgressions or lack thereof. Note that some jurisdictions are more reliable than others.
8. Consumer Protection Groups
Another resource is the consumer protection groups, such as the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce. If you explore these channels, it is best to do so with the organizations in the casino's home area rather than those in your local area.
Whenever dealing with an online gambling house for the first time, it is a good idea to investigate them in order to have confidence that your money is safe. No investigation is foolproof, however, and if you have a bad feeling about a particular establishment, it's best to trust your gut.