Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned gambler, the last thing that you would want to happen to you is get duped by online scammers who are about to run away with your money. In an attempt to protect yourself, you surf the Web and realize that almost every how-to tip tells you to do your research before making a deposit to your gambling fund. Of course, doing your homework involves getting the right resources, which in this case, considerably depends on review sites.
Unfortunately, finding objective reviews can prove to be more difficult and frustrating than searching for a legitimate online casino at times. Since websites run on sponsored ads, there is a very high probability that you would be directed to a “review site,” which is actually an undercover marketing campaign for an online casino or two. You may then ask, “How can I be sure that the review I am reading is not a promotional material?” The challenge now is for you to evaluate the site that evaluates online casinos.
Here are some things to remember:
1. Your search engine can only do so much
First of all, you have to realize that this is one area where you won’t be able to rely on your favorite search engine. It won’t be as easy as typing “objective reviews of online casinos” in the search field. Assuming that a review site is actually paid by casinos (legitimate or not) to do a “review” (meaning, to put in a good word for them), the review site can always add the word “objective” that your search engine will pick up. In the growing affiliate marketing industry, you can’t simply trust a site by the mere number of links to other sites that recommend them.
2. Looks can be deceiving
In the old days, you could easily tell a bogus review site from the looks of it. It would probably look like a sixth-grader’s website project for show-and-tell. In contrast, legitimate review sites would be described as “professional-looking.” Today, however, you can’t rely on a website’s appearance alone.
Getting past these challenges
Although finding an objective review for any product and service is challenging, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. Here are a few tips that you would need to consider if you want to determine whether or not a review for an online casino is biased:
1. Try to avoid the “dot com”
As much as possible, limit your search to review sites with the “.org” domain, as this domain refers to websites of non-commercial nature. Since there are no restrictions in registering for this domain, a website may use it simply to win trust. When you go to a “.org” site, check for commercial ads. If there is any, it means that it may not be as unbiased as what they want you to believe.
2. See beyond labels
Once you get into a review site’s homepage, you would likely see images that are meant as seals of approval. For online gambling, the logos that you should expect to find are that of eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) and IGC (Interactive Gaming Council). eCOGRA is a non-profit organization that sets standards to ensure the fairness and safety of the online gaming industry, while the IGC represents the industry and establishes trade guidelines to promote player confidence. The IGC reviews the software used by online casinos to make sure that they are not rigged or shady. Don’t trust any site just because it has the necessary seal of approval, as the images could have been stolen. If a review site claims to be eCOGRA-certified, go to the eCOGRA website (www.ecogra.org) and check whether it is listed in their authorized list. To verify claims of IGC approval, visit www.igcouncil.org and view their list of members.
3. Check the review site’s criteria for rating online casinos
A review site that isn’t masquerading as an online casino advertiser should indicate the criteria it uses to assess online casinos. These factors usually include the wager types offered by a casino, the ease in navigating through the gambling site, software performance, bonus offers, scam history or potential, and the availability of player support (customer service). If actual players are allowed to review and rate online casinos, then this is a good sign.
4. Read between the lines
Be on your guard and observe how the review is worded. Does it sound more like the sales clerk at the supermarket trying to sell you the latest product rather than a review? If it does, it’s more likely to be an undercover ad than an honest assessment. Keep your radar tuned for an abundance of positive superlatives and adjectives, such as “the best,” “high quality,” and “exceptional.” Watch out even for verb phrases like “boasts of.” It’s not that reviews shouldn’t give credit whenever it is due, but an objective review should include weak areas that the casino should improve on and the player should be ready for, such as the absence of multi-lingual player support, for instance.
Treat your search for an online casino as if you’re an employer looking to hire a good, honest employee that you must pay in advance. Like any sensible employer, you’d ask for a character reference, which would be the review site. You’d want want to make sure this reference is not just a friend who sings undue praises.
The tips here are not fool-proof, since there are common qualities shared between marketing and scamming. Then again, if you put them together and follow each step, your chances of finding a true review would be greater. Since your main purpose for searching unbiased reviews is to find a legitimate and good online casino eventually, what you should do is to conduct your own background check. Look for scam reports or gaming forums where players are likely to share their experiences. The more forums you join, the better. An advertiser could pose as a member in a forum or two, so consider safety in numbers.