Do online casinos cheat? If you're thinking about beginning online gambling, it's a question you want answering. After all, gambling is risky by its very nature - you don't want to add to that risk by playing somewhere that's going to cheat you out of your winnings, or not allow you to win at all!
But there are gamblers out there who will still tell you that all online casinos are rigged, that 'impossible' things happen too often for them to be truly random.
This is a misconception, but it's fairly common, and due I believe to a number of things:
Reason #1 - when you're gambling online, you can play many more games per hour than you can in a land-based casino. You're playing alone, so you don't have to wait for others to place their bets or be paid out. There are no physical chips or cards or balls, so there's no 'clearing up' to be done between games. The cards are dealt quicker, the Roulette wheel takes less time to spin, the dice are always ready to be thrown.
Because of this, unusual things will occur much more often than in 'real' casinos. They'll not occur more frequently in terms of probability, but they will in terms of actual time.
For example, the chance of getting 6 consecutive blacks in Roulette is approximately 1 in 64. If it takes two minutes between spins of the Roulette wheel in a real casino, this event will only occur once every two hours. If you're playing 3 rounds a minute (possible in an online casino), it will occur every twenty minutes! In both cases, the probability is the same, but the impression is that an unusual event is happening far more often, which must be because the online casino is rigged!
Reason #2 - when you play online, you're playing alone. I touched on this above, explaining how this affects the speed of games, but there's an important psychological implication to this, too. If you play Blackjack in a real casino with four other players, even if you don't win for a few rounds, the likelihood is that someone at your table will.
You could easily go ten hands without winning, but because you see others winning and, therefore, see the casino losing, you believe that the casino is honest.
Online, you focus purely on your own results. Suddenly, because you don't see anyone else win or the casino lose, those ten losing hands seem to be against all probability. The reason? Clearly, the casino must be rigged!
Reason #3 - everyone involved in online casino gambling has to be honest about this: in the early days, some casinos cheated. It's an unfortunate fact, and for many years did nothing to improve players' confidence in the honesty of online casinos.
Fortunately, things have now changed. The online casino industry is one of the most regulated of all businesses. Those 'rogue' casinos have been run out of town - named and shamed and blacklisted by the numerous industry watchdogs.
These industry ombudsmen exist to uphold the image of fairness and reliability and will step in to investigate and resolve any player disputes. So long as you're playing at a regulated casino site, you'll be protected against any wrongdoing.
In the UK, things are even stricter. Since the Gambling Act was enforced last year, only regulated casinos are allowed to advertise or be promoted. In this case, regulated means licensed in an approved jurisdiction. This caused major headaches as many of the biggest casinos suddenly found themselves outside this so-called 'White List'. Most have now moved operations to places such as Malta, but some have resisted and are now unable to promote to UK and EU players.
In conclusion, online casinos don't cheat, they're not rigged and they are fair.
Before you start to gamble online, you'd be well advised to check out your options. Many thousands of so-called 'portal sites' exist whose job it is to compare and contrast online casinos and recommend the casino that will best suit your needs.
My advice to anyone contemplating online gambling is to visit one of these portals, safe in the knowledge that the casinos recommended there are licensed, regulated and - above all - honest!