Are online casinos rigged? Everyone knows that the house always wins. But does that mean you stand no chance of scoring big? The answer is not as clear-cut as one would want. Find out if the odds are in your favor below, and while at it, learn how to spot a dishonest casino.

Online Casinos, Rigged or Honest?

First things first, do rigged online casinos exist? You bet they do. But that doesn't mean each online casino is rigged. Quite the contrary, most are not. All the online casino sites you'll find here are 100% fair and safe to play at. When in doubt, just pick one of the online gambling sites on our website.

And if you fear the games are rigged, even if the hosts aren't, relax. Granted, online games favor the house in the long haul. But that doesn't mean that all the games are rigged. You'll soon learn how to tell fair game from a rigged one.

But first, we'll take a look at historical instances of casino fraud.

Historical Cases of Rigging and Fraud

Rigging is not a recent phenomenon. There have been many cases of fraud and cheating in the gambling industry. Goes for both brick-and-mortar and online casinos. Here are a few notable examples:

Land-Based Casinos' Fraud

The Roselli Brothers' Roulette Scam

In the late 1970s, Frank and Anthony Roselli rigged roulette wheels in Las Vegas casinos. They used a hidden camera and computer to predict where the ball would land. This elaborate scheme enabled them to score big. Eventually, they got caught and faced prosecution.

American Coin Scandal

This event revolves around an employee named Volk. This person altered computer chips in over 500 video poker and keno machines. Such manipulated programs prevented players from getting big jackpots when placing maximum bets. A $17 million fraud took place between 1986 and 1989. The scheme went unnoticed until the Nevada Gaming Control Board uncovered the rigged chips.

Ritz Roulette Scam

In early 2003, a Serbian/Hungarian trio won $1.3M at London's Ritz Casino roulette. With a hidden laser scanner, they analyzed the ball's speed and position. High-tech helped predict its precise landing spot.

The Tran Organization

In the early 2000s, a group called the Tran Organization executed a card-marking scheme. The fraud took place at several operators in the United States. They used special ink to mark the edges of cards. This allowed them to identify high-value cards in blackjack. This sophisticated operation resulted in significant financial losses for the affected casinos.

Online Casino Fraud

Absolute Poker and UltimateBet

In the mid-2000s, these online poker sites were in a scandal. Insiders, including company employees, used "superuser" accounts to see opponents' hole cards. This unfair advantage allowed them to win large sums. Investigations and lawsuits followed, resulting in the exposure and consequences for those involved.

Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler Scandal

Famous instances of rigged games have surfaced in January 2013. The scandal involved Finsoft's versions of Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler games. A promise of a 100% payout suggested an honest deal. Yet, investigations revealed a significantly lower payout of only 96%.

Are Online Casino Games Rigged?

Casino games favor casinos. The term "house edge" captures this phenomenon. Sometimes described as RTP in reverse, the edge represents the statistical advantage the casino has over players. This tactic ensures a profit margin over time. In the long run, the house always wins.

That means casinos need not meddle with their games. The games will reward them by default.

Take blackjack. The house edge in this game is a minimum of 0.5%, when played by a pro. In practice, that translates as follows: A casino will score 0.5 on every 100 you wager.

The bottom line: No matter how good a player you are or how much money you spend, the chances are you won't bankrupt casinos. Hence, there's no extra need for them to manipulate casino games.

How Do Rigged Games Look

That's the tricky bit. They are the same as the non-rigged ones. You would have to look under the hood to know the difference.

Rigging boils down to one activity. Doing away with the protocols that ensure fair play.

For a game to be rigged, usually means that someone tampered with its RTPs or RNGs.

Some manipulate the fairness by lowering Return to Player (RTP) payout percentage values. RTP measures the money returned to players relative to their wagers. Imagine an online slot with an RTP of 97%. For every $100 wagered, players can expect an average return of $97 over time.

Chance affects individual outcomes, but rigging may lower RTP so much that all the luck in the world can't help you.

Random Number Generators (RNG) are another computation tactic to ensure fairness.

What happens here is curbing RNG. The result is altering game outcomes in favor of the house or specific players. Lowering RNG for as little as one percent may dramatically decrease your chance of winning. Remove it fully, and you can't win.

Yet even with proper RNGs, you may feel the odds are not in your favor. Online games may move faster than live ones. The speed may lead to misconceptions about frequent 'bad beats.' In reality, this is often a perceived notion rather than actual manipulation. But it's due to a game variance you're not getting lucky, not because the game is rigged.

Online Casinos: Rigged, Unlicensed or Fraudulent Casinos

Rogue operators may establish unlicensed online casinos. There are many ways they can cheat. Rigged games are one of them. Others are non-payment of winnings or a sudden closure without refunding player deposits. Making false promises goes hand in hand with actual theft. For instance, these online gambling sites entice players with unrealistic bonuses or odds.

So, what is a Rigged Online Casino? There are several cases to consider.

#1 - Rigged Software

Despite stringent regulations and testing, online casino software can be tampered. This includes manipulating the Random Number Generators RNGs. The same goes for RTPs as described earlier.

This type of fraudulent activity is typical for online slots and tables. As mentioned, among other games often found in the context of online gambling fraud is poker. The allegations usually revolve around seeing other players' cards.

Another instance is the so-called "Near Miss" scenario. It's about dishonest signaling. Machines made users believe they're close to winning big time to keep them going.

#2 - Payout Withholds and Delays

Online gambling sites may withhold legitimate player winnings or delay payouts without valid reasons.

#3 - Hidden fees

For example, paying fees for not playing or having an active account, captured by dormancy fee.

#4 - Phishing and Hacking

Casinos are not always the culprits. Sometimes, benevolent online casinos are the victims. Hackers may breach their security systems or conduct phishing attacks. But in the end, players suffer damage. The loss of their personal and financial information is a typical case.

As demonstrated, many unlawful behaviors fall under the umbrella term "rigged casino."

How Can You Tell Rigged Online Casinos from the Legitimate Ones

How to recognize a rigged online casino? On the surface, they all look the same. So, you have to conduct research. Luckily, there are clear signs.This checklist will give you an overview. Do your own due diligence before opting for a platform. 

1 in 5 online casinos are rogue.

Over 80% of gamblers have fallen victim to a rogue casino.

Almost 50% of gamblers are unaware of the consequences of playing at a rogue casino.

Checklist to Help You Assess If An Online Casino Is Rigged

A regulated casino safe to play will have:

  • Licensing from a legal gaming jurisdiction and a state regulatory body
  • Accredited Random Number Generators-based games from reputable studios
  • Security measures displayed on the website
  • Transparent terms and conditions
  • Disclosed RTPs
  • Readily available responsible gaming measures
  • Solid reputation captured by positive reviews and expert opinions
  • Good image among users characterized by a few to no complaints
  • Good PR captured by the absence of scandals and lawsuits
  • Popular and well-known payment methods

That said, let's dig deeper into each relevant condition.

Official Licenses

By far, the most important token of the legitimacy of a casino is the gambling license. Casinos must have them to operate in a certain market. And to get a license, a casino must survive regulators' scrutiny.

There are two types of licenses. Those issued by the governments and those issued by third parties.

Permits by Government Agencies

Countries or federal states usually have dedicated gambling commissions responsible for licensing. Sometimes, the financial ministries appoint these committees. Examples of such bodies are:

  • New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE)
  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
  • Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority)

The government-issued licenses guarantee two things:

  1. Casino's compliance with the legal requirements of the host country.
  2. That the games are not rigged. 

The former automatically means that the platform doesn't belong to rogue casinos. It also means that you will likely get legal support in case of fraud. The license-issuer may take legal action against the online casino, too. Finally, compliance means that the casino adheres to the prescribed safety standards. For example, licenses subsume responsible online gambling tools.

The latter means that the games are random and safe. The randomness of outcomes ensures fairness.

International Regulatory Body Certification

Besides government agencies, international regulators also issue permits. Their certifications differ from state licenses as they oversee casinos operating internationally.

Why do they exist? To ensure industry standards' compliance, fair gaming, and player protection across various jurisdictions.

International licenses may signify higher credibility than some individual state licenses.
Here's a list of some renowned regulatory bodies overseeing online gambling:

  1. Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
  2. United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)
  3. Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)
  4. Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
  5. Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
  6. Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  7. Curacao eGaming

Feel free to play if you see a license from either of these. All brands found here have one or more of them.

Does the number of licenses matter? It sure does. The more, the merrier. One way or another, the accreditation must exist on a regulator's official page. Always look there to confirm fair play.

Note that not having a gambling license doesn't mean a casino is rigged. But this fact does increase chances for such a scenario.

What to look for

Regulator logo or a license number.

Where to look

Casinos usually place them in the homepage's footer.

Why it matters

A license gives you peace of mind but also grounds for legal action.

License means:

  • the casino is legal and not rogue
  • the games aren't rigged but fair
  • you can get legal support in case of fraud
  • casino adheres to safety measures

Data Encryption

Second to licensing come security protocols.

Data encryption, particularly SSL, is vital for safeguarding our private information online.

Secure Sockets Layer employs mathematical functions to convert our data into a code. Without this encryption, our bank details and private data could be at risk. SSL helps prevent unauthorized third-party access to your accounts. Moreover, proving hacking took place in such cases may be difficult.

Legitimate online casinos invest in SSL certificates to authenticate their website's identity. Such operators maintain a secure, encrypted connection for transactions. With them, your sensitive data stays protected. Conversely, rogue casinos neglect users' safety, leaving personal information vulnerable to exploitation.

Where to Look for Data Encryption

To check for SSL and security measures in online casinos, examine the website's URL. A secure site typically begins with "https://" rather than "http://".

Look for a padlock icon next to the URL in the address bar. Clicking it often reveals details about the site's security certificates.

You can also seek information in the casino's terms or security sections. You'll find the details about encryption methods and security protocols there.

Random Number Generators

Random Number Generation is a mechanism used in computing. It produces sequences of numbers that lack any discernible pattern. This is the first thing independent auditors check. Because, losing RNG from the equation makes playing futile.

Here's why. RNGs ensure unpredictability in game outcomes. These algorithms generate random results, mimicking the uncertainty of live games. The generators ensure that spins don't depend on history or future predictions.

Online casinos might display RNG certifications or audits from third-party testing agenciesThese credentials verify that the casino's RNG software is regularly tested. Meaning, games are fair and not rigged. But, not all casinos display this information. Check the casino's terms, FAQs, or contact customer support to find out.

Good Online Casino Reputation

89% of players research online casinos before signing up.

73% of players have experienced fraudulent activities at an online casino.

64% of players have experienced rigged games at an online casino.

Building a reputation takes ages. Any inkling of a doubt in fairness is a huge risk for casinos to lose their customers. They can't afford it. That's why a good reputation indicates an honest casino offering their players a fair chance.

Read the reviews to find out how well-ranked a casino is.

You want to see many positive reviews from reputable third-party websites. What you want to avoid is casinos connected to scandals and lawsuits.

Expert opinion is one side of the coin. The other is the players' view. User reviews also matter. They contribute to casinos' positive PR. Note that players may be biased. Sometimes, inexperienced players call casinos out for fraud when there is none. That's why you need experts' thoughts. Compare the two to reach a conclusion.

The absence of players' complaints, as well as official lawsuits, reinforces the legitimacy. As does the presence of e-gaming awards and industry recognitions.

If you want to save time, opt for one of our top picks. We feature only legitimate and regulated online casinos.

Full Transparency

Transparency comes in several guises. Apart from the cases outlined below, it should also apply to the bonus policy.

Disclosed Return to Player (RTP)

RTP is a percentage representing the average return a player can expect from a casino game over time. Unrigged casinos display this payout percentage for each game. Players must have access to this critical information before playing. A fully transparent RTP information is an absolute must.

Clear and Honest Terms and Conditions

As with other relevant information, T&C should be available and understandable.

There are other ways to smell the rat. You may want to check what your hidden fees are. Avoid places that charge illogical fees. The textbook example is dormancy. If a casino wants you to pay even when you're not using the service, something's dodgy.

Understandable Security Policies

Easy-to-find and understandable security policies mark the legitimate casinos. The same goes for the fairness statement.

Sometimes, you won't find the relevant information that easily. If that happens, don't hesitate to contact the admin. The quality and swiftness of their response will give you a clue. A fast and to-the-point reply is a good sign. No safety measures and fairness policy disclosure is a bad one.

Where to Look for Security Policies

You'll typically find them on the platform's homepage.

Reputable Software Developers

Online casino game providers must have licenses to advertise their titles. You can decide on a casino by looking at whose games they offer. These are the top studios known for stringent standards:

  • Microgaming
  • NetEnt
  • Playtech
  • Evolution Gaming
  • Pragmatic Play
  • Betsoft
  • IGT (International Game Technology)
  • Quickspin
  • Yggdrasil Gaming
  • Play'n GO

Make no mistake, not every software provider is honest. But these top-tier studios are.


Finally, payment methods can tell you a lot about a casino. The processing options should be well-known and praised for safety. Secure transactions are a token of an honest casino.

You should also welcome an option to deposit cryptocurrencies. Operating as a decentralized ledger, blockchain records transactions across a network of computers. Its safety stems from encryption. Making data immutable and transparent reduces risks of fraud or manipulation. This decentralized structure prevents a single point of failure.

Cryptocurrency support doesn’t replace a valid license. You should always approach crypto-only unlicensed casinos with a lot of caution.

Is This Online Casino Rigged? Ask Yourself These Questions to Establish

Yep, quite a lot to keep in mind. But you can approach research differently. When in doubt, ask yourself this series of questions:

  • Is there a license number prominently displayed on the casino's website?
  • Is there a logo or a seal of a regulatory body?
  • Is there a link to a document on a regulator's page?
  • Is the security statement easy to locate?
  • Are security measures and fairness policies understandable?
  • Are responsible gaming policies in place?
  • Are available payment methods safe and popular?
  • Are casino reviews on third-party websites positive?
  • Are RTPs for individual games disclosed?
  • Does a casino have industry awards?
  • Do reputable software providers offer the games on this casino?
  • Is the casino blocked or blacklisted in the country of access?
  • Did the support respond promptly to my question?

If the answer to these questions is "no," you might want to skip the platform.

Always do your own due diligence. The table outlines key indicators of a safe online casino and where to find them on the casino's platform.

Indicator of SafetyWhere to Find ItDescription
SSL EncryptionWebsite URLLook for "https://" in the website URL.
Licensing InformationCasino Website (Homepage/Footer)Check the site footer for licensing info (i.e. license number or a link)
Regulatory Body SealHomepage/About PageDisplay of seals from gambling authorities.
Fair Play CertificatesGames SectionFind certificates for fair gaming practices.
Responsible GamingHelp/Support/FAQ SectionThe presence of responsible gambling tools.
Transparent TermsTerms & ConditionsClear and detailed terms of service.
Secure Payment MethodsDeposit SectionLook for well-known secure payment icons and encryption info.
Privacy and Security PolicyWebsite FooterClear and easy to find Information on data protection and privacy regulations.
Industry AwardsHomepage/About UsRecognitions, awards, or certifications received by the casino.

Are Online Casino Games Rigged?

Here’s a table outlining indicators of fair online casino games:

Indicators of Fair GamesWhere to Find ItDescription
RTP InformationGame Info/Help SectionFind the displayed Return to Player percentages for each game.
Game TestingFAQs/CertificatesLocate certificates or details regarding independent game audits.
Provider ReputationGame Providers PageCheck the reputation of game providers for fairness.
Game ReviewsOnline Forums/ReviewsRead user reviews and discussions about game fairness.
Demo VersionsGame SectionCheck the availability of free/demo versions for testing purposes.

Closing Thoughts

Are online casinos rigged? Many players believe that casinos cheat and that there's no real chance of winning. That's not the case. Casinos are profit-making ventures. Their business model ensures they come on top. The ultimate goal is earning money. Goes for land-based casinos and Internet ones.

But regulated casinos with valid online gambling licenses are perfectly safe. If you lose on such an internet site, it's just a stroke of bad luck. Now that you know how to tell corrupt internet sites from honest ones, there is no reason to worry. Double check before playing at any internet site.

If you find an online casino to your liking here, you need not stress. Rest assured, it's an honest one. Feel free to play online slots, card games, poker, or live casino games on any of these.