Online Casino Scams – How to Detect Them?

Article by Simon Day
Last Updated: Apr 2nd, 2024 Share On Your Network:

As more gambling platforms open, the prevalence of online casino scams increases. Knowing what to look for when choosing Australian casinos may seem daunting if you are a new player. However, understanding how to spot online casino gambling scams is crucial to having fun and staying safe online.

These unscrupulous sites try all the tricks in the book, fooling many Aussie players into parting with monies never to be seen again. Therefore, knowing what to look for before registering and making deposits will ensure a secure and safe experience. An online casino scam can be in many forms, and we will look at various types so you can protect yourself online. 

We will also look at ways that you can quickly assess if an Australian casino site is legitimate and how to address them. We created this guide to help you identify shady casinos and misleading promotions. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to navigate the world of online casinos safely and confidently. 

Online Casino Scams - How to Recognise a Scam?

Knowing how to recognise scams is essential before choosing a casino site. Let us look at the main ones to watch out for:

Casino’s Licencing


A casino’s licensing is the first place for you to start. Australian casinos without a gambling licence could be fronts for online casino scams. A legitimate licence means the casino site is heavily regulated and safe. Without one, it is a massive red flag, and we suggest you stay away.

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a top gambling authority. You might also spot licensing authorities from Malta and Curacao, which are both a good sign. For any operator to obtain a licence, they must meet stringent criteria.

Ultimately, it is all about player safety and responsible gambling practices. New players must verify their identity as part of the casino’s licence requirements. With online casino gambling scams, there will be no licence. 

eCOGRA is another name to look for. Suppose you see them affiliated with the site. In that case, only top-tier gaming developers will provide the games tested by eCOGRA, an external regulatory body for fair play.

Poor Customer Service

Reputable Australian online casinos will have an efficient and responsive customer service team. Most will offer 24/7 support. While this is not a dealbreaker, it is more beneficial to have the opportunity to contact someone whenever you need. The most common support channels are live chat, email, telephone, email, or social media.

You might not receive a friendly reception or even no response in a rogue casino when reaching out. A significant tell-tale sign is when trying to withdraw money, with some online casino scams preventing you from accessing your winnings by blocking your account. A legitimate Australian casino site will take on board any online casino complaints and aim to resolve them as soon as possible. 

Online casino scams are on the rise, and vigilance is essential. If you find an unresponsive casino support service, it is a strong indicator of an illegitimate site. It’s best to stay away. There are more than enough reputable Australian casino options out there.

Pressure Tactics

A legitimate casino site will never pressurise you when playing. It is not a good sign if a casino’s pressure tactics negatively impact your experience. The tactics they may use include bonuses with a short time limit or too-good-to-be-true bonus offers.

Another tactic you may find with online casino scams is a constant stream of pop-up ads. It is a nuisance; you won’t find it on legitimate Aussie casino sites. You may also find an abundance of texts or annoying emails. To provide you with the best gaming experience, you should only play at trusted, reputable, licensed, and safe online casinos, which is the best way to avoid online casino scams.

Dubious Payment Methods

One crucial aspect to consider when choosing a casino is its payment methods. While familiar logos offer security, some red flags can expose online casino scams. Here are some things to think about when considering a casino’s payment methods:


Unheard of Payment Processors A reputable casino site will only partner with established payment processors. It includes the likes of Visa, PayPal, Skrill, and MuchBetter. These casino’s payment methods have fraud prevention measures and strict regulations. If you only find obscure or unheard-of options, it’s a massive red flag.
Cryptocurrency Only Crypto is popular for its anonymity, but its transactions are often irreversible. It makes it challenging to recover your funds if the casino is fraudulent. 
Limited Withdrawal Options A legitimate casino should offer a variety of withdrawal methods mirroring its deposit options. If a site restricts withdrawals to just a few obscure techniques, retrieving your winnings is complex and potentially impossible. This is a top tactic used by casino scammers to trap your funds.
Unrealistic Minimum & Maximum Limits Excessively high minimum deposits or low withdrawal limits can indicate an attempt to lure players in with high deposits but make it difficult to recover more significant winnings. 

Scatter Symbols: Diverse Themes and Variations

As scatter symbols are the highlight of online pokies, representing the best of the game’s bonuses and engaging gameplay, they usually adopt the imagery of the game’s theme or genre. Development studios put massive effort into every aspect of a title’s art direction, ensuring each symbol, character, and animation ties into the theme and combine to deliver a truly immersive gaming experience for players. To this end, you will see scatter symbols taking on the likeness of a game’s protagonist, displaying the title’s logo, or designed to look like a key item or symbol of the time being portrayed – sandstone pillars of ancient civilisations, piggy banks promising access to cash prizes, concrete blocks embossed with hieroglyphs – there is no end to the creativity.  

Providers also have carte blanche to determine the powers of each scatter, whether they carry multipliers, offer free spins in the base game, or cart you off to bonus worlds where entirely new games sit waiting to provide you with jackpots, cash prizes, respins and more. Some scatters can double up as wilds, offer payouts in the base game, or morph into other symbols once the bonus feature is activated. There are so many options with scatters; they wear the many hats of online slots and can be seen as the precursors of possibilities.

Pragmatic Play’s Big Bass series of pokies offers fantastic bonus games. For example, the scatter symbol in Big Bass Amazon Xtreme is the big bass himself. When three or more land in the base game, he triggers the bonus, which transports players to a pick bonus arena to select some thrilling game modifiers for the free spins bonus. Landing further scatter symbols during the free spins features will trigger a respin as the scatter moves one position down the reels for added chances to win more free spins and increased win potential.  In Fire vs Ice from Pariplay, the flaming scatter symbols activate the free spins bonus. You need at least three to trigger the bonus. However, the more triggering scatters landed, the more free spins were awarded.

Additional scatters landed during the feature also offer the chance to win more free spins. The beautifully designed Densho slot from Hacksaw Gaming takes this to the next level, awarding a boosted Super Free Spins bonus for landing four triggering scatter symbols that jump-start you up the feature’s progression ladder.  With so many variables, it is easy to understand why scatter symbols rule the pokies roost and why it’s handy to check each game’s rules and paytable to find out the best way to trigger those bonus features and bag yourself some terrific wins.

Unusual Gaming Software

Microgaming Logo

A reputable casino will prioritise fair play practices and transparency. Key to this is partnering with licensed and established software providers. At the same time, on the other side, dishonest sites may use outdated, rigged, or unrecognisable gaming software. Online casino gaming software at reputable sites is from renowned developers like Playtech, Microgaming, IGT, or Pragmatic Play. 

These developers comply with regulations, and independent auditors test the games for fairness of the RNG (Random Number Generators). These complex algorithms guarantee random outcomes, ensuring fairness and reliability. Reputable casinos only use certified RNGs tested by independent auditors.

Online casino scams may use untested software that has been modified to increase the house edge of the game. Outdated and unknown software is riddled with security flaws. It can expose your sensitive financial and personal data to hackers. The games will likely have unfair mechanics, lack transparency about the payout rates, and use other underhand tactics. 

Scam Emails and Websites

Not all online casino scams happen directly on the casino website. Instead, the dangers may be in your inbox or on your phone. These unsolicited methods of communication via scam emails and phone calls are intrusive marketing practices. Legitimate and reputable sites do not undertake these practices:


Scam Emails These emails may appear to be from a legitimate site with convincing branding. However, reputable sites will never ask for personal info like passwords or payment details. Treat any such email with caution. 
Scam Calls A scam caller will attempt to convince you they are part of the casino’s customer support team. They may ask for sensitive details or even encourage you to deposit to claim an incredible offer. No reputable casinos online will ever undertake these practices. 
Fake Websites These will look like real casinos, but be cautious as they trap many. A website should always start with “https.” Check the URL, and for safety, search online to ensure it matches the URL before making a deposit. 

Best Practices to Avoid Scams

To ensure you avoid scams, we have the best practices to follow to avoid dodgy sites. 


Check the Licence

Checking the online casino’s licence is the first step we recommend you take. The casino’s licence should be displayed prominently on the website’s home page and include the licensing number. You can check the authenticity of the licence in the regulator’s database. If it’s not on the homepage, you can also sometimes find it on the About Me or FAQ pages. 

A casino licence is non-negotiable. It ensures the operator follows the guidelines, including keeping your data and money safe. To prevent online casino scams, check this before joining or depositing at a site. 


Read Reviews

Online casino reviews are an excellent way to get a player’s perspective of the casino’s online performance. While finding a site with only positive online casino reviews may be near impossible, you want to see more positives than negatives. 

Trustpilot is one of the top worldwide review sites. If a casino is undertaking dodgy practices, players quickly inform others to save them from the same misfortunes. Stay away if there is a recurring theme of not making payouts and other online casino scams. You can also search for blacklisted online casinos, which we will update as we receive feedback from our readers. 


Know What You’re Playing

Playing games you understand will help avoid pitfalls like unfair practices and shady bonuses. Understanding the basic rules and strategies for casino games will help you identify unfair and rigged situations in the casino’s favour. 

The terms and conditions (T&Cs) are essential to know if you have received an online casino bonus. It can reveal unrealistic and hidden terms. It may include game restrictions, high wagering, or short time limits.

If the games have limited information about software providers or offer higher-than-average payouts, it is a red flag and may indicate unfair online casino games. You can start by playing the casino’s free games in demo mode, like the pokies and RNG table games like blackjack, roulette, or poker. Understanding how they work will help you identify dodgy ones and not fall prey to online casino scams. 

Check Privacy Policy

Secure connections and robust privacy policies can reveal two vital elements of a casino’s legitimacy. Look for the padlock icon and “https” at the beginning of the casino’s website address. With these two factors, the site runs on Secure Socket Layer technology (SSL), which encrypts your data. If a site doesn’t have SSL, it is a major red flag and open to hackers. 

Reputable sites will have an online casino privacy policy, which should be transparent and comprehensive. It should include: 


  • The types of data collected
  • How your data gets used
  • Data sharing practices
  • Data security measures


It may be an online casino scam if there is no privacy policy or unclear terms. 


Do Not Download Software

When you find online casinos that ask you to download software, it could be another example of online casino scams. Online casino software runs on instant play, whether on your mobile or computer. There is no need to download software, and it can be dangerous to do so.

However, reputable Australian casinos may or may not have a mobile app. With apps, make sure you download them from either the Google Play or App Store, which have undertaken their own stringent checks and are classed as safe. The risks of dodgy software include:


  • Malware: Downloaded software from online casinos may contain malware. It can consist of viruses, spyware, or trojan horses. It can steal your personal information, damage your computer, or even give hackers access to your bank accounts.
  • Security vulnerabilities: Downloaded software may have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to access your computer or steal your personal information.
  • Fake software: Some online casinos may have phoney software to steal your money or personal information.


Set a Budget

Setting a budget before you start playing is an important line of defence. It prevents you from getting carried away and falling prey to manipulative tactics often employed by fraudulent casinos. By sticking to your limit, you stay in control and avoid potential financial losses associated with online casino scams. 

Responsible gambling keeps you on your toes and more aware of your time and deposit limits. Remember, online casinos provide entertainment, not a guaranteed path to wealth. Approach them with a focus on having fun within your budget rather than chasing unrealistic wins.

Final Thoughts

Online casino gambling scams have been around for years, and the criminals who run these betting scams adapt and adjust constantly, so we have to remain vigilant. The most common online casino scams are dodgy websites posing as Australian Casinos. Others include phone and text scams, but the main aim is to steal your money.

Reputable online casinos will offer clear and transparent T&Cs and privacy policies and hold a gambling licence from reputable online casino regulators like the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Setting a budget helps you from getting carried away and falling pretty to tactics used by dodgy sites. 

Understanding how to spot red flags, like obscure payment methods, unclear terms, or unrealistic bonus offers, will help you to identify any shady operators and stay well-clear. Our website has a detailed blog section with other online gambling articles, including how-to-play guides and legal aspects. 

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