Since the mid 2010s, online casinos have become a billion dollar industry in the Philippines. In 2021 alone, the industry generated a Gross Gaming Revenue of US$1.7 billion, with hundreds of gaming sites operating throughout the country.
It’s easy to see why online casinos have gained tremendous popularity in so little time. Exciting games, attractive bonuses, easy access, and flexible stakes are just some of the things that entice players to sign up and keep coming back for more.
As in many other lucrative businesses, however, scams have unfortunately tainted this otherwise thriving industry. In the Philippines, online gaming is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is tasked to provide licensing to legit online casinos and oversee their compliance to industry regulations. But this has not stopped unscrupulous entities from carrying out fraudulent activities, swindling unsuspecting players out of their money.
To avoid this from happening to you, it pays to always be vigilant and watch out for signs of a scam. It’s not always easy especially for the untrained eye, but the following tips can help you avoid falling victim to online casino scams.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ONLINE CASINO FRAUDS?
To know what to watch for, you must first understand how online gambling scams are typically carried out. Here are some of the most common fraudulent activities in the Philippines:
1. Late payments or not paying at all
One way to know if an online casino is legit is timely payments. If a casino takes weeks or even months to process a withdrawal, that’s a big red flag for fraud. Some casinos start out with timely payments to gain players’ confidence, then gradually delay the withdrawal process. In some cases, casinos may refuse to pay entirely and make bogus claims about player violations to justify their non-payment.
2. Rigged games
Nothing can be more frustrating than to be defrauded of your funds by unfair gaming. Casino games are anchored on randomness, but rigging the games can stack the odds in favor of the house.
3. Fraudulent bonus offers
Bonus and reward offers are common practice in online casinos. But fraudulent operators may falsely advertise bonuses to mislead players into spending more, only to find out that they’re not receiving what they were promised.
4. Predatory terms and conditions
When you sign up for an account at an online casino, you will be asked to confirm your acceptance of the casino’s terms and conditions. Scam casinos may include predatory terms that can compromise your data protection or the integrity of the gaming process. Often, these operators bank on the common consumer mistake of simply accepting terms without fully understanding them.
5. Fast changing policies
Some casinos may also arbitrarily change their policies such as the withdrawal process or the claiming of bonuses. These can deprive you of your funds or result in payment delays. Some changes may be legitimate and necessary, and in such cases, you should be informed in advance and in writing. But when policy changes happen too often or without warning, that’s likely a sign that something’s amiss.
TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID ONLINE CASINO SCAMS IN THE PHILIPPINES
To protect yourself and your assets, always keep these tips in mind on how to avoid online casino scams.
1. Play only at licensed online casinos
One way to tell if an online casino is legit is by checking their licensing information. In thePhilippines, online casinos have to be duly licensed by PAGCOR, the country’s sole regulatory body responsible for ensuring fair operations. Legit online casinos in the Philippines are required to have the following features:
- Know-Your-Customer features to verify the identity of applying members
- A deposit requirement of P1,000 which can be withdrawn after a month
- A verification process to log in at any game
- Showing of PAGCOR infographics or video at log in
- A mechanism or process through which players can express their complaints or grievances
See this page to read the full warning issued by PAGCOR regarding illegal gambling sites. If you notice practices that may seem fraudulent, you can get in touch with PAGCOR here.
2.Do your research before signing up
A simple online search can reveal important information about an online casino. Look for reviews and find any chatter about a casino on forums and group chats. If you belong to a network of online gamers or know other casino players, you might get useful information about a site from these sources.
3. Make sure you fully understand the casino’s terms and policies
Don’t just skim through or check off on the terms and conditions without fully understanding the fine print. Know the casino’s payment, withdrawal, and betting rules and requirements and make sure you’re comfortable with them. In addition, keep in mind that you will be providing the site with sensitive personal data and payment information, which can be stolen or used fraudulently. Make sure that you’re not giving undue permissions to the casino to use or access your data and that you’re getting ample protection against unscrupulous practices.
4. Know the casino’s software providers
Online casinos typically lease games from several e-game providers. Look for information on the games’ developers and research their reputations. This helps assure the games are fair and not rigged.
5. Be wary of bonuses that seem too good to be true
It’s quite easy to be tempted by great offers, but when they appear too generous, that could indicate a scam. The casino may be trying to lure you into playing a rigged game where you’ll end up losing much more than the bonus. Or, you may find out later that the bonus comes with unrealistic or unfavorable requirements, which can delay or prevent withdrawals.
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