Is online Blackjack Legit & Where To Play?
If you love playing blackjack but can’t get to a table at a brick-and-mortar casino, the siren-song of an online table might be calling you.
Just like a lot of people stuck at home, you’re probably asking yourself, “is online blackjack legit?”
Online blackjack is as legit as real-life blackjack. To get the most out of it without worrying about being scammed, read on.
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Depending on what state you’re from, you may already have some local options.
Online blackjack is currently legal in a lot of places, so you can check web pages like Online Casinos for USA players to support your local economy.
If you’re from a state where it’s more than frowned upon to partake in online blackjack, there are still options.
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Is it safe?
When you’re playing blackjack online, one thing you need to think about is whether the site you’re playing on is keeping your data safe and won’t let some thief waltz right in and take your money or identity.
You may also be worried that online blackjack sites have more ways to surreptitiously tip the odds in their favor (and that would require a hacker savant to uncover.)
But with a little research, online blackjack can give you the same returns you see at your usual tables.
Could online casinos cheat?
Most stories about casinos defrauding players come out of brick-and-mortar places.
But there’s no real way to determine whether it’s a case of IRL games being the easiest way to catch the house with their hands in your pocket, or if it’s just harder to catch bad actors online.
Here are a few things to look out for.
You may have heard of an incident in 2017 where a video of a Global Gaming Labs blackjack dealer (commissioned by BetOnline) was caught on camera (supposedly) second-dealing.
So why did that dealer (supposedly) cheat?
One option that stands out is the possibility that he was colluding with another player.
Collusion between dealers and players is as easy in live casinos, where employees and customers may share social circles, as it is online, where players and dealers can message each other in private without anyone being the wiser.
In the aftermath of the GGL incident, players were quick to point out how stupid it was to try to cheat in the first place.
Since then, there haven’t really been instances of online live dealers cheating.
Paying lower odds
A tried-and-tested bit of wisdom followed by blackjack players the world over is that if you see a table that plays a single deck or offers a 6-5 payout, run the other way.
Though real casinos can get into trouble for paying lower odds (see: Encore Boston Harbor, subject of a class-action lawsuit in 2019) it’s harder to catch software doing you dirty.
When you’re playing online, things happen faster. You may miss whether the promised 3-2 payout is happening, or if it’s actually 6-5. Or there could suddenly be fees that weren’t mentioned before attached to your win.
There’s also no way to know how many decks are actually being used because you can’t check it like a physical deck.
Tweaking random number generators
Online blackjack games that aren’t hosted by a live dealer rely on random number generators to–you guessed it–generate random numbers, software throws up random numbers (cards) in order to mimic real-life mechanics and gaming conditions.
Whether online or brick-and-mortar, casinos can tweak RNGs to get a slight house edge without tipping off players.
Why online blackjack is legit
So you might be nervous after learning about what could go wrong and may be thinking to yourself, “yeah, but is online blackjack legit?”
Unless you’re in Vegas, you can’t always find the game you want when you want it.
But online, there are so many tables hosting games at any given moment, all around the world.
You can opt to play buddies and a live dealer, or you can rock up to a digital table and play against a computer or friends you haven’t met yet.
Because of the bevy of choice, you can play as much as you want, whenever you want.
There are some great perks to playing blackjack live: you get to feel the cards in your hands, see different strategies, and meet interesting people.
Bonus: you can order any kind of drink you want, and get it without leaving the table.
But sometimes the stale, air-conditioned smells of casinos (or some of your more interesting fellow players, who have possibly ordered a few too many drinks) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Choosing where you play means that you don’t have to deal with the sound of slot machines or live shows interrupting your train of thought, letting you focus more effectively on strategy and gameplay.
Bonuses and freebies
You may get comped a suite if you win huge at a big casino, or get a free dinner if you sign up for a tournament.
But online casinos offer signup bonuses, rewards (for just playing), and regular massive jackpots.
Though these perks come with terms and conditions, they’re often worth it.
You can also find free games that allow you to slow down play and practice your strategy, meaning that when you’re ready to place a bet you’re able to make the best of your hand.
Why online blackjack is safe
Now that you know the risks and benefits of online blackjack, how can you make sure your online blackjack experience is legit?
Longevity and reputation are big parts of who you can trust. Check how long a website has been running, if it has good reviews or received any awards.
More importantly, you can check if a website’s security certification is in date, if they have a gaming license, and whether they submit to third-party auditing, all indicators that the website is a safe bet.
Gambling sites want to grow their business by attracting every kind of player from newbies to high-stakes pros.
For that, they need to maintain a good reputation, and you can bet they won’t risk doing anything that could get them marked as cheaters.
Remember the aforementioned instance of potential collusion?
After their dealer was caught, Global Gaming Labs fired him pretty much immediately.
And then BetOnline cut ties with GGL entirely. Even potential cheating wasn’t something they wanted to be associated with.
There was wild speculation about GLL teaching dealers how to cheat players, there was zero evidence of other GLL blackjack dealers engaging in similar behavior.
Certification doesn’t automatically make a blackjack site safe, but it can definitely help. Reputable certifying bodies make sure that casinos are adhering to internet safety regulations and maintaining good infosec standards.
When you’re gambling online, even if you’re using cryptocurrency, you could be risking theft or breach of your financial data. Companies like VeriSign, Thawte, or Technical Systems Testing are long-time industry leaders that offer certification for gaming websites.
Just like for a real casino, gaming licenses are issued to online gaming sites to prove they’re operating fairly and are actually paying out to players.
But not all licenses are equal: a website licensed in the US or the United Kingdom should reassure you, while websites registered and licensed in places like Panama or Malta could be a reason to keep scrolling on by.
Regardless of if or where a site gets its certification, it can still show its commitment to fair play by regularly allowing third-party audits.
One example of a third-party auditing company is eCOGRA.
Founded in the UK in 2003, they’ve made a name for themselves in the online gaming industry by performing reputable, independent third-party reviews of gaming sites, checking on everything from random-number generators used in digital slot machines to live-dealer studios.
Reviews and awards
Before registering for a new site, check their reviews.
It’s a super-easy way to find out if there’s something fishy with a blackjack site.
There are also dedicated online blackjack and gambling review pages that will award sites for creating the best player experience.
BitStarz is a great example.
They’re a cryptocurrency-based gambling page that’s won a bunch of awards like Best Support 2020 from Casinomeister, Player's Choice 2018 from AskGamblers, and they’ve gotten 4 ½ stars for their excellent player support from LiveChat.
MyBookie Casino has an entire page dedicated to testimonials and reviews from its users that talk about their amazing customer service, rewards program, and quick payouts.
Another good example is Canada-based Bovada Casino.
Not only do they have good reviews they’ve also been around since 2011, making them one of the longest continuously running gambling sites.
Reviews and awards also show an outfit has been operating in a way that doesn’t evade responsibility by just changing its name or location every time there is an issue.
Maybe a site won’t have awards, but if there are no reviews? Just pick somewhere else to play.
After everything outlined, the question “is online blackjack legit” has been answered. Online blackjack is completely legit (or as legit as the company running it.)
Congrats, you now know way more than you did about how to identify the best sites and make sure you’re keeping safe.
So now that you know online blackjack is legit, get out there, find your table, and win big.
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