Know Your Rights as an Online Casino Player
In recent years, the online casino industry in South African has exploded. New gambling sites pop up like mushrooms on the internet and new casino games make their appearance on a monthly basis.
South Africans are drawn to this industry because it means that they can play their favourite games from wherever they happen to be in the country. It means that they don’t need to travel hundreds of kilometers to visit a brick-and-mortar casino.
Within a minute or two, top quality casino entertainment can be brought to the palm of your hand and played on your home PC or your mobile device such as tablet or smartphone.
The vast majority of South African-facing online casinos aim to offer a safe, fair, responsible and regulated gaming platform to their players.
But did you know that you, as a SA online casino player, have rights and responsibilities as well? If you were to fall prey to the operations of an unscrupulous online casino, where would you turn? If you thought that you were developing or had already developed a gambling problem, who would you ask for help?
What rights do licensed and regulated online casinos afford SA players?
When you choose to play at an online casino that is licensed and regulated by a reputable gambling authority, you are ensuring that your rights as a player are protected.
Some of the things that you are guaranteed include:
- Fairness in outcomes
- Privacy protection
- Financial information protection
- Damage protection
- Mechanisms in place that help you gamble responsibly such as timeouts, time and deposit limits and even self-exclusion.
- Access to problem gambling resources
Fairness of Results
Although it’s clear that online casinos need to have an edge over their players in order for them to stay in business, you need to know that the game results are fair and random.
It is the right of the South African player to have access to the information governing fairness and randomness.
A licensed online casino will make sure that its RTP (Return to Player) rate and its Random Number Generator results are tested by an independent, third-party auditor. These results are then published on the website, accessible to all players. This is a clear indication that the online casino is acting in a transparent manner and making sure that its game results are fair and random.
Clear Contract Wording
When you open an account with an online casino and open a real money account, you are essentially entering into a binding contract with the site.
It’s your right as a player to have the terms and conditions spelled out to you in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. The online casino my not use ambiguous contract wording to confuse you. If you find that you cannot understand the contract, and its conditions, we suggest that you move onto the next site.
Contractual language is required by law to be fair and understandable. No part of the contract may be concealed from the player. Bonus conditions need to be clear so that players know exactly what is expected from them before they play in a promotion.
Protection from Gambling Harms
South African online casinos need to offer players the opportunity to gamble responsibly.
This includes features such as:
- Reality checks – where you can see how much time you’ve spent playing at the online casino. You can set up a timer to remind yourself once you’ve logged into your account.
- Time intervals – You can set up intervals where you’re forced to take a break from your gaming sessions – any time from every few minutes to every few hours.
- Access to banking information – To see how much you’ve spent online, you will need full access to your online casino account. It is your right to be able to view your transactions at all times.
- Identity verifications: The online casino needs to make sure that it protects vulnerable players by requesting proof of identity. If you are not legally allowed to play, the online casino should not open up an account for you. When it comes time to withdrawing your winnings, you will be asked to provide further proof of identity, including utility bills. This is to protect your finances as well.
Online casinos should also offer you contact numbers of local help lines so that you can turn to them if you think you have a gambling problem.
Before you open an online casino account, you should know that you – as a consumer and player – have many rights. However, you need to remember that you also have obligations. For example, the online casino needs to do its bit to protect you from gambling harms, but the onus is on you to gamble responsibly as well.