Fake reviews are a big problem across lots of platforms and industries. While you might be most familiar with them in an e-commerce context, they can create confusion and spread disinformation elsewhere as well.
Online casino reviews are a good example of this, and one which deserves more attention, because players need to put their trust in the gambling sites they use, and yet the opportunities for exploitation are significant.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to look out for fake reviews of web-based casinos, and what you can do to pick the best places to play.
Avoid disreputable sites
It should be obvious, but unless the site that is hosting the review is both reputable and independent, then you cannot really trust any of the coverage of online casinos that it provides.
Conversely, finding honest and up-to-date casino reviews from rigorous and respected online outlets is your best bet.
Be suspicious of universal praise
Even if you are using a mainstream site to look for casino reviews, the problem you will likely encounter more often than not is of an over-abundance of uncritical, praise-packed feedback focusing on a specific gambling brand.
For example, if there are myriad reviews giving a casino site a maximum five star rating, with few or no negative reviews whatsoever, this could be an indicator that most or all of them are phony.
In the case that star ratings are not involved, you’ll need to analyze the language used in the review itself. Overly effusive, purely positive points being made again and again, often with slightly different phrasing, will signal that someone has paid to have these reviews posted, rather than them originating organically from legitimate users.
At the other end of the spectrum, you also need to be savvy to the opposite tactic, which is where negative reviews of rivals are posted to besmirch their brand. Universal derision is just as suspicious as universal praise.
Look at when reviews were published
Even if fake reviews are more measured in their wording and rating of a casino site, they can be identified if they are posted in a very short timeframe.
You would usually expect reviews to span a broad period, but if all of the positive ones are clustered within the same few days, this could be a real red flag.
One of the reasons that fake reviews, or misleading reviews, can crop up in these sudden bursts is that they may be incentivized by a time-limited offer. This is a good way to raise the profile of up and coming sites, but it doesn’t help other consumers much because it paints an unrealistically positive picture of the brand in question.
Delve into the details
It takes a certain type of person to post a review of any product or service, and this usually means someone who is very eager to give lots of detail about the extent of their experience, good and bad.
As such, genuine online casino reviews are often packed with plenty of specific information, giving you an overview of the various features and functions, as well as pinpointing particular problems that the user may have experienced.
Conversely a fake review may be vague in a telltale way, because the author may not actually have used the service, or may not be interested in going in-depth on the topic because it is not worth their time.
A lack of detail in a review is not always something that suggests it is fake, but it should definitely be on your checklist.
Do some background digging
Depending on the review platform you are using, you may be able to see what else a reviewer has written about.
In the case that the casino review is the only thing they have ever posted, this could be an issue, as it implies that they only created an account to give a paid shout-out to the brand in question.
On the flip side, if they have reviewed lots of other sites, services and products, and only ever given positive feedback, this is equally problematic.
Try the site for yourself
Lastly, remember that online casino sites often allow new customers to play without risking real cash, and so before you decide to make more of a commitment to a particular provider, you can test the waters and gauge whether or not it is right for you, without needing to navigate the world of reviews.