Online casinos are more popular than ever before, and that means that more operators than ever are popping up on the internet for punters to choose from.
With so many different options out there, it can be all too easy to make the wrong choice and to end up risking your money with an unreliable operator.
Online gambling can also leave players open to identity theft and fraud, the effects of which can be ongoing and long-lasting.
Therefore, safety when gambling online is paramount, especially since it is players’ money which is at stake.
While it is never fun to lose money when placing a wager, it is much worse to lose your entire bankroll due to fraud. Responsible gambling is key, and players need to take care when sharing their personal information and making deposits online.
Choose A Licensed Operator
The first and simplest step to take when gambling online is to only play with a licensed and regulated online casino.
Before you even sign up for the provider’s services, you should always take the time to research the operator thoroughly.
Read both expert and user reviews to find out whether or not they can be trusted and check the casino’s own website for evidence that they are registered with and regulated by an authorised body.
Licensed casinos are the best protection that you can have against hacking and cybercrime since they must meet certain criteria in order to maintain their regulated and licensed status.
This information should be clearly displayed on the website.
An Encrypted Login
Another obvious type of protection is to ensure that the online casino has a secure login system. Always look out for the padlock symbol in the address bar, and also https:// at the front of the website’s address as this will reassure you that it is a secure site.
There will be information in reviews as well as on the casino’s website itself about its SSL encryption so that you can be reassured about your details’ security.
Keeping Details Private
Just like banks, a safe online casino will always keep its customers’ details entirely private including their passwords, banking details and personal address.
None of this information should be released either to company employees or the public.
Extra Online Security Measures
As well as asking punters to create their own secure password, many of the best casino operators offer an additional option of an RSA token.
These are electronic devices which supply the user with a randomly generated code to be inputted alongside the user’s password each time they access their account. Since every time the random code will be different it is extremely difficult for anyone to hack into the account.
Use A Reliable Payment Method
While most people who are worried about the security of online gambling tend to focus their attention solely on the security of the casinos themselves, there are other factors to be aware of.
Even if the casino platform itself is secure, it’s important to also use a reliable and trustworthy payment method.
One of the well known and reputable brands like MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, Skrill and Neteller is a good choice since all of these are fully licensed options with many years of experience in the industry, so you can be confident that your money is safe.
Any reliable online casino will always ask for proof of your identity when you carry out any financial transaction through their website.
This allows the website to check you are definitely who you are saying you are in order to deter fraudsters. Many online casinos today even ask for copies of players’ ID before even accepting the first deposit or being able to action a withdrawal. Some of the accepted forms of identification including an identity card, a passport of a driving licence.
Some casinos also ask players to send a copy of a recent utility bill to prove that their address matches the one given on registration.
You should always check that the casino you are planning on registering with has an anti-fraud department, as this is a key element in protecting yourself against fraud.
The best casino operators employ fraud experts to monitor players’ activity constantly in order to put a stop to any scams before they take hold.
The anti-fraud department will check playing styles, player interactions and internal communications to give an extra boost to security, and should an unusual pattern show up, the user in question will be investigated, their account will be frozen and funds will be seized should they have been gained via an illegal means.
A Quick Checklist
There are some common sense methods that you can put in place whenever you are online, not only when gambling at online casinos.
Here is a quick checklist that you can run through to make sure that you don’t become a victim of fraudsters and can enjoy gambling online safely.
• Install an anti-virus software – you should always ensure that you have installed a reliable anti-virus software on your mobile phone or PC and check that a firewall is in place.
This will protect you from potential Trojans and viruses which could end up leaking your information as well as causing havoc with your computer’s operation.
• Be careful when clicking on email links – no online casino will send you an email which asks you to reveal your password. In fact no reliable site of any kind will ask you to share your password, and any email that you receive which asks you for this information should certainly be viewed with suspicion. Always check that an email has come from a safe source and avoid clicking on links in any spam emails.
It’s important to be extra careful, since fraudsters can create copy sites which look very similar to the originals, so you need to pay close attention to the address of the website that you are being sent to, and also the email address of the sender before responding to any messages that you receive.
• Keep your information secure – many people just aren’t careful enough with their passwords and personal details. Never write down your password anywhere that it could be seen, and always keep your playing activity private and safe as you can. By being careless with this information, potential fraudsters and hackers have more opportunities to take your identity.
• Only play at a trusted casino – the most obvious piece of advice is to only register with licensed casinos and only play with operators that have been demonstrated to be trustworthy. If you take the risk of playing with an unregulated or unreliable provider, you are putting your money in unsafe hands, and while you may successfully receive your winnings, you may be equally at risk of losing your entire bankroll with no kind of comeback or redress.
What To Look For
If you aren’t certain what you should be looking for when choosing a reliable online casino, here is a quick roundup of essential features.
• Brand recognition and longevity – the longer a brand has been operating and the more recognised their name, the more likely it is to be a trustworthy and reliable operator.
While it may be exciting if you find a brand new casino operator who offers a selection of amazing games, it may not be as reliable as a brand that has been around for a decade and which has already established a solid reputation in the industry. Always check out expert and customer reviews and find out other opinions before taking a risk on a provider that you’ve never heard of before
. It’s important that you’re confident that, should there be a problem, you will have a form of redress, be able to make a complaint, and be able to get your money back.
• Read the terms and conditions – every casino will have a page which outlines its specific terms and conditions, and you should read through them fully before registering.
While the small print may be boring, reading it properly could help you to avoid making an expensive mistake. Always check for over complicated terms as this is a danger sign, and check for false promises about promotional offers and bonuses. Some operators have very long delays before allowing players to withdraw their winnings, and you can find a lot of this information on the website as well as when reading reviews from previous players.
If you use common sense, take a few basic safety precautions and only play with licensed and regulated operators, you are likely to find that your online gambling experience is safe and secure without any problems.