How to Stay Safe When Gambling At Internet Casinos and Poker Rooms
Gambling online is carried out safely by millions of people every day and especially now, with the World Cup in Brazil starting real soon. Unfortunately, the large amount of money involved in internet gambling
does attract a small proportion of rogue operators. This page outlines the red flags you’ll need to watch out for, and provides you with practical tips to ensure that your experience is as safe as possible.
There are three main sections below. The first deals with the checks and upfront research you can do to make sure your casino is legitimate. After that you’ll find some account security, password and e-mail security tips. Finally, some specific advice on payments and banking information can be found. This includes alternative options for people who are not comfortable parting with their credit card information online.
Legitimate or Rogue?
In the online gambling industry, reputation is everything. Everyone wants to play at a casino with a reputation for fast payments, great customer service and the certainty that bonus offers will be honored. Serious complaints will quickly surface online, and once a brand is associated with scams, their ability to attract new players will be severely curtailed.
There are several things to look out for before you sign up with an online casino to ensure that they are legitimate. While no single factor will 100% guarantee your safety, seeing several of these in place should give you considerable peace of mind.
- -> Several Years Of Service:
- -> No ‘Rogue’ Status At CasinoMeister
- -> External Auditing Of Game Fairness
- -> Licensed In A Known Jurisdiction
- -> Range Of Payment Methods Available
- -> Company Listed On London Stock Exchange
Here are some more details on these factors:
Rogue gambling sites never last very long. In fact, many of the operators who fail in the first year do not set out with the intention of becoming rogue. The (relatively) low cost of creating a casino often lures people into an ‘easy money’ mentality. Once they realize the difficulty involved in attracting and supporting players, these casinos fail – often leaving players and businesses unpaid.
We constantly monitor casinos and how well they treat their clients. If a particular casino brand fails to pay a player, we will surely know and tell you about it.
External Audits of Games
Casinos rely on ‘Random Number Generators’ (RNGs) to ensure that their deals and spins are fair. Independent companies exist who rigorously test game and deal fairness. Casinos will have these checks carried out to reassure their players that the games are fair, and that their house edge is small. Look for links or badges in the footer of your casino’s website. Trusted names to look out for in this field include ‘Technical Systems Testing’ and ‘eCogra’.
Licensed In a Known Jurisdiction
Even rogue casinos can get licensed, so this particular feature does not assure your safety. However, a license from a reputable jurisdiction can be a positive sign – and the lack of a license will make a casino a complete no-go. For global casinos look out for Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Isle of Man or Alderney licenses. US casinos are usually licensed offshore, with Netherlands Antilles, Antigua or the Kahnawake native lands in Canada the main choices.
Range Of Payment Methods Available
Bad casinos tend to have a lot of charge-backs and will be dropped by payment processors eventually. If you see a range of payment options including the global credit cards and eWallets – this is good sign.
Listing On the London Stock Exchange
Companies that are listed on stock exchanges have to disclose financial information and any news which could materially affect their share price. This financial oversight will give you that extra peace of mind. Software providers who power casino brands can also be listed. For example the PlayTech software which powers 100’s of brands including giants like Bet365 is listed in London.
Safe Online Gambling – Account Security
You need to treat your online casino accounts with the same caution that you would treat your bank account. There are several rules of thumb I like to follow here. These include unique passwords, e-mail address security and ensuring that you log off on all of your devices.
Password Security Basics: A complex password is a must for any online gambling account. This should contain numbers and symbols and upper-case / lower case combinations where this is supported. Something many people miss is to make each password unique. If your details did somehow get compromised, you would be in a lot of trouble if you used the same user-name and password combination for several different sites.
Mail Security: Anyone who can access your e-mail may well be able to use this to reset your online casino passwords. You should always make sure your e-mail address is logged off when not in use. If this is inconvenient, you can always create a new e-mail address especially for signing up for services like gambling online.
Log Off All Devices: Most casinos will give you the option to stay logged in, this is always a bad idea – especially on phones and tablets which are easily lost. Get into the habit on logging off after each session.
There are more advanced measures you can take to ensure your account security. Pro poker players will often have a dedicated machine for their games. Not using this for surfing the web reduces the chance of getting malware. You can also get special USB keys which generate random codes for that extra level of security while logging on.
Safe Online Gambling – Payments and Banking
You can protect your online gambling accounts further some common-sense approaches involving managing your money.
The first and simplest tip is not to keep any more in your account than you need to play with at any one time. However legitimate the operator seems, there are always ‘unknown unknowns’ out there that can affect you. For example, many US poker players had to wait the best part of 2 years to get their bankroll back from Full Tilt Poker after this site closed. By regularly withdrawing any profits, you’ll be in a position to restart should a big problem occur.
Cautious players can also avoid needing to give their credit card information to online casinos. Visa, MasterCard and other brands are accepted by most casinos. The alternative is to use a 3rd party service like Neteller or Skrill. These are electronic wallet systems, and sit between your bank account and the casino. You deposit from your bank account into the wallet, and then use this balance to fund your casino account. In this way you do not have to give your bank information directly to the casino.
Electronic wallets are also a good place to keep some of your gambling bankroll. You’ll benefit from not having it tied up with the individual operator, so you can use this to take advantage of short term offers and promotions too. Unfortunately, banking laws in the US mean that electronic wallets do not service this country. Cash alternatives including Western Union, MoneyGram or pre-paid Visa cards can be used instead.
Safe Online Gambling – Summing It All Up
Online gambling is a very safe industry. There are occasional rogues, however on the whole you’ll find that the checks and security systems are in place to give you peace of mind. I recommend you spend a few minutes looking out for ‘red flags’ upfront, and practice common-sense account security after you choose a site. You can easily avoid the majority of potential pitfalls and enjoy a safe (and hopefully profitable) online gambling experience.
If you are looking for a site which ticks all the right boxes – then I strongly recommend Bet365. With more than 10 years of service, and a great reputation for fast payouts and great promotions – this site are perfect for your secure casino, poker and sports-betting needs.