Is Online Gambling Safe?
Gambling online can be a great avenue for gaming. It can even save you money when you factor in not having to pay for a hotel room in a casino town, and way WAY lower minimums at tables than at a live casino. But one of the biggest hesitations people have with online gambling is whether or not it’s safe. There are a lot of things to consider when asking the question “is online gambling safe?”
Protect your IP Address
No matter how safe and legitimate an online gambling site may seem, you should ALWAYS first and foremost use a VPN to protect your IP address and location data. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it’s a super easy way to add an extra layer of security and anonymity to your browsing. It works by running your browser traffic through a third-party server before going to its final destination. This is so that when your browser gets to the webpage it’s going to, the webpage thinks your traffic is coming from the third-party server instead of from you. That way, you’re not exposed. NordVPN is the most trusted go-to for VPN services. You can get their VPN service for less $4 a month and they have no bandwidth or data limits. So step one, get NordVPN and protect yourself.
Look for the Right Badges
The fastest and easiest thing to look for if you want to see if a site is legitimate, is whether or not they belong to a eGaming compliance service. These compliance services are reputable establishments that distribute licenses to members that meet their strict criteria. Members sites must meet certain standards to be allowed to present their badge on their site.They also provide a platform for users to file disputes or complaints about their member sites if an issue arises. This keeps sites honest and fair. They ensure sites are staying honest by continually auditing them. These compliance services differ based on the country the site is based out of, and what kind of gaming they offer. To go even a step further, click on the badges on the site you’re investigating and make sure it takes you to the third-party compliance site and there is proof on that site that the casino you’re at is licensed.
Look for badges from these organizations:
Be Wary of Making Deposits
This is where you need to be careful. If there are any red flags when you are trying to make a deposit, leave the site. There are plenty of legitimate online gambling sites out there, so it’s not worth risking it if something seems fishy. Red flags to look out for are:
- Not seeing a trusted payment method such as Visa or Mastercard
- Insecure connection (see section below on secure connections)
- URL Redirects (the address bar changes domains after clicking a link)
- Third-party payment service you’ve never heard of
Also be sure to check withdrawal terms. A lot of sites have a bad policy on withdrawing. Either they will charge you a fee to withdraw your winnings (lame!) or they will have a withdraw minimum that is too high. Make sure you understand the terms and are ok with them. If you can’t find these terms listed anywhere on the site, contact their support team either via email or chat.
Consider Gambling with Bitcoin
The best way to avoid weird and sketchy deposit situations, is to gamble with bitcoin. Since bitcoin has been around, it’s gained more and more credibility in the gambling world. With the incredible ease of making transactions without the need of a third-party being involved, bitcoin (and cryptocurrency in general) make a great tool for online gambling. In addition to the ease of transferring, you can gamble with much smaller amounts of money, saving yourself from bigger losses. By far the most legitimate place to gamble with bitcoin is Stake. They are proven to be fair play and also specialize in bitcoin games. Including Blackjack! Their games range from table games to sports betting to dice.
ALWAYS Check for a Secure Connection
As with anytime you are making a purchase or putting your personal info online, make sure your connection is secure! The url in your address bar should start with https instead of just http. A secure connection means that the data transferring between your computer and the website you’re on is encrypted. This means that a hacker can’t stage a man-in-the-middle-attack to steal sensitive information. A great way to remind yourself to always be checking for this is to use the free browser extension HTTPS Everywhere. This extension checks for an HTTPS connection on every site you visit. It’s developed in-part by a non-profit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation who fights for digital rights’ of users.
Read the Fine Print
It’s all too easy to get over excited by a juicy sign up bonus and forget to check the terms. Many of these fat sign up bonuses are not as glorious as they may seem to be at first glance. For example often when a site offers a sign up bonus, that bonus is not withdrawable. Only if you win while playing with that bonus money, will you actually make any money off of it. Of course that’s not to say the bonuses are no good. But it’s important to remember that those bonuses come and go, and you should judge an online casino by its legitimacy. Not only its signup bonus.
Avoid Installing Software on your Computer
A lot of online gambling companies offer a program you can install on your computer to play their games. While there could be an argument that if the site is reputable their software should be safe, if you want to play it safe, don’t install anything on your computer. The act of downloading something from a site and installing it on your computer leaves you open to so many vulnerabilities, it’s simply not worth it. If it’s just as easy to play the games on the website, why risk it?
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to online gambling. So many it can, in fact, be overwhelming. But with a little due diligence, you can find a place that fits your needs and comfort level. The benefits of online gambling are too great to write off all online gambling as sketchy!