Safe Online Gambling: Three ways to avoid risks and pitfalls.
The online gambling industry is very well established. It’s grown exponentially over the last twenty years. More and more governments are choosing to regulate the activity, ensuring stronger player protection laws than ever. Yet still – and rightly so – there’s one question that continues to circulate more than any other…
Is Online Gambling Safe?
The short answer is yes. Properly regulated internet gambling websites are perfectly safe. They use the strictest security measures, as do their payment processors, to shore up all personal and financial information during transmission. They undergo rigorous testing of the software, and are certified for fairness. These sites are, quite frankly, as safe as any online banking activity.
But you’ll notice I said “properly regulated internet gambling websites”. That’s the key term here.
Proper Regulation VS Questionable Operators
In my experience, there are three es of online gambling sites. There are those regulated by a respectable jurisdiction. There are those regulated by a not-so-respectable jurisdiction. Then there are those that aren’t regulated whatsoever.
The first group are the great ones. Reputable jurisdictions are places like Isle of Man, Malta, Gibraltar, UK, and of course our own Canadian provincial regulators in the Atlantic Provinces, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Not-so-respectable jurisdictions would be areas like Costa Rica and Curacao. When an operator is licenced in an area like this, there’s no real rules to abide by. A Costa Rican operator can’t accept player sin Costa Rica. That’s it. If the operator goes rogue, doesn’t pay players, or gets a lot of complaints, Costa Rica won’t do anything to help that player. This doesn’t mean all Costa Rica or Curacao licencees are rogue – far from it. But it does raise a red flag. To be completely safe, I always avoid these.
The third group is a very small but, but they do exist. They aren’t licenced or regulated by any jurisdiction. Obviously, don’t play at an unregulated website.
Security Software for Safe Online Gambling
Sometimes, the security issue has nothing to do with the operator, but the player. The site may be 100% secure, but what about your desktop computer or mobile device? A reputable casino is not going to give you a virus, but if you do get a virus from elsewhere, it could cause problems.
Some malware includes key-loggers. These programs will record everything you do, including the entry of logins and passwords, and send them back to the duplicitous maker of the virus. Make sure you have a good security program on your computer, and run it at least once a week, if not daily.
For mobile devices, there are good programs you can get too. The biggest issue with these, however, is letting other people use your smartphone or tablet. If you don’t trust them, don’t give them the device. And certainly don’t hand your phone to your kids to keep them entertained if there’s an unsecured gambling app on there. Underage gambling is really bad, but so is someone wagering through your entire bankroll!
Track Your Transactions and Gaming History
Another type of risk involved with online gambling is the possibility of losing control. Problem gambling is real, and it can effect anyone who isn’t paying enough attention. Some gambling websites allow you to keep track all of your financial transactions (deposit and withdrawals), as well as a complete history of your game play.
Microgaming casinos, for example, have PlayCheck and CashCheck features. With PlayCheck, you can view every game you’ve played. You’ll see when you played it, for how long, and how much was wagered/won/lost. CashCheck does the same for financial transactions. Check these regularly. Simply being aware of your the time and money spent can help you avoid any future problems.