So you’ve decided to try your hand at online gambling… that’s awesome! Online gaming is both entertaining and it can also be lucrative. Having fun and making money is a wicked combination.
But with so many websites out there, how do you decide which ones are safe and secure? The whole point of online gambling is to build a bankroll, so it’s important to know how to pick a safe site that will protect that money!
Before committing to a site, there are some important safety factors to consider. Let’s explore them now:
Do Your Homework
Research, research, research! You wouldn’t give your credit card information to a random stranger on the street, the same applies to websites. Make sure you read the terms and conditions as listed on a site before signing up. You don’t want to run into any surprises after you’ve made a deposit. After all, knowledge is power.
Use Reputable Sites
For your own safety and security, you only want to gamble on reputable websites. It’s not always easy to tell at first glance though, because the shady sites will look surprisingly similar to the trusted ones. They do this on purpose to try and trick the unsuspecting player. But thankfully, we are way too smart for that! We would never sign up for a site without ensuring our information was secure.
The best way to find out if a site is trustworthy is through recommendation from trusted sources. Don’t use brand new sites or ones that have minimal information about online. Use your old friend Google and check out your site of choice. Read the online reviews and pay attention to the complaints and negative reviews.
The biggest red flag you’re looking for is if players say they don’t get their payouts in a timely manner (or at all). If the website has a reputation of being slow to pay a player on a withdrawal, or if they are constantly making excuses about why their payments are delayed, it is definitely one to avoid.
Local Jurisdictions and Laws
Different states have different rules when it comes to online gambling. Make sure to research what your local laws are before committing to a site and making a deposit. It would be a pretty big bummer to lose your deposit because your state doesn’t allow you to play…and it would be an even bigger bummer to go to jail over it!
Online Gaming Commissions
Even though the internet is worldwide, there are different regions which have specific legislation that permits the licensing and regulation of online gaming. These regions are called gaming commissions.
One of the most trusted gaming commissions in the world is Antigua. Many of the worlds most trusted gaming and sports betting sites are licensed in Antigua, including a number of U.S. gaming companies. These sites are easy to pick out because they use the domain .ag.
Picking a Username
We want to keep our personal information private, and our username is another area to be aware of. A username that gives away our location or our name makes it easier for online scammers to break into our account. It’s important to use a cryptic non-specific username to keep yourself safe. A good username is PokerShark10. A bad username is JimmyBravoLovesMiami.
One name is generic and it is impossible to identify a name, gender or location. The other not only gives away your name, but also your city. Let’s make it extra tricky on the hackers and be cryptic with our username to add an extra layer of protection on our account.
Signing up for another website means choosing another password. And that’s always a chore, right? Isn’t it easier to just use the same password for everything? Well sure, it might be easier for you….but it also makes it easier for hackers to compromise your account.
Here’s a scary fact for you: the 5 most popular passwords in 2014 were 123456, password, 12345, 12345678 and qwerty. Seriously. This isn’t even a joke. No wonder so many online accounts get hacked! By doing this, we aren’t even trying to make life difficult for the hackers…we are basically handing our online persona right to them on a silver platter.
If you want to learn more about password safety, here is a great link from Entrepreneur Magazine with some details.
So let’s talk about keeping our online gaming account secure with a strong password. And that doesn’t mean using the same password you’ve been using for the last decade. And it also doesn’t mean using your birthday (newsflash: that’s a pretty easy one to figure out!). Use a password that you don’t use on any other websites.
It’s a very good idea to make a completely unique password that you use only for one gaming site. And make it a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Heck, even throw a capital letter in there to keep it interesting. We want to make our account as secure as possible, and this is how we do it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No reputable website will ever ask you for your password. Ever. So any email that claims to be from your gaming site of choice (or for that matter, your banking institution) that asks for your personal information is a hoax. It is an attempt by hackers to trick you into divulging your personal information, so they can use it against you. Never give anyone your password.
Protecting Your Money
When it comes to online gambling, the #1 priority is the money. Of course, the entertainment value is a close second, but first and foremost is your bankroll. You work hard to build it, so don’t take unnecessary risks when it comes to protecting it. There are a couple important ways we can make sure our money stays safe.
Keep a Separate Gambling Fund
Let’s be honest. It’s easy to lose track of funds while gambling. We can get caught up in the excitement and before we know it, we have spent more than we planned. We don’t want to be left wondering, “was that three deposits this month or four?” Or even worse, “what was the starting balance this month?” By keeping a separate account specific for our online gambling, it will be easy to keep track. Your online deposits and withdrawals won’t be mixed in with paycheck deposits and everyday purchases. And you also won’t lose track of how much you want to spend.
An eWallet is an intermediary for your money. It offers you online protection so you are not providing your credit card or banking information to a website. It also protects you and the receiver from fraud. Think of it like a middle man, or a friend that you trust.
Let’s say you want to buy something from an unknown third party, but you don’t want to give them your account information. You give the money to your trusted friend, and then they give the money to the third party for the goods. That way, your information only gets shared with your trusted friend. And the third party is also protected because they don’t need to hand over the goods until they have the money from a reliable trusted source. It is win-win for both sides.
In order for an online money transfer program to be considered an eWallet, they need to meet three criteria: they need to accept peer-to-peer transfers, they need to be connected to your credit card or bank account for withdrawals and deposits, and they need to act like a real wallet and hold a balance of funds that have been taken from your linked account.
There are a number of reputable eWallets out there. The most popular ones are PayPal, Apple Pay, Skrill, Square, Venmo and Google Wallet. Do your research into what each of them offers before deciding which one best suits your needs.
There are a number of online gaming sites that now allow bitcoin payments. These sites are considered especially coveted, particularly for the American gambler. This is because Americans can use bitcoins without penalty, unlike many other deposit/withdrawal methods that can heavily penalize American players.
You may be wondering, what exactly is bitcoin? It is an electronically created and possessed form of digital currency. There is no hard copy (i.e. there is no printed currency) and they’re stored exclusively in the bitcoin network. Since they aren’t controlled by a conventional bank, there aren’t any of the traditional banking fees associated with bitcoins. Because it’s exclusively digital, it’s also a very fast way to transfer money. These factors make bitcoins ideal for online gaming.
Basic Online Security Tips
It’s always important to make sure a website is secure before inputting your credit card information (or any other deposit method). Check the toolbar on the website. You’re looking for two key pieces of information.
First, there should be a padlock right in the toolbar. This means the page is secure. Make sure it isn’t just a padlock symbol on the page itself… that’s a sneaky way to make a fraudulent site look secure.
Second, make sure the website starts with https:// (not just http://). The “s” is super important, because it stands for secure! This isn’t exclusive to gambling websites, it is actually true for all websites. That means even when you’re creeping your ex on Facebook, you’re secure! (Don’t we all feel better now? Oh come on, you know you do it….don’t bother denying it!)
When you’re finished with a session always log out of a site completely. Don’t just close the browser. You aren’t securing your privacy and personal information until you actually log off.
Make sure your computer has up to date antivirus and firewall software. This is not only to protect you for online gaming, but it’s smart for online banking and all other online activity. Keeping your computer safe keeps you safe.
Now that we have all the facts, we can feel secure in our decision to try our hand at online gaming. And the only thing left to do is….win!