Can Online Gambling Ever Be Fully Safe?
What surprises those outside the online gambling industry is not the prevalence of corruption, but the fact that so much of the industry is actually very safe. Low start-up costs and the lure of fast money will attract some rogue operators. It is possible to start a casino for as little as $100k, and many who try this end up going broke. However, the industry does police itself, and reputations are at a premium, meaning the vast majority of gamblers are safe.
Here are the key issues faced by todays’ online gamblers – along with the main precautions which can be taken to stay out of trouble.
#1 – Rogue / Fly-By-Night Operators
Many gambling site owners start off with good intentions. They get licensed in an offshore location with little financial oversight, and start to offer games. Soon, the reality of marketing, payment processing and customer service become apparent. Slow payments and unresolved issues are flagged online, and the casinos often close soon afterwards. Player funds are often not recovered, leading to yet more bad publicity for the industry.
Players can protect themselves by sticking with the longer running brands. There are also services including OCB who track issues and declare casinos ‘rogue’ if they breach guidelines. In addition to the longevity and reputation of a casino there are several other things to look out for. These include external auditing of game fairness, a wide range of payment methods, and ideally a listing on a globally recognized stock exchange.
Even long running operators will have issues sometimes. However, sticking to sites which have spent time to build their reputation for great service and fast payouts is a great way for players to stay safe.
#2 – Account Security And Password Theft
Online gamblers often have a relaxed attitude towards their passwords and log in details. They will leave casinos logged on, even on devices which can be stolen or lost easily. Replacing a smartphone or tablet can be frustrating enough. Finding that your poker or casino account has also been emptied will only compound that frustration.
Logging off between sessions is a basic precaution to ensure your online gambling is safe. There are further controls available for higher stakes gamblers. USB keys which generate unique codes can ensure nobody can access your account remotely. The biggest gamblers use a ‘clean’ computer for their poker games, to reduce any risk of malware which might steal their passwords or see their cards.
There are many other common sense measures which can be taken by online gambling fans to ensure that their accounts are secure. Unique password and user-id combinations are a must – along with secure passwords with symbols, numbers and mixed cases. I would also recommend a fresh e-mail address for gambling site registrations. You will be surprised how often those e-mails get leaked out to spammer’s lists nowadays. Anyone accessing your e-mail could use this to reset your passwords. You should make sure that this is also logged off on all of your devices.
#3 – Payments and Banking Security
Typing credit card details into an online casino often makes first time gamblers nervous. Once again, this is mostly very safe. Even the with a tiny percentage of rogue operators are more likely to default on paying out winnings, rather than actively steal credit card information.
Once again there are some common sense solutions to increasing safety with these transactions. For players who are genuinely concerned about parting with their credit card details, there are some alternative deposit options.
These will depend on your location:
– US Players: Pre-paid Visa cards which are approved for international use, or money transfer services including Western Union and MoneyGram.
– Worldwide Players: The above options, plus electronic wallet ‘eWallet’ services such as PayPal, Skrill or Neteller – or local banking options.
Services which act as an intermediate step between your bank and the casino have another advantage. You can use these to hold some of your bankroll, which can then be used to take advantage of short term bonus offers at the different casinos.
Cyber Criminals and Online Gambling – Summing It Up
A little common sense goes a long way to protecting players from rogue elements in the world of online gambling. Incompetent operators who go broke, taking player deposits and business debts with them are the most common bad element. Password theft and credit card fraud are rare – and are easy to protect against with some straight forward precautions.