Playing at an online casino should be a fun and convenient experience, but plenty of players overlook arguably the most important element; safety. In an age when cybersecurity is a major concern and personal data can be stolen, sold, and generally misused by crooks, finding a safe place to enjoy web-based casino action must be a priority.
To help out, here are 5 ways you can tell whether or not a prospective casino site is legitimate and trustworthy, or whether it is potentially worth avoiding in favor of one of its rivals.
Check Independent Reviews
It is hard for questionable companies to operate for long without someone giving negative feedback about them online. Likewise, if casino operators are doing things by the book, this should also be covered by independent reviews posted by customers and professional journalists alike.
This detailed guide to the best safe online casinos for US players is a good place to start, as it includes information on all of the top, trusted brands in this market at the moment.
You can also simply search for reviews of the operator online using the search engine of your choice and read up on their legitimacy, safety record and overall reputation. Doing your research is definitely the best first step.
Check Licensing Status
For a casino site to operate in the US and offer its services to citizens, it needs to have acquired the right licenses that are mandated by the state in which it operates.
This sounds complex, but is relatively straightforward from a customer perspective. When a site is fully licensed, it will have proven to the authorities that it is entirely disassociated from organized crime, as well as being secure enough to protect player data from malicious third parties and ensure privacy.
At the moment, only a few states provide licenses for online casinos to operate, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. There are variations in the specific legal framework used and requirements imposed on operators from state to state, but the main point to take away is that playing on unlicensed sites is a bad idea.
Check Connection Security
When using any online casino service, it is important to establish whether your connection to the site itself is suitably safe. If not, you could be putting your private information at risk of being snatched from the ether by hackers.
Part of this is the responsibility of the casino site itself, so if you are playing on a browser-based service, check for the little padlock symbol in the address bar next to the site’s URL. This will indicate that your connection is encrypted, giving you a decent level of confidence in the site itself.
If you are instead playing on a casino’s mobile app, then checking this will be trickier, but so long as the app was downloaded from a legitimate first-party app store like Google Play, it should be suitably robust from a security perspective.
Also consider how you are connecting to the service itself, whether you are playing in-browser or via an app. Using a wired connection or Wi-Fi router at home, which is password protected, is fine, but using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network is not sensible.
Check Payment Type
Your safety is most at risk when carrying out any kind of online transaction, and so you need to be certain that the cash you pay into or withdraw from any online casino service will make its way to its intended destination.
The best sites will offer a range of payment options for deposits to give customers as much convenience as possible, and as you might expect paying via credit card is preferable in this respect, as well as offering good security and innate fraud protection. You should also be on the lookout for sites that accept financial interactions via trusted eWallet services, such as PayPal, Skrill and Neteller.
Meanwhile, avoid sites that do not have well-known payment methods, or claim to offer these, but instead try to push players into using some obscure platform that might not be as reliable.
Follow Your Instincts
The problem with life online in the era of increasing cyber threats is that hackers can exploit legitimate brands to trick innocent users into parting with personal info, and this is as true in the online casino space as it is in other markets.
For this reason, you need to take a degree of responsibility for staying safe when you play at online casinos, aiming to only use reputable sites and remaining vigilant for phishing sites. If a deal looks too good to be true, or something feels off about the way a site looks, then it is best to avoid risks and head elsewhere.
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