Safe Online Gambling Sites
There's no doubt about it! Online gambling can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but only if you use the right sites. The sites you use must be both safe and trustworthy, and unfortunately, finding these types of sites isn't always easy. That's why we've gone out of our way to compile the following list of the safest places to bet and play online.
There are several reasons why some people are reluctant to gamble online. High up on the list are concerns about safety. The idea of depositing money at any type of gambling site can be too daunting for some people to bear. They often wonder which sites can be trusted, if any at all.
Surprisingly, the truth is that most gambling sites are safe. There are a few rogue operators around unfortunately, but they ARE in the minority and relatively easy to avoid. The fact that they even exist, though, highlights the importance of being selective when deciding which sites to use.
This is one of the fundamental reasons why we run GamblingSites.org. We rank the leading gambling sites in a variety of different categories, to help our readers find the best places to bet and play. We take many factors into account when making our recommendations, and safety is undoubtedly one of the most important. Every single site is carefully assessed before we even consider including them in our rankings, and only those that we would feel comfortable depositing at ourselves make the cut.
The sites that we've listed on this page are those that we believe have earned the right to be called the most trustworthy sites around. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them, and we are confident you'll have a positive experience at any one of them. We recognize that you might like to learn more about what they have to offer before signing up though, which is why we have a comprehensive review section. This features detailed and honest reviews of all the sites listed above, along with all the ones we recommend in other categories.
Please note that the options we've listed on this page are the safest "all in one" gambling sites. These are the right places to choose if you tend to indulge in a range of different gambling activities, as they can accommodate to all of them. If you're only interested in one specific form of gambling, however, then a specialist site may be the better option.
Regulation & Licensing
The online gambling industry is a truly global one. Companies have emerged in a plethora of different countries all over the world, which means people from all over the world have an opportunity to experience them. This all has been made possible thanks to the Internet. The only downside here is the fact that laws and regulations differ so much from one region to the next.
There is no single set of laws that governs online gambling on a global scale. In fact, most countries have their own relevant legislation. In many regions, though, this legislation is complex and often fails to make it clear exactly what's legal and what's not. Some regions even rely on decades old gambling legislation that was introduced long before the Internet even existed.
Confusing legislation in some parts of the world is one of the reasons why so many companies choose to operate somewhere else. This means that the only option for residents of certain countries is to use betting and gaming sites that are based overseas, and this is a big part of why so many people have concerns about the safety of online gambling. Quite understandably, they don't feel particularly comfortable entrusting their funds to a faceless company that's located in a country they may have never even known existed.
Although there's no single organization that regulates the industry worldwide, there are several parts of the world where operating gambling sites is both completely legal and fully regulated. These regions are typically referred to as online gambling jurisdictions, and the majority of companies in the industry base themselves in these locations.
There's usually an official government approved licensing authority within these jurisdictions, which has complete responsibility for issuing licenses to companies wishing to provide online gambling services. Companies must be properly licensed to be able to operate legally, and they must adhere to specific rules and regulations in order to keep their licenses.
These jurisdictions and licensing authorities exist to help legitimize the online gambling industry. They enable people to choose sites that are properly licensed, so that they don't have to worry about whether or not they can trust the company their dealing with.
You can read more about this subject in our article explaining how online gambling is regulated and governed. You may also be interested in our section on gambling laws, as this includes details of the major licensing authorities in the industry.
Regulation of the online gambling industry only serves a purpose if it actually protects the consumers. There’s no point in having any regulation at all unless it ensures that sites are operated in an ethical and fair manner. Thankfully, the established and reputable licensing authorities do generally impose strict rules on the sites that they license.
The exact regulatory requirements vary from one jurisdiction to the next, but they typically include everything in this list.
- Fit & Proper Person Test
- Segregation of Customer Funds
- Software Testing
- Dispute Management Process
Let's explore each of these in more detail.
A fit and proper person test is basically just a fancy way of saying that the individuals responsible for running gambling companies have to prove themselves. In most jurisdictions, the owner or owners of a company will have to undergo certain checks before their company will be issued with a license. If they have a criminal record, are not financially sound, or have been involved in any kind of shady activity, they may be deemed unsuitable. This particular requirement helps to keep sleazy characters out of the industry.
A common safety concern relating to online gambling is the fear of deposited money being lost if a company goes out of business. This isn't something to worry about with licensed sites, as they are usually required to keep all customer funds entirely separate from their own funds. This should mean that all customers of a site would still get their balances back in full even if it goes bankrupt.
This requirement applies to sites that offer any type of gambling games, such as casino games or poker. One of the biggest concerns among people playing such games online is whether they are fair or not. They worry that the games might be fixed somehow, to ensure that they lose money. Although such concerns are understandable, they are also largely unfounded.
There have been a few cases of unethical operators cheating their customers in some way, but licensed sites have to have their game software tested and approved by third parties. This testing process ensures that all the games being offered are fair, meaning they produce random results.
Licensed sites are generally subject to regular auditing. This is also carried out by approved third parties, and is effectively another line of protection for customers. An audit will typically include checking that random number generators are working correctly where relevant, that game payouts are in line with statistical expectations, and that funds are properly segregated. Various other checks are often included as well.
Regardless of how good a gambling site is, there will always be occasions when a customer has some kind of dispute or complaint. This is entirely normal, but what's important is how a site deals with these situations. A formal complaint procedure is usually a requirement of licensing agencies. Likewise, any disputes that cannot be resolved are then passed on to the relevant licensing authority.
How We Assess Safety
We use several methods for assessing the safety of online gambling destinations. Each one of these methods provides us with some indication of how safe a site is, and by combining them all we can get a very clear picture of the overall levels of safety.
The first thing we do is look at whether a site is properly licensed. They should be fully licensed for any and all of the gambling activities that they offer, and any site that isn't cannot even be considered for our rankings. We also factor in where they are licensed too, as some jurisdictions and licensing authorities are more reputable than others. A site licensed in the Isle of Man, for example, would generally be considered safer than one licensed in Costa Rica. This isn't an absolute rule though, as there are some perfectly trustworthy sites located in the less reputable jurisdictions.
How long a site has been operating for is also an important factor. There's no set number of years in business we look for, but we prefer sites with a long history rather than a site fresh on the market. We would never rule a site out, though, just because it's new.
TThe rest of the methods we use are all based around additional research and practical testing. We won't go into the full details here, but trust us when we say that we do everything we possibly can to ensure the legitimacy of a site before including it in our rankings. We only ever make recommendations when we are 100% convinced that they are safe to use.
Safe Online Gambling from America
The matter of online safety is important regardless of where you live. It's something that's particularly relevant to American gamblers though, as the online gambling laws in the United States are some of the most complex in the world. Although the laws themselves are aimed at those operating gambling sites and not those who use them, they still have a significant impact on anyone wishing to gamble online.
This is because, as a direct result of US gambling legislation, many of the most reputable licensing authorities around the world won't license sites that accept US customers. The influence of the US government stretches far and wide, and some jurisdictions choose to comply with the American gambling laws even though they aren't technically obligated to.
FFor this reason, many of the sites that do accept US customers are based in fairly obscure locations. Although most of these locations still have strict regulation in place, some of them are a little more relaxed. This means that Americans have to be especially vigilant when it comes to choosing where to bet and play. There's no need to be overly worried. Safe sites that accept US customers do exist. We have chosen the best of these sites for our rankings.
Tips for Staying Safe Online
There are several things you can do to stay safe online, such as using passwords that are hard to guess and installing anti-virus software to protect against your accounts getting hacked. Our number one tip for staying safe is as follows though.
It's a simple fact that using a safe gambling site will protect you against most of the risks associated with online gambling. If you stick with reputable and trustworthy operators, then the chances of anything going wrong are actually very low. The only real risk that's left it is possible to lose money, and that's ultimately within your control. If you gamble responsibly, and only spend what you can afford, then this doesn't need to be an issue for you.
Our gambling guide contains an article that is full of advice for ensuring your online safety, so you might like to take a look at this for a more detailed look at how you can protect yourself when gambling online.
General Gambling Information & Advice
Staying safe is very important when gambling online, as we've already highlighted. However, you need to know more than just how to stay safe if you're going to have the best possible online gambling experience. You should also learn as much as you can about gambling in general, as this can enhance your overall experience and even improve your chances of winning some money.
The following sections of our websites aren't directly related to your safety when gambling online, but we want to let you know about them anyway. They each feature a wide range of information and advice, and we strongly suggest taking a look through at least some of what they have to offer.
A complete guide to gambling is a comprehensive resource that covers all aspects of both gambling in general and gambling online. It's incredibly useful for anyone who is completely new to gambling, and there's plenty to interest more experienced gamblers as well.
This section of our website is specifically focused on betting on sports. There's a beginner's guide for those new to betting, and a number of articles explaining essential betting related information. There's also lots of strategy advice, provided by expert bettors.
Casino games are one of the most popular forms of gambling, and also one of the best in terms of the fun and sheer excitement they have to offer. This guide will teach you everything you could possibly want to know about playing in both online casinos and land based venues.
Our poker guide is aimed at everyone with an interest in playing the game, whether they are beginners, seasoned players, or somewhere in between. There's a complete introduction covering all the basics of the game, information and advice for playing online, and a comprehensive strategy section.