Online gambling is as popular as ever, and as more sites invest in mobile gambling, interest is bound to increase. But in any expanding market, there’s an opportunity for less than honest people to enter the market.
The good news is online gambling has been available for over 20 years, and many businesses have built a solid reputation over that time. But this doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. You still need to take steps to keep your money and information safe online.
The lack of information leads some people to avoid online gambling altogether. But if you follow the advice in this article, you can gamble online safely and limit your risk.
Is Gambling Online Safe?
The first thing you need to consider is if gambling online is safe. After all, you’re trusting your money with a business located somewhere else, usually in another country. And if something bad happens, you probably can’t even find the people that runs the business. This doesn’t sound like the smartest way to spend your money.
Yet, hundreds of millions of dollars or more run through online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks every year. This would seem to suggest that at least some of these establishments are trustworthy.
The truth is that most online gambling sites are trustworthy today. As in any business, there are a few bad apples, but for the most part, you can trust online gambling sites. But there are a few ways you can improve your odds of dealing with a trusted gambling site.
The first thing you need to do is look for online gambling sites that have been around for a long time. They should also have a strong history of taking care of players.
Another thing I like to do when checking out a gambling site I haven’t played at is to contact the support department a few times. See how long it takes them to respond and how they handle your requests. I always ask about the best way to make withdrawals. You can get a good feel for the support offered by interacting with them before you start playing.
The rest of this article lists other things you can do to stay safe. The old saying about not gambling with money you can’t afford to lose is good advice. If you can’t afford to lose the money you’re gambling online with, your best bet is to simply not gamble at all.
Remember, online casinos and gambling sites are profitable without cheating. They can make more money by running honest operations and turning a consistent profit than they can by stealing from players for a short time and getting blacklisted.
Overall, online gambling is safe. As long as you do a little bit of research and pay attention, the odds of getting cheated are about the same as the odds of getting robbed on the way to or from a regular casino.
Many times, we make the mistake of believing that a trip to a land-based casino is 100% safe and that there’s no chance the casino will do something like cheat. But the fact is that people get mugged and stolen from every day. Sometimes even the places we trust do things that aren’t in our best interest.
I’ve played at dozens of online gambling sites over the years and have visited dozens of land-based gambling establishments. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences, but overall, the safety and security of online and land-based gambling is about the same in my experience.
Segregate Your Accounts
The best way to protect your money when gambling online is actually simple. All you need to do is set up a separate or segregated bank account to only use for gambling. Of course, there are dozens of possible deposit methods available to online gamblers depending on where they live, but all of them require currency in one form or another.
I set up a second checking account in my main bank, but you could take this a step further and set up an account in a different bank. Most checking accounts now come with a free debit card, so you have faster access to your funds.
Many online gambling sites accept bitcoin. If you want to go this route, you can set up a secure local bitcoin wallet for all of your gambling activities. If you use bitcoin for anything other than gambling, you should set up a wallet for everything else and one that you use specifically for gambling.
Another option is to get a credit card that you only use for gambling. Most online gambling sites accept Visa and/or MasterCard deposits. Credit cards have the added benefit of offering protection from most fraudulent transactions, so if something does go wrong, you have protections in place.
Mental Reminder: It’s Gone
The common advice I read the most often about gambling is to never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. But isn’t it common sense to avoid gambling with the rent or mortgage payment and with money you need to buy food? I’ve always thought it was, but it stands to be repeated.
Either you’re the type of person who takes responsibility to not gamble with money you can’t afford to lose, or you’re the type that struggles with this. Be aware if you’re the latter, especially with online gambling.
While it’s good advice to not gamble with money you can’t afford to lose, I take an extra step to treat all the money I use to gamble online in a slightly special way. Of course, I never gamble with money I can’t afford to lose, but there’s a tactic you can mentally use to remove any stress created if you lose.
Here’s what I do.
Any time I make a deposit to gamble online, I automatically mentally assign it as “money I no longer have.”
I treat it exactly the same as if I spent it on a nice meal or a movie or something like that. I don’t go out to eat or to the movies if I don’t have the extra money to do so. So, I don’t make an online gambling deposit if I don’t have the extra money.
This might seem like a small change of mindset, but it makes the decision to gamble easy. Plus, when I gamble, I don’t feel any of the stress that can come up if you’re worried about losing the money.
It’s important to point out that this change in view doesn’t make me gamble differently. I’m still doing everything I can to win.
Some Bonuses Cause Issues
Online gambling bonuses are available for almost any type of gambling you want to try. If you enjoy casino games, you can access signup bonuses at many different online casinos. That way, you can jump from online casino to online casino, continuously getting new bonuses.
Bonuses sound great, but many of them are provided in a way prove you’re better off playing without them. You might find it strange that an article about money safety tips includes a section about bonuses. But once you learn more about online bonuses, you can see that they’re designed to take your money, not give you more.
While most online gambling is safe, like I covered in the first section, online gambling establishments have always had the challenge of getting gamblers to trust them enough to deposit real money to play. One of the things they found that worked was to offer bonuses to new players.
But after you make a deposit, the real purpose of an online gambling bonus is to keep you gambling until you lose all of your money. The next time you consider accepting an online bonus, read the terms and conditions carefully.
You’re going to learn that you must meet several terms and conditions before you can take your money out. In some cases, the maximum amount of money you can take out is even capped. At the very least you’re going to be required to meet playthrough requirements which make it challenging to have any money left after you meet them.
Not all online gambling bonuses are bad. Smart gamblers look for the good ones and take advantage of them. But make sure you understand all the terms and conditions first so you don’t end up making a deposit that you have no hopes of getting back.
Take some time to research the safest online gambling sites here and set up a standalone bank account for online gambling. Research and segregated accounts give you as much protection, or more, as you have when you gamble in land-based establishments.
The sad truth is that the world isn’t always a safe place. This is true whether you do everything in person or do everything from a distance, via the phone or internet. Your best defense is research and logic. Don’t take unnecessary chances and keep your eyes open to potential dangers.
If you follow the safe online gambling tips on this page, you can have a lasting and safe experience.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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