Stay Safe When Gambling Online
Today there are more ways than ever to protect your information and digital security when conducting online activity.
From encrypted communications, to VPNs, to more security on our actual devices, we can – and should – take any number of precautions. At the same time, however, it is still a mistake to entirely trust these mechanisms to keep you safe. Particularly when engaging in certain online activities, a common-sense approach to security can still be the greatest safeguard of all.
One of those activities is gambling, or real-money casino gaming, which has become a popular online and mobile activity around the world. While legal gambling of this kind is not yet legal throughout the United States, is is becoming more widely available, and on an international basis – with games hosted by sites in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and elsewhere – it is, again, quite popular. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. The games are entertaining, and for some it’s a thrill to be able to gamble with real money, the way we used to be able to do only in physical casinos. At the same time however, any activity involving financial deposits, busy communities, and overseas websites demands a vigilant approach to security. So, for anyone with an interest in this activity, or who already has a habit of gambling online, we have a few tips for how to stay safe while doing it.
Verify the quality of a site
In a past article on how to stay safe when buying and selling online, we asserted that verifying whether a site is genuine or not should be on your checklist. This can be done in a variety of ways depending on the site, but broadly speaking it involves searching for an online or social media presence beyond the site itself; looking for poor English (or poor language in general, which can be indicative of a cheap, hasty build for a fake platform; checking any security indicators in your browser; checking the URL for subtle mistakes (like a ‘0′ instead of an ‘o’); and making sure the site lists contact information.
This same checklist can apply to any online gambling site you’re considering using. Keeping a eye out for these likely signs of a fake will prevent you from entrusting a deposit to a site that cannot be trusted. And with casino sites, you can also typically look for some additional security assurances, such as certifications of encryption or guarantees of fair play. Using the aforementioned New Zealand casino sites as examples (because they tend to resemble the best and most popular of the international sites), you can also find reviews of the reputable platforms, complete with their own details about individual sites’ security.
Identify secure deposit methods
Naturally real-money casinos need to provide ways for you to make deposits and withdraw any winnings, and in order to stay safe while gambling, you’ll need to make sure that the options are legitimate and secure. If a site simply asks you to input your credit card information directly, or send any sort of one-time bank transfer, you’ll likely want to dig a little bit deeper before agreeing.
Turning again to the New Zealand online casino business, you can actually find entire groupings of sites that are specifically promoted because of their secure payment methods. Often this primarily means that a site accepts PayPal, which is widely viewed as a safe and secure means of digital transfer. However, those who are particularly concerned about this topic can also seek out Paysafecard casinos. A guide to New Zealand’s Paysafecard sites explains that these effectively function like anonymous bank cards. You can purchase one and load money onto it without divulging any personal information, and compatible casino gaming sites will allow you to then deposit those funds straight from the card, via the use of a short PIN. Options like these can allow you to deposit casino funds quite literally without risking any personal information or wider bank accounts being exposed.
Exercise the same caution recommended in casinos
This point is more about judgment calls. But because many may be more familiar with real-world casino precautions than online gaming safety and security, it seems worthwhile to discuss. When you visit a real casino, it’s typically wise to enter with a firm budget (such that you don’t risk losing more than you allowed for), carry minimal cash (so that you can’t break your budget later on and buy more chips), and keep your wits about you as relates to the unlimited stimuli. Casinos are designed to get players comfortable and to make rewards and winnings excited, so as to incentivize more play. Online casino sites don’t work exactly the same way, but some of the same general methods are at play. So, to keep yourself and your funds safe while gambling online, try to adhere to the same set of precautions.
Keep personal information to yourself
When it comes to ordinary online gaming – through PC titles, online multiplayer for console systems, and nowadays even apps – protecting personal information is a common tip. You don’t want to give out details about your true identity, your address, or anything similar when playing in a community of strangers.
Fortunately from a security standpoint, much of the online casino world (such as the aforementioned New Zealand slot sites, for example) is actually rooted in single-player experience. That is to say, you can play these games without directly interacting in a multiplayer environment. Even so though, it’s important to remember this last tip for personal security. If you wind up in an online poker tournament with live opponents, find yourself on a forum relating to a casino site, or anything similar, remember that you’re among strangers and protect your personal information.
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