How safe online poker sites and casino platforms protect you:
License to Thrill:
Being responsible for your own actions is certainly a virtue you need to adopt if you're to become a profitable gambler, but such efforts are in vein if the site you're playing on isn't doing its part. Every licensed online casino site must comply with a strict set of standards if it wants to remain in operation. This means every operator must have a team of experts making sure every virtual door is well protected from hackers.
You Shall Not Pass:
By far the most obvious form of protection is an online operator's log-in system. Every account holder is required to secure their online hub with a password. This password is then encrypted by the system (essentially its turned into a series of numbers and symbols) and stored on a closed database. So when you sign in to play at your favorite Internet poker or casino site, you can be confident that you’re about to engage in safe gambling online.
In the past, a few sites have fallen foul of this system by storing the passwords in their raw form (i.e. the actual characters) and the details have then been compromised by hackers. However, as the industry has developed, the top online sites have learnt from such mistakes and now encrypt all your personal data.
For Your Eyes Only:
In a similar way to major banking institutions, all safe online casino sites keep your details private. In a nutshell, this means that your password and vital statistics aren't freely available to members of public or employees of the company.
Although members of a company's anti-fraud department may have more access to your details than most – mainly so they can help protect your more effectively – no employee will know your password. Just as banks don't know your pin number, safe online poker sites and casinos won't have access to your personal password.
On top of using a password to log-in, some major operators also give you the option to use an RSA token. These electronic devices generate a random code which must be entered in conjunction with your password each time you want to access your account. Because a new code is required each time, it makes it almost impossible for a cyber criminal to access your account from a remote location.
“You need to take control of your own fate in order to gamble safely.”
Banking with Established Vendors:
Safe online gambling is not just confined to the site you're playing on but the companies they associate with. Indeed, while a platform can be as secure as possible, this will count for nothing if a third-party banking partner doesn't ensure a safe transfer process.
For this reason you should always look at a site's banking partners before you make a deposit. Look for well established brands such as Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill and Moneybookers. All of these options are fully licensed and have a proven track record of keeping your money safe.
To ensure complete safety when carrying out financial transactions, a safe online casino site or poker room will often ask you to prove your identity. The way in which the process happens will vary between operators, but it's generally the case that you'll either need to supply copies of your ID before your first deposit or withdrawal. Accepted forms of ID include a driver's license, passport or any officially recognized government ID card. On top of this, you'll often be asked to provide a recent utility bill in order to prove your address.
Eyes in the Virtual Sky:
The final aspect of any trusted online gambling site that you should take note of is its anti-fraud department. Whenever there's money on the line, there will always be someone willing to break the rules in an effort to gain an unfair advantage.
Fortunately, every major operator has a team of fraud experts who constantly monitor player activity. From scamming the house to scamming other players, all forms of internal communication, styles of play, wins/losses and interactions with other players are monitored.
If the security team notices an unusual pattern or the system flags up a specific set of rule breaches, these officials have the power to investigate a user, freeze their account and potentially seize funds if they have been acquired through deception. In essence, these anti-fraud experts are the guardian angels that allow you to gamble safely and without fear.
Learn to Play Safely
Aside from scrolling through our above checklist to determine which online casino or poker site is safe, you need to take control of your own fate in order to gamble safely. In the same way you need to learn how to bet correctly or manage your bankroll, you also must study the art of safe gambling:
- Always keep your virus software and firewall up-to-date to ensure you are protected from the latest Trojans and viruses.
- Safe online casino sites and poker rooms will never send you an email asking for your password. Never respond to or click links contained within fraudulent/ spam emails.
- Keep your password, account details and playing activity private. Don't give fraudsters a chance to steal your identity and use it for illicit purposes. And do not let anyone else gamble through your account.
- Make use of security features such as deposit limits, RSA tokens, filters and parental blocks at all times.
- Always play at recognized sites that come highly recommended by reputable sources. And don’t forget to check out our list of safe online poker sites and casinos for the best places to ply your trade.
Can I Trust Online Gambling?
The short answer is: yes. As long as you follow our guidelines and don't stray into the realms of unlicensed gaming sites you'll be safe. A dose of commonsense and a few pointers in the right direction should be all you need to stave off any unwanted chancers going for a joyride with your hard-earned bankroll. Safe online gambling is essentially a side issue that you really shouldn’t have to worry too much about if you play at our recommended sites.