We live in an age when most of us are used to living our lives online. We now make purchases online every day without suspicion, so the idea of playing at an Online Casino is no longer unusual.
Nevertheless, you probably are aware that online gambling has been in a legal gray area for many years. With sports betting getting legalized across the country, we are just finally getting to a time when there is some proper regulatory oversight in the US.
That means it is now much safer to gamble online than it was in the past. There are many reputable, licensed casino sites that accept players from the US and Canada which operate safely and securely.
But there are still a lot of online casinos that are not safe and secure. So it is just as important as ever to make sure that you find one which is!
Most hacks that drain funds from players’ accounts at secure and reputable online casinos target the accounts directly, not the casino sites. They are the result of poor security practices on the part of the player (like reusing passwords), not the casino.
That means that if you follow smart security practices and you play at a trustworthy, secure site, you are unlikely to get hacked.
Why Online Casino Security Matters
Here are three reasons why online security is so important:
- Protect Your Funds
- Ensure Fairness
- Avoid Identity Theft
When a site takes adequate security measures, your funds stay safe from hackers.
There is no point playing at a casino if the games are not going to be fair. Keeping the site and the games secure is one of the ways that an online casino ensures that everyone has the same chance of winning.
These days, identity theft is rampant. By securing the site, an online casino helps to protect your personal information and prevent anyone from stealing your identity.
Keep in mind that in this post, we are going to be focusing on the more technical aspects of safe gambling. There are other considerations as well when you are choosing a site, like the background and reputation of the company.
How to Choose a Secure Online Casino
Now you know why it is important to play only at secure online casinos. But how do you identify one? Below are some things to look for when you are comparing sites and deciding which to join.
One of the most important things to look for when you are assessing the security of an online casino is appropriate encryption.
To check if a site is encrypted, you can look to see if it says “http” or “https” in the URL bar. If you see “https,” that means that the site is using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol.
The point of encryption is to ensure that even if a hacker manages to capture data, they will not be able to make sense of it. Instead of seeing something intelligible, they will instead see what appears to be nonsensical characters. SSL also checks the validity of the devices involved in a data transmission through what is known as a ‘handshake’.
You can investigate a site’s SSL more through your browser. For example, in Chrome, you will see a little lock-shaped icon to the left of the address in the URL bar. If you click on it, it will tell you if the connection is secure and the SSL certificate is valid.
If an online casino is not encrypting data, there is no way for you to be sure that a hacker will not intercept it. So, always gamble only on sites that use encryption.
Trusted Software Providers
Another important factor to assess when deciding whether an online casino is operating securely is the software providers that the casino is using.
Remember, when you are looking at a virtual interface that shows you slots, a roulette wheel, or cards, there is code running in the backdrop. If that code is not secure, it could be vulnerable to hackers.
On top of that, poorly-made online casino software might be susceptible to other problems as well, like bugs, glitches, or even fairness issues.
That is why you should play at online casinos that use software from trusted providers. That software should be routinely audited (see below) to make sure it continues to run fairly.
If you are playing at a crypto casino, you can even play games that are Provably Fair. You can audit these games yourself to see that they are fair.
Licensing And Audits
Something else that can help you to ensure you are playing only at secure online casinos is to choose sites that are operated by licensed companies.
For a casino to obtain or maintain a license with a government authority, it needs to jump through certain hoops to prove that it is operating in a secure and fair fashion.
Part of that process typically involves an audit of the site’s encryption protocols as well as the security and fairness of the software it is running.
Some online casinos also voluntarily participate in auditing their games on a regular basis through third parties such as Technical Systems Testing (TST).
Useful Features To Secure Your Account
Another aspect of online casino security concerns the options and features available for securing your account. These include:
- Being able to set a secure password (this should not be an issue at most sites)
- The option for 2-factor authentication (2FA)
You probably know what 2-factor authentication is by now. But if not, it is simply a protocol that lets you add a layer of security to your online casino account. When you activate it, the site will send a text to your phone or email (whichever you select) when you try to log in. You check the text for a code, then input it to prove that you are who you claim to be. The site then logs you in.
2FA can be a pain sometimes, but it definitely is helpful in keeping hackers out of your account. And whether you decide to use it or not, just seeing that it is available is a good sign that the casino site is taking your security seriously.
Something else that might be good to check for is whether the site gives you the ability to set voluntary limits on your account.
For example, you could set a maximum stake amount and/or a maximum amount that can be gambled within a day or week.
That might sound weird, but it could at least slow down a hacker that wants to gamble with your money (though it will not stop them from withdrawing it).
Safe Payment Options
You will need a method you can use to transfer money in and out of your online casino account. Typically, this will be a credit or debit card, a bank transfer, an e-wallet, or a cryptocurrency.
You should play at a casino site that offers a safe, secure transfer method that you trust. Avoid those that only accept obscure transfer methods you have never heard of.
One annoying hoop that you sometimes have to jump through at online casinos is the Know Your Customer (KYC) policy, also known as identity verification. But as irritating as it is, it is also 100% necessary for secure gambling online!
A site’s KYC policy requires you to:
- Submit a document that verifies your identity
- Submit a document that verifies your residency
The point of KYC is to make sure that you are the person you claim to be. This prevents someone else from stealing your identity to gamble.
In fact, you sometimes have to do KYC multiple times. Everyone needs to do it before their first withdrawal. But if there is suspicious activity on your account, the site may put a hold on further withdrawals until KYC is repeated. If there has been an account takeover, a hacker may not be able to furnish proof of your identity and residency. This would prevent them from withdrawing your money.
So, try to be patient with the KYC process, even if it is frustrating. It is there for your benefit. And if a site does not do KYC, that is a red flag.
Since KYC sometimes needs to be repeated, it can be useful to keep digitized photos of your documents handy to resubmit in the future.
But for maximum security, you should store them on offline media like a USB drive rather than on your computer.
After all, if a hacker gains access to your account by first gaining access to your hard drive, they will be able to steal anything you are storing on your computer, including copies of your documents.
Fast Action In Case Of Suspicious Activity
Speaking of suspicious activity, you should check into what the online casino you are thinking of joining does when they detect it. How do they respond?
Ideally, they should rapidly take action to secure your account. That might look like:
- Temporarily locking the account
- Requiring a repeat of KYC
- Contacting you to explain the situation and tell you what steps to take next
If you have any questions about how a casino deals with these situations, you can write customer service and ask what steps they take and what you can expect if something ever goes wrong.
Something else that is arguably even more informative is to check on social media sites and forums. There, other gamblers share their experiences with account hacks and lockouts. You can check to see how the casino dealt with it, and how easy or hard it was to work with customer service on the issue.
While a lot of possible security risks for online casinos are technical in nature, it is important to keep in mind that there are other ways for security to be breached.
Sometimes, the source of security problems at a company are human. Perhaps a disgruntled or greedy employee deliberately leaks customer data, for example. This person would be able to get around the encryption that keeps that data safe, and sell it directly to criminals.
That is why it is critical for an online casino to carefully vet all of its employees, and only work with trustworthy professionals who will not sell customer information for personal gain.
Of course, as a customer, there is no way for you to really dig into this. But suffice to say, if a casino is licensed and regulated and has been operating for decades without incident, they probably are pretty good about hiring the right people.
Overall Transparency And Quality Of Service
Finally, to be assured that an online casino is secure, you need to be able to learn what they are doing to protect their customers.
If a casino is not forthcoming about their security practices, that gives you cause to be suspicious.
But if an online casino you are checking into is transparent about its security, that is a good sign.
Look for detailed information on the casino’s website regarding their security practices. If you have additional questions, talk to customer service on live chat or the telephone.
Ask them some questions about encryption and other things they do to secure their site and customer accounts. They should be able to give you in-depth answers to all of your questions about their security practices.
Gamble At Safe And Secure Online Casinos
If you can find an online casino that checks all of the boxes we just went over, you can feel safe and secure creating your account and depositing your funds.
To make it fast and easy to find quality online casinos, we have put together a list of recommended sites. We have vetted all of the sites on our list for their encryption and security practices, and each has met our rigorous standards. These sites offer a safe, fair online gambling experience and protect your data and funds.
Click any of the links on that page to join a trusted and secure online casino. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you are gambling safely online.
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