Online gambling is booming. For people who want to start playing slots and card games online, this has meant having to adapt to using cards and e-wallets online. To some people, this can seem quite daunting. How do you know, for example, that your banking details are safe when you start playing online?
It’s a reasonable question to ask, and the answer has a few parts to it. Ultimately, the best casinos are fully regulated and carry a variety of features to ensure your safety. However, it really does pay to look for a few of the tell-tale signs that a casino is legitimate before you make any kind of deposit or even register your details.
Before you go ahead and choose an e-wallet casino that appeals to you, make sure to check out all of the following — you’ll thank us in the long run!
Is your casino regulated?
Looking for full notice of regulation and/or licensing should always be the first move you make when registering at a new online casino for the first time. Thankfully, finding these details is never too difficult. In most cases, you’ll spot a UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) banner or placard towards the bottom of the first page you visit.
This placard tells you that the site you’re about to make a deposit with is fully managed by the relevant legal body within the UK. The UKGC ensures that casino practices are above board, and that all the games carried within are verified as fair to play and random to win.
Beyond the UKGC placard, you’ll also need to look at payments and deposits.
What banking methods are supported by the casino?
Generally, the more legitimate banking methods a casino has to offer, the safer you can expect the financial experience to be. Ideally, look to start playing at sites that support Visa and MasterCard debit, as well as e-wallets such as Neteller, Skrill and PayPal.
There is certainly nothing wrong with registering and playing at casinos accepting cryptocurrencies. More and more online casinos and slot sites allow players to deposit and withdraw with options such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
However, you should take care to register at a casino that offers both traditional (fiat) money transfers as well as crypto payments and withdrawals. While there are legitimate crypto casinos out there, ensuring you have a few well-known banking standards backing up the experience will offer you more confidence before you start.
In addition, don’t trust any UK casinos that claim they accept credit cards. The UKGC outlawed the use of credit cards at both online and land casinos some time ago, so that would indicate it’s not a legitimate operation.
Are security certificates valid?
If you look to the left of any address bar when you’re browsing online, you’ll usually see a ‘lock’ symbol. This is usually either crossed out or plain to see. When it’s crossed out, it means that your connection to a website is potentially insecure.
Clicking on the lock symbol in most browsers will give you details regarding the security certificates websites are registered to use. These are vital to help keep data transfer between users and websites secure, and away from prying eyes.
If you use Google Chrome and head to a casino and find the lock symbol is crossed out, that site is not doing enough to protect your data or your money, and you’re potentially at risk of fraud.
The best online casinos regularly ensure their security certificates are up to date. This is not a difficult process on their side, and the presence of a lock should at least give you reassurance your money is under safeguard.
Is the casino employing the HTTPS protocol?
Another quick security tip that’s easy to spot is to simply look for the phrase HTTPS at the start of a web address. If you can see this in place when you click on the full address, the casino you’re visiting is encrypting your connection.
It should be noted that there are several sites that still run on the older, less secure HTTP standard. These websites, though not necessarily unsecure by design, are more likely to lose data to anyone aiming to steal card information.
Again, this should be a fairly simple task on the part of the website owner. Those offering a legitimate service will take steps, however minor, to make sure their users are safe from fraud.
What do users have to say?
Word of mouth really does go a long way when it comes to casino legitimacy. Despite some casinos listing the right placards and having all the right security details, there’s still a risk that they will mishandle financial details behind the scenes, or even refuse to pay out.
Look for casino review sites and read up on what both experts and individual users have to say. These people have legitimate reasons to air their opinions online! If there’s a spate of reviews claiming a casino is shady regarding financial protection, or that they’re stubborn to offer withdrawals, you have more than a few red flags warning you away.
Take heart from the fact that the vast majority of online casinos are working to protect your money. This is a big enough industry with enough regulatory players that it’s difficult for shady businesses to get away with poor financial protection.
However, it does still pay to look for the signs of a legitimate and regulated casino, and to trust your gut if you feel there is anything amiss. If you register at a casino and you’re not sure you want to go through with a deposit, no one is forcing you to!
Ensure you read any small print or terms and conditions that head your way. Even if you’re not signing up for a welcome bonus, it really does pay to know where you stand.