Naturally one of the biggest concerns for players considering gambling online is the security of online casinos and how their sensitive information, such as address, credit card and bank account details, will be handled and stored.
Here's a list of the top 10 things to check before you play to help you choose a safe and secure casino. It will take you a few minutes but is an invaluable exercise in the long run and will minimize the potential for any nasty surprises later.
Tip 1 – Use only well-known and established sites
Research which are the most popular sites and stick to them. If thousand of players before you are playing on these sites it’s a good indication as to their reliability.
Tip 2 – Look for secure encryption technology
Sites that feature secure encryption technology rely on state-of-the-art technology to protect the integrity of their financial transactions and prevent potential hackers from accessing your sensitive information. This technology is also used by all the major banking institutions so if you feel safe doing your banking online or withdrawing money from an ATM, then you shouldn't have a problem with gambling at online casinos either. Most sites use 128 bit SSL digital encryption and will prominently display symbols of the security companies that they use, such as Verisign.
Tip 3 – Check that the online casino is licensed
All casinos must be licensed by a gaming jurisdiction, that is, they must have received an official license by their local gaming authority which then has the right to monitor their activities. If it doesn't appear that the casino is licensed, then don't risk playing on their site.
Tip 4 – Check that software the online casino runs is from a reputable provider
Only casinos licensed by a gaming jurisdiction will be allowed to use software from the biggest software providers (which are PlayTech, Water Logic, Cryptologic, MicroGaming, Odds-On, RTG, Boss Media, and iGlobal Media). It should be mentioned in the casino's homepage, the 'about us' or FAQs. If it isn't, you can send an email of enquiry to the casino and if they don't answer its fairly obvious that you should avoid that site.
Tip 5 – Check the casino's reports
The most reputable casinos publish reports for the previous couple of months on how much of their income has been returned to players in the form of winnings. To verify that the reports are legitimate, you can check if they were prepared or audited by an independent accounting firm.
Tip 6 – Read the casino's policies re customer support, disconnection and payouts
You should thoroughly check the casino's policies for things like their level of customer support and whether it's possible to actually speak to a customer service representative. Also check the disconnection protection policy and what the online casino will do in the event you lose your internet connection in the middle of a game. Finally, check their payout policy such as whether you have to meet a minimum level of winnings before you can collect your cash and you can actually do that.
Tip 7 – Sample the casino's free games
Once you have chosen a site that you think you trust, try their free games before you bet with real cash so you become familiar with how that site operates.
Tip 8 – Check reviews
Most online casinos have been independently reviewed which you should be able to find easily on the internet.
Tip 9 – Check how many years the casino has been operating
It is a good indication of reliability if an online casino has been operating for more than 3 years as it suggests that the casino's books are in order and it has the ability to continue paying out to players.
Tip 10 – Don't be lured by sign up bonuses
These could easily be just a gimmick to encourage the unwary gambler.