Are gambling websites safe? Can I play online casino games and not develop any sort of gambling problem? These are the questions that are (or should be) in the minds of everyone who wants to try online gambling.
There has been a lot of talk about online and offline gambling in the last couple of years on the internet, on TV and in the media in general and while many people still blacklist this industry completely, many are starting to realize that gambling isn’t a bad thing, but it can derail if one does not remember to practise responsible gambling and makes wrong choices.
But is gambling safe? It can be if it’s used for the right reasons (having fun rather than making a profit) and always kept in check and reassessed. Like with most things in our day to day lives, even the most harmless things can sometimes harm you if you’re not careful. So whether you want to call it “safe gambling” or “safer gambling” or anything else, here are the things that you need to keep permanently in mind if you want to have a great online casino experience with no issues.
What Constitutes Safe Online Gambling?
An interesting thing is that safe gambling doesn’t just apply to players. It applies to the entire industry and includes the players, the online casinos and even the affiliates.
For players it’s connected to only betting what you can afford to lose, enjoying yourself, not becoming obsessive and not negatively impacting other areas of your life.
For online casino sites, it’s about transparency, fairness and legality and not scamming players.
For affiliates, it’s about educating players, not promoting shady casinos and trying to offer the best resources for minimising and/or solving issues players might have.
Unsafe behaviour and problem gambling aren’t always very easy to spot so we’ve made a list of all the things you should look for to be able to spot it and resolve it as soon as possible. Check out our responsible gambling guide.
If you find yourself ticking some of these boxes you should definitely look into getting help. While there are many websites and numbers you can call, two of them are the authorities on the matter and have dealt with and resolved many cases since their inception.
BeGambleAware is one of them and they even offer a quiz that can help you identify if you have a problem and teach you how to take action. They will offer advice and give you plenty of resources to tackle it. They have a 24 hour helpline so you can contact them at any hour of the day or night. Their help is free and also confidential.
The other one is GamCare and they offer free information, advice and support. They have a wide range of services that go from self-help tools to live chat with professionals and treatment.
You can also use self-help tools at all trusted online casino sites. These operators have all the necessary things to make sure that you can gamble responsibly and stay safe and if you feel that something is wrong you can implement them right away, no questions asked.
You select a maximum amount to deposit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If you’ve reached that limit and try to deposit more than that, your transaction will be declined and, generally, an attempt to increase your limit will only be granted after a 24 or 48 hour cooling off period.
Many players have found it useful to go over their finances, settle on a budget for the entire month for entertainment purposes (a budget that in no way intrudes on daily necessities such as shelter, food, medical expenses etc) and then set that budget as the monthly limit. You deposit on pay day and then make no further deposits to your account all month long.
Cooling Off Period
The ‘cooling off period’ is the step before self-exclusion. Basically, it’s like temporarily freezing your debit card if you’ve lost it, rather than cancelling it completely.
This option works for the players that see that they’ve spent a lot of time gambling online and have paid less attention to other favourite activities, feel like they’ve spent a little too much money, feel overwhelmed, think that they might have a problem or just need some time off. This option will block you from placing any bets for a selected time frame. When the period is over you will have access to your account again, but if you feel like you’ve missed gambling too much or have mixed feelings about it then you should look into getting more help.
While a short break might work, for some it might not be enough. Self-exclusion is a long term break that ranges from 6 months to 5 years at most online casino sites and it is non-reversible. After you’ve chosen this option you will be unable to access your account until that time-frame is done.
Players from the UK also have another feature. GAMSTOP ties all legal operators in the UK together so if you have several accounts at different UK online casino sites, when you self-exclude from one of them you will automatically be excluded from all of them.
Are Gambling Websites Safe? – What to look for
If you’re asking yourself “is it safe to sign up to gambling sites?” you should know that while on our website you will find only legal and trusted online casino sites, there are some out there that are unsafe. However, spotting these unsafe casinos doesn’t have to be a very complicated process and when you know which casinos to avoid, it’s easier to figure out which ones are safe.
Here are the things that a safe online casino site will NEVER do.
Change their terms often or out of the blue
Online casino sites that change their terms with no prior notification or very often do so to back up their case against a customer to make them look like they’ve done something wrong and therefore not have to pay them. You might check the terms before making your account, make sure to check them before claiming an offer, do everything right and then find out that since you started playing they suddenly changed them. That’s not to say that casinos can’t change their terms if they feel that a player is abusing them, but this should happen before or after, not during a promotion.
Force Bonuses onto Players
Some scammy online casino sites will force bonuses on players and grant them even when you don’t make a request. This way, when you don’t comply with their exaggerated terms and conditions and overwhelming wagering requirements you will lose money.
Have Shady Games
There are some software providers out there that have games that are almost impossible to win at. Add an online casino site that modifies or rips off games to pass them as their own or even doesn’t grant a progressive jackpot even if it’s due because of some fine print in the Terms and Conditions and you can never win and cash out. If a casino was flagged as having rigged games, stay away from it.
Not Pay Players
Some casinos will either drag out payments or not pay you at all. If you’ve been playing for a while and haven’t been able to get any funds withdrawn, then you should definitely stop spending your cash there, cash out and disable your account. Am I safe using my card on gambling sites? If they are legit then you can use whatever payment method you prefer from debit cards to e-wallets, but if they do illegal things, don’t have proper license and state of the art SSL encryption, then you should not give them your personal and financial information.
What to Consider When Choosing an Online Casino
Now that we’ve discussed the wrong kind of casinos that you should avoid, we should also tell you about the safe online casino sites where you can play your favourite games with no worries. There are several things to consider here:
- License – the casino should have a license or several that works for your jurisdiction
- SSL encryption – this is what protects your financial and personal information from being accessed by third parties
- Reputation, responsibility and transparency – a safe online casino will give you easy to find information, take responsibility and action and maintain their reputation.
- Software – a wide selection of games from top software providers (several preferably)
- Payment methods – the more payment methods are available for both deposits and withdrawals, the more comfortable the process will be
- Payment limits and time-frames – the minimum sum for withdrawal should be as small as possible and the maximum limit as large as possible. Also the entire process should be swift.
- Promotions – you should have many different promotions available, but you need to make sure that the terms and conditions aren’t predatory in any way
- Customer support – a team that’s on call 24/7 or as close to that as possible via many different mediums is crucial so that you can get help with anything asap.
- Accessibility – user and mobile-friendliness is a great plus.
In conclusion, safe gambling is key and you should make a conscious effort to practice responsible gambling and keep yourself out of harm’s way at all times. If you’re wondering how safe is your gambling GamCare’s test can help with that and give you some good points to consider and see if you should take measures. Stay safe and have fun!