5 Tips For Playing Online Casinos Safely
Online gambling is making its way across the United States in a big way. The 2018 fall of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) laid the groundwork for states to legalize and regulate online sports betting on an individual basis. Now, more than two dozen states have legal sports betting in some format.
Suffice it to say, sports betting is becoming part of the vernacular of pop culture, especially among sports fans. But lagging behind is its cousin, the slower-to-spread online casino industry.
A handful of states already allow for online casinos, among them West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan. Other states are considering legislation on some level, though they’re in the early stages of such progress. New York online casinos are a hot topic following the Empire State’s big year in sports betting.
Because online casinos are still fairly new and slow to come to new markets, it’s important that you stay safe while playing them. Below are five tips for staying safe while you play at online casinos.
Know Where Online Casinos Are Legal
The first tip to gamble at online casinos safely is simple: know where they’re legal. Six states currently allow online casinos:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
This is our simplest tip because it’s the easiest one to put into action. If you’re trying to play online casino games and you aren’t in one of the states above, you are not playing at a legal site and are thus not playing safely.
Check For Licensing Information
Legal online casinos will have licensing information listed on their website. This is not an all-encompassing sign that they are safe to use, however, as some gray market sites will have licenses from countries where online casinos are legal, then offer them in restricted markets.
Check your online casino of choice for licensing info from the state where you’re trying to play.
You can also look for common names in the legal online casino industry. Some sites tend to offer legal options across many states. These include Golden Nugget, BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and SugarHouse. Chances are, if you’re playing at one of these sites, it’s above board and licensed.
You can also check individual state organizations’ websites for lists of licensed online casino providers. For example, in Michigan, the Michigan Gaming Control Board offers a full list of approved providers.
Look For Responsible Gaming Info
Another telltale sign that an online casino is safe to play at is the presence of responsible gaming information and tools. These resources are often readily available via links somewhere on the homepage of an online casino site, or within the menus of the app.
Offshore and gray market online casinos might have similar tools, so make sure you dig a tad deeper by checking against the other criteria on this list.
Online casinos will often give you responsible gaming options such as self-exclusion (preventing you from creating an account or playing if you believe it’s best for you) or time limits, which will stop your session after a set amount of time expires.
Review Available Payment Methods
Payment methods prove a helpful tool in determining whether you’re at a safe and reputable online casino site.
Offshore or gray market sites will typically have a limited selection available, usually including things like bank accounts or certain e-wallet services. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with either method, the variety is what really can clue you into a safe and secure site.
Most online casinos in the US will offer a wide variety of payment methods, typically including options like the following:
- Credit/Debit Card
- Cash at partnered casino
- Online banking
- ACH eCheck
- Prepaid Play+ Card
When you see a variety of methods like these, it’s a good (but not 100%) indicator that you are at a safe and secure site. One of the biggest tells is the partnered casino option. If an online casino offers this, it means it has its license tethered to a retail property within the state. The site wouldn’t be able to accept this payment form without a license granted by the state’s gaming governance organization.
When In Doubt, Best To Stay Away
Let’s say you’ve done all the checks. You’ve looked at the payment methods, found responsible gaming info, you’re in a legal state, but you’re still just not sure. In that case, stay away. The truth is, you shouldn’t have trouble finding out whether an online casino is legal, especially if you visit the state’s gaming control website. If you’ve done your absolute best to find out whether it’s legal and you still aren’t certain, you’re best off trying a different site that you can confirm is legal and regulated.
Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash