How to Stay Safe and Avoid Risk When Betting Online
Is online betting safe?
We get asked this question a lot, and we always give the same answer. Online betting IS safe, but only if you take a few precautions. It’s ultimately down to YOU to ensure your own safety.
There’s no denying that betting online for real money involves some risk. There’s the obvious risk of losing money on wagers of course, but that’s not what we’re discussing here. We’re talking about the risk of getting ripped off or cheated in some way, or even the risk of getting into legal trouble. These risks, among others, are why people worry about the safety of online betting.
Although it’s not a bad thing to be wary of the risks involved, the fact is that there’s not actually much to worry about. Very few people who bet online have to face any real safety issues, and there’s no reason why you should either. Avoiding the risks and protecting yourself is actually pretty easy.
Not convinced? Then this article is just what you need. We look at each of the most common safety concerns relating to online betting, and explain the steps you can take to ensure those concerns DON’T become a reality.
Getting Ripped Off or Cheated
This is THE most common safety concern we hear about. Lots of people worry that online betting sites simply can’t be trusted, and we understand why. Over the years there have been several betting sites guilty of some or all of the following.
Disappearing with customer funds.
Not honoring winning wagers.
Not paying withdrawals, or paying very late.
The fact that these things have happened at all reflects badly on the online betting industry. It shouldn’t even be possible for sites to rip their customers off or to treat them unfairly.
Unfortunately it IS possible though, and we’re not even shocked that it happens. There are always going to be people in this world who try to scam or cheat others rather than make an honest living. And in some ways the internet has made it easier than ever to get away with it.
With this in mind, it’s not exactly surprising that some people don’t like the idea of betting online for real money. They’re just not comfortable with the risk of being ripped off or cheated, and who can blame them?
The good news is that it’s not actually that big of a risk.
People do get ripped off and cheated by online betting sites. We’d be lying if we said otherwise. That doesn’t mean that online betting is fundamentally unsafe though.
Actually, we would even go as far as to say that the opposite is true! There are SOME shady sites that operate unethically (to put it mildly), but they’re the exception and not the rule. Most betting sites are perfectly safe to use, and can be trusted to treat their customers in the right way.
So the key to staying safe is simply to avoid the shady sites and stick with the legitimate ones. But how do you do that? How do you know which sites can definitely be trusted?
This is easier than you might think. Do a little research to find out which sites meet the following criteria.
Licensed and regulated by a reputable governing body.
Been in business for several years.
Positive online reviews.
Lack of negative reports/complaints.
The first item on this list is especially important. Any site that’s not licensed and regulated should be avoided at all costs. That doesn’t mean you can just blindly trust any site that does have an online betting license though. Some licenses are so easy to get that they’re hardly even credible. Others are only issued to sites that comply with VERY strict rules and regulations. To learn more, please read the article we have listed below.
The length of time a site has been operating is a very good measure of their legitimacy. Shady sites don’t last too long, as they are constantly getting shut down for one reason or another. So if a site has been around for many years, it’s likely to be one you can trust.
Online reviews are a great way to find out more about a betting site. If a site has lots of positive reviews, that’s obviously a good sign. Especially when those reviews are from people who have actually used those sites. Genuine user reviews typically paint the most accurate picture.
You need to be careful about trusting review websites. There are lots of websites that review betting sites and other gambling sites, but they’re not all 100% honest. Some of them get paid to post positive reviews, so you can’t expect to get unbiased opinions. Be especially wary when every single review seems to be positive, and all sites get 5 stars or 10/10 ratings.
We have our own review section here at GamblingSites.com. Our reviews ARE honest, and based on a combination of our own experiences and additional research. We write about the good and the bad, providing our readers with balanced views and the information they really need to know.
When a betting site does engage in unethical behavior, it’s very likely that the people affected will openly express their concerns for everyone to see. That’s why we recommend searching for negative reports and complaints. Just do a Google search with the site name and “scam,” “complaint,” or something similar. If there’s anything bad you should know, you’ll probably find it. If you don’t find anything, then that’s a good sign.
Please note that none of the individual criteria we’ve discussed here GUARANTEES that a site is a trustworthy. If you put them all together you can be pretty confident that a site is legit, but you still need to proceed with caution if you want to protect yourself. We advise testing a site out with small deposits until you’re absolutely certain they can be trusted.
We realize that most people who bet online, or want to, would prefer to just sign up with a site and start placing their wagers right away. Researching various different sites and testing them out is just too much hassle. They still want to stay safe though. Luckily, we have a solution to this problem.
We’ve done the hard work, having researched and tested a wide range of betting sites. Based on our findings, we’ve compiled of list of recommended sites that we think are the best around. This is ultimately only our opinion, but one thing’s for certain. Each and every one of our recommendations is safe to use. They’re all legitimate, trustworthy and reputable. We simply wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.
Why would anyone be worried about breaking the law when betting online? Anyone who lives in a country where online betting is fully legalized or regulated may be wondering this. Unfortunately, in other countries around the world, there are people who completely understand why breaking the law is in question.
These people genuinely don’t know whether it’s legal for them to place wagers online, because the online betting laws in their countries are either outdated, confusing or both. It’s simply not clear what’s legal and what’s not, so people naturally worry that placing an online bet MIGHT be breaking the law.
Now, we’re not lawyers. We HAVE studied the laws relating to online gambling extensively though, and we’ve come to two very clear conclusions. The first is that most online gambling legislation is aimed at those who provide online gambling services and operate gambling sites. The second is that there are no laws that explicitly make it illegal for an individual to place a sports wager online.
What does this mean for you?
Well, in our opinion it means that there’s very little risk of getting into legal trouble for betting online. We can’t say for certain that you’re 100% safe from breaking the law, but we really don’t think this is an issue.
It’s important that you stay away from betting sites that might be operating illegally though. The people operating an illegal site are far more likely to face prosecution than the customers, but why risk it? Even if you don’t get arrested (and you probably won’t), guess what happens when an illegal betting site gets busted? All their assets get seized, which means you’ll probably lose any funds you have at the site.
There are plenty of betting sites that operate legally within the jurisdictions where they’re based. This includes ALL the sites that we recommend. Stick with these and you should never have to worry about any legal issues.
Personal Details Being Sold or Stolen
These are two separate risks really. The risk of your personal details being sold is easily avoided, as you just need to use one of our recommended betting sites. These are legit sites that simply don’t engage in this kind of behavior. They won’t sell your email address to other companies that will spam you to death. Nor will they sell your banking information to fraudsters.
They’ll keep your personal details private, because your safety is important to them.
Using reputable and trustworthy sites will also reduce the chances of your personal details being stolen. These sites use the latest security and encryption technology to ensure that your data is as safe as it can be. There’s still SOME risk unfortunately, as even the most reputable companies in the world are ultimately susceptible to hackers. Just ask Microsoft, Sony or Amazon. These companies have all been hacked and had customer details stolen.
Realistically, there’s only a tiny chance that your personal information will ever be stolen from an online betting site. Tiny enough that it’s not even worth worrying about it. What’s more likely is that the information will be stolen from YOU when you’re accessing and using betting sites.
Here are some security tips that will help you to keep your details safe, and also prevent unauthorized access to your betting accounts. We strongly recommend you follow them.
Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on all your devices, and KEEP IT UPDATED.
Use strong passwords. Ideally with a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers and other symbols.
Use different passwords at different sites.
Don’t give your usernames or passwords to ANYONE.
Change your passwords regularly.
Use unusual security questions/answers.
Don’t send banking information via email, live chat or Skype. Only enter it directly at a betting site, where everything will be encrypted and protected.
This is a different type of risk to the others discussed so far. It’s a very real risk though, and one you should definitely be aware of. A small percentage of people do get addicted to online betting, or at least experience some form of problem gambling. If you want to stay safe from these dangers, it’s VITAL that you gamble responsibly.
Your first step should be to set a budget based on how much you’re prepared to deposit online. This should ideally be a weekly budget or a monthly budget. It should be money that you can afford to lose, and that isn’t needed for anything more important.
You then need to be very strict about sticking to your budget. Don’t justify overspending by saying “just this once” or “I’ll win it back.” That’s how problem gambling starts, and things can soon get out of control. Don’t ever borrow money to bet with either. If you don’t have the money yourself, then you shouldn’t be betting. It’s that simple.
Be aware that most online betting sites allow you to set your own deposit limits. Please take advantage of this if you think overspending is going to be something you struggle with. It’s an extra layer of protection that you might be thankful for later.
Please note that it’s best to avoid gambling all together if you have an addictive personality. You might be able to stay in control, but you might not. It’s just not worth the risk.
There’s no real reason why online betting shouldn’t be a completely safe experience. There are some risks involved for sure, but most of these risks could easily be avoided. You just need to take a few simple precautions.
If you only remember one thing from this article, let it be this; which sites you choose to use CAN and WILL make a difference. By sticking to legitimate and legal sites that can be trusted, you’ll be able to eliminate many of the common safety concerns. If you also gamble responsibly, and take some security measures to protect yourself, you WILL be safe.
Then you can concentrate on having fun and trying to win some money, which is EXACTLY what online sports betting is all about.