Safest Online Gambling Sites for 2021
Online gambling makes you nervous? Not sure if it’s safe? You’re not alone if you feel this way. You actually have a right to be concerned, as online gambling is not as safe as it could be. It isn’t governed on a global basis, and it’s possible for sites to operate out of regions where they aren’t subject to any meaningful checks or regulation.
Don’t get discouraged. It’s a GOOD thing that you’re concerned. This means that you’ll probably make a conscious effort to ensure your safety, which is actually not that difficult to do. It’s the people who don’t think about their safety at all that are at risk and likely to encounter problems.
We cover the subject of online gambling safety in detail on this page, but we expect that you’re here primarily because you want to find safe places to gamble online. So let’s start with our recommendations. The following sites are all 100% safe to use. In fact, we consider them to be the safest gambling sites at this moment in time.
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We’re very passionate about the online gambling industry here at GamblingSites.com, and we hate the fact that it’s even necessary to talk about which sites can be trusted and which sites can’t. We firmly believe that everyone should be able to gamble online without the need to worry about issues of safety, security, or fairness. This is a multibillion-dollar industry, after all. Is it too much to ask that it could be regulated well enough so that there’s no such thing as a “rogue” gambling site? It would also be nice to be able to deposit our funds online and be confident that we’re not going to be ripped off in some way.
Maybe this is too much to ask (for now, anyway). This industry is not regulated as well as it should be; this is obvious. Online gambling legislation varies so drastically from region to region, which is just one of the major concerns we have, and it’s the reason why we have to ask ourselves the following question:
We’re actually reasonably confident about the future of online gambling. The industry IS improving. It won’t happen anytime soon, but we’d like to think that one day it won’t matter at all which sites we choose to use. Each and every one will provide an enjoyable and safe experience.
That’s not the case just yet, though, which is why we do what we do here at GamblingSites.com. We make sure that our readers can easily find the best places to bet and play online. Not only are we helping them, we’re also helping the industry in at least some small way. The more people we steer towards the good sites, the less people are likely to end up at the bad sites. And once the bad sites stop getting customers, there’s no reason for them to exist at all.
As we mentioned earlier, this page is dedicated to exploring the subject of online gambling safety. So there’s a lot more information to come. Before we get to all that, though, we should point out that the sites listed above are not the ONLY sites that we recommend. Nor are they the only sites that can be trusted. They’re just the ones we believe to be especially safe, and that’s exactly why they’ve made the cut here.
We also recommend the top sites in a variety of different categories, to make it easy for you to find a site that suits you. You can find details of these recommendations on the following page. Rest assured that every single site we recommend, in every single category, is safe to use.
So what else do we cover on this page, then? Well, first there are some details about the risks of online gambling. Then there are some tips for ensuring your online gambling safety. These are followed by an explanation of exactly how we determine whether sites are safe to use or not.
The Risks of Online Gambling
We would never try to talk anyone out of gambling online. We know just how enjoyable it can be, so we actively encourage people to give it a try. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and the potential benefits can be significant.
However, we do think it’s important to make our readers aware of the possible risks of online gambling; this is everyone’s best defense when it comes to protection.
The most obvious risk of gambling online is that it IS possible to lose money. This doesn’t have to be a problem in itself, though. You’d prefer to win, of course, but losing isn’t a disaster when you’re getting some entertainment in exchange. And there’s always the chance of winning anyway. So if you’re losing money fairly, and it’s money you can afford to lose, then there’s not a lot to worry about.
There are a number of ways that you can lose money unfairly when gambling online. For starters, a site might simply shut down and keep any funds you have deposited with them. This might be a deliberate and planned act, or it might be because the site is losing money and has to close. Either way, you’re still out of pocket through no real fault of your own.
Second, a site might be cheating. Gambling sites can, and unfortunately do, cheat their customers. This can be through unfair terms and conditions, through rigged software, or a variety of other methods. It’s usually quite obvious when a site is cheating, but some places are very good at concealing their nefarious activities. So you won’t necessarily even know that you’re losing money unfairly. You might just put it down to bad luck.
Third and finally, a site might withhold your winnings for no good reason. This is a common act by rogue sites, and one that they get away with far too frequently. A lot of people simply don’t know how to deal with such a situation and end up just writing the money off. This is not fair, of course, but it’s how these sites get away with it.
There’s the risk of having your personal details compromised, for example, and possibly sold to companies who will spam you incessantly. Although this is hardly disastrous, it’s a breach of privacy that can also get very annoying.
Even worse is the risk of having banking or other financial information compromised. You typically have to share this kind of information when depositing at a gambling site in order to make a deposit. If a site doesn’t protect that information properly or deliberately misuses it, you could easily end up being a victim of fraud or theft.
A final risk to mention here is the risk of problem gambling or addiction. This can happen to ANYONE. Please don’t ever think that you’re immune to this risk, as you are not. However rational or disciplined you are, you still might find yourself losing control.
With that, we have now covered the primary risks of online gambling. Now you need to learn how to avoid them.
Ensuring Your Online Gambling Safety
Ensuring your online gambling safety isn’t especially difficult. There are really just two key things you need to do in order to avoid all the risks we’ve just discussed above. These are as follows:
- You MUST use reputable and trustworthy gambling sites.
- You MUST gamble responsibly.
Number one is very easy. Just stick to our recommended sites. We can categorically assure you that the places we recommend aren’t in the business of ripping off customers in any way. They won’t steal from you, they won’t cheat you, and they won’t withhold any legitimate winnings you make. They also won’t jeopardize the security of your personal or financial details. In short, you can trust them. You’ll be perfectly safe and treated fairly. Which is exactly how it should be.
Number two isn’t necessarily so easy. Not for everyone, anyway. Some people really struggle to keep control of their gambling. Thankfully, they’re in the minority, but the risk of problem gambling is something that every gambler should take seriously. It’s important to set clear limits for how much money and time you’re prepared to spend on gambling. Once you reach those limits, it’s time to stop.
There’s more advice for staying in control of gambling on the following page. Please take the time to read this. Hopefully you’ll never experience any kind of difficulty with your gambling at all, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
One final thing you should consider is getting some anti-virus and anti-spyware software if you don’t already have some in place. This software will provide you with an extra level of protection against anyone hacking your computer and possibly gaining access to your online gambling accounts.
Assessing the Safety of Online Gambling Sites
We make a big deal of the fact that we only recommend gambling sites that we know to be safe. But how exactly do we know which sites are safe and which are not? That’s what we’re going to explain now.
There are actually several ways in which we assess the safety of online gambling sites. None of them are especially complicated, but they’re vital components of the process we follow when determining which sites to recommend our readers. Here are some of the main methods we use. There are others, too, but these are the most important.
- Check licensing details
- Research a site’s history
- Carry out testing
Checking licensing details is the first thing we do when assessing a site’s safety. If a site isn’t properly licensed to provide betting and/or gaming services, then we’re not interested in anything else. We immediately know that it probably can’t be trusted.
Simply having a license isn’t enough, though. Some licenses aren’t really worth anything at all, as they don’t actually subject a site to proper regulation. So we also check which licensing authority has issued a site’s license. We’ve thoroughly investigated all the licensing authorities that issue online gambling licenses, so we know what their requirements are. If their requirements aren’t strict enough, then for all intents and purposes, their licenses serve no purpose at all. We talk more about this later, when we discuss regulation in greater detail.
Researching the history of a site is essential when assessing a site’s safety. It helps us to establish what kind of reputation they have and what their track record is like. Our research includes studying forums to see if we can get a general idea of what previous and existing customers think, and seeing if there are any negative reports. If we know any gamblers that have used a site, we will also seek their views. We have extensive contacts within the online gambling industry, so we ask their opinions, too.
We like to draw on our own personal experiences, too, which is why we carry out testing. This helps us to gauge certain aspects of a site that cannot be accurately assessed in any other way.
The bottom line is that we do whatever it takes to get a clear picture of just how safe a site is to use. If we have any doubts at all about whether a site can be trusted or not, then we don’t consider them for our recommendations. We’d rather risk not recommending a site that we probably should than risk recommending a site that we definitely shouldn’t.
An Insight into Online Gambling Regulation
We’ve mentioned regulation a few times so far in this article. It’s important because it’s what gives the online gambling industry credibility. Unfortunately, as we’ve pointed out, not all sites are subject to strict regulation. Some sites aren’t even subject to any regulation at all.
The top sites would probably operate in a fair and ethical way even if they weren’t regulated in any way, but that’s not the point. Proper regulation ensures that they HAVE to, and it protects us consumers and gives us peace of mind.
By betting and gaming with sites that are regulated by a reputable licensing authority, we know that we’re going to be treated fairly. And, in a worst-case scenario, we at least have some recourse. Licensing authorities can get involved in disputes if necessary and help to resolve them.
The exact regulatory requirements vary from one licensing authority to another. Some are stricter than others, but the reputable ones all ensure that certain minimum requirements have to be met. The following are what we consider to be the most important requirements.
- Separation of customer funds from working capital.
- Third-party audits and testing.
- Suitable owners and executives.
- Advanced security measures.
Let’s take a look at what each one of these actually means.
Separation of funds
Separation of customer funds from working capital means that any balances that customers have at a site would be protected in the event of a site going out of business. They have to be completely ring-fenced so that they can be returned in full, even if a site is forced to enter bankruptcy or liquidation.
Audits and testing
When a site is subject to third-party audits and testing, it basically means they are unable to hide anything that might be going on. They have to provide full access to their records, their servers, and their software. This is all checked on a regular basis to ensure that everything is as it should be at all times.
Sites are typically directed as to which companies they should use for third-party audits and testing. For example, some licensing authorities insist on the use of iTech Labs. This is a very reputable company that has proved its integrity and independence time and time again. It’s approved by most licensing authorities, and it works with some of the best operators in the industry. You’ll find their certificates on display at many gambling sites. Here’s an example of one: it shows that the random number generator at Bovada is fully compliant with the required standards.
Suitable owners and executives
Licensing authorities often require the owners and operators of gambling sites to undergo what is known as a “fit and proper person test.” This test is basically a check to confirm that they are reputable and upstanding people, and that they are not involved in anything shady or outright criminal. It helps to keep the criminal element out of this industry as best as possible.
Advanced security measures
Customers’ private and personal information should be protected from unauthorized access. Properly regulated sites are therefore required to take all reasonable precautions to keep this information safe from hackers or other external sources. This should include the use of the latest technology and any other necessary security measures.
Sites should also ensure that all financial transactions are fully encrypted so that customers’ banking and payment details cannot be compromised.
As you can see, regulation of the online gambling industry definitely serves a purpose. If ALL sites were subject to strict regulation, then we wouldn’t have to worry about our safety when gambling online. Let’s hope that the time will come when that’s the case. But, for now, please follow the advice on this page and ensure your own online safety as best you can. Make sure that you only ever use gambling sites that you KNOW are safe, such as the ones that we recommend here.