Safety first! That’s the motto. In most pursuits, our personal safety is something we should place a lot of emphasis on, yet in practice, it’s something we rarely give a second thought to.
This certainly applies to the world of online gambling. You might not have considered the risks. You might not know there are any, especially if you’ve been playing for years, incident-free.
So let us be the first to reassure you: running into a safety issue at an online casino is rare. But, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself on what you should look out for, so you can play happily and free of concern.
Here are the main factors to consider when determining whether a site is cyber safe.
How to check if a casino is legitimate
The first thing you should look out for when choosing an online casino site is whether or not they hold a licence. This signals that the site is reputable, as to gain a licence, the site has to meet a certain number of standards that protect customers. There is no Canadian gambling licence, but common licences you will see are the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) and Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA). You will be able to find this information in the footer of the site’s homepage.
But a licence is not the be-all and end-all. Another strong indicator of legitimacy is positive independent reviews that credit the site’s customer service. If a site is suspicious or illegal, you will find out through reviews or high volumes of claims suggesting the site is withholding money. Every review on Canada’s Casinos is written by a casino tester who thoroughly vets each casino site for safety, so you can be sure our recommendations are fair.
Check the URL
Only use operators whose website carries an SSL certificate—this is clearly displayed in the URL bar with an https:// protocol rather than http://.
This tiny difference means a lot; it shows that it is a secure site. Thankfully, browsers are becoming stricter with online security nowadays and will often alert you if a website you visit is not secure.
You should also look for the padlock symbol in the URL bar. When you see this, it is indicating that a payment gateway is secure. With any online purchase, you shouldn’t risk giving your payment information to any site which doesn’t uphold these safety standards.
Always gamble responsibly
Before you sign up for a new online gambling website, it’s important to brush up on the facts of responsible gambling. Even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, it’s good to know what dangerous gameplay looks like to be aware of the warning signs.
All good operators have an easily-accessible responsible gambling policy so that if things get out of hand, you can take a break or exclude yourself from their site. Check their customer service options to see if they are open about what help is available and check in the site’s footer to see if they work with any gambling addiction prevention programmes.
In Canada, online casinos are not required by law to point you towards help from external resources, so it’s good to educate yourself rather than relying on the operator to intervene.
Equally, it is your own responsibility to make sure you play within your budget. If you feel yourself succumbing to the temptation of “chasing” (trying to win money back after losing), then it’s smart to set some monetary limits so that you only bet what you can afford to lose over a given time period. This will help to ensure that online gaming remains a pleasurable pursuit – it’s best to stick to the adage of “when the fun stops, stop.”
Casinos are in the business of attracting as many people as possible to their sites, which is why you’ll typically see them offering a ton of obscure payment options that you might not have heard of, including cryptocurrency platforms.
It can feel worrying handing over personal and private information to sites you’re not familiar with, particularly new casino sites that haven’t been around long enough to build strong reputations. But by using a payment method you are familiar with, you can ensure your money is kept safe.
There is no “best” or “safest” payment method, it really does come down to personal preference. The most popular payment methods for many online gamblers are Interac and PayPal as they are the most efficient and incredibly secure. Using these services means your money is protected by their independent customer service systems, which will intervene on your behalf if you detect a casino is withholding funds or making suspicious, inaccurate transactions.
Be wary of flashy offers
A general rule of thumb that applies to many aspects of life is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Many hackers or phishing websites may attempt to lure in prospective gamblers by advertising unrealistic offers such as matching bonuses and free spins with no wagering requirements.
Remember, casinos don’t like to give away free money. Be sure to find out how free spins work as they are a perfectly good and legitimate bonus to come across, but they only exist for the casino to eventually make some profit. If the deal seems suspicious, do your homework and read our casino reviews to ascertain whether or not they are real, or check out competing casinos to see if they offer similar deals.
Similarly, make sure you are familiar with the casino’s terms and conditions before you sign up and accept a casino welcome offer. Some illegitimate operators exploit loopholes to avoid large cash payouts, while others may be slow to pay your winnings – a sure-fire sign that something isn’t right. Good casinos are upfront with their payout time frames and usually list them in a table in their terms and conditions. Again, do your research and check reviews to make sure a site is right for you.
Your identity is yours and yours alone!
When you sign up to a reputable online gaming site, you will be asked to provide personal identification documents such as a scan of your driving licence or passport. This is to ensure that you are the person you claim to be. It is a legitimate and crucial protocol that prevents identity fraud, money laundering and underage gambling. If a website does not ask you to provide any proof of age, we strongly recommend you do not proceed further.
Once you’re signed up to a legitimate website, remember it is your responsibility to look after your data. Like with any online account, never share your password and do not leave yourself logged in on multiple devices. Ensure your account is protected with security questions that only you know the answer to.
Other details to look out for
If all of this is not enough, be sure to check for these policies listed in a site’s terms to be extra secure in your decision to sign up.
Deposit limits – good casinos offer these to ensure players do not overspend and to protect them from losing money in credit card fraud
Audit certificates – legitimate casinos display these to show they uphold standards Technical testing – trustworthy casinos are tested by internationally approved testing agencies such as COGRA for fairness and payouts