The proliferation of the internet and our online lives has opened up a veritable Pandora’s Box of possible cyber threats against our identity, data, and banking information. Despite these dangers, however, we continue to use the internet for banking, shopping, and entertainment, trusting that the companies will keep our information safe and secure.
But what about online casinos? Players give out access to their data and financial information when gambling online, just like any other virtual service. The question is, how safe is your personal data when gambling online? And what can you do as a player to ensure that your information is secure?
How online casinos protect your data
Cybersecurity is crucial when it comes to online gambling. Trustworthy and licensed online casino operators know this and have put into place several important safeguards to protect their customers’ information from unauthorized third parties.
To ensure safe transactions online, many of the best and most trusted online casinos use a process called data encryption. Encryption is a method by which regular data is translated into a different form via coding so that only people with an access key (or decryption key) can read it. Encrypted data is commonly referred to as ciphertext, while unencrypted data is called plaintext.
This encryption process encodes private information (such as banking details or personal data), making it impossible for any third parties to access it. Typically, 128 or 256-bit encryption is used, both of which are very difficult to break. With modern equipment, it would take on average of several decades before that information is deciphered, which disincentivizes possible hacking.
A reputable online casino will always use software coming from legitimate developers such as Cryptologic, Playtech, or MicroGaming. If you see any of these names used for encryption on a site, there is a good chance the site is trustworthy.
Secure Sockets Layers (SSL)
Current cybersecurity regulation requires the use of SSL certificates for site operators who deal with financial transactions online. An SSL protects data transferred over “http” using encryption enabled by a server’s SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate contains a public key and a private key to first encrypt and then decipher the information.
If a site has an SSL certificate, it is a good sign but does not necessarily mean it should be trusted with your sensitive information, just that they should have it before you decide to use the operator.
Top tips for safe online gambling
The majority of online casinos are licensed and above-board but there will always be the less scrupulous operators out there that savvy players can steer clear of with these few helpful tips.
Only play at trusted and licensed online casinos
In order to protect yourself from possible harm, it’s a good idea to only play with fully licensed operators in known territories around the world. These include Antigua and Barbuda, Malta, Gibraltar, Kahnawake, the UK, Canada, and Curacao (in the Dutch Antilles).
You should always be able to find a casino’s licensing information on the bottom of its homepage. Going with the biggest companies in the game is your best bet to make sure your data is kept safe by the latest technological standards. The largest companies will have information on their sites about gambling licensing and now, even local licensing too.
Use payment methods as a safety indicator
A good indicator of the level of security that an online gaming operator provides is the number of payment methods it offers. Finding multiple trusted payment methods in a variety of categories can be a helpful barometer as to the safety of the site.
For example, finding options such as Visa and MasterCard credit/debit cards, bank transfer, Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies), electronic wallets like Neteller and Skrill, or prepaid cards such as PaySafeCard is a good sign that the site you’re on is a legitimate operator.
A good rule of thumb is to never gamble on a site that has very few payment methods available or obscure payment methods you’ve never heard of.
More players than ever are gambling from their mobile devices for a convenient way to play on-the-go. An important feature of trusted online casino operators is that all games offered on their browser site should also be offered on their dedicated mobile app.
It’s easy to test this theory, by checking that the navigation process, game options, and website speed are all equivalent to the experience offered on the website itself.
Safeguarding yourself online has never been more important yet, with the complexity of the online world, risks abound. Gambling with online casinos can be a fun, lucrative, and safe experience if you keep a weather eye and ensure the legitimacy of an operator before you invest any money.
If you cannot find information on a site about what kind of data security they provide, either chose another operator to play with or contact customer support before making your first deposit.