Our guide on how to gamble online safely will help you get the best out of your gambling session while avoiding some of the common pitfalls!
Online gambling has become a huge phenomenon in recent decades with gambling fans around the world choosing to spend their leisure time at their chosen online casino.
The convenience and relative cheapness (as long as you don’t go over your gambling budget) mean it’s preferable than heading out the door to hit up your local casino. Which can be an expensive option if you need to travel any great distance. Real-life casinos can also be quite intimidating places! With online casinos, you can take your time, choose a game and sit back and enjoy the fun!
It all sounds pretty perfect, right? Well, it can be, but it can also be the start of a gambling habit that can get out of control. It can also lead to isolation, depression and all manner of other problems if things get out of hand.
There is also the risk that the casino you select isn’t all it cracked up to be. Hacked accounts, stolen credit card info, and casinos refusing to let you have your winnings are an all too common pitfall of playing at online casinos. Thankfully, for the most part, these can all be avoided with a bit of forward planning and due diligence on your half.
Our guide on how to gamble online safely will help you do exactly that. We’ll cover the things to look out for and what you can do to make sure your gambling session is safe and more importantly fun and enjoyable. After all, that’s why we’re all here right?
Firstly, let’s look at why it’s a good option to gamble online rather than to take your chances at your local casino or bookmaker.
More choice of where to play
There are literally hundreds of online casinos and bookmakers available online! You mayhave only one choice of local bookmaker and most likely your nearest casino may be many miles away. Having a choice of multiple options means you can pick a brand that fits your gambling needs, tastes and budget!
Play when you want
With online casinos you are not restricted to opening hours. They are open for business 24/7 so you can play whenever you want! Plus now it’s even easier to sneak in a game or two in between meetings or even on the train to work thanks to mobile casinos! Most casinos will be available to play on your mobile either through your browser on by downloading an app.
Greater choice of games
Online gambling sites can literally have thousands of different casino games ranging from the latest slots to old school fruit machines, classic table games and bingo. And that’s before we even get on to the myriad of sporting events you can access at some of the major online sports betting sites! Even some the biggest casinos in Las Vegas don’t come close to some of these numbers! You’d need a casino floor the size of an airline hanger to compete!
Account limits can help you control your gambling
Playing at a real casino or bookmaker, quite often there is no one there to cut you off if things don’t go your way. Throwing good money after bad is something we have all been guilty of at one time or another. Reputable online casinos will provide ways to place limits on your deposits, wagers and the time you spend at each session to help you avoid this happening. We’ll cover this in more detail later.
So we’ve established that there are plenty of reasons to choose to gamble online rather than head to your high street casino but what about the things to look out for to keep you safe online?
There are two main reasons that things could go wrong. In the next two sections, we will cover online casino options and how choosing the right one can make all the difference between having a positive gambling experience and a bad one. The second section will focus on how you can help stay in control of your gambling to ensure you play responsibly.
What to look for in an Online Casino
We mentioned earlier that there are thousands of different options when it comes to gambling online. This can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to trying to choose just the right one for you! However, there are some things you can look for to help you make the right decision.
Choose a reputable casino
The first thing you want to make sure of is that you are playing at a trusted casino brand. The good news is there are government authorities whose very job it is to ensure a casino meets strict regulations to keep their players safe online.
The UK Gambling Commission, for example, covers all gambling activities for players residing in the UK. In order to meet the licensing guidelines, a casino must adhere to their criteria including how they look after your funds and ensuring the games are provably fair. Never play at a casino that doesn’t feature the relevant license for your country of residence and ensure that gambling online isn’t restricted in your region.
Minimum deposit and withdrawals
Some casinos are created exclusively for high rollers and may require very high deposit limits. You also may have to reach a certain amount in your account before you can make a withdrawal. This can lead to you having to leave your money in the casino account for longer than you’d like or may encourage you to gamble more than you can afford. Choose a casino with a deposit and withdrawal limit you feel comfortable with. You can find this information in the casino’s terms and conditions.
Secure payment options
Check which currencies and banking options you can use at your chosen casino. They may not accept your local currency so you could be at the mercy of exchange rates. Most casinos will offer several secure ways to deposit into your account. Make sure you use a familiar payment service that you have used before and that there are no associated charges or fees applied.
Casinos should also use SSL encryption technology which makes sure your transactions are secure. You should be able to find details about their security procedures within their ‘About Us’ or ‘Security’ sections.
Look for the best bonuses
Shop around for the best bonuses and player perks. It’s not always about who is offering the biggest percentage cash match or most free spins either. Check each offer carefully, reading through the terms to decipher any wagering requirements or restrictions that might stand in the way of you getting your winnings. 100 free spins might sound great, but they sound a lot less appealing if the maximum cash out is a only couple of quid!
Many casinos will offer a welcome bonus, but it’s worth also finding out about ongoing offers or cashback. Cashback is a great way to recoup some of your losses each week if your session isn’t as fruitful as you’d hoped. Often they can be paid as real cash, wager free into your account balance, so are well worth taking the time to search for.
Research the casino’s service record
Check other player reviews and casino review sites to suss out if your chosen casino has a good reputation rating. Real casino players will give the most honest and unbiased reviews but make sure you are using trusted review sites avoiding any scam sites. You can also check at the casino for their various contact methods and office address. If they don’t supply any customer support, steer well clear!
There is no denying the fun and excitement you can get from playing and winning at your favourite online slot game or getting a lucky hand in a game of poker. But the thrill can be short-lived after an unsuccessful gambling session. There are some things you can do to protect yourself and make sure that every time you play you are the one calling the shots!
Set a budget for your session
To avoid spending more than you intend to, set yourself a budget for your gambling session. You can do this by depositing a specific amount and then when you’ve spent up, end your session. However, if you think you may be tempted to tip in more money, then set up some deposit limits in your account settings which prevent you from depositing more.
Decide how long to play for
There’s a reason they don’t put clocks in any of the Las Vegas casinos! It’s all too easy to get lost in the excitement and lose track of time. Decide how long you want to play for and set an alarm on your phone or even better make use of the account settings you can find at most casinos and set up some session time limits.
Never chase your losses
We’ve all heard this rule a thousand time but in the heat of the moment, it can be forgotten only to find you’ve just piled in good money after bad! Just one more game can turn into two more, then three until before you know it you have lost more than you can afford.
Stick to your guns and only spend what you have budgeted for your session and be prepared to walk away even when you might be winning! Another great saying is to quit while you are ahead! Bank those winnings and enjoy them another day!
Don’t gamble under the influence
This kind of goes without saying but if you like to gamble in your leisure time that may also include throwing back the odd beer or two. One or two might not cloud your judgement, but being under the influence of drugs or alcohol will certainly alter your perception of what may or may not be a good idea!
Avoid gambling as a way to lift your mood
Gambling is addictive and as well as causing huge highs when you win, can also be responsible for almighty lows when you don’t win, or worse if you have got into debt. Talk to friends or family or one of the many gambling support organisations who can help you manage your problem.
Take a break and do something else
Gambling is a fun pastime but make sure it’s not your only pastime. Take time out to do other things and explore other hobbies. It shouldn’t be your only source of entertainment and enjoyment!
If you are concerned about the time you are spending gambling online, or perhaps you are worried about debt and the effect gambling is having on your relationships. Casinos will help you to self exclude for a set period of time or even permanently. This prevents you from using your account at all, hopefully taking away some of the temptation to play.
This method can’t be solely relied upon as there is also the opportunity to register at an alternative casino. If you feel you need to self exclude it is also important to seek additional help and support from a gambling support group such as Gamblers Anonymous or begambleaware.org.
Gambling is a fun thing to do and when you are in full control and choose the right casino site, it can bring lots of enjoyment. Use our guidelines to make sure it stays that way for you!
Gambling online can be addictive. Please gamble responsibly. Strictly 18+ only. begambleaware.org.
Please check out some of our other casino guides to get the very best out of your online gaming!