How Safe is Online Gambling?

roulette-wheel-944643-mIf you consider losing money to a casino “unsafe”, then don’t get into online gambling! It is a huge risk!

On the other hand, if you’re looking for entertainment where you may win, and quite possibly lose some money, but at least knowing that your privacy will not be harmed or money stolen, then there is nothing wrong with it. Playing poker, roulette and blackjack is actually quite fun, and when you can do that easily and conveniently through your computer or mobile device, it may be even better! Personally, I haven’t gambled online (yet), but that doesn’t mean it’s not safe. I was just curious to find out how it all started, what forms of gambling are there and if there are any security risks – so I did a little bit of research. Here is what I found out.

How did online gambling start?

Online gambling started as early as 1994, when the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act and started granting licenses to organisations applying to open online casinos. From then on, it quickly evolved into a popular Internet activity as more and more people started using the World Wide Web. In 1996, there were only about 15 online casinos. One year later, the number increased more than 10 times, and another year later, the revenues exceeded $800 million yearly! The new form of entertainment, for which you didn’t even need to leave your house, attracted many people, and by 2001 more than eight million users connected to and used some form of gambling worldwide. Today, this number has increased astronomically, and the revenue rose more than 10 times in the last 10 years.

What forms of online gambling are there?

Poker, Casino, Sports and Horse Racing betting, Bingo, Lotteries, Mobile gambling, In-Play gambling and Provably fair gambling. Personally, I like roulette and poker, but I am yet to try it online.


Many countries have restricted access to online gambling sites (such as India) or banned online gambling altogether (for example Russia) in order to prevent “the harmful effects of online gambling” (gambling can be addictive if you didn’t know). Other countries, such as Australia, do not allow resident companies to provide online gambling services to its citizens, but they do not block their residents from playing games in online casinos. USA has state and federal laws that regulate Internet gambling, and access to these sites is dictated by your location. For example, if you live in New Jersey or California, you can legally play at online casinos, but if you are in Lousiana, you should be careful. Just like Australia, it is illegal for companies to offer gambling services in Louisiana, but there have been no cases of players being arrested or fined for using the services. US laws cannot be applied to online casinos that are not located in USA, so there is nothing that can stop US residents from playing online. However, banks can block money transfers, so you should open an e-wallet (ewalletexpress) instead or ask the casino support for another deposit/withdrawal method.

Security issues

Online casinos are quite safe when it comes to online payments and privacy issues. Like any business, these gambling service providers wish to offer a good service and keep their customers, so most sites are genuine and they don’t engage into any illegal activities. As we all know, casinos always make good money and they really don’t need any tricks and gimmicks to steal your data or money.

As a paying customer, you just need to be careful when you transfer money online. Money used for gambling may come from credit card, electronic check, certified check, money order, and wire transfer, so you need to be very careful when submitting payments over the Internet. Just look out for the SSL certificate (security protocol, short for Secure Socket Layer) on the page before you send any money away. To identify SSL protected site, just  look out for the picture of the unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window. Alternatively, you will know that SSL is enabled if the URL of the page you are visiting changes from “http” to “https” – indicating that you are visiting a secure http site.

It has been alleged that online gambling sites are a cover for criminal activities such as money laundering, but this has not been proven. In fact, the risk is very low, because credit cards are used for payments, and the security checks for online credit card payments is quite high. In addition, credit cards create transaction records and are subject to low transaction limits, so the threat is seen as ‘less serious” by representatives of law enforcement agencies (Source: US GAO study).

Where to go to try?

Just type in ‘online gambling’ in your favourite search engine or click here to see an example of a genuine gambling site.

Source: Wikipedia and US Government Accountability Office

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