The online betting industry is flourishing. But with so many online casinos and betting sites to choose from, how do you know if a website is safe and secure? Can you be sure your sensitive personal information in safe hands? Will you be treated fairly? Will you actually receive your money if you win?
Read on to learn how to stay safe when you bet online!
Note that the information in this guide applies to the United Kingdom. You can find a list of trusted UK betting sites at OnlineCasinos.co.uk
The website/company must be licensed by the Gambling Commission
This is by far the most important thing to look for and the first thing you should check when you come across a new betting website or app. Any gambling company that operates in Great Britain (even if they are based in another country) must have a current operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission.
The Gambling Commission carries out a rigorous assessment process and performs regular checks to make sure betting operators are compliant.
If a betting company doesn’t hold a valid licence they are operating illegally, and you have zero guarantee that you will be treated fairly.
So how do I know if a company is licensed?
Most gambling sites will say so in their small print, either in the footer at the bottom of the website or in their ‘about us’ section. However the best way to check is on the Gambling Commission’s own website. You can search for betting companies and view their licence (whether current or expired) at https://secure.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PublicRegister/Search. Simply enter the name of the company in the search box.
In order to receive a license, betting websites must have their software audited by an approved independent testing house (you can view a list of them here). This ensures that their games are fair and that the outcome of all spins/hands truly are random. Most betting sites will display the seal from the testing house – some of the most common ones you will see are eCOGRA, GLI and iTech Labs.
The website should also be secure (look out for the green padlock symbol in the address bar and “https” at the beginning of the address) and many display an anti-virus logo for added peace of mind.
It’s nice to know that a betting website is technically sound and operating legally, but it’s also important that they take care of vulnerable customers and deal with complaints swiftly. Is the site registered with GamStop? Do they work with BeGambleAware? Do they have measures in place to prevent children from signing up? Do they clearly display their contact information and complaints procedure? Good websites will also have tools to help you limit the amount you can spend in a day/week/month, or allow you to self-exclude entirely.
What happens if I have been treated unfairly?
If you feel you have been treated unfairly by a UK website that is licensed, you can submit a compliant through the Gambling Commission’s website. See this page for more information.