How to Safely Play at an Online Casino

It seems that every time you read the news, there's been another data breach, site hack, or another form of scam that affects hundreds or thousands of people. Financial security is important to everyone, and that can make the decision to play in an online casino a stressful one.

Sunshine's experts have some tips that cover how to safely play at an online casino. Before you join a casino and make a deposit, follow these rules.

Get to Know Your State's Laws

In general, gambling in much of the U.S. is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Some states have legalized online casinos, poker rooms, and sportsbooks, however, and have specific websites where residents can safely play. When you can just get cash, go to a local casino and add funds, and play in their online casino, it's a pretty risk-free way to play for real money.

The other reason you should check your state's laws is that if you are scammed or conned, you might not have a lot of recourse. If it's not legal to play in an online casino and you do anyway, it's at your own risk and you might find your state's attorney general will not help you out if you are scammed.

In Michigan, the attorney general sent out a warning to people who were planning to bet on sports due to an alleged cyber attack on sites like BetMGM and DraftKings. It's not meant to send people into a panic. Instead, his tips were logical and include immediately changing passwords on all online betting sites and casinos, continually checking any accounts used to add funds with the casinos and sportsbooks, freezing your credit with the major bureaus, and one other measure involving multi-factor authentication.

Require Two-Step or MFA

When logging into a casino or sportsbook, make sure that two-factor or MFA is turned on. At a bare minimum, you want two-factor so that anyone logging in has to present two forms of identification, usually a password and PIN that's sent to your phone. You can also get an authenticator app and use that as the second option.

Be careful when using two-step, however. If you lose your phone, it can make it hard to recover your account. Before switching to a new phone, be certain you've set up two-factor to your new phone and that it works before canceling your other.

Check Licensing

Online casinos and sportsbooks may have a business-to-business or business-to-consumer license. Check that there is a valid license. Read the casino's self-exclusion policies, responsible gaming policies, and fairness and random number generator testing methods. If the casino doesn't have this information, continue with care as they may not be a trustworthy site.

The "About Us" page is a good source of information. See when the casino was founded and check the license. One that's been around for years is more likely to be trustworthy as there has been plenty of time to build a reputation. A casino that's just opened has no proven history. It doesn't mean it's a fraudulent site, but you may be better off using care when choosing a deposit method and adding funds.

If the About Us section didn't have information regarding the casino's license, try the Terms & Conditions page. You should find licensing information or a link to view it. Check the date and licensing certificate for information on who is registered, how to submit complaints or disputes, and whether the license is current. If you still can't find it, ask.

Always Use a Secure Banking Option

If you want the utmost in security, choose a one-time deposit method that isn't tied to your account. A prepaid card, such as AstroPay or PaySafeCard, is ideal. Prepaid vouchers that you purchase in a store or online, such as Neosurf, is also much safer.

Credit cards can be safe as the card issuer is likely to have safeguards in place. The one thing to note, however, is that your card issuer may not allow casino transactions. Or, they'll require extra proof through a credit card authorization form, and that can take extra time.

Mobile payments, e-wallets, and crypto are other options that are safer than using a debit card. If you must use a debit card, consider signing up for a checking account that you only use for casinos. Ally Bank is one of many options where you can sign up for an online account for free and not face any bank fees. Deposit to that checking account and make sure the bank settings are in place to prevent overdrafts from getting approved.

Never Use a Shared Computer or Public Wi-Fi

When you are playing online casino games for real money, do not play from a public computer or shared computer. You want to be at home on a secure network. Use a VPN if necessary. These steps don't guarantee your safety, but they make it a lot harder to be hacked or scammed.