How Safe Is Your Money?
The popularity of interactive gambling has been increasing steadily in recent years, with more and more casino fans taking their bets online. New online casinos are constantly being launched on the web, which sometimes makes it difficult for players to distinguish the reputable operators from the rogues.
This causes some gamblers to question the security at online casinos, particularly where customers’ funds are concerned. And indeed, there have been cases in the past of unreliable operators using players’ money to finance their businesses, especially when the companies in question have been struggling financially.
Such unethical practices have led to gambling regulators enforcing stricter measures on their licensees when it comes to the protection of customers’ privacy and funds. Special requirements are in place to ensure players get their money back in the event of their chosen casinos shutting up shop or experiencing financial difficulties.
But what are these regulatory requirements and how do they protect players’ funds exactly? Stay with GamblingPlex as we discuss some of the most common ways in which licensed online casinos safeguard your money, your privacy, and financial information.
Player Fund Segregation Policies
The regulatory requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another but we assure you the regulators in the world’s biggest gambling markets take the protection of players’ money extremely seriously. One example is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which is mandated with the oversight of the landbased and online casino industries in Great Britain.
Under the regulatory umbrella of the UKGC, all licensed online gambling operators to service players from the local market are required to comply with the so-called player fund segregation policies. Under this rule, all UKGC-licensed online gambling operators must store the funds deposited by their players in separate accounts to the ones they use for holding their business and operational money.
This helps players in a couple of ways, starting with the fact it prevents the misuse of their deposits. The segregation of the funds ensures gambling companies cannot spend their players’ deposits for the day-to-day operation of their businesses.
This policy also protects online gamblers if their online casinos of choice declare insolvency. The player funds segregation is one of the many regulatory requirements the operators must meet to receive valid licenses.
There Are Three Levels of Player Fund Segregation
Mind you, this practice is not restricted only to Great Britain. Such policies are in place in many other jurisdictions where online gambling is adequately regulated. In the UK, in particular, there are three levels of player funds segregation, namely basic, medium, and high.
- A basic level means customers’ deposits are merely kept in a bank account, which is separate from that of the casino. However, the funds in said account are still seen as part of the funds of the business. Thus, if the gambling operator happens to file for bankruptcy, the likelihood of players getting their deposits back is not very high.
- A medium level is better because the gambling operators have taken measures to ensure the funds they store on behalf of their customers are restored to them in case of insolvency. However, there is still no 100% guarantee customers will get back all of their funds if the gambling company bankrupts.
- A high level of protection means the gaming operator stores your money in an account that is legally segregated from its bank accounts. The account is overseen and handled by external auditors. You are guaranteed to receive all your money back if the operator files for insolvency. However, it is worth noting that players’ funds are not protected by the state government in this case. The level of protection is still not as high as that for citizens’ personal bank accounts.
Obligatory Payment Method Verification
Regulators like the UKGC take the security of players and their money extremely seriously, so much so that casinos licensed in the country are not allowed to accept payments made with credit cards as of April 2020. This is to prevent gamblers at risk from overspending. There are, however, plenty of methods players can use to top up their casino balance, including digital wallets, prepaid and debit cards, mobile billing, and online banking.
With that said, licensed online casinos take additional precautions to ensure the payment method each customer uses rightfully belongs to them. This serves a two-fold purpose. First, it helps prevent minors from using their parents’ cards for underage gambling, which is considered a criminal offence worldwide.
Second, it ensures the rightful owner of the casino account gets their money back when they request a withdrawal. The payment and identity verification also prevents frauds including money laundering. Upon registering and depositing at a licensed online casino, each customer is requested to send screenshots or scans of their card, their online banking processor, or e-wallet account.
The casino’s financial department then checks whether the method is registered in the same name as that of the casino account holder. In this vein, the player must also supply the operator with proof of address and identity, or else the verification will not be completed successfully.
These checks are absolutely obligatory across all licensed and adequately regulated gambling websites. Players who skip on the verification step will be unable to withdraw from their balance.
Encryptions and Privacy
Apart from performing payment-method checks and segregating customers’ funds, all regulated online casinos are also required to protect the privacy of players’ personal and financial information. This is made possible through the use of sophisticated Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryptions. The latter practically offer the same level of fund security as that provided by the world’s largest and most respected banks.
This technology enables online casinos to establish an encrypted connection between their servers and their customers’ browsers. Most trusted gambling operators typically use either 128-bit or 256-bit SSL encryptions to safeguard their players. This piece of technology is absolutely crucial for your privacy and your funds’ security.
Without it, all the sensitive information you share with your chosen online casino, including your login credentials, banking information, and personal details, would be sent from the casino’s servers in plain text. Any fraudster would be able to read it and use it to rob you out of your money.
With the SSL encryption in place, the financial information you share with the casino is jumbled up so that it is practically undecipherable by hackers. The encryption uses public and private keys in conjunction, establishing a safe connection in the process.
One way to tell whether your online casino of interest protects you in this manner is by checking its website’s address. If the latter begins with HTTPS, this means the transfer of data is encrypted and therefore, secure. You can also distinguish encrypted online casinos by the small padlock icon that appears in your address bar when you load their websites.
It is also worth specifying that some online gambling operators tend to use Transport Security Layer (TSL) encryptions. There is no reason for concern if you have registered with one such operator. TSL works similarly to SSL but the latter is simply the older and more established version of the encryption protocol. Like SSL, TSL offers different levels like TSL 1.0, TSL 1.2, and so on.
How to Find a Casino That Protects Your Funds?
There are several ways in which players can spot a reliable online casino that protects the money they deposit, starting with valid licensing. Always check whether your chosen gambling operator is regulated and has been issued a license by a respected regulatory body, be it the UKGC, the Malta Gaming Authority, or the Gibraltar Gambling Commission.
Then go through the website’s terms and conditions for information on the level of customer fund segregation the casino in question provides. The higher the level of segregation, the higher the chances of you getting your money back in the unfortunate event of the company’s insolvency. We recommend registering at casinos that offer medium or high levels of funds segregation.
Lastly, ensure the casino is owned and managed by a respected company with an unscathed reputation in the industry. If you are unsure about a gambling company’s background or practices, you can always spend some time researching it online by reading independent casino reviews and feedback from other players.