Sports betting is booming. And with that, online sportsbooks are popping up everywhere. Research is key to finding a safe and secure environment to bet at.
In-person sports betting has been legal in the state of Maryland for nearly two years. However, the state has yet to agree to a framework that offers online sports betting. Here’s what to look for once the state puts that process into motion.
Potential dangers of online sports betting
As more people get involved in sports betting, providing a safe gambling environment for bettors is a top priority for sportsbooks. They must also make sure the financial safety and security of their clients is protected.
Unfortunately, not all sportsbooks have their users’ best interests at heart. Some gambling sites take shortcuts when it comes to security and customer safety. That could lead to serious misfortune.
Regrettably, there have been several dishonest operators guilty of some or all of the following:
- Not honoring winning bets
- Taking the money wagered and running off with it
- Imposing unreasonable terms and conditions
- Not paying withdrawals, or paying too late
What to look for in an online sportsbook
To avoid these pitfalls, it’s best to gauge a site’s security by looking at its reputation. Sites that have a good track record over several years are usually safe.
If a site is new and has already experienced troubles, it’s best to steer clear. A Google search will usually uncover bad practices.
A lack of negative reports and complaints is something to look for. Also, positive online comments from bettors and expert reviewers adds much credence to a website’s authenticity.
2. Licensing and encryption
Look for websites licensed by a government regulator. All trustworthy game sites should be.
Encryption is the name of the game when it comes to protecting personal and financial data. All reputable gaming operators will use SSL encryption to ensure customers’ data are secure from third parties.
3. Protecting player data
Responsible gambling operators usually make every effort to keep player information safe. Operators should enact stringent policies to protect access to player data.
The gambling industry is regulated. Operators are required to implement certain safety regulations to protect player identity and data.
4. Protect players from themselves
The best sportsbooks protect players from themselves. Although most customers gamble responsibly, some gamble too much or too frequently.
Martin Lycka, Senior VP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling for Entain, said sportsbooks are responsible for helping problem gamblers.
“Sports betting companies bear the greatest responsibility for protecting gamblers. Not only because they manage the products that people use to gamble but because they are the most capable of enacting changes that can reduce the threat of problem gambling.”
One way sportsbooks can help bettors is through technology. By offering betting stats, analytics and history features, players can learn from their past bets and develop winning strategies. In time, such features will help foster a safer betting platform.
Anyone in need of help for gambling issues can reach out to the Maryland Center on Problem Gambling. Their hotline number is 1-800-GAMBLER.