Safest Online Gambling Sites for 2018

Online gambling makes you nervous? Not sure if it鈥檚 safe? You鈥檙e not alone if you feel this way. You actually have a right to be concerned, as online gambling is not as safe as it could be. It isn鈥檛 governed on a global basis, and it鈥檚 possible for sites to operate out of regions where they aren鈥檛 subject to any meaningful checks or regulation.

Don鈥檛 get discouraged. It鈥檚 a GOOD thing that you鈥檙e concerned. This means that you鈥檒l probably make a conscious effort to ensure your safety, which is actually not that difficult to do. It鈥檚 the people who don鈥檛 think about their safety at all that are at risk and likely to encounter problems.

We cover the subject of online gambling safety in detail on this page, but we expect that you鈥檙e here primarily because you want to find safe places to gamble online. So let鈥檚 start with our recommendations. The following sites are all 100% safe to use. In fact, we consider them to be the safest gambling sites at this moment in time.

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We鈥檙e very passionate about the online gambling industry here at TophotGames.net, and we hate the fact that it鈥檚 even necessary to talk about which sites can be trusted and which sites can鈥檛. We firmly believe that everyone should be able to gamble online without the need to worry about issues of safety, security, or fairness. This is a multibillion-dollar industry, after all. Is it too much to ask that it could be regulated well enough so that there鈥檚 no such thing as a 鈥渞ogue鈥?gambling site? It would also be nice to be able to deposit our funds online and be confident that we鈥檙e not going to be ripped off in some way.

Maybe this is too much to ask (for now, anyway). This industry is not regulated as well as it should be; this is obvious. Online gambling legislation varies so drastically from region to region, which is just one of the major concerns we have, and it鈥檚 the reason why we have to ask ourselves the following question:

Will things ever get any better?
We certainly hope so.

We鈥檙e actually reasonably confident about the future of online gambling. The industry IS improving. It won鈥檛 happen anytime soon, but we鈥檇 like to think that one day it won鈥檛 matter at all which sites we choose to use. Each and every one will provide an enjoyable and safe experience.

That鈥檚 not the case just yet, though, which is why we do what we do here at TophotGames.net. We make sure that our readers can easily find the best places to bet and play online. Not only are we helping them, we鈥檙e also helping the industry in at least some small way. The more people we steer towards the good sites, the less people are likely to end up at the bad sites. And once the bad sites stop getting customers, there鈥檚 no reason for them to exist at all.

As we mentioned earlier, this page is dedicated to exploring the subject of online gambling safety. So there鈥檚 a lot more information to come. Before we get to all that, though, we should point out that the sites listed above are not the ONLY sites that we recommend. Nor are they the only sites that can be trusted. They鈥檙e just the ones we believe to be especially safe, and that鈥檚 exactly why they鈥檝e made the cut here.

We also recommend the top sites in a variety of different categories, to make it easy for you to find a site that suits you. You can find details of these recommendations on the following page. Rest assured that every single site we recommend, in every single category, is safe to use.

So what else do we cover on this page, then? Well, first there are some details about the risks of online gambling. Then there are some tips for ensuring your online gambling safety. These are followed by an explanation of exactly how we determine whether sites are safe to use or not.

The Risks of Online Gambling

We would never try to talk anyone out of gambling online. We know just how enjoyable it can be, so we actively encourage people to give it a try. It doesn鈥檛 have to cost a lot of money, and the potential benefits can be significant.

However, we do think it鈥檚 important to make our readers aware of the possible risks of online gambling; this is everyone鈥檚 best defense when it comes to protection.

The most obvious risk of gambling online is that it IS possible to lose money. This doesn鈥檛 have to be a problem in itself, though. You鈥檇 prefer to win, of course, but losing isn鈥檛 a disaster when you鈥檙e getting some entertainment in exchange. And there鈥檚 always the chance of winning anyway. So if you鈥檙e losing money fairly, and it鈥檚 money you can afford to lose, then there鈥檚 not a lot to worry about.

It鈥檚 the risk of losing money UNFAIRLY that鈥檚 the serious concern.

There are a number of ways that you can lose money unfairly when gambling online. For starters, a site might simply shut down and keep any funds you have deposited with them. This might be a deliberate and planned act, or it might be because the site is losing money and has to close. Either way, you鈥檙e still out of pocket through no real fault of your own.

Second, a site might be cheating. Gambling sites can, and unfortunately do, cheat their customers. This can be through unfair terms and conditions, through rigged software, or a variety of other methods. It鈥檚 usually quite obvious when a site is cheating, but some places are very good at concealing their nefarious activities. So you won鈥檛 necessarily even know that you鈥檙e losing money unfairly. You might just put it down to bad luck.

Third and finally, a site might withhold your winnings for no good reason. This is a common act by rogue sites, and one that they get away with far too frequently. A lot of people simply don鈥檛 know how to deal with such a situation and end up just writing the money off. This is not fair, of course, but it鈥檚 how these sites get away with it.

As if that wasn鈥檛 bad enough, there are other risks, too.

There鈥檚 the risk of having your personal details compromised, for example, and possibly sold to companies who will spam you incessantly. Although this is hardly disastrous, it鈥檚 a breach of privacy that can also get very annoying.

Even worse is the risk of having banking or other financial information compromised. You typically have to share this kind of information when depositing at a gambling site in order to make a deposit. If a site doesn鈥檛 protect that information properly or deliberately misuses it, you could easily end up being a victim of fraud or theft.

A final risk to mention here is the risk of problem gambling or addiction. This can happen to ANYONE. Please don鈥檛 ever think that you鈥檙e immune to this risk, as you are not. However rational or disciplined you are, you still might find yourself losing control.

With that, we have now covered the primary risks of online gambling. Now you need to learn how to avoid them.

Ensuring Your Online Gambling Safety

Ensuring your online gambling safety isn鈥檛 especially difficult. There are really just two key things you need to do in order to avoid all the risks we鈥檝e just discussed above. These are as follows:

  • You MUST use reputable and trustworthy gambling sites.
  • You MUST gamble responsibly.

Number one is very easy. Just stick to our recommended sites. We can categorically assure you that the places we recommend aren鈥檛 in the business of ripping off customers in any way. They won鈥檛 steal from you, they won鈥檛 cheat you, and they won鈥檛 withhold any legitimate winnings you make. They also won鈥檛 jeopardize the security of your personal or financial details. In short, you can trust them. You鈥檒l be perfectly safe and treated fairly. Which is exactly how it should be.

Number two isn鈥檛 necessarily so easy. Not for everyone, anyway. Some people really struggle to keep control of their gambling. Thankfully, they鈥檙e in the minority, but the risk of problem gambling is something that every gambler should take seriously. It鈥檚 important to set clear limits for how much money and time you鈥檙e prepared to spend on gambling. Once you reach those limits, it鈥檚 time to stop.

There鈥檚 more advice for staying in control of gambling on the following page. Please take the time to read this. Hopefully you鈥檒l never experience any kind of difficulty with your gambling at all, but it doesn鈥檛 hurt to be prepared.

One final thing you should consider is getting some anti-virus and anti-spyware software if you don鈥檛 already have some in place. This software will provide you with an extra level of protection against anyone hacking your computer and possibly gaining access to your online gambling accounts.

Assessing the Safety of Online Gambling Sites

We make a big deal of the fact that we only recommend gambling sites that we know to be safe. But how exactly do we know which sites are safe and which are not? That鈥檚 what we鈥檙e going to explain now.

There are actually several ways in which we assess the safety of online gambling sites. None of them are especially complicated, but they鈥檙e vital components of the process we follow when determining which sites to recommend our readers. Here are some of the main methods we use. There are others, too, but these are the most important.

  • Check licensing details
  • Research a site鈥檚 history
  • Carry out testing

Checking licensing details is the first thing we do when assessing a site鈥檚 safety. If a site isn鈥檛 properly licensed to provide betting and/or gaming services, then we鈥檙e not interested in anything else. We immediately know that it probably can鈥檛 be trusted.

Simply having a license isn鈥檛 enough, though. Some licenses aren鈥檛 really worth anything at all, as they don鈥檛 actually subject a site to proper regulation. So we also check which licensing authority has issued a site鈥檚 license. We鈥檝e thoroughly investigated all the licensing authorities that issue online gambling licenses, so we know what their requirements are. If their requirements aren鈥檛 strict enough, then for all intents and purposes, their licenses serve no purpose at all. We talk more about this later, when we discuss regulation in greater detail.

Researching the history of a site is essential when assessing a site鈥檚 safety. It helps us to establish what kind of reputation they have and what their track record is like. Our research includes studying forums to see if we can get a general idea of what previous and existing customers think, and seeing if there are any negative reports. If we know any gamblers that have used a site, we will also seek their views. We have extensive contacts within the online gambling industry, so we ask their opinions, too.

We like to draw on our own personal experiences, too, which is why we carry out testing. This helps us to gauge certain aspects of a site that cannot be accurately assessed in any other way.

The bottom line is that we do whatever it takes to get a clear picture of just how safe a site is to use. If we have any doubts at all about whether a site can be trusted or not, then we don鈥檛 consider them for our recommendations. We鈥檇 rather risk not recommending a site that we probably should than risk recommending a site that we definitely shouldn鈥檛.

An Insight into Online Gambling Regulation

We鈥檝e mentioned regulation a few times so far in this article. It鈥檚 important because it鈥檚 what gives the online gambling industry credibility. Unfortunately, as we鈥檝e pointed out, not all sites are subject to strict regulation. Some sites aren鈥檛 even subject to any regulation at all.

The top sites would probably operate in a fair and ethical way even if they weren鈥檛 regulated in any way, but that鈥檚 not the point. Proper regulation ensures that they HAVE to, and it protects us consumers and gives us peace of mind.

By betting and gaming with sites that are regulated by a reputable licensing authority, we know that we鈥檙e going to be treated fairly. And, in a worst-case scenario, we at least have some recourse. Licensing authorities can get involved in disputes if necessary and help to resolve them.

So what does regulation actually entail, then?

The exact regulatory requirements vary from one licensing authority to another. Some are stricter than others, but the reputable ones all ensure that certain minimum requirements have to be met. The following are what we consider to be the most important requirements.

  • Separation of customer funds from working capital.
  • Third-party audits and testing.
  • Suitable owners and executives.
  • Advanced security measures.

Let鈥檚 take a look at what each one of these actually means.

Separation of funds

Separation of customer funds from working capital means that any balances that customers have at a site would be protected in the event of a site going out of business. They have to be completely ring-fenced so that they can be returned in full, even if a site is forced to enter bankruptcy or liquidation.

Audits and testing

When a site is subject to third-party audits and testing, it basically means they are unable to hide anything that might be going on. They have to provide full access to their records, their servers, and their software. This is all checked on a regular basis to ensure that everything is as it should be at all times.

Sites are typically directed as to which companies they should use for third-party audits and testing. For example, some licensing authorities insist on the use of iTech Labs. This is a very reputable company that has proved its integrity and independence time and time again. It鈥檚 approved by most licensing authorities, and it works with some of the best operators in the industry. You鈥檒l find their certificates on display at many gambling sites. Here鈥檚 an example of one: it shows that the random number generator at Bovada is fully compliant with the required standards.

Random Number Generator Certificate
Suitable owners and executives

Licensing authorities often require the owners and operators of gambling sites to undergo what is known as a 鈥渇it and proper person test.鈥?This test is basically a check to confirm that they are reputable and upstanding people, and that they are not involved in anything shady or outright criminal. It helps to keep the criminal element out of this industry as best as possible.

Advanced security measures

Customers鈥?private and personal information should be protected from unauthorized access. Properly regulated sites are therefore required to take all reasonable precautions to keep this information safe from hackers or other external sources. This should include the use of the latest technology and any other necessary security measures.

Sites should also ensure that all financial transactions are fully encrypted so that customers鈥?banking and payment details cannot be compromised.

As you can see, regulation of the online gambling industry definitely serves a purpose. If ALL sites were subject to strict regulation, then we wouldn鈥檛 have to worry about our safety when gambling online. Let鈥檚 hope that the time will come when that鈥檚 the case. But, for now, please follow the advice on this page and ensure your own online safety as best you can. Make sure that you only ever use gambling sites that you KNOW are safe, such as the ones that we recommend here.