Fundamental to having a positive experience when playing online casinos for real money is the need to be confident that you can trust the games you play to be fair and the casino you’re playing to treat you with honesty and respect. Failure to meet these criteria on any level means your wasting your time and money, and in the worst cases could make you the victim of criminal fraud.
For these reasons we vet all our recommended casinos to ensure they meet the highest standards, and rank as secure casinos that we would be happy to play (indeed do play) with our own money.
The importance of playing safe
Mentioned above, the prime reason for ensuring you only choose secure casinos to play is to avoid the potential for criminal fraud. The popularity of online casino gaming means that there’s an awful lot of potentially valuable information to harvest from unwary players. Banking details are clearly of immediate value to criminal hackers, but you should also not underestimate the value of other personal data such as your home address and date of birth. Seemingly innocuous personal information can become a surprisingly useful tool in the wrong hands for fraudulent activity in your name.
What are “secure casinos”?
For the purposes of this article, we’ve broken down the essential qualities that define a secure casino into three categories; encryption tools, personal privacy and anti-virus protection for players. Each play an equally important role in creating a safe environment for players to operate a personal account for their real money transactions, and enjoy the advertised gaming with no unexpected risks.
Encryption of data
Data transmission: Since your interaction with any respectable online casino involves transmission of data between you and the casino to work, it’s vitally important that only you and the casino can access and read that data. Digital encryption technology is required to scramble these communications, but with the power to unscramble them if you are the intended recipient.
Encryption tools: Secure casinos use the latest, state-of-the-art encryption tools known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), TLS (Transport Layer Security) and HTTPS (sometimes also called HTTP over SSL, or HTTP over TLS) to protect the information flowing between you and the casino from ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks. The precise technical details are the stuff of high-level geekery, but from a more practical standpoint these are proven and trusted technologies that allow staggeringly complex encryption both ways between you and the casino that cannot be intercepted or tampered with by anyone else.
Clearly it’s nice to know the encryption tools used by the best online casinos protect you from snoopers, but it’s also crucial that an online casino respects your privacy in terms of the information it necessarily collects from you. Reputable casinos, such as those we recommend, openly report their privacy policies in their terms and conditions and will not pass on your personal information to any third parties for any reason. They also have an obligation to remove your information from their internal database at your request, should you decide to close your account with them.
The final area of security it’s important to be aware of is the potential for unregulated or improperly managed online casinos to allow their games to become covert vehicles for damaging computer viruses. The best online casinos will monitor and check their service to ensure they are ‘clean’, but players can also help themselves by using personal anti-virus software and firewalls as a simple and sensible precaution too.
The rise in popularity of mobile casino gaming also brings with it a few additional considerations that players might not be aware of if they are more used to playing online casinos from a home computer.
In public: First, if you are out playing in public be aware that people around you may be able to see what you’re doing when you login to your account. If they can see what your fingers are doing, they could find out your username and password quite easily . . . and the consequences of that don’t need spelling out! Be discreet and take care as if you’re putting your PIN in at an ATM.
Connections: A second consideration for mobile casino players is to be wary of connection through a public WiFi hotspot. These are not necessarily secure connections and should best be avoided for real peace of mind. Using your mobile’s personal data plan when you can’t access a known and trusted WiFi network is the better bet in a very literal sense.
Our tips for safe gaming
- Licenses: Only play licensed sites with a proven track record such as those recommended on this site. eCOGRA accreditation is also highly desirable.
- Banking: Chose to play using a banking option you are familiar with and trust from using on previous online transactions. For example, what do you use for Amazon, or Google Play / App Store purchases?
- Passwords: Never share your password and username with anyone. Treat your player account as if it were your bank account, and be careful how you record login data and who might see what you type when you are logging in to play.
- Viruses: Take personal responsibility for ensuring your desktop PC or mobile device is not vulnerable to Internet-borne computer viruses. There are great free tools available to protect you, so take time to research what’s available and prudent for the operating system you use.
How we rate our recommended casinos
Our recommended casinos all meet several criteria to ensure that they can be deemed secure casinos. First, they all operate under stringent regulation by the most internationally respected licensing authorities for online gambling. Second, they are all operated by companies that have hard-won reputations for the quality of their service and integrity. Finally, they all offer excellent transparency regarding the encryption tools they use, and the privacy policies they operate together with robust procedures to address any issues that might occur. Make sure to visit our casino reviews section for in-depth reviews.
Online casino gaming is now a very mature industry and the commercial value of secure casinos means there are plenty of choices for Canadian players nowadays. Don’t forget, a secure casino is far more likely to attract and retain players so it makes ultimate business sense for honest operators to maintain standards and openly promote that.
Our site is intended to help its readers make informed choices, so we pride ourselves on doing some of the heavy-lifting for you by only recommending online casinos that are provably secure to play. Naturally you may find an online casino beyond those we’ve currently reviewed that catches your eye, and in that case you should follow some of our advice above to run your own checks if you are truly tempted to try it – most importantly do take a look at our list of blacklisted casinos to ensure you’re not considering a site that has a known history of problems with its integrity!
When if comes to having fun with your online casino favourites, be safe and be lucky.