We’re all crossing our fingers that college football happens this fall. The pageantry, rivalries, and traditions keep us glued to the TV all season. Without the games, we’d all feel empty. College football has boomed in recent years for two other reasons. It’s gained immense popularity because of the playoff format and online betting. Americans love football, and this is more of it, complete with ways to wager from your computer and phone. This has opened the door to many inexperienced wagerers, as states have started to legalize it across the country.
Betting sports online, like any kind of online activity, involves risks, especially for novices. If you are not careful, you may find that your online betting exposes your personal financial information, leaves you open to
malware or cyber-attacks, or even makes you a victim of a scam. One of the most important things to do to keep yourself safe while betting online is to use a reputable betting site. This will go a long way to ensure that you and your information is protected, as long as you take other precautions such as keeping your password safe and having up-to-date antivirus software on your device. But how do you know if a sports betting site is safe, and how to you find the best ones?
Check the License
All online sports betting sites or sportsbooks need to be officially licensed with an appropriate government body. If they do not have this licence, you can be pretty much assured that they are not legitimate and it will not be safe to play a bet with them. Furthermore, legitimate sites usually have this licence information clearly displayed on their site. Check that the site displays its licencing information, which will usually be registered with a US state that has legalized online betting, a European country, a Caribbean Island, or a Native American reservation in the US. If the licence isn’t prominently displayed, or if you are not able to find the information on their site, it’s probably better to try a different site.
Make Sure it is a Secure Site
Another quick way to tell if a site is not safe is to check its security credentials. If the site does not have an SSL certificate this means that your financial information will not be protected and it is not a good idea to use that site. All sites with SSL certificates will have a domain that starts with “https” rather than just “http”. The site should also have the word “secure” or “verified” next to the URL on your browser. This is the bare minimum to ensure that your financial data is protected from hackers or attackers who may try to steal it when you input that information into your site. Of course, you should also have protection on your computer or device, but it is essential to only use secure sites.
Examine the Banking Rules
When you sign up for a site, you probably check the box to accept the terms and conditions without reading a word – most people do. However, when it comes to online betting sites, it is important to read through the fine print, especially when it comes to the rules regarding financial matters such as how you withdraw money. Most sports betting sites require you to transfer funds to the site before you can place a bet, and then your winnings will be stored under your account on the site also. It is important that you can easily transfer those winnings back off the site into your bank account. Before you sign up, check the process for this and make sure this works for you.
Also be sure to carefully examine the guidelines surrounding bonuses. Some online casinos offer a 200 deposit bonus on initial bets. Similarly, a number of sports betting sites offer an introductory bonus of some kind to encourage new betters. However, these can sometimes by marketing in a misleading way be the site, so make sure you understand exactly how they work in order to get the most out of these bonuses.
Read the Reviews
Another useful way to check an online betting site is to read independent reviews. This will help you to not only avoid scam sites, but to find one that offers good customer service and a satisfactory experience. Have a look through community forums and check the subreddit r/sportsbooks to see
the sites that other users recommend. Sites that have been around for a long time and have a dedicated following are the most reputable sites and the best ones to use. Sportsbooks that at worst scam their users and at best dupe them with misleading deals quickly lose their customers and gather negative reviews or disappear entirely. If you see a new site that was no online reviews yet, it may be better to stay away from it in favor of a more established site.
Overall Look & Feel of the Site
Another big indicator of whether an online betting site is reputable is the general look and feel of the site. Take a critical look at the site and ask yourself whether it seems like a professionally made site with good UX (user experience), comprehensive options such as live betting, and compatibility with mobile options. A professional-looking site is by no means a guarantee that it is reputable. However, a poorly made site with terrible UX, typographical errors and old-fashioned graphics is a big red flag that you may be walking into a scam. These sites are usually put together very quickly in order to capture some unsuspecting users before being shut down again and moved to another domain before law-enforcement can catch the perpetrators.