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Is Online Gambling Safe and What to Avoid?

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

Ever wanted to play some slots for real money without leaving your home? Have a desire to play poker without worrying about cigarette smoke? If so, you're looking at online gambling.

Online gambling allows you to bet real money on slots, cards, and other games using the Internet. While you're betting real money, you're usually spending it on digital coins to enter a sweepstakes and will cash out your winnings by redeeming prizes. You'll be able to find sites and apps that let you play poker, roulette, slot machines, bet on fantasy sports, and bet on horse races.

The trouble with online gambling is find out whether it's safe and legal.

Is It Legal?

While a lot of online gambling sites try to get around the legal issues by using specific wording like sweepstakes and prize redemption, some are actually legal depending on the state you're trying to play from.

Online gambling legality is considered a gray area. While some states have legalized it, others outright ban it. Even though it's online, if it isn't legal in the state you're playing from, you could be fined.

Most of these gambling businesses will have their servers hosted outside the United States or just off shore, thus absolving them of a lot of legal problems.

States that have legalized some form of online gambling as of early 2020 are listed below. If you want to keep up-to-date with state gambling laws visit https://www.playusa.com/us/.

State Online Casino Online Poker Online Sports Betting
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes
Indiana No No Yes
West Virginia No No Yes
Iowa No No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes
Nevada No Yes Yes
Delaware Yes Yes No
Oregon No No Yes
Rhode Island No No Yes
Montana No No Yes
Colorado No No Yes

In the table above you'll notice that Online Sports Betting is the most legalized form of online gambling. Online sports betting is often considered free of regulation and legal, but you always want to make sure. Most gambling websites will offer terms or legality white pages you can review to make sure you won't get in trouble. If the site doesn't offer these, the chance it's not only illegal but that you'll also lose money is pretty high.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Now that we know a bit about the legality of online gambling, let's discuss how to keep yourself safe if you do choose to try your hand.

  • Only use legal, licensed gaming sites. Legitimate sites will have pages describing their exact legality. Some won't even let you sign up unless you're able to do so legally. Below is the warning you'll see when trying to sign up for the New Jersey online casino Golden Nugget. You can sign up and play for digital currency, but you can never cash out for real money.
    The golden nugget casino sign up warning
  • Before getting involved in online gambling, research your state's specific laws about it.
  • Avoid gambling on forums or in chat rooms. These are not regulated and there's no real way to know if you're just handing your money over to someone. 
  • Don't fall for emails saying you won a lottery. These are scams.
  • Never share your personal information in forums or chat rooms. Never give that information to other players. The gambling site itself will never send you emails asking for it either. The personal information will be asked in the beginning when you sign up and only if you lose access to your account afterwards.
  • Since online gambling sites will be dealing with your money, you will want to create a very strong password create a very strong password.
  • Never try to avoid the laws of your state by attempting to access the Dark Web or using a VPN. You will definitely be scammed.
  • If you're finding yourself upset, spending loads of money, and think you may have a problem contact the National Council on Problem Gambling.

 

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Ever wanted to play some slots for real money without leaving your home? Have a desire to play poker without worrying about cigarette smoke? If so, you're looking at online gambling.

Online gambling allows you to bet real money on slots, cards, and other games using the Internet. While you're betting real money, you're usually spending it on digital coins to enter a sweepstakes and will cash out your winnings by redeeming prizes. You'll be able to find sites and apps that let you play poker, roulette, slot machines, bet on fantasy sports, and bet on horse races.

The trouble with online gambling is find out whether it's safe and legal.

Is It Legal?

While a lot of online gambling sites try to get around the legal issues by using specific wording like sweepstakes and prize redemption, some are actually legal depending on the state you're trying to play from.

Online gambling legality is considered a gray area. While some states have legalized it, others outright ban it. Even though it's online, if it isn't legal in the state you're playing from, you could be fined.

Most of these gambling businesses will have their servers hosted outside the United States or just off shore, thus absolving them of a lot of legal problems.

States that have legalized some form of online gambling as of early 2020 are listed below. If you want to keep up-to-date with state gambling laws visit https://www.playusa.com/us/.

State Online Casino Online Poker Online Sports Betting
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes
Indiana No No Yes
West Virginia No No Yes
Iowa No No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes
Nevada No Yes Yes
Delaware Yes Yes No
Oregon No No Yes
Rhode Island No No Yes
Montana No No Yes
Colorado No No Yes

In the table above you'll notice that Online Sports Betting is the most legalized form of online gambling. Online sports betting is often considered free of regulation and legal, but you always want to make sure. Most gambling websites will offer terms or legality white pages you can review to make sure you won't get in trouble. If the site doesn't offer these, the chance it's not only illegal but that you'll also lose money is pretty high.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Now that we know a bit about the legality of online gambling, let's discuss how to keep yourself safe if you do choose to try your hand.

  • Only use legal, licensed gaming sites. Legitimate sites will have pages describing their exact legality. Some won't even let you sign up unless you're able to do so legally. Below is the warning you'll see when trying to sign up for the New Jersey online casino Golden Nugget. You can sign up and play for digital currency, but you can never cash out for real money.
    The golden nugget casino sign up warning
  • Before getting involved in online gambling, research your state's specific laws about it.
  • Avoid gambling on forums or in chat rooms. These are not regulated and there's no real way to know if you're just handing your money over to someone. 
  • Don't fall for emails saying you won a lottery. These are scams.
  • Never share your personal information in forums or chat rooms. Never give that information to other players. The gambling site itself will never send you emails asking for it either. The personal information will be asked in the beginning when you sign up and only if you lose access to your account afterwards.
  • Since online gambling sites will be dealing with your money, you will want to create a very strong password create a very strong password.
  • Never try to avoid the laws of your state by attempting to access the Dark Web or using a VPN. You will definitely be scammed.
  • If you're finding yourself upset, spending loads of money, and think you may have a problem contact the National Council on Problem Gambling.