Casino gaming has been popular for many decades but in recent years we have seen a large shift in the number of players seeking games online rather than in land-based gambling venues. As player numbers and the amount of online casinos in operation rises, maintaining good cybersecurity has become even more essential.
The global online gambling sector isnow estimated to be worth more than $231 billion US dollars and could grow as high as $876 billion dollars by the year 2026. A huge part of the success of online casinos is due to technological innovation and the increased accessibility of internet-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Playing casino games online is often far more convenient than visiting a land-based venue and there is a much wider choice of games. For some games, you can also bet smaller amounts which makes the experience less intimidating for new players.
However, as demand has increased the industry has become far more competitive and online casinos have had to work harder to build and maintain their customer base, with a competitive edge being extra important. Many sites do this by offering a range of casino bonuses, these are often targeted at new players and incentivize them to sign up for an account and deposit money.
The technology that has helped transform online casino gaming may have become more sophisticated, but so to have the methods cyber criminals use to hack into online accounts, commit fraud and access personal data.
Here we explore the reasons why it is crucial that online casinos invest in a well thought out and effective cybersecurity strategy and highlight the ways in which players can check their chosen site is secure:
Preserving game integrity
An online casino site is nothing without its casino games, these could be table games like poker, blackjack and baccarat or machine style games like slots. Players have the expectation of game integrity, meaning that games are fair and there is a fair chance that they can win money.
For example, games are designed for Random Number Generators (RNGs) and with slots games the Return to Player (RTP) percentage is always displayed alongside the game description, so players can know what to expect.
If the game has not been developed with player and operator security in mind, there will be the opportunity for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the software or network and manipulate the game for their own financial gains.
Not only is this unfair, this has huge repercussions for the online casino’s credibility and reputation. Once the news of a hack is shared, they can expect to lose a large volume of players and even lose the ability to operate their site.
In order to reduce the risk of game integrity being an issue, many top online casinos only host games from well known, reputable developers such as NetEnt and Microgaming, to name a couple.
Players can quickly identify who the game developer is in the game’s description on the web page and feel assured that they are in safe hands.
Keeping personal data secure
Another major cybersecurity concern is the protection of personal data. Every online casino website handles financial transactions as players deposit cash or withdraw their winnings, therefore they may need to enter their card or banking details.
Whenever a transaction is made online there is a risk that cybercriminals could use that sensitive data to commit financial fraud. However, there are steps that both the website and the individual making a transaction can do to protect themselves and their cash.
Many reputable online casinos give players a choice in payment methods, such as credit card, bank transfer or a third-party payment handler. Third parties such as PayPal and Skrill are secure and trusted so online casinos that offer these can be viewed favourably.
Preventing casinos from receiving fines
Lastly, also reputable online casinos will be licensed by the correct authority for the location in which they are operating. For United Kingdom based casinos, this will be by the UK Gambling Commission.
Players should always look out for the logos of the correct licensing body in the footer of the online casino site. They can also check if the site has an SSL certificate by looking for the padlock logo next to the browser bar; this is evidence that private data is encrypted.
They must be able to prove to the licensing body that they are taking appropriate measures to ensure good cybersecurity on their site. If they fail to protect their players, an online casino could be subject to legal action and fines and could lose their licence.
Without a licence they will be forced to stop operating. This illustrates how cybersecurity will always be a necessary investment for every online casino business and without a cyber strategy and effective implementation, they risk serious reputational, financial and legal repercussions.