UNITED STATES—The global online gambling market continues to experience exponential growth, thanks largely to the ongoing expansion of sports betting in North America.

Online casino gameplay is also incredibly popular in the US, UK and continental Europe, but as these markets continue to grow, they also become vulnerable to regulatory challenges and a magnet for unlicensed, rogue operators.

So, there’s some onus on you to review and identify the safest and most reputable casino brands online. Reading the safest US online casino report can help in this respect, while I’ve also outlined some practical steps to help you in the article below.

1. Check for a Valid License

Of course, online gambling isn’t legal in every country or jurisdiction across the globe. In the case of the US, for example, only six states have legalized online casino gameplay, while more than 30 have created a regulated sportsbook market since the federal PAPSA legislation was struck down in May 2018.

Each such jurisdiction will have its own regulatory framework and licensing bodies, such as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority and the Curacao Gaming Control Board.

So, when wagering in a regulated iGaming market, it’s important that you recognize the relevant and accepted governing bodies, before ensuring that your chosen casino has been reviewed and licensed accordingly. This information should be located in the footer section of the casino’s homepage, while it should include the parent company’s headquarters and an official license number.

Usually, this particular piece of data will be hyperlinked, enabling you to click through it and go directly to the regulator’s website and highlighting further licensing information.

If this information is easy to find and verifiable, you’re wagering at a licensed and regulated casino. If not, you may be sharing your bankroll and personal information with an unlicensed operator, and this should be avoided at all costs.

2. Check Out Each Site’s Security Credentials and Measures

Casino sites should also adhere to basic safety standards, primarily by offering 128-bit SSL encryption to protect your data and the integrity of financial transactions.

This is an industry standard for all financial and transactional websites, so it should be a minimum requirement whenever comparing casino operators online. When you click through a site, ensure that there’s a padlock icon in the URL, as this proves that SSL encryption is deployed for the benefit of users.

When playing in developed and mature markets such as the UK, all online casinos must also be PCI compliant. This ensures robust protection for players’ financial data, while verifying that the banking methods used by the casino are safe, trusted and transparent.

While it may not be present at all online casinos, you may also want to prioritize platforms that utilize two or multi-factor authentication. This is an increasingly popular and widespread security measure online, while it provides an additional layer of security when logging into your account and preventing unauthorized access.

Of course, you’ll also leave snippets of data when browsing online, whether you’re frequenting an online casino or completing ecommerce purchases. So, you should also be aware of this and take steps to minimize how much data you share online, while also looking to remove personal information as and when required.

3. Check to See if They Games Are Safe

If you’re like the majority of online casino players, you’ll probably have a penchant for lots of different games and verticals.

However, regardless of whether you like slots and table games or card iterations such as poker, it’s important to ensure that a casino’s games’ library has been independently tested and verified for fairness.

In regulated markets such as the UK, for example, independent and internationally approved testing agencies like eCOGRA are charged with reviewing casino games’ libraries to ensure that they’re published return-to-player (RTP) rates are accurate.

They’ll also apply rigorous tests to verify the use of random number generator (RNG) software, which help to produce completely chance results in games and ensure that outcomes aren’t manipulated in any way at all.

While licensed and regulated casino are usually compelled to sign up for such testing, others are able to avoid this. As a result, there’s no way of knowing whether such games are safe or fair, meaning that you could be wagering without any real chance of generating a viable return.

On a final note, I’d also recommend checking to see which software houses provide the games to your chosen casino.

Although some use proprietary software and offer a small selection of unique games, the best and most trusted casinos tend to feature titles from developers like Microgaming, NetEnt, Play’n GO, Big Time Gaming and Evolution Gaming.