The allure of online sports betting isn’t anything new but it’s fair to say that it continues to grow each year, and that is especially true when regular sports leagues kick back into gear. It makes a lot of sense because sports betting – when enjoyed safely and responsibly – can add an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings. However, New Jersey authorities are sounding the alarm on the risks involved when players find themselves gambling with unlicensed platforms. It’s a massive shame because what should be a fun and exciting activity can quickly become a nightmare, with fraud, financial losses, and identity theft occurring regularly.
Navigating the world of online gambling can be tricky these days – there are simply far too many platforms to know the ins and outs of each one, and unlicensed websites are much better at deceiving people in the modern world. However, there are things you can do and look out for that will give you the best chance of avoiding these pitfalls.
In this post, we’ll look at the risks associated with unlicensed gambling websites, what the New Jersey authorities have said about it, how to identify licensed sportsbooks, what the benefits of doing so are, what red flags you should be looking out for, and how to get help with gambling problems if you need to.
The Risks of Unlicensed Gambling Websites
A sports bet is a sports bet, right? Well, no. Unfortunately, there are lots of nefarious parties in the online world that want to take advantage of people simply trying to enjoy themselves. One way these people have sought to achieve this is to launch unlicensed gambling websites. The platforms operate without the regulatory control that licensed alternatives need to adhere to, which makes them a dangerous place to get involved with.
So, what are the risks of joining unlicensed gambling websites? In truth, there are some serious ones. For example, these platforms expose users to increased risks of fraud and identity theft. However, users are also subject to potential shady practices, such as odds manipulation, the withholding of winnings, and so on. Therefore, by playing at these unlicensed gambling websites, you’re risking your money, as well as personal and financial security.
Words from the Authorities
One of the telltale signs that the problem with unlicensed gambling websites has gone beyond one or two shady operations is that the authorities have felt the need to speak up on the matter. Indeed, New Jersey’s First Assistant Attorney General – Lynsay V. Ruotolo – has recently spoken about the dangers of unlicensed platforms.
Ruotolo noted that New Jersey sportsbooks are “…subject to nation-leading consumer safeguards against fraud, identity theft, and unscrupulous actors; however, illegal sites have none of these protections. This season, we urge fans to stick with regulated websites to avoid scams and bogus offers”.
The reminders from Ruotolo have certainly come at a good time, as regular seasons are kicking back into gear. That means that there is undoubtedly going to be a spike in sportsbook usage over the coming months and, therefore, shady operations will be trying to entice people to join their platforms more than ever. Indeed, despite sports betting in New Jersey becoming legal in 2018, many unlicensed and illegal sportsbooks have been operating in the state, and this poses a significant threat.
How to Identify Licensed Sportsbooks
A lot of people will look for signs of a platform being an unlicensed operation, which is certainly the right thing to do. However, there are some things you can also look for that will help you to identify that a platform is indeed licensed.
For example, licensed sportsbooks will use geolocation technology to verify that you are within the state’s borders. Furthermore, if you want to ensure you’re playing at a licensed platform, you can visit the likes of Legal Sports Report, which provides a comprehensive list of all legal sportsbooks operating in New Jersey.
Consumer Safeguards in Licensed Platforms
You might be wondering what the benefits of gambling with licensed platforms are, and that’s perfectly understandable. However, the benefits certainly are worth it because these platforms are regulated and must cover a range of consumer protection measures. This includes providing fair games and odds, as well as safeguarding personal and financial information. Therefore, when you play at licensed gambling websites, you can relax knowing that you can join in safely.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Outside of looking for signs that your chosen gambling website is a licensed platform, it’s also worth looking for signs that point to the latter – there do tend to be telltale red flags that a platform is shady. For example, keep an eye out for the following:
- The website doesn’t use .com or is a domain from outside of the United States.
- Advertisements for over-the-top bonuses and promotions that seem too good to be true.
- Cryptocurrency deposits only. (Not always)
- Charging fees for deposits or withdrawals.
- Offering bets on political contests because this is not approved in New Jersey.
Getting Help for Gambling Problems
It is important to remember that gambling is supposed to be a form of entertainment that people enjoy casually, and certainly not a problem that disrupts your life. If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, it is important to seek help as quickly as possible. There are several ways to do this, including contacting the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey or the National Center for Responsible Gaming. Furthermore, you can sign up for the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s Self-Exclusion Program by contacting 1-800-GAMBLER.
Sports betting is something that millions of people enjoy regularly, and it can certainly be an entertaining pastime if done safely and responsibly. If you are planning to join a website offering these services in New Jersey, make sure to do some research before handing over any personal or financial information, as well as making any money deposits. That way, you’ll be able to avoid the pitfalls listed above.