Be wary of potential dangers of online gambling

Press Staff Writer

        Let’s face it, there is a bit of a thrill to placing a bet on sporting events, as long as it’s a legal activity and doesn’t become a habit that gets out of control.
        Today, online sports gambling has become a multi-million-dollar business. Like just about anything, scammers have become involved in this activity and are on the prowl looking for their next victim.
        You get the urge to place a bet and you search the internet for a sports gambling site. You find one that you think looks legitimate. Some sites offer a “risk free” trial for new customers, so you place a bet. If you win, you try to cash out but there is a “technical problem.”
        The site asks you to deposit more money in your account and asks for more information. You never get your “winnings” or the extra money you were asked to deposit in your account. What’s worse is that you have now provided personal information that is in the hands of a scam artist. Before you can take the protective action of freezing your bank accounts, you find they have been cleaned out.
        If you get the urge to place a sports bet online, first ask friends if they have placed sports bets online and ask them which site they use and if they have ever had a problem with it. Next, check the reviews for the site you have selected to see if others have had bad experiences with that site. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have received complaints.
        Don’t fall for tempting ads that offer “risk free” trials. Most of the time, you will experience plenty of risks. Don’t use sites that “pop up” while you are online. This is one sign the site is not legitimate.
        Avoid the potential problems by not using online gambling sites. There are now sports betting venues at local casinos you can use in person, avoiding the risks of online betting.
        It’s easy for any gambling to get out of control. Before you know it, you have lost just about everything. Remember that the house never loses overall. Yes, sometimes people hit it big, but the odds are always against you. Even if you win smaller prizes once in a while, you need to figure up how much you spent and compare it to your winnings. Most of the time, you’ll find the money you spent is much greater than the amount you have won.
        Personally, I’m not much of a gambler. Many years ago, I used to go to church festivals and would play the dice wheel. When I lost the $10 roll of quarters I brought with me, I was done. When my wife and I traveled to Europe in the 1990s, we went to Monaco and we stopped at a casino in Monte Carlo. I made up my mind we wouldn’t spend more than the equivalent of $50 in American money. That took about five minutes, and we were done.
        When gambling for fun, set a predetermined limit of how much money you are going to spend before you start and
stick to it.
        This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.
To avoid the possibility of getting scammed, ask friends for recommendations, look up internet reviews and check the Better Business Bureau for complaints of online gambling sites before placing a bet.


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