Punting online for the first time can feel like an intimidating process, but with millions across the UK now signing in from their laptops, tablets, and phones, it’s never been easier to get involved with the layered world of betting.
So, here’s our checklist for what you should know or think-through before placing your first punt online.
Be Sure To Get A Sense Of The Sector
Before you even think about handing out your credit card details, you should be comfortable with how online transactions work and the security setup of your computer or device. If you’re using an app to punt, make sure that it’s an official version taken from your smartphone’s store that has been fully vetted and authorised by the company. If you’re using a smart device, it also doesn’t hurt to consider apps that bring a layer of security such as ESET, AhnLab, or Norton.
Find A Site That’s Trustworthy
With your gear in place, you can set your sights on finding a site that’s a perfect fit for you. As a general rule of thumb, you want to single out a bookie that a) is widely known and respected, b) has secure security protocols, and c) is fully registered to operate in your jurisdiction. While major market-leaders will be broadly similar, certain sites may differ in their range of betting fields or have unique deals or payment options that may be of interest to you. It is strongly advised that you do not punt with a site that does not carry bets from your country or operates outside of the EU, UK, or US’s gambling laws as there is an increased likelihood of encountering difficulty if issues are encountered.
If you’re unsure of a site’s credibility there are many resources online to help such as RatedBookies.com where other online punters share their experiences with bookies and highlight pitfalls and benefits of each.
Check The Site’s Current Offers
Once you have identified the site that you want to use, look at their ‘special offers’ sections to see if there are any unique offers that you could potentially take advantage of. More often than not, these will come in the form of enticement offers that invite users to register, accrue loyalty offers related to VIP clubs, or are event-centric offers around major sporting tournaments or events. While these can be enticing and encourage you to settle on a single company, make sure that you factor your previous site-by-site research into your decision so you’re not saddled with a site that won’t work for you in the long-run.
Understand How To Register
Once you have chosen your site, you’ll be able to register your details with them and construct your user account. While you are doing this, always make sure that your password is strong, unique, and secure. Any individual with access to your personal information can very easily use it for their direct benefit. Also, double check that the email address you are registering with has also been secured with two-step verification – meaning there will be a phone-call or alert if the password is changed.
Understand How To Load Your Wallet
Once your site account has been created, you can load your money directly into your online wallet. When reviewing the site before registering, you will have been able to check the currencies that it deals in, and the methods for financing your account. There are several safe and secure ways to do this such as adding credit to your account by using a third party digital site like PayPal. And, if you want to be even more secure, you can often top up your account in one of the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores while you’re visiting.
Know How To Complain
Before you decide to place your punt, it’s important to know exactly what your rights are and what avenues you have if things end up going south. Luckily, we previously detailed this in our post on how to get your money back that can be accessed directly by clicking here. In short, it is always worth knowing exactly who you can contact on the site when it comes to a breach of security on your account, expediting the withdrawal of your winnings and if you have any questions or queries on your bets. As part of this, it’s also taking time to familiarise yourself with the layout of the punting menu as the ‘fat fingers’ defence sadly doesn’t cut it in the current gambling sphere.
Know How To Place A Bet
With your account up-and-running, you can start looking at how to place your bet on a site. Fortunately, this is usually straightforward as many top sites will employ user journey designers to make the betting process as painless as possible…and help separate you from your cash. Any site worth its salt will take you by the hand when it comes to odds calculations, currency conversions and calculating your ratios or dutching layout. Unfortunately, the same level of care may not be applied to making sure you are not accidentally committed to laying out a bet so be extremely careful when clicking to select any ‘payment’ buttons.
Know How To Cash Out
When it comes to cutting and running with your winnings, it’s worth knowing exactly what the protocols and procedures are for payment. Many sites will have a clearance period for money moving directly to your account, so keeping on top of your comings and goings are key. Always know if there are any thresholds for cash out, where the money is going to and make sure that you are happy with any currency conversion rates in the process. And, if you’re not, we direct you back to point six.
Look At The ‘Special Options’
For more advanced punters, these can help add variety to your bets and ensure that you make a little more cash along the way. These include more complex alternates like dutching, in-play and accumulators. While the site may offer you ‘ready-baked’ specials that may be of use to you, they’ll only ever be of use to seasoned punters. And if you have been laying your money down for years, make sure that you are fully comfortable with the interface of the site and app before you start adding additional complexity to your game.
Know Your Game
If you’re playing any game or event online, always make sure that you fully know the rules for the online system. If Poker’s your thing, make sure that you try a few practice games in the sites online tutorial and you are sure about the decisions you make, as the rest of the table may not be as forgiving as the gent in the ‘help’ window. The same goes for in-play and cash out punting – make sure that you know the rules and the form inside our before deciding to get out – these systems were designed to keep taking money from twitchy punters.
And Always Gamble Responsibly
While you’re dipping your toe into the online sphere for the first time, always make sure you’re being as safe and responsible as possible. While having online access can be hugely convenient, it can prove to be hugely tempting and without a plan or process, small incremental punts can quickly stack up and have a negative knock-on effect on you and your family’s day to day life.
If you need help or advise about responsible gambling please click here.