Data Privacy and Encryption: Understanding How Wagering Apps Protect Your Information

Hrvoje Š.
7 Min Read

Mobile betting on sports and casino games is all the rage these days, but it can be an imposing field to get into for those who aren’t big sports fans or who are concerned about the financial risk of putting their money on the line with apps that they’ve never used before.

The good news is that sports betting apps have every reason to keep your money safe: if customers weren’t kept safe, they wouldn’t have any consumer base, so it’s in their best interest to take maximum precautions with the product they offer to create as much public confidence as possible. Here’s a look at exactly what sports and casino betting apps do to practice financial and data security.

Verifying Your Identity

There are age limit laws regarding mobile betting, and most traditional wagers require you to be 21 in order to place them, while fantasy games like DraftKings and FanDuel will let you start wagering at 18 or 19 in some states. In order to comply with the law, most sports betting apps will ask you to upload personal identifiable information (PII) like your social security number, driver’s license, birth certificate or any other form of ID—sometimes even including a selfie—in order to prove that you are who you say you are, and that you are of a legal age to place wagers.

In order to keep this information safe, sportsbooks use top of the line encryption systems. In layman’s terms, data encryption consists of taking the letters, numbers and characters used in things like passwords, addresses and other sensitive information, substituting them for other characters in order to jumble things up and make them harder to guess.

Encryption takes place both when storing data and while transmitting it, and often employs a different cipher key each time: if the letter ‘a’ translates to an exclamation point when your data is transmitted first, it’ll stand for something else entirely the next time it gets sent through. The constant changes make it more difficult for hacks to take place.

Sticking With the Best

They say that the mark of a good leader is knowing what your weaknesses are, when to ask someone else for help because they can get the job done better. That’s precisely what sportsbooks do in protecting your data. Rather than using their own encryption systems or other forms of security, most betting sites stick with what they know works, adhering to the standards set by companies that have already been in place for decades. 

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has a series of security requirements for credit and debit card use, and given their expertise in securing transactions, most betting platforms stick to those same standards in order to ensure they’re working properly. 

Other platforms like FanDuel crowd source their security, offering financial rewards to anyone who is able to find a weakness in their system. Many hackers use their powers for good, working in such a manner to highlight areas that businesses should shore up, and by outsourcing that work and paying handsomely for it, FanDuel gets another set of eyes in the room to make sure that there isn’t anything they’ve overlooked.

Cutting Out the Middlemen

At the end of the day, though, the best line of defense for financial security is you yourself, rather than any company or app. The measures that betting apps place to keep data safe are a big help, but there are steps you can take to ensure that your PII is even more protected.

First and foremost, it’s a good idea not to link your bank account with the apps you use. 

Using third-party offerings like PayPal, Venmo and Apple or Google Pay, if the app you download allows you to do so, gives you an extra line of defense against fraudulent transactions because of the additional measures that those payment processors have in place to eliminate fraud.

Similarly, if a catastrophic hack were to put people’s data at risk, you wouldn’t have to worry about your bank account’s security hanging in the balance because of the buffer that those third-party transactions provide.

Other steps for data security are the types of things you’ll hear just about anywhere online. Make sure to enable two-factor authentication so that you can verify any attempts to login to your account, and make sure to choose a unique password that is both hard to guess and not shared with any of the other sites you use. Some apps also have options where you’ll need to answer a security question before withdrawing money from your account, which is an option you should utilize as yet another safety measure. It can feel like a pain, but a couple extra steps taken now can be the difference between sleeping soundly and having your bank account at risk. 

Of course, be sure to use reputable apps like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM or Caesars: make sure that the apps you download have an established customer base, the necessary state licenses and good reviews before you start entering any sensitive information on a sketchy site with questionable credentials.

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