For a lot of people, there can be a negative connotation to the term “internet gambling.” It almost seems like a taboo activity, at least to many in the U.S. This is in large part because most forms of online gambling have been outlawed in the U.S. for many years now. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong or even unsafe about playing real money chance games online.

To address that point, we wanted to address some of the common misconceptions that still exist about online gambling.

You Don’t Have To Play For Money

Yes, “gambling” implies that there’s some real money on the line, and often that’s the case. But you don’t actually have to play for money. In fact, some online casino safety tips recommend that you find ways to play for free before signing up with an account. It’s a nice way to get the hang of the games, as well as to ensure that a site you might want to use operates smoothly and reliably. For that matter, if you enjoy casino games but you’re not interested in gambling at all, you can also find plenty of slots, poker arcades, etc. on apps and browser platforms that allow for free play.

The Best Sites Are Licensed

Another misconception is that online casinos are essentially a bunch of rogue platforms roping in sketchy earnings from duped customers. You can certainly find sites like this if you dig for them, but online gambling has been around long enough for some pretty professional organizations to emerge. The best platforms are licensed and legally allowed to operate, and before signing up with an account you’re free to read all about them. You can usually access terms and conditions, player reviews, and even the licensing agreements themselves. That doesn’t mean there aren’t shadier gambling platforms out there, but you can usually tell which is which these days.

Online Gambling Isn’t Wholly Illegal In The U.S.

In many states, online gambling in the sense of poker, blackjack, and slots is in fact outlawed. However, that doesn’t mean that all online gambling activity is outlawed in the country. There’s a small handful of states in which most casino activity remains legal, and there are also activities outside of ordinary casino gaming that are legal in most states. For instance, there’s been debate about whether daily fantasy sports constitute a form of online gambling, and in fact a state-by-state guide shows that real money fantasy is allowed in a lot of states that have outlawed more ordinary gambling. Additionally, you can always find free-to-play casino games even where money-based platforms are considered illegal.

Casino Games Aren’t Rigged

This goes back to the question of licensing. At a reputable site, you’re virtually guaranteed to be in fair games with fair outcomes. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re likely to win. The very nature of casino games is that the odds are tilted in favor of the house. Sometimes you need skill to engineer a win, and sometimes you’re relying entirely on chance. But at recognized, lawful sites, you can at least be sure that the games are being operated fairly.

You Don’t Have To Link Your Bank Account

One reason that some people shy away from using online casinos is that they’re worried about signing up with their bank accounts. This is an understandable concern, particularly when digital security is becoming more and more of an issue. But it’s a myth that you need to use your account to set yourself up at an internet casino. In many cases, you can use a third party payment service like PayPal, and in some instances you can even use a digital currency like Bitcoin to make payments and accept winnings at a casino platform. In short, you can separate your gaming account from your bank account fairly easily.

Playing at online casinos still carries some risks. You can always lose money if you’re gambling it in the first place, and even the most skilled gamers can be subject to bad decisions. But as far as the general safety of this kind of activity, the facts above should help to straighten out some of the common misconceptions.