As bettors around the United States gear up for Sunday’s Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stressed the importance of consumer protection ahead of the big game.
In particular, Nessel cautioned residents of potential scams, risks, and even deceptive online gambling sites designed to poach users’ sensitive information.
“The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year for the players, the fans, the betting platforms and, sadly too, for the bad actors looking to rip off gambling Michiganders,” said Nessel via press release.
Recent numbers show Nessel’s reminder comes at the perfect time for bettors in The Great Lakes State.
According to BetMGM, the state of Michigan has more Super Bowl bets so far than anywhere else in the US.
Basic advice for protecting yourself from predatory platforms
Before getting to the player protection portion of AG Nessel’s statement, she first touched on gambling responsibly in Michigan.
On Feb. 8, the Michigan Gaming Control Board introduced 1-800-GAMBLER as the state’s primary problem gambling helpline. It takes over for the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-270-7117), which is still listed in the AG’s press release and will remain in operation for an unspecified time.
Now, diving into the advice. There are four main kernels to focus on:
- Research the online platform: The most sure-fire way to confirm an operator’s legitimacy is to cross-reference it with the MGCB’s website. Once here, simply select ‘Licensed Internet Gaming Providers’ under the ‘Gaming’ subheading. To determine the quality of a site, read reviews on sites like Better Business Bureau and Trust Pilot.
- Read the fine print: This tidbit focused mainly on terms and conditions associated with online betting sites. Illicit platforms may manipulate traditional bonuses and promotions as part of their scams.
- Know the risks: Basically, an extension of the previous section, know the risks mainly covered “risk-free bets.” In other words, it reminded players to be vigilant about what that entails, namely being compensated for lost funds in the form of bet credits specific to a site.
- Know the restrictions on accessing your account: The fourth and final kernel spoke about the powers online gambling platforms possess. For example, restricting users’ activities without warning on the grounds of suspicion of illegal conduct, including having an “unfair advantage” or “irregular player patterns.” It also mentioned the possibility of account freezes during times of success and subsequent attempts for cash withdrawal.
Michigan residents can report suspicious predatory platforms to the MGCB via phone or email. The phone line, 888-314-2682, is anonymous, while the MGCB email channel is not.
AG Nessel also shared video with consumer protection tips
Alongside a traditional press release, AG Nessel doubled down on her message with a brief video. Only one-and-a-half minutes long, the video used last year’s cyber-attack on DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM as an example to help users better protect their personal and banking information.
These are the six additional precautionary measures players can take ahead of the big game.
- Stay alert: This section encourages players who have had their accounts compromised to stay in touch with the operator. Specifically, this means saving all notices and following the recommended course of action.
- Secure your accounts: Here, AG Nessel reminds users of the simple, yet often overlooked act of changing all exposed passwords. This also involves using strong passwords and not using the same one on multiple platforms.
- Set up a two-step or multi-factor authentication requirement for each account: A common safeguard on nearly all online sites, gambling or not, two-step authentication requires users to employ a second form of identification at log-in. A PIN number is a common example.
- Freeze your credit if your social security number or financial information was included in a breach: Seen as a last-ditch move, this essentially stops data thieves from opening an account in your name while the freeze is active.
- Monitor your financial accounts and credit reports: Keep an eye out for irregularities.
- Delete accounts you are not using: Just because you don’t use that email or account anymore, doesn’t mean it’s safe from bad actors.
Following AG Nessel’s guidelines can help reduce stress heading into the most dynamic live betting event on the sports calendar.