Americans bet $10 billion on the NCAA tournament last year, and, with the tournament’s first full day taking place today, it’s likely that many people are engaging in a friendly wager. As millions of fans fill out office bracket pools in advance of March Madness, some are placing direct wagers through offshore sportsbooks.
To gauge how effectively sportsbook sites are signaling that their transactions are secure, Sectigo, a commercial certificate authority provider, reviewed 75 offshore sportsbook sites (while several states in the U.S. now permit online betting after a widely publicized Supreme Court decision last year, Sectigo looked only at overseas sites that have been operating much longer). The assessment revealed that 26 sites—more than the number of teams than will make it through the first day of the tournament—presented “not secure” warnings.
While one team will win this year’s NCAA championship title, none of the sites Sectigo reviewed received the highest designation of an Extended Validation (EV) certificate.
What do sports betting sites stand to gain from strengthen their defenses? According to Sectigo, an online site must present its authenticated identity in a branded address bar and prevent “not secure” warnings. Doing so will increase site transactions.
“Show the green address bar and your company name in the browser interface to give visitors added confidence in safe transactions on your site. Use EV SSL certificates to maximize transaction completion rates, which can increase sales, form completions, new user signups, and engagement with online services,” the report said.
For those who are turning to online transactions in today’s digital age, you need to beware of more than the Ides of March. Sectigo recommends:
- Look for the full company name at the left of the address bar
- Always ensure the “checkout and pay” page has a valid website certificate
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited, inbound emails