The UK online casinos landscape is one of the most highly regulated in the world, with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) known for holding its licensees to high standards of transparency and security.
Yet many of the measures adopted by the UKGC to combat gambling addiction can have an adverse effect on the gameplay experience. Whether it’s enforced delays between slots spins or restricted bonus payouts, these steps are understandable in the context of responsible gaming.
For most customers who are less vulnerable, these restrictions are driving British gamblers away from UK regulated casinos. This article covers the risks involved in using a non-UK or non Gamstop casino and describes how these sites compare with the casinos you’re used to seeing advertised on TV.
Gamstop UK, the UKGC and Safe Online Casinos
As well as upholding certain standards relating to financial transparency, data protection and customer service, the UKGC requires its licensees to offer a range of responsible gaming tools to protect vulnerable gamblers. This includes signing on to the Gamstop UK self-exclusion scheme.
Gamstop is a cross-platform scheme that allows operators to share player data to uphold exclusions across all UK online gambling sites. Once a punter self-excludes at any single site, they will then be automatically barred from all UK gambling sites. These bans can run for up to five years and can never be cancelled early.
Additional measures such as restricted wagers, limited deposits and other well-intentioned – but ultimately fun-killing – steps aim to make the gambling experience less attractive.
How to get around Gamstop is a question that banned players often ask themselves. Surprisingly there exists a whole world of other, non-Gamstop sites which do not restrict players in such ways. As their nickname suggests, non-Gamstop casino sites are not adherents to the Gamstop scheme. Users serving current Gamstop bans can play freely at these sites. If you have a legitimate gambling problem, it is not recommended that you use these online casinos. Should you require a self-exclusion, contact the support staff.
How the Best Non Gamstop Casinos Work
Just as the UKGC regulates and licenses the UK’s online gambling platforms, other bodies license companies operating internationally. Countries including Panama and Curacao have become well known for offering gaming licences, and many online casinos are available that are fully licensed by regulators in these jurisdictions.
It’s true that a UKGC licence is required for a gambling company to operate a website for UK players, but there is nothing to stop those same UK players from using a non-Gamstop casino site based abroad.
Just because a site is not regulated by the UKGC does not mean it is not a legitimate and safe online casino site. As long as it is licensed by a reputable licensor such as those based in the regions mentioned above – we would never recommend using an unlicensed casino site.
Getting Around Gamstop: Is It Legal to Play at a Non Gamstop Casino?
It’s perfectly legal for UK customers to take their business to one of the best non-Gamstop casinos, or no registration casinos.
However, what is not permitted is for non-Gamstop casinos to advertise or market their products and services to UK customers. This is a privilege only afforded to holders of an official UKGC licence. This explains why you are unlikely to have heard of most of the non-Gamstop casinos you come across. Without the ability to advertise, it’s understandable why UK punters are only familiar with the same old High Street brands.
While they cannot advertise in the UK, a simple online search will reveal just how wide the choice is for UK customers seeking a non-UK casino. Problem gamblers seeking to join a non-UK casino as a way around a Gamstop ban should think twice, however, as while it is possible to do so, the lack of responsible gaming tools puts these vulnerable users at even greater risk.
Should You Try Non Gamstop Casinos, or Stick With UK Online Casinos?
Gamblers love personal freedom and the ability to stand or fall by their own decisions. It makes sense to evaluate all the options available and make your own choice. Whether a non-Gamstop casino is right for you depends on several factors, so let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:
Pros of Using Non Gamstop Casinos
- Higher deposit limits, often with bigger bonuses and different promotions
- Often have a good choice of payment options, including less traditional methods such as cryptocurrencies
- A wide choice of games from providers you may not be familiar with
- A global sportsbook may offer new or unusual betting markets you wouldn’t find at High Street bookmakers in the UK
- Fewer ‘game-breaking’ responsible gaming measures such as delayed spins or low maximum wager limit.
Cons of Using Non Gamstop Casinos
- Customer service will not be aimed at the UK market, so you may find encounter difficulties relating to language or time zones
- Certain branded games, such as specific slots familiar to UK players, may not be available
- Any potential disputes would need to be resolved in the licensor’s region (i.e. not Europe)
- Games may not be available in GBP, and conversion fees may apply
- Larger bonuses may come with some less-than-obvious strings attached – always read the fine print
- Fewer in-built responsible gaming tools – as well as the lack of Gamstop – put vulnerable gamblers at greater risk
The high standards upheld by the UKGC provide a great deal of peace of mind for UK punters, yet their game-breaking measures – introduced to protect the most vulnerable, at the expense of the overall gameplay experience – are ironically making non-Gamstop alternatives casinos an increasingly attractive choice.
The great thing for UK players is that both Gamstop sites and casinos not on Gamstop remain available options. It’s possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. And now you have the information you need, you can make a more educated choice when it comes time to choose a fun new place to play.
A wise gambler always weighs up all their options, so make sure you check out the full range of possibilities for your next flutter, and you may just find that non-Gamstop casinos can give you the fun you’ve been missing. Get online and try it out!
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