The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the body responsible for regulating and licensing online gambling operators in the UK, is walking a precarious tightrope. On the one hand, they help operators offer services to UK gamblers. On the other, they protect those most vulnerable to gambling addiction.
Unfortunately for many online gamblers in the UK, many of the measures adopted by the UKGC in the name of greater protection for those vulnerable few make the gameplay experience worse for all users. This goes some way to explaining the huge rise of non UK casino sites in recent years.
If you’re considering a non UK casino site, this article will help you navigate between the good and bad options available.
What Are Non-UK Casinos (also known as Non Gamstop Casinos)?
Just as UK-based online gambling sites are licensed and regulated by the UKGC, companies based and operating abroad are licensed by different bodies. Therefore, they do not need to restrict gameplay the way the UKGC has done. Another aspect of these non-UK casinos that may appeal to some UK customers is that they do not subscribe to the Gamstop scheme.
Gamstop is a UK-wide programme whereby users who self-exclude from any UK slots site, sportsbook, poker, or other online gambling platform are automatically excluded from all other UKGC sites for the duration of the ban. This can mean up to five years without access to any UK casino sites, as all Gamstop bans are irreversible.
UK gaming sites share player data to successfully apply these exclusions, which is one of the UKGC’s licensing requirements. As international operators are not based in the UK, they have no access to the shared player data and do not need to adhere to the UKGC’s rules. They can offer gaming services to all players – including those with Gamstop bans.
While UK customers are easily and legally able to play at these non-Gamstop casino sites, anyone with a history of problem gambling should not do so.
Licensing and Regulation at Non UK Casinos
There are many operators offering gambling opportunities to players around the world, including in the UK. While depositing with a completely unlicensed operator is not recommended, there are several regulators which have built impressive reputations as fair and transparent licensors over the past few decades.
While a licence from one of these bodies shows an operator is regulated, the UKGC has the reputation for being one of the world’s most stringent licensor.
For the most important issues, such as security of funds and fair play, you can generally have full confidence in non UK casinos. You may find smaller issues such as the accuracy of the content on their websites, for example, may not be as tightly controlled as in the UK.
This Caribbean island is an attractive licensor for many operators because of its relatively cheap licensing process and has over 25 years of experience in the industry.
Costa Rica is a long-time home for many online gaming companies but should be taken with a pinch of salt. There is no official gaming licence available from Costa Rica. The fact that the USA exerts a high level of control over the Costa Rican banking sector should instil further confidence.
Security at Non-UK Casinos Accepting UK Players
Any licensed operator will be bound to adhere to rules protecting a player’s data, identity, and funds. UK players taking advantage of great deals at non-Gamstop sites should do so in confidence.
Operators should present their licence credentials on their home pages, as well as their technological security and encryption information. This gives users the information they need to make up their minds as to how secure a site may be. If a non-UK casino site does not make this information easy to find, you might want to try another.
Game Selection at Non UK Casinos and Slots Sites
If you’ve used any of the UKGC-licensed sites or apps in the past, you’re probably aware that most online casinos, slots sites, or sportsbooks look very similar.
The same can be said for non-Gamstop casino sites. The vast majority uses a layout and format that is easy to use if you’ve done any online gambling in the past.
If you have a favourite slots game that you can’t do without, it would be wise to check if a site offers it before making a deposit. Due to the complexities of licensing laws, not all the biggest slots available in the UK are offered internationally.
It’s just as likely you’ll find a great new game that you wouldn’t have found at a UK site. international sites cater to players from all across the globe and offer a wider range of interesting and different game types, including Live Casino games.
It’s also worth mentioning that any gameplay restrictions imposed by the UKGC – such as slower slots spin speeds, enforced delays between spins, or limited deposit bonuses – will not be present at a non-Gamstop casino site.
Non Gamstop UK Casinos – Payment Methods
Non UK casinos and regular UK casino sites share many features and also share many options for making deposits and withdrawals. There are likely to be some positive and negative differences.
On the plus side, non-Gamstop casinos are more likely to accept unconventional payment methods like cryptocurrencies. Not every site will accept crypto, but some will, and that’s more than can be said for UKGC sites!
On the other hand, non-UK sites may have some restrictions in terms of how you can withdraw, limiting withdrawals to the same method used to deposit – and not all credit cards, for example, will accept withdrawals from these sites. Furthermore, sites may not offer gameplay in GBP, and you may be liable for some conversion fees when loading funds to the account.
As always, make sure you research the options available at any site you are considering before making your first deposit.
Bonuses and Promotions at Gambling Sites Outside the UK
A large part of the appeal of non Gamstop casinos is the less limited nature of their bonuses and promotions. The UKGC frequently limits the amounts available as part of the effort to make gambling less appealing to casual players. Without these restrictions, non-UK casinos can provide larger and potentially more generous offers.
Non Gamstop casinos frequently have a full package of first deposit bonuses and regular deposit bonuses for existing players. Many also offer a VIP program for further rewards.
As with any offer, we recommend always reading the terms and conditions. Some deposit bonuses may have restrictions you wouldn’t expect, such as certain stakes or games that may invalidate your progress. Be sure to read all those T&C so you don’t experience any surprises!
Non-UK Casinos Customer Support
A UK-facing operator with an established track history will be prepared to provide excellent customer service within Britain. UK call centres, familiarity with the UK’s most popular games and bets, and of course an English-speaking staff should readily be available.
International non UK casino sites may not prioritise UK-centric issues, and may not work during traditional UK hours. They should still offer various contact points such as email, phone, and chat support. To ensure an online casino has adequate customer support, check out reviews online to separate the bad from the good from the great!
Are International Casinos Right for You?
With the gambling market in the UK facing increasing restrictions, it’s no surprise that some players are looking outside the country for online casinos. While there are many bad choices out there, some points mentioned in this article should help you avoid an unpleasant experience.
If you decide to join the punters enjoying Non UK casinos, be sure to do your research and choose wisely.