Why are so many UK players choosing to play at a non UK casino online? It’s a trend that many readers may not even be aware of, given that non UK casino sites do not advertise or promote their services in the UK, but an ever-growing number of offshore casino and sports betting sites are attracting UK-based punters in droves.
The fact that these sites are not visible in advertisements within the UK stems from a legal decision: non UK casino sites are not regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), and are therefore ineligible to promote themselves within the UK. This is in stark contrast to the major licensed gambling operators, who miss few opportunities to advertise across various media as well as high-profile sponsorships such as football kits.
But if we can’t see adverts for these sites, and they’re not based in the UK, are we actually allowed to use them? The answer is yes – UK customers can 100% legally use these sites – but the reasons behind it may surprise you.
Non UK Casinos – A Short Guide
As mentioned above, non UK casino sites can not advertise in the UK due to the fact they do not possess a licence from the UKGC.
A UKGC licence gives a gambling platform much greater freedom to operate in the UK, at the cost of taxation on gaming revenue and a set of strict requirements. Many of these requirements are designed to help the player exercise control over their play habits, with extensive responsible gaming features becoming standard across almost all UKGC-licensed sites.
One of the more controversial features of non UK casino sites is that they are not subscribed to the Gamstop scheme of self-exclusion, due to being regulated by internationally-based bodies other than the UKGC. In fact, players who have self-excluded via Gamstop are still able to play at these non Gamstop sites.
This is Gamstop
So what is Gamstop, anyway? And why is it important, given all the other responsible gaming tools available these days?
The difference between Gamstop and most other tools created to help players address problem gaming issues, is that Gamstop operates across multiple platforms. In fact, once you have self-excluded via Gamstop (all Gamstop exclusions are voluntary), you will not be able to play at any other UKGC-licensed site. Some users have also found that, even once a Gamstop ban has expired, it can be very difficult to remove their names from the Gamstop list and get back to playing.
Non UK casinos are not part of the Gamstop scheme, so even players with active bans can sign up and play without a problem. These sites are usually regulated in jurisdictions such as Curacao, Panama and Costa Rica which, while they are official industry bodies, do not hold operators to the extremely high standards the UKGC demands.
Are non UK casinos legal to play?
While it is not permitted for these non UK casino and betting sites to advertise or promote themselves in the UK, it is 100% legal for UK players to sign up and play on these sites.
Offshore casino sites that do not need to meet the UKGC’s rigorous standards are still generally regulated, although you may find the standard of customer care and player protection may be lower than you might expect from a reputable UK-based operator. This may be because the cost of operating in the UK means only the largest and most successful brands can stump up enough cash for the licence, but players need to be aware of the potential differences in the playing experience.
In short, it is unlikely that any non UK casino site will offer the same extensive responsible gaming tools you would find at a UKGC-licensed operator. And, while it is unlikely to become an issue, it is also worth noting that player funds are protected to a greater degree of security by UKGC-licensed sites.
Advantages of non Gamstop gambling sites
What are the attractions for UK players when it come to using non UK casinos?
- Fewer restrictions when it comes to bonuses, deposit limits, stake limits and loyalty programs.
- A greater range of payment options, sometimes including cryptocurrencies.
- Greater possibility to maintain anonymity, thanks to less extensive operator requirements.
- Certain measures designed to slow gameplay – such as an enforced delay between slots spins – may not be found on non UK sites.
Disadvantages of non UK casinos
By contrast, what potential disadvantages should UK players be aware of when evaluating non Gamstop casino sites?
- Players can relax in the knowledge their funds are protected by stringent, enforced laws, and that any potential disputes are likely to be resolved within the UK.
- UKGC-licensed operators are, by definition, among the largest and most well-resourced, so any issues or problems are likely to be handled relatively efficiently by customer support.
- A wider range of responsible gaming tools helps players exercise control over their own play.
- While non UK casinos tend to offer every game or activity you would find at a UK site, the latter is likely to feature the big name brands many players expect to find at an online casino.
Non-licensed UK casinos – Your choice
Any gambler relies on three things: luck, their nerve, and all the additional information they can find! We believe that articles like this can help players make better decisions by providing them with more information on the different types of gambling experiences available today.
Wherever you decide to gamble online, if that’s something you enjoy, we always recommend that you read any and all small print before making any deposits or playing any games. The choice is yours, and at the end of the day, it’s the freedom to make your own choices that appeals to the gambler in all of us.