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Casinos not on Gamstop in the UK
The Current Legal Situation
The topic of gambling in the UK can a tricky one, where the principles of personal freedom clash with the desire to protect the vulnerable. Some believe all gambling should be banned, but most believe a balanced approach is the key to success. After all, you don't need to be a compulsive – or even a regular – gambler to enjoy the occasional flutter, but no one likes seeing the damage that addiction can do.

Online gamblers in the United Kingdom are protected by Gamstop, a voluntary scheme which allows users to self-exclude from all online gambling platforms licensed in the UK. This works because any online operator which is regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is bound by the terms of its licence to adhere to the Gamstop self-exclusion program.

But not all gambling platforms available in the UK are licensed here, so where does that leave the country's online gamblers? Is Gamstop the solution that it claims to be, or is there more to it than first appears?

What is the Current Situation with Online Casino?

The UKGC licenses the majority of online gambling platforms available to UK players, but it is not the only such licensing body in the world. Across the globe a number of different industry bodies are able to effectively regulate online gambling sites, including those in Curacao, Malta, the Isle of Man and more, where UK players are welcome.

There are many reasons players choose a non-UK casino, including:
  • They generally impose few to no restrictions on deposits, with any limits likely to be in place from your payment provider rather than the site itself.
  • They are often able to offer more generous welcome bonuses, due to their significantly lower overheads.
  • UKGC sites very often feature all the same games, slots and providers, while sites licensed elsewhere in the world may offer new and different opportunities to cater to a worldwide audience.
  • A previous or current Gamstop exclusion will not prevent you from using the site.
Casinos not on Gamstop are on the Rise

Casinos not on Gamstop are not difficult to find online, and it seems more and more are being launched each month. This rapid growth can perhaps be attributed to the negative effects of the UKGC's hardline approach to gambling regulation.

In addition to unlimited deposits and the opportunities for new games, slots and features, non-Gamstop casinos competing in this crowded market need to be aggressive in attracting new customers. To this end they tend to offer extremely attractive packages to new players making their first cash deposits. These usually take the form of matched bonus funds, giving players more to gamble with.

Is it Legal to Play at non Gamstop Casinos?

An online casino licensed by the UKGC is legally bound to adhere to the Gamstop scheme, and will not accept wagers from individuals who have self-excluded. Other online casinos exist all across the globe, however, and there is no legal impediment to players in the UK exercising their right to choose to play elsewhere.

Therefore it is possible – and completely legal – for gamblers in the UK to play at non-UK casino sites, even if they have previously self-excluded using Gamstop.

Responsible Gaming is Always Important

Gambling can be a thrill, but it's important to acknowledge that for some it can become an addiction.

As with many different addictions, attitudes towards a remedy vary wildly throughout society, from those who would see it banned altogether to those who would prefer more assistance, understanding and support for those suffering from addiction problems. Again, we see this clash of viewpoints where personal freedom and wider governmental involvement collide, and the UKGC's policies and preventative measures can be divisive.

Wherever you stand on the spectrum of opinion, you should be aware that responsible gaming is the duty of any gambler: a duty to themself.

What Will People Choose? Casinos not on Gamstop or Licensed Casinos

With a choice of licensed UKGC casino sites, those licensed abroad and then sites which are not licensed at all, punters in the UK now have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a place to play online. It all comes down to personal choice, and weighing up the risks and rewards.

With an operator holding a UKGC licence, you can be sure they are regulated to the very highest standard possible, and that any issues you raise will be dealt with in the UK. Casinos licensed abroad, while legal and generally safe, may carry greater risks due to less stringent regulations from their non-UK licensors, plus any issues will be dealt with in their own geographic region (which may not be convenient for UK customers).

As for unlicensed casino sites, the rewards can be great if you read all the fine print and get lucky, but gamblers need to be aware of the potential problems that can arise if they breach the sites' terms and conditions, as they would have very little legal recourse without a regulator involved.

It's also worth noting that gambling winnings from non-UK casino sites may be taxable, in contrast to winnings from UKGC-licensed sites.

Summary and Future

Non-Gamstop casino sites are out there right now, accepting players from the UK even if they have a Gamstop ban. How long will this last? It's difficult to say, given the borderless freedom offered by the internet, but with the legal situation involving multiple territories, countries and industry bodies, we can't see things changing any time soon.

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