Millions of people worldwide, including the UK, enjoy online gambling. As a result, this country strictly regulates its iGaming market and enforces rigorous rules that apply to players and operators alike.
Among the most disliked requirements is that all online casinos with a UKGC licence must be part of Gamstop, a self-exclusion service that helps players keep their gambling habits under control. However, while it may be beneficial for individuals with a gambling problem, those who play for fun encounter various limitations that influence their overall experience.
Luckily, other options are at their disposal. Plenty of international online casinos with valid licences cater to UK players, giving them access to fantastic games and rewarding bonuses. Best of all — they aren’t on Gamstop.
What Is Gamstop?
The UK iGaming market is one of the fastest-growing in the world, and many local and foreign operators are eager to get involved. As a result, UK residents have access to hundreds of gaming platforms, each with its impressive offering. Thanks to this, the overall revenue increased, but it also allowed for the emergence of one of the most widespread addictions.
The UK Gambling Commission decided to take matters into its hands and help players gain more control over their gambling habits — that’s how Gamstop came to be. Essentially, it’s a programme run by a non-profit organisation called the National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme Limited. Its goal is to help players put their gambling under control by limiting their access to online casinos and sports betting platforms.
Ultimately, the UKGC adopted the initiative, requiring all operators with its licence to introduce Gamstop to their platforms. Today, you won’t find a UKGC-licensed online casino without Gamstop. Luckily, gambling regulators from other countries are exempt from this rule, meaning you’ll still find high-quality platforms not on Gamstop.
What Are Non-Gamstop Casinos?
As mentioned, the UKGC forces all gambling operators who want to run in the UK and offer their products to British players to cooperate with Gamstop and run its self-exclusion scheme. On the other hand, non-Gamstop casinos are businesses not based in the UK that are not licensed by the country’s official regulator.
Non-Gamstop online casinos are often referred to as offshore or international platforms, as they operate in countries like Panama, Malta, Curacao, and others. These operators are authorised by regulatory agencies in their home countries, so you shouldn’t confuse them with unlicensed online casinos. The most common licences come from the following regulators — the Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao Gaming Control Board, Panama Gaming Control Board, and others.
These agencies perform the necessary checks before issuing a licence to an operator. As a result, their online casinos offer an equally safe and fair gambling experience as the UKGC-licensed platforms.
The main difference is that offshore online casinos aren’t associated with Gamstop, making them ideal for all UK players who want to avoid the self-exclusion programme.
Is It Legal to Play at Non-Gamstop Casinos in the UK?
Short answer — yes, it’s perfectly legal for UK players to join and play at non-Gamstop online casinos. While the UK has rigid gambling rules, no laws explicitly prohibit you from signing up with a foreign operator and using its services.
The gambling sites themselves choose whether to accept international customers or, in this case, UK players. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about breaking any rules or laws by signing up for a non-gamstop online casino.
However, there is one element to consider. If you encounter any issues or want to enter a legal dispute with the operator, the UK Gambling Commission won’t be able to help you because it’s out of their jurisdiction. So, it’s of utmost importance to pick a reliable and legit online casino that offers safe gambling.
How to Find the Best Non-Gamstop Casinos in the UK
Choosing the right non-Gamstop online casino can be overwhelming, especially with so many options at your disposal. However, a set of guidelines will help you identify legit operators from scammers. Follow these steps, and you’ll find your new favourite non-Gamstop online casino in no time:
Licensing — A good non-Gamstop casino must have a licence from a reputable regulator. Look for a seal of approval from one of the agencies we mentioned above (the MGA, Curacao, Panama).
Self-exclusion customers — While you won’t be able to bypass Gamstop, you could join an offshore casino that welcomes UK players, even those using the self-exclusion scheme.
Security — A decent non-Gamstop online casino should feature cutting-edge SSL encryption and firewalls to protect its members and create a safe gambling landscape.
Game collection — You should explore its game library before joining an online casino not on Gamstop. These platforms boast hundreds of slots, table games, and live dealer titles.
Payments — The range of supported payment methods might be limited compared to local online casinos. Nevertheless, you’ll still be able to make deposits and withdrawals using secure banking providers.
Bonuses — A reputable non-Gamstop casino rewards new and regular players with various bonuses. Look for free spins, deposit offers, cashbacks, and reloads to boost your bankroll and create more winning opportunities.
Customer support — A trustworthy casino will feature efficient and professional customer service. Typically, the support team is available via live chat, phone, or email. Make sure the platform also has a comprehensive help centre.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Non-Gamstop Casinos
Playing at non-Gamstop online casinos has become popular, and for a good reason. However, we’d be remiss to say they are without flaws. Below, you can read more about the pros and cons of online casinos not on Gamstop.
Accepts self-exclusion customers — These sites offer a way to bypass Gamstop, so you don’t have to worry about any gambling restrictions, even if you’re registered on Gamstop.
Supports credit card payments — The UKGC has prohibited using credit cards for gambling purposes. Luckily, its rules don’t apply to non-Gamstop online casinos.
Has user-friendly transaction limits — Playing at UK online casinos comes with a lower cap than other platforms operating outside the local jurisdiction.
Features more generous bonuses — Casinos outside of Gamstop come with better and bigger bonuses.
Contains comprehensive game collections — Non-Gamstop casinos offer a wider range of gambling opportunities compared to their UKGC-licensed counterparts.
Not as safe — Despite being licensed by another regulator, these sites don’t follow UK laws, meaning you have no safety net should something go awry.
Risky for problem gamblers — If you can’t control your gambling urges, you should stay away from all online casinos, especially the ones not on Gamstop.