Finding a safe online casino is the same as many online businesses and there are some key things to consider, to avoid a bad experience. With the improvements in internet and computing technology, more and more sites have taken their businesses online. It is important to know the pitfalls of online gambling to ensure that your deposits are in safe hands. Since the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) moved to enforce new regulations, non-GamStop casinos have risen in popularity. The UKGC applied strict measures to curb problem gambling, which included a ban on credit card deposits. This can certainly slow down the problem gambling issue but is also punishes regular gamblers.
This guide will help you to understand the non-UK casino environment and recognize the more reputable sites.
Security and Licensing
The best place to start when looking for an online casino are a secure platform with protection for players’ funds and data.
For the gambling platform, it is important to find sites that utilize the latest security measures. One of the basics is SSL encryption, which is designed for privacy, authentication, and data integrity. Sites using this technology will be showing that they value customers’ safety and data security. Firewalls are another common feature, and they can the prevent hacking of personal data.
To protect your deposits, you want to find a company that is regulated. The UK Gambling Commission would be the best choice for UK gamblers, but they can be used as a template to find good regulation overseas. UK gamblers will have access to more security and support in their home country, so it is important to know what that looks like. Punters have been increasingly moving to the sites not on GamStop due to the British regulations, with Malta and Cyprus being two examples of European countries with vibrant casino environments. These are regulated in their own country, with bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority. They provide a good starting point because they are subject to EU money laundering rules and the banking system.
In more recent times, South American destinations have become a more popular destination with Costa Rica being a country that will welcome British punters. These countries often have lighter regulation, and they will also have little consumer protection for UK punters.
The UKGC has been working with a non-profit organisation in the country called GamStop which operates a self-exclusion scheme to help problem gamblers. Those with experience of problem gambling can apply to the scheme and will have their accounts blocked from all gambling sites for a set period. This can be for a period of up to five years and is non-reversible. A similar organisation being used in the UK is Gamban, which is a for-profit private enterprise which has software that will block gambling sites from mobile devices and PCs. Unfortunately, many gamblers are in denial of their problem and may seek out the casinos not on GamStop as a loophole.
Variety of Payment Methods
With the safety measures in place, the next thing to look for in a new casino is a variety of payment and withdrawal methods. This will ensure you can get your cash in and out easily, but also avoids sites with a single bank account for deposits.
The online payments standard is debit and credit cards, but another restriction recently enforced by the UKGC was a ban on credit card usage at British casino sites. This was another key reason why punters have moved to overseas sites. Many consumers prefer to use a credit card to separate betting transactions from their statements. This was a helpful option to avoid stigma when applying for a mortgage or a loan. For cash withdrawals, UK sites will provide a range of wire transfers and payment wallets, but the overseas sites also have these, and some are also offering cryptocurrencies as a payment form. This has given non-GamStop casinos another edge over British sites.
Consumers will want to look at the terms and conditions for withdrawals to ensure that fees and times are at an industry standard. Withdrawals are often instant for e-wallets, 1-3 days for cards, and 3-5 business days for wire transfers.
Bonuses and Promotions
An exciting part of finding a new casino experience is the welcome bonuses and promotions. Consumers are drawn to bonuses, so having access to sign-up rewards and free bets is enticing.
The UKGC has also bene clamping down on the marketing of UK companies, while there has also been a movement for an outright ban in the country. This is another reason why UK punters have tried to find other options outside of the country. Overseas sites are not allowed to advertise in the UK but are easily found on Google, or at online forums. Bonuses and promotions are usually more generous at non-GamStop sites, where welcome rewards can be up to 100%, with sign-up rewards being matched up to £500 in many cases.
Catalogue of Games
Finding a site with a good catalogue of games is another thing to consider as this will highlight a professional setup. Overseas sites often have a wider range of game titles, and that is another drawback of the UKGC marketing rules.
Popular games online are slots, live dealer roulette and poker. When doing a little research on new sites, punters should look for a company that offers transparency in their game statistics. This means that their games and payout levels will be at an industry standard and audited by the appropriate gaming authority.
Customer Support and Responsible Gaming
Customer support can be another factor to consider when seeking a smooth online experience.
Many users will not require customer assistance, but it is reassuring to know that it is available. Reputable sites will provide access to 24/7 chat support, and they will usually provide other contact options such as phone, email, and a helpful FAQ section. These could be tested beforehand with a phone call or browse of the FAQs. Larger businesses usually have access to larger staffing levels, and this is where the listed UK companies can have an advantage. Again, you are looking to mirror the safety of the UK corporates, but with an overseas presence.
Casinos not on GamStop
According to non-gamstop-casinos.com, the UK gambling scene has been forced to accept increased regulations in the last few years after pressure from the government and social groups over problem gambling.
It is important to add measures that help vulnerable gamblers, but the UKGC has been a bit heavy handed in their approach. Clamping down on marketing is a fair target but removing credit card funding and things such as spin timers can hurt those without a gambling problem. As with most regulations it can drive the business elsewhere and the problem gamblers can have a loophole around the rules anyway. Non-UK casinos have taken advantage of the trend by offering other benefits such as cryptocurrency deposits, which have become more popular, while sign-up bonuses and rewards are usually healthier.
If you are looking for a safe online casino experience without the UKGC rules, then these tips will get you onto the right path.
The UK casino model with UKGC support is the ideal template to use, but the non-UK sites are providing a strong challenge. The European casino sites would be the next best option due to the EU rules over banking and money, but the South American sites are also moving in on the UK patch. For those who are looking for more freedom in their gaming then there are plenty options available at non-GamStop casinos in other locations.