The UKGC and GamStop – Your Defense Against Non-UK Casino Sites

The UK gambling scene saw a boom over the last decade as new technology and fast internet connections brought all forms of gambling into the comfort of homes across the land. For most this is a harmless diversion and one of the multiple outlets for discretionary spending, but for others it can be a damaging pursuit. Some sites not on Gamstop have exploited the rules brought in by the UKGC by enticing UK punters away from domestic shores into a land of light regulations and consumer protection.

In this article we will describe the activities of the UKGC and how the GamStop scheme was created to protect problem gamblers.

Who Are the UKGC?

The UK Gambling Commission license and regulate people and businesses that provide gambling services in the United Kingdom.

Headquartered in Birmingham, England, the group oversee the conduct of individuals and operations, but also offer mediation for complaints and dispute resolution. With the rise in availability of gambling products and easy online payments, the group have had to step up and take a more aggressive approach to the industry.

The actions of the UKGC include restrictions on the gaming companies and their ability to market gambling services to the public.

How GamStop Works

GamStop is a self-exclusion scheme provided by the UKGC in collaboration with a non-profit organisation. Gamblers in the UK can sign up for free and request a blanket ban from UK gambling websites and apps run by British gaming companies, for a term of their choosing, which can be up to five years.

The exclusion cannot be overturned early, and this can be a beneficial scheme for this who cannot control the psychological element of gambling.

UK consumers are asked to provide their current and former addresses, alongside email addresses which were used to sign up for UK betting sites and GamStop will enforce the exclusion.

Other Resources for Problem Gamblers

There are other resources available for UK consumers in the battle against problem gambling. One of those is Gamban, which is a private for-profit organisation that blocks all gambling apps from mobile devices and PCs. A 7-day free trial is offered, and the product can be applied by partners or family of those who may be in denial of their situation.

GamCare is the UK’s leading provider of free information, advice and support for those affected by problem gambling. The service provides a phone number and live chat for advice, but also gives access to group chats and forums.

BeGambleAware is a similar site for support and confidential advice which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Is it Legal to Play at Sites Not on GamStop?

It is 100% legal for gamblers in the UK to sign up with non-GamStop casinos and place their bets. Consumers in the UK still have freedom of choice to sign up to these sites and it is only through restrictions placed on marketing by the UKGC that many aren’t aware of this option.

It is very important that punters do use these sites as a means to avoid the GamStop rules. Gambling addiction is a serious issue in the UK and requires specialist treatment. Users can contact support staff of the non-UK sites to arrange their own self-exclusion rules and bet limits if they have a history of problem gambling.

GamStop Sites vs Casinos Not on GamStop

The GamStop scheme is applied in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, but the UKGC has no ability to regulate the activities of non-UK casinos and British punters are still drawn to sites not on GamStop.

The key reason for seeking an alternative is to be able to bet without restrictions. In their efforts to stamp out problem gambling in the UK, the UKGC has encroached into gameplay. Examples of this are the high-profile efforts to reduce the bet size on fixed odds betting terminals. Other restrictions include spin timers and limitations on payments methods, such as the recent decision to stop credit card deposits at UK sites.

This has obvious benefits for the problem gambler, but it can be restrictive for those that are comfortable in their gambling habits. The risk with that is that problem gamblers often believe that they fall into that category and may seek out sites overseas.

The UKGC offers a superior regulatory regime for those in the UK, especially when it comes to dispute resolution and consumer protections. European sites still provide their own regulatory measures through their own bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority. In recent years, however, South America has emerged as a destination for gaming sites and will offer a lighter touch regulatory system. The UKGC doesn’t allow these sites to market directly to UK consumers, but they are easily accessible on forums and Google searches.

Our Conclusion on Non-GamStop Sites

Experienced gamblers who find the UKGC measures to be too restrictive will find that non-UK casino sites offered by will cater to their desires for more freedom and privacy in their gaming, however the sites can also offer a warm welcome to those who can’t control their gaming habits.

Gambling should always be used for entertainment purposes and consumers should be aware of responsible gambling and the support available in the UK.

The UKGC has taken a tough approach to the industry but the effects of problem gambling are well documented in the UK with suicides, marital breakups and other pitfalls being commonplace.

Families and friends of gamblers who have experienced problem gambling, or are showing signs of a potential problem down the road, should be aware of non-UK casinos and the support available to stop using them as a way around the UKGC rules. Catching a gambling problem before it spirals into a crisis is an important task of the UKGC and GamStop scheme, while there are other organisations available to assist.

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