While there is a wealth of casinos available to UK players, sometimes they might want something a little bit different. For many players, it can be exciting to look for non-UK casinos and European casinos not on Gamstop fall under this category. However, while these casinos might offer different games or bigger bonuses, there are a number of things UK players need to be aware of when branching out.
As international casinos do not have to adhere to UKGC licencing, there are often a lot of other options available to players. One thing is that these often are casinos not on Gamstop, the self-exclusion scheme and it also includes things like no account casinos, which are often found in Scandinavian countries. Some players may well be thinking along very pertinent lines, such as how Brexit will affect gaming. With all this in mind, we will take a look at the alternatives for British players.
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The different types of European Casinos not on Gamstop
When it comes to looking at foreign casinos for UK players, there are actually two different types. There are some non-UK casinos that are not based in or owned by UK companies. However, these can, and often do, have UKGC licences, which means that it is easy for UK players to get access to these sites and start playing any of the games offered.
The other type of non-UK casino is those that do not have a UKGC licence. These are foreign licensed casinos and have different rules in place compared to UKGC ones. It’s important to note that UK law requires casinos to hold a UKGC licence if they are offering their services to UK players. Without a licence, these sites (even if they hold another licence), should not allow UK players.
Look at the licensing
However, UK players can still explore other casinos outside of the UK. When doing so, though, there are a number of different features that we recommend players take a look at before signing up to any of these other casinos. The first thing on the list is to check out the licensing of the casino and whether it has a licence at all.
We strongly recommend that players avoid any online casino site that does not have any licence at all. However, there are other licences that do offer strong support and security to players, much in the same way the UKGC licence does. For instance, there is the Malta Gaming Authority licence, which is also one of the top jurisdictions in the world and ensures player protection.
There are other international casinos with different licences too. Some casinos are registered with Curaçao or Cyprus. Others will have Scandinavian licensing from Sweden or Denmark. However, each of these licences have varying levels of trust attached to them. Curaçao doesn’t have a great reputation, for instance. So players should consider this when making their decision on which international casino they will end up signing up to.
- There are many licences available
- Not all licences are created equal
On most casino sites, the licence can simply be found on the footer of the main casino page. However, it is advisable to check this further – players should not take everything a casino says at face value, just to be on the safe side. It is always a good idea to check whether the information is correct by fact-checking on the jurisdiction’s website.
When checking, players should make sure that the brand and company match the records. It’s even possible to check that the registration number provided on the casino site is actually real. Once this is all verified, players can then move forward with looking at other casino features, such as game selection, payment options and bonuses, to make their final decision on where to play.
Are UK players accepted on International Casinos?
While it’s all very well checking out the licencing, there’s no point choosing a specific casino if it doesn’t actually accept UK players. Many players mistakenly believe that they can get around restrictions simply by using a VPN, but this is not the case. However, some international are open to UK customers. UK law says that it’s illegal to promote any offshore casino to UK-players, but if these non-Gamstop casinos doesn’t direct their website directly to UK-players, it’s still legal to players.
What is important to remember here is that just because a casino doesn’t hold a UKGC licence, it doesn’t mean it isn’t beholden to specific rules. Around the world, gambling regulations are getting tighter as the industry grows. This is specifically to help out both players and operators, ensuring fewer harmful practices can actually occur. So while theoretically, UK players can open an account, they will most probably be blocked.
- Players often try to access sites not accepting UK players
- Some sites will still accept UK players against regulations
- UK players should be careful signing up to non-UK sites
Advantages of non-UK sites
Although it is harder to find an international or independent casino sites that accepts UK players, there are some and signing up to them does offer a lot of advantages to players. For instance, these sites often provide faster sign-ups, with fewer verification processes to jump through. In fact, some don’t even need any identity information at all, enabling players to remain totally anonymous when playing online.
The fact that they are not part of Gamstop can be an advantage to some, if they signed up believing they excluded from one specific site and not all UK-licensed.
A lot of these internationally licensed casinos will also accept different payment options. A commonly seen option outside of the UK is that of cryptocurrencies, which again provides player anonymity. Finally, there are often much larger bonuses and greater numbers of bonus spins offers available. This is usually a big part of what encourages UK players to try out these types of sites in the first place.
Disadvantages of non-UK sites
However, as we’ve touched upon, there are a number of disadvantages with these sites – most of them pertaining to the level of security and player protection that is provided (or not!). For instance, these casinos do not have to follow UK law in any way. This means that things like deposits are not protected. It’s also likely that GBP is not a currency option.
Same as above, regarding sites not covered by Gamstop – if you have encountered problems with gambling before, you must self-exclude from each and every website by contacting them. This means that Gamstop doesn’t work on these websites.
On top of this, there is no protection for players in terms of responsible gaming. Sites like Gamstop are not used at these casinos, so problem gamblers can potentially continue unchecked. Many of the best or safest payment methods are not used, meaning players are more open to fraudulent activities. Finally, many of these sites offer unknown games and do not use the top providers.
Bonuses at International Casinos
One of the reasons that UK players search out international casino sites is for the bonuses. Some of these sites offer huge bonuses to players, which may, in part, be due to the fact that they are able to avoid specific licencing regulations that UK-based sites will have to adhere to. In some cases, this is helped by the fact that the licence they hold is cheaper to acquire.
However, it is important that players take a look to see whether they are eligible for the bonus even if they can sign up. Some sites will enable UK players to join, but the fine print might state that they are unable to access the bonuses. In some cases, UK players may also have to use a different currency, rather than GBP, if they want to deposit and play.
The welcome bonus is usually the bonus option that entices players. Around the world, this is often the biggest offer a casino will give. It can span a range of different things, but most commonly is found as a match deposit bonus. This can be anywhere from matching 50% to 400% of a first deposit, which means a substantial boost to a player’s bankroll.
These welcome bonuses often also include the option of bonus spins incorporated into the main bonus. These spins are usually attached to specific slot games that players must play if they want the chance to score a win. Often non-UK licensed sites will actually offer large numbers of spins, sometimes in the hundreds, which is why they are so appealing. All done in an effort to bring in new players.
However, as with all bonuses, there are usually wagering requirements involved. Again though, some of these international casino sites do stand out in that they have minimal, or in some cases no, wagering requirements. This makes them very attractive to players around the world, but it can mean that there are not so many security protocols in place to prevent fraudulent activities from occurring.
For those sites that do have wagering requirements, it is important to understand what this means. These requirements require players to meet specific conditions. Playthrough can be anywhere from 5x through to 70x and means that players will need to play the bonus amount that many times before any of the winnings can be withdrawn from their account. Failing to meet these requirements will mean the bonus is removed.
Games available at international casinos
Another aspect to consider when playing at an international casino is the games available. One of the standout features of many non-UK licensed sites is that they will offer thousands of games. This is good in one sense, as it does mean players can access an overwhelmingly large selection. However, this massive selection can come at a cost, depending on the site being used.
One of the reasons these sites can host so many games is that they use software providers that aren’t licensed. UKGC licensed sites only use and accept providers that also hold a UKGC licence, which ensures that the games are of the high quality and undergo regular auditing for fairness. International casinos, on the other hand, don’t have to follow these regulations and can use any provider they choose.
This can be appealing to UK players as they will be able to come across, and play, many games that they will not have seen before. Some of these casinos will also have their own exclusive games for players to enjoy as well, which can make the gaming experience a rather pleasurable one. These sites will often have a massive range of games too, not just a large quantity.
The game selection tends to cover everything, even live games, although it is usually slots that dominate the selection of games offered. However, as we’ve mentioned, players will run the risk of falling foul of biased games. By using unlicensed providers, these casinos are likely to offer games that might not be fair, or in some cases, they may even have pirated games available.
Accessibility at international casinos
Another thing to think about at non-UK sites is looking to see how accessible these sites are. This means having a look at the setup of the site and how user-friendly it is. This is important in terms of navigation within the site. This is especially important for new players who might have difficulty finding specific areas or games within the site itself.
It’s also important for the site to have a fun theme, but one that is not overwhelming to the eye. A simple, clean interface is often best, and is one that tends to operate more smoothly than something that is heavily graphics laden. In some instances, it’s a good idea to take a look at the software that’s powering the casino site as well.
A very important feature in this age of technology is whether the site is mobile compatible. Some non-UK sites will ensure this is an option by creating a dedicated mobile app. However, this is not always available for all operating systems. In addition, it may not be available in the UK version of the app store if it is not licensed in the UK.
Instead, many international sites will simply opt for ensuring that their sites are mobile browser friendly. In this way, these sites usually are compatible with a range of different devices and offer a scalable interface. Players can usually access this in the same way they would their desktop account and can enjoy the same features and functions across the mobile site, with the added flexibility of on-the-go play.
Getting an account
One of the more complex aspects of joining an international casino is the signing up process. As we’ve already mentioned, UK players will still need to find a site that accepts players from the UK for this process to even begin. For the most part, signing up is the same process as it is at a UK-based site. Players will need to add factually correct personal information as required.
However, these sites do have a strong benefit for UK players choosing to sign up. Many non-UK sites will offer incognito mode play, which is impossible at UKGC licensed sites as they require all your personal information right from the start. Some international sites are not so picky, and often don’t retain any records of players playing there. This offers up the rather important advantage of being absolutely private.
As we have touched upon, UK sites will require player verification when signing up. Often this can be time-consuming and requires a number of documents. Non-UK sites often do not need this in order to approve the player’s account. Instead, these sites offer players the option to simply create an account and begin depositing and withdrawing without the need for verification, thus allowing immediate play.
Non-UK sites after Brexit
When looking at European-based casinos, it is important for players to remember that the EU single market is one of the biggest benefits operators enjoy when offering their services from within the EU. At this time it is the Malta licence that has been the most popular way for operators outside the UK to join the single market, with many sites operating from this island.
With the UK leaving the EU, many players will be left uncertain as to what will happen to their favourite brands and casino accounts. However, it is likely that little will change for UK players unless they are playing at a casino that might remove its business from the UK once Brexit is complete. However, it is unlikely that international casinos will make this exit.
- Players should check the casino they play at
- If the site is UKGC licensed, Brexit is unlikely to have an effect.
Even for those who are looking at non-UK casinos, it is still unlikely that things will change. However, the casino will still be required to operate legally with a licence. Again though – we cannot reiterate this strongly enough – the lack of a UKGC licence will bring its own issues. What will change is that some UK companies will open EU subsidiaries to cater to the non-UK portion of their business.
Despite what it may sound like, non-UK sites do offer a lot to UK players. The main trick here is to find ones that are available to players from the UK. Players can, of course, choose to bypass any of the security options in place to access casinos that don’t accept UK players, but they run the risk of being ejected from the site if they are found out.
However, players that find sites allowing UK players can find themselves enjoying an exciting new site filled with a ton of games and offering some potentially lucrative bonuses. Players do need to bear in mind though that unless licenced with the UKGC as well, these sites do not offer as much player protection, so they should proceed with caution. However, it’s not illegal to play at them.
Why join an international site?
There are a lot of pros to joining up, one of which is specifically the fact that they don’t have to follow UK gaming laws. This can mean that players are able to access an enormous wealth of games, larger bonuses and no verification accounts. As such, these sites can be a fun alternative to the UK sites that UK players are usually able to access.
FAQ – International casinos
It can be, but many security features are not available.
UK players should only join if site also has UKGC licence.
Yes, they do – these can be very large and lucrative.
No, it’s legal as long as the site is licenced somewhere.
Check out our recommendations for the best international casino sites.