When choosing a new online casino, it is important to avoid the common pitfalls. A rise in gaming technology, and profits, has led to a boom in gambling sites, with new options appearing all the time. Since the UKGC started clamping down on the domestic scene to tackle problem gambling many punters have been drawn to non-GamStop casinos.
These sites are located overseas and are subject to less stringent regulation but there are also risks involved. This guide will help you to find a safe and reputable casino.
Security and Licensing
The first thing you should look for in an online casino is the security of the platform and user deposits.
It is important to find a betting platform that uses the latest security measures and one of the basics is SSL encryption, which was designed to provide privacy, authentication, and data integrity on the internet. Sites that utilize this feature are showing that they value customer safety and data security. Firewalls are another important feature, which can prevent hacking of consumer data.
To protect your deposits, it is important to find an online casino that is regulated by a gaming authority in their respective country. For UK gamblers, the first choice would be the UK Gambling Commission. British citizens are given a higher standard of security and support in their home country, but some punters have been increasingly looking overseas to the casinos not on GamStop. Malta and Gibraltar are two examples of European countries that are home to many betting companies. These sites are regulated by their own body, such as the Malta Gaming Authority and they are subject to EU rules on money laundering, so they are a good starting point to find safe sites.
In recent times, there has also been a rise in South American destinations which offer gambling services, with Curacao and Costa Rica being two examples that will welcome British punters. These countries usually have less regulation and will offer little-to-no consumer protection for UK punters, so they should be handled with care. However, in the case of Costa Rica it is a popular home for US retirees and the banking system is at a standard to support this.
One of the key measures introduced by the UKGC has been GamStop, which is a non-profit organisation used to apply a strict self-exclusion scheme in the UK. Those who have experience with problem gambling can apply to the scheme and have their accounts blocked from all gambling sites for a chosen period. This can be for a period of up to five years and is irreversible. A similar organisation in the UK is Gamban, which is a for-profit private enterprise that will block gambling sites from mobile devices and PCs. One benefit of this company is that family members can enforce the block on devices in the home, as many gamblers are in denial of their problems. It is important that vulnerable gamblers do not seek out overseas sites as a loophole to find non-GamStop casinos.
Variety of Payment Methods
Finding a safe casino site will also require reputable and varied payment and withdrawal methods.
The standard for online payments is always debit and credit cards, but another restriction introduced by the UKGC was to ban credit cards at British sites. This is another reason why punters moved to sites overseas. Consumers will often use credit cards as a tool to separate betting transactions from their bank statements. This can avoid any stigma when they want to apply for a mortgage or a loan. For withdrawals, UK betting sites will provide wire transfers and payment wallets, but the overseas sites will also provide these and many are now offering support for cryptocurrencies.
Consumers should study the terms and conditions for withdrawal methods to ensure that the fees and times are satisfactory.
Bonuses and Promotions
An exciting part of signing up to a new casino is always the welcome bonuses and promotions.
Another issue with the UKGC restrictions has been strict regulations applied to the marketing of UK companies. There has even been calls for an outright ban on gambling marketing in the country. Bonuses and promotions are usually more generous at the non-GamStop sites, where welcome rewards can be 100% or more, with sign-up rewards being matched up to £500 in many cases.
When selecting a new casino site, the selection of game titles is also something to consider. A reputable site will have a solid platform with a wide range of game titles.
The most popular games are slots, live dealer roulette and poker. Experienced punters who are conducting research on new sites will also require a company that provides transparency in their game statistics. If the payout ratios are at an acceptable industry standard, and are vetted by the gaming authority, it shows they value fairness.
Customer Support and Responsible Gaming
Customer support is another area to study when looking for an enjoyable online experience.
Many users will not require the use of customer assistance but it’s important to know that support is available. Reputable sites will normally offer access to 24/7 chat support and will also provide other contact options such as phone, email, and a good FAQ section. Larger businesses, such as the listed companies in the UK, will have smoother customer service due to larger staff numbers and this is an area where UK sites have an advantage.
Non-UK Casinos and non-GamStop Casinos
The UK gambling scene has applied increasingly strict regulations over the last few years after pressure from mental health groups and the government.
It is important they tackle this problem, but the measures introduced have also punished users who are more comfortable with their gambling habits. The new rules have also expanded to the in-game casino experience, with measures such as spin timers and the high-profile limit on FOBT bet size limits. For more information on non-UK casino sites, visit non-gamstop-casinos.com.
If you are an experienced gambler, then doing a little background research with our tips will put you on the right track to finding a safe online casino experience.
The UKGC is the preferred regulatory body for UK consumers because of the increased consumer protection and support for problem gambling, but the European casino sites would be the next best option due to the EU financial system and KYC rules. These are a good starting point for non-GamStop casinos and can give you the confidence to find sites in other locations.