While the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is considered one of the most stringent regulatory authorities in the igaming industry, casinos and gambling sites that accept players from the UK do not have to be licenced with it.
Indeed, there are several other jurisdictions that UK-based casinos can obtain a licence from. In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons for players who choose to play at either non UK casinos or UK-based casinos that have licences from other jurisdictions.
Royal Oak Casino
What is a non UK licensed casino?
Quite simply, a non UK licensed casino or gambling site is one that holds an operating licence from any jurisdiction other than the UKGC. There are numerous other Gambling Commissions, and Gambling Authorities registered around the world.
While many, like the UKGC, adhere to the highest industry standards of security and fairness, some do not. Many of the latter provides an easy-to-acquire licence for gambling, and players may find it hard to resolve any disputes that arise.
- Some licences have high levels of security.
- Easy acquisitions
- Non UK sites can be offshore.
- Non UK sites can be registered in a range of jurisdictions.
As has already been mentioned, non UK casino sites are those that do not hold a UKGC gambling licence. Instead, they will have obtained their operating licence from one of the many other licensing authorities around the world. They are also likely not to be physically based in the UK. In fact, there are even some sites that have not obtained a licence at all, and players are strongly advised to steer clear of such sites.
However, not having a UKGC license should not be a matter for doom and gloom for players. Many of the other licensing authorities also require the casinos or gambling sites they licence to uphold stringent industry standards, and UK players can feel safe and secure playing at such sites and reaping the benefits of greater consumer choice.
There are, however, some authorities of whom players should be warier. Please keep reading for our in-depth look at non-UK licensed casinos.
What is the UKGC?
Before we consider non-UK licensors, let’s quickly review the UKGC. It is the official body regulating gambling activities in the UK and is considered one of the more stringent gaming authorities. It has a robust set of rules and regulations that gambling sites must adhere to obtain an operating licence.
The prize for any site that does manage to obtain a UKGC licence is that they can legally offer their gaming services to anyone living in the UK.
- Licenses all gambling activities in the UK, including lotteries
- Regulates all commercial gambling in the UK
For UK players, there are many benefits to accessing and playing at an online casino site that has been licensed by the UKGC. There’s the peace of mind of knowing that any site that has obtained a UKGC license must operate to the highest gambling industry standards.
This will include providing players with responsible gambling tools, top-notch data protection protocols, fair gaming and access to a dispute resolution service. Nevertheless, many players also choose to play at non-UK licensed sites. Let’s consider why.
Getting a UKGC Licence
One of the main issues with a UKGC licence is that there are many hoops to jump through, which is why some operators opt to be non UK licensed casinos and gambling sites instead.
To get this licence, operators are required to follow stringent rules and requirements and to have a large amount of paperwork in place, as well as be expected to hand out rather large fees, which are then needed on an annual basis to keep the licence.
- 16 week processing time
- Annual fees
- Lots of paperwork to be submitted
There are of course a major plus points for any online casino that holds a UKGC licence. For instance, the reputation of this jurisdiction proceeds it, which means that casinos will already have a higher standing in the eyes of any potential players.
The licence means that the casino is more trustworthy too. However, in the eyes of some operators, the fees and taxes that come alongside this reputation might not be worth it, which is why they opt for another jurisdiction.
An In-Depth Look at Non UK Licenced Sites
Despite the high popularity level enjoyed by the UGC, there are several other jurisdictions out there that also offer top-quality casino sites. Just because these sites are not registered with the UKGC does not mean that they are not reputable sites. In fact, many of these sites are on par with those under the UKGC and can even offer better features and bonuses to players simply because they haven’t spent the money on licencing fees.
The jurisdiction that offers a licence is based on the country or area in which the casino is operating. Each of these jurisdictions has several different rules and regulations in place as well as having different licencing fees options, faster processing times when it comes to getting the licence processed and so on. This is why players will see such a range of different types of casinos and gambling sites with differing security measures when playing online.
Despite often having more relaxed rules, this does not mean that online casinos can ignore them. What it does mean is that operators will be required to follow these regulations or risk losing their licence too. In some cases, non UK licenced casinos will still operate at the same standard as UKGC sites even if they do not have the UKGC licence. Some of the more popular jurisdictions outside of the UK include the likes of:
Malta Gaming Authority and Alderney
The Malta Gaming Authority or MGA is arguably the next best thing after the UKGC. This jurisdiction has strict requirements in place regarding how the casino should treat its players and will act accordingly if the site fails to meet these specifications.
MGA sites will also make sure that players have somewhere easy to get in touch with if any fraudulent activities are occurring at the casino site they are playing at, making this a popular option.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission is based on one of the islands of England. Alderney is known for regulating a lot of gaming sites and like other jurisdictions from the UK area, has a solid reputation for offering high standards when it comes to online casinos under their licence.
What’s even better is that this jurisdiction will also offer help to players who may have suffered a problem when playing at one of their licenced sites, meaning there is an element of security in place.
Curaçao and Gibraltar
Curaçao is one of the most commonly used licences by online casinos outside of the UK. This is because this licence is easy to obtain and does not require much in the way of paperwork nor exorbitant fees.
However, while this jurisdiction does mean that players from around the world can join, the licence comes from a jurisdiction that does not have a firm infrastructure in terms of regulating their own sites. Anyone can purchase a licence, which makes things a bit more open.
Finally, there is the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. This jurisdiction is all about covering the gambling industry on this island. Some top gaming sites hold licences from this jurisdiction.
Sites from here are growing in number as the licence is one of the more forward-thinking ones, offering high levels of efficiency in every aspect. Players can expect fair gaming from them and the chance to get in touch with someone at the Gambling Commissioner if something actually goes wrong.
Security at Non UK Casinos
One of the biggest issues that any UK player might raise when looking at a non UK licenced site is that of safety and security. While these sites will have security in place, not all of them will be as strict as the UKGC sites. This means that players joining up to a non UK site may have to contend with some security issues or run the risk of signing up to a fraudulent online casino site.
However, not all non UK sites are like this. In fact, most will indeed offer high levels of security across their platform. Like any UK casino brands, players are encouraged to check out the encryption protocols that are in place to ensure that their data is safe and secure and not handed on to third parties. On top of this, players are recommended to check out the exact licence of the casino brands and ensure it is a real one.
Anonymity and No Verification Signups
A big draw for players from the UK when it comes to non UK sites is the fact that there is often a range of different signup options available. Some of these sites will give players the option of joining the site completely anonymously. This usually means that players can make an account but do not need to provide any ID verification to prove who they are. This can be a blessing or an issue, depending on the casino.
In some instances, players will also be able to access and play at casino brands without even needing to sign up at all. What these casinos allow is for players to make a deposit on the non Gamstop casino site and play until they don’t wish to any more. UK sites tend not to offer this no sign-up option as it does not meet the Know Your Customer requirements set out by the UKGC – these add a layer of security to casinos.
Software Available and Customer Service
Online non UK regulated casinos will also offer a range of different software options. As these sites do not always meet the higher level of quality required by other jurisdictions, the software as well may not be as top quality either. In many cases the software is provided by suppliers that are not available at UK casinos, which can be a double-edged sword for players – they get access to new games, but these games may not be fair.
A final point to consider in all of this is the support offered by the casino. Many of these sites will offer excellent support with quick turnarounds and a multitude of different options available to players. This can mean access to a knowledgeable staff member via live chat, email or even phone. However, not all casinos will offer this, so players should be on the lookout for 24/7 support in case any issues should arise when they are playing.
Gamification at Non UK Casinos
Non UK casino sites do not lose out when it comes to the games they offer. In fact, they often do much better than sites registered in the UK, able to offer vastly more games than their non UK counterparts. This is because these sites can use software from a larger range of providers, many of whom are not eligible or do not meet the requirements set out by the UKGC to have their games accessed on UK casinos.
This can mean that players have access to thousands of games, exposing them to new and exciting gaming options as well as new themes and game types. The game selection is usually hugely varied too, with a whole set of options across all genres. This means that not only do these sites have slots, but they also offer a range of poker games, live games, bingo options and, in many cases, will have a sportsbook attached.
Game Options at Non UK Casinos
As we mentioned, the largest selection is without a doubt in the slots genre. However, as many of the top providers are not eligible to have their games played at sites with some of these licences, players from the UK might miss out on some of the larger jackpot slots that come from the likes of Microgaming and NetEnt. However, there are usually a huge amount of other slots available, each with fun graphics and exciting in-game bonuses.
Other chance game options at these sites include lotteries as well as bingo, keno and even instant win scratch cards. For those looking to play more strategic games, non UK registered sites will always have a decent collection of virtual table games, covering all of the usual options. On top of this, players will be able to enjoy a range of video pokers as well as live games, often with more unusual choices as well as a range of languages.
Non UK Casinos and Their Bonuses
One of the big draws of a non UK casino is the fact that these sites often have pretty spectacular bonuses on offer. The main reason they can afford to do this is by not having a UKGC licence – having a UKGC licence means that operators are required to pay fees and taxes on their operations, which takes away from the bonuses they can offer. Non UK sites don’t have this issue and can, therefore reward players with bigger bonuses.
One of the more popular and larger bonuses offered at these sites is a match deposit welcome bonus. This is often offered as a 100% match on deposits and can be up to a top value of 1000 EUR, which is generally vastly more than the bonuses found at UKGC sites. In addition to this, bonuses are usually found across all game genres, including poker, live games and bingo, unlike UK sites, which are often limited to virtual games and slots.
Other Bonuses and Eligibility
These sites also tend to offer large quantities of free spins. For players looking online, finding a casino offering hundreds of free spins during signup – it’s likely to be a site not registered in the UK. However, these free spins are usually attached to a specific slot game and due to the software availability, are often not found attached to any of the big-name games. Players may find that while they have a lot of spins, they’re for a low-paying game.
On top of this, players from the UK need to check and see which of the payment methods offered actually are eligible to claim bonuses with. Not all payment options will allow players to get the bonus, with notable ones being Neteller and PayPal. This can be somewhat awkward for UK players as these are commonly used payment options, particularly when playing outside of the UK, so players do need to pay attention to any terms and conditions.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Non UK Casino
Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages to playing at non UK licensed casinos, not least the safety and security issues. By not playing under the umbrella of the UKGC, players run the risk of not getting access to any security or help if things go wrong. Essentially, if money is stolen or not returned when playing at one of these casinos, UK players do not have any way of getting this money back – players will have to take the risk.
On top of this, players will often not be able to use GBP when they make deposits at such casinos. This means that players from the UK will need to select an alternative currency and then have to pay the currency conversion fees that will inevitably come alongside. Additionally, players may not have access to some of their preferred local payment options, meaning slower payouts and withdrawals as well as possibly less security in place to prevent things going wrong.
Advantages of Non UK Sites
There are, of course, some advantages to these sites, many of which we have laid out in this article already. Additional plus points come in the form of an increased range of games to choose from and bigger and more impressive bonuses. These sites also give UK players the option for a faster sign up process with less need to go through verifications. Often these sites can even be played at anonymously, which is a major plus.
Payment Methods on Offer
As with all online casinos, those registered outside of the UK will have several different payment options available to players. It’s therefore important that players take a look at these options before selecting the casino they would like to join.
As is now widespread, most online casinos outside of the UK will offer a variety of options, including e-wallets (such as PayPal and Neteller) as well as various credit and debit card options to choose from.
In addition to this, non UK licensed casinos are often more likely to offer a range of cryptocurrencies to their players, such as Bitcoin. This is something a little bit different when compared to the UK sites as cryptocurrency options are less commonplace.
These options enable players to circumvent a lot of currency conversion fees, as well as offering very secure, and importantly, anonymous transactions when playing at online casinos both within and outside of the UK jurisdiction.
- Wide range of cryptocurrency options
- Ability to play anonymously
- Often GBP is not accepted
When it comes to making payments with such a site, the method works in the same way as it would at any other casino. All players need to do is head on over to the deposit section and select the method they would like to use.
UK players will need to select a different currency to GBP in most cases, but otherwise using the same process as they would at UK sites they can then input their deposit amount and get playing.
Tips for Choosing a Non UK Regulated Site
When considering whether and where to play online outside of the UK, UK players should consider many factors very carefully. As a starting point, players should check to see whether the casino in question holds a licence.
Just because it’s not got a UKGC licence doesn’t mean it isn’t licensed. Licenses should be found at the bottom of the main page and can be checked to ensure their validity, giving a better chance of security.
Players should avoid any casino that does not appear to have a license at all as this could lead to fraudulent activities taking place.
To aid in the area of choosing somewhere with good security, players should also take a look at the payment methods offered by the casino and only consider those that offer payments from reputable providers. In this way, they are less likely to fall foul of fraudulent transaction activities that may occur on some sites.
Do they let UK Players Join?
The final point to consider is to see whether the site actually allows UK players to join. Being outside of the UKGC jurisdiction, many sites won’t actually allow UK players to sign up and instead will focus on the European market.
This means that even if a UK player likes the look of the site, they can’t join. Using a VPN is not advisable either, for if the player gets caught, they will be removed from the site.
FAQ for the Best Non UK Licensed Casinos
Casinos that hold a licence from another country’s gambling jurisdiction.
The UKGC monitors all UK-based casinos, ensuring compliance and player safety.
Yes, but they need to be careful when choosing a casino.
Some are, some aren’t; it all comes down to careful choice.
This will depend on the player and their personal preference.