September 22, 2021

GamStop & the UKGC – Do They Provide More Safety Than Non UK Casinos?

UK casino

UK casino

The UK is one of the largest gambling markets in Europe, generating a gross yield of close to £15 billion. Revenues aside, it is by far the most stringently regulated territory on the continent. Recently, measures have gotten tighter stemming from research conducted by the National Gambling Treatment Service. It showed that less than 3% of British gambling addicts get help. Thus, compulsion regarding games of chance and sports betting hit the news cycle, causing the UKGC to react, putting forward new regulation in an attempt to curb the potential side-effects of this popular pastime.

The goal of this article is to describe how the UK market gets regulated, what non GamStop casinos are, the pros and cons of these two types of platforms, and how bettors who have issues controlling their betting impulses can get help.

The UKGC & UK Gambling Regulation Explained

The UKGC (UK’s Gambling Commission) is a non-departmental public body of the government dedicated to regulating all gambling activity in Britain and enforcing its gaming law. The latter refers to the Gambling Act of 2005, put in place by Tony Blair’s government, and it mainly applies to England, Scotland, and Wales. It is this law that made gambling over the internet a reality in the UK. In its sixteen-year existence, this Gambling Act has gone through a set of 2014 amendments and the recent 2021 review. Both of these modified the law to be more restrictive in regulating online casino gaming and sports wagering.

According to most, strictness-wise, the UKGC is second only to US regulators like Nevada’s Gaming Control Board and New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. International regulators such as the Malta Gaming Authority, Panama’s Gaming Control Board, and Curacao’s four master license holders overseeing non GamStop sites are equally established as the bodies mentioned above. Yet, they are a bit less constrictive when it comes to regulation. UKGC’s operator harshness comes at the price of less player freedom. Casinos not on GamBan and GamStop feature more games and more robust betting options.

What Is GamStop & How Does It Work?

GamStop is a self-exclusion service that works with the UKGC to help problem gamblers not succumb to their impulses regarding this hobby. It is a mandatory scheme. Meaning, every UKGC-licensed operator must tie into the GamStop network. So, when one of its players decides to self-exclude, the associated ban that comes with utilizing this option becomes applicable to all gambling sites that operate from the UK. The bettor in question will not be able to register with any other UKGC operator for the duration of his self-exclusion period, leaving him in gambling limbo, unable to play.

Only after his designated period passes can he contact GamStop support and ask them to have this ban lifted so he/she can continue his/her gambling journey. Self-exclusion is irreversible once activated. Other GamStop and UKGC restrictions include wagering limits, no auto-play functions, and the use of spin timers.

Non GamStop casinos have similar self-exclusion systems and deposit/loss limit settings. However, the chief difference between those and GamStop is that they do not tie into any network. They are site-specific. There is nothing stopping players from finding other casinos not on GamCare (a support network) or outside the GamStop network and continuing gambling. Thus, these non UKGC-regulated sites should only get sought after by players who can practice decent impulse control and know when to call it a day.

Other Problem Gambling Resources 

If a person notices that they are or have already developed a compulsion toward any betting, they should visit the GamCare website. It is the leading UK provider of support for problem gambling, and it runs the National Gambling Helpline, on top of offering face-to-face counseling.

Other quality UK organizations that can help with gambling addiction include Gamblers Anonymous UK, the Gordon Moody Association, and The National Centre for Behavioural Addictions.

GamBan is a popular software endorsed by GamStop and GamCare that blocks access to gambling websites and apps for free. Other such established applications are BetBlocker and BetFilter. Players can also reach out to their bank and ask their financial institution to restrict transactions to gambling operators.

UKGC Casinos vs. Non GamStop Sites

There is no doubt that the UKGC offers superior player protection compared to international regulators. However, some individuals may still want to seek out sites outside the GamStop network due to the myriad of perks that they offer. These are platforms with licenses attained from regulators with bases in other countries, and they aim to provide their services globally. The perks associated with playing at these sites are many. A few include the ability to utilize a vast range of cryptocurrencies, access to richer game libraries, more betting options, higher wagering limits, as well as no spin timers that slow down gameplay. Nevertheless, people with impulse control problems should not look at these platforms as a way to circumvent activated self-exclusion measures.

Responsible Gaming & Seeking Help

Gambling is a popular activity in UK society. As such, instances of problem gambling in Brittan are higher than in other European countries.  Per a YouGov 2020 survey, around 280,00 Brits battle with this issue. Therefore, much of the public has greeted the recent UKGC measures with applause. 

Even those working within this industry believe that people should look at gambling as a source of paid entertainment. No one should sit to play without a fixed budget in mind and adequate self-control. If players feel that they are slipping when it comes to the latter, it is never too soon to ask for help. GamCare is the most obvious choice to turn to, but many other organizations exist that Brits can reach out for assistance in dealing with this addiction. There is no shortage of avenues for help if there is a desire to get better. All operators worldwide, despite their license, promote responsible gambling.

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