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Gambling Addiction: How it is Handled in the UK and Casinos Not on GamStop

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Gambling addiction is a problem that is handled differently around the world. The UK Gambling Commission has taken a tougher approach on the industry than many countries. In the USA it is more complicated due to the different laws in different states. Only 25 states have legalized and regulated online gambling, however, most of those states have limited the legislation to sports betting, with only 6 moving further to online poker and casinos. The hesitancy to open up the industry is due to fears over gambling addiction and that has stopped many from giving companies more freedom. The US regulators could learn a lot from the UK’s efforts to tackle gambling addiction.

The aggressive approach to the industry has led to many UK punters looking further afield for gambling freedom and they have been drawn casinos not on GamStop.

According to non-gamstop-casinos.com, UK gamblers have been attracted to non-GamStop casinos because they offer more freedom in the gambling experience, without the strict betting limits, smaller bonuses, and limited funding options that are common at UK sites. 

This article will highlight the difference between the efforts of UK and US gaming authorities. 

The UKGC and GamStop 

The UK Gambling Commission has taken a tougher approach to the industry due to pressure from government and social groups. One of the key additions for the UK betting industry was the introduction of the GamStop scheme, which is a not-for-profit organization, which operates a self-exclusion service for UK gamblers. Users who have experienced problem gambling can sign up to the scheme for free and request a self-exclusion period of up to five years. GamStop will then block them from using all gambling sites in the UK.

With a growing number of gambling companies in the UK, the ban can be beneficial for those that are on a losing streak and may be struggling with the urge to win back their losses.  

How Do Casinos not on GamStop Operate

The gaming sites not using GamStop are the casinos and sportsbooks that are located outside of the United Kingdom and are not subject to the UKGC rules. The overseas sites will be regulated by their own gaming authority, with the common destinations being Gibraltar and Malta. The latter is a Mediterranean country with a vibrant betting scene and companies are overseen by the Malta Gaming Authority. Gibraltar is a British territory south of Spain and is home to many UK expats and betting companies. These casinos not registered with GamStop still have to adhere to a high level of compliance as they are members of the European Union banking system. KYC rules and segregation of client funds from the business will be standard. The downside to using these sites can be a lack of third-party support and consumer rights, due to the citizenship issue. South American sites have become more popular with Costa Rica and Curacao being two examples, but these countries will tend to have lighter regulatory approaches.

UK gamblers have moved to these sites because they offer more freedom than the British casinos and that is the risk for US regulators. If they clamp down on the US sector, bettors may shift their business to the South American sites, where they will still have access to their favourite sporting events such as the NBA, NFL, and e-sports.

The casinos not using GameStop will often still offer a self-exclusion scheme, but it will likely be reversible, and definitely not the five years available in the UK. One of the risks of these sites is that consumers will use them as a GamStop loophole and that defeats the purpose of the UKGC efforts.

GamStop Sites vs Non-GamStop Casinos 

There are advantages and disadvantages to using the UK gaming sites and casinos not on GamStop. For customers who are more comfortable with their betting, they will likely find the overseas sites offer an experience similar to the UK in the past. Here is our summary of the main pros and cons:

UK Betting Sites 

Pros

  • UKGC sites are mostly listed corporations
  • Strong support for problem gamblers
  • GBP currency deposits as standard
  • Enhanced consumer protection
  • Third-party dispute support

Cons

  • Stake size limits
  • In-play rules, spin timers etc.
  • Extensive KYC rules
  • Credit card funding ban
  • No crypto payments

Sites not on GamStop 

Pros

  • Generous bonus sizes and free bets
  • Less limits and restrictions
  • Still licensed by a gaming authority
  • Access to self-exclusion
  • Wide range of funding methods

Cons

  • May not offer local currency deposits
  • Popular game titles may not be available
  • Can be exploited as a loophole for GamStop
  • Scam sites can exist 

Which Method is Better for the US market?

US regulators taking more action on the betting scene should take note of the UK’s efforts and not go too far with regulation. The UKGC has taken a strict approach to the UK betting industry but that has seen users moving to less regulated sites outside of the country. In the end, that will mean less income for the UK companies and less taxes for the government. 

This is important for the US scene because the same effect could be seen with US gamblers moving to sites hosted by other states. 

Bet sizes and deposits are currently free from restrictions at non-GamStop betting sites, while they also offer more attractive welcome bonuses and rewards. These sites will offer all of the most popular sports leagues, while the graphics and security can be at a similar level, so the consumer is not losing out. Bettors signing up to overseas sites can also find more account funding options with credit cards and cryptocurrencies both welcome.  

Conclusion for US Regulators

This is still an exciting time for the US betting industry with many states taking a more active approach to legalizing online casino sites.  

The industry would benefit from a standardized approach and states would receive additional tax income, and also jobs for citizens. It would be a good time for regulators to move fast and apply the right regulation in these early stages because the UK and the non-GamStop sites have given examples to work with. 

 In conclusion, US regulators may benefit from taking the middle ground between the two options. It is right to tackle the problem gambling issue but going too far will only drive gamblers away to sites overseas. That would mean less taxes for the states and less money for the regulators.

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