With the rise in gaming and internet technology over the last two decades, casinos have moved from physical premises to the comfort of homes and mobile devices across the world. With smooth platforms, realistic graphics, and exciting promotions, the online casino world offers an exciting gambling experience. Alongside the number of gambling opportunities has been a rise in users moving online, but safety and security are still paramount. There are many reputable casinos available that can provide the best levels of security and an enjoyable customer experience. However, the reality as in other online industries, is that there will always be a risk of doing business with a less than reputable firm.
Finding a safe and secure online casino experience requires some background research at the outset and we have done some groundwork to guide some of the most important decisions needed when choosing the UK or Non-UK casino.
Security and Licensing
Two of the basic requirements for a safe online casino are the security of the platform and of the players’ funds.
For the platform, it is important to choose an online site that uses strong security measures. SSL encryption was designed to provide privacy, authentication, and data integrity for users in all forms of internet communication, and sites with this feature are proving that they value customer safety and data security. Firewalls are also important as a means to avoid hacking and to deliver a high standard of data protection.
The next important issue is regulation, and it is important to find an online casino that is regulated by a gaming authority in their home country. For UK gamblers, the most recommended authority would be the UK Gambling Commission. Being a British citizen allows more customer security and support, but punters have been increasingly looking overseas for casinos, not on GamStop. These overseas sites have become popular due to the increased regulations being pushed on the UK companies in an effort to stamp out problem gambling. Malta and Costa Rica are two examples of nations outside of Britain that are regulating gambling sites and welcoming British punters.
The UKGC has been working with the GamStop not-for-profit organisation to apply a strict self-exclusion scheme for UK punters. Users experiencing problems with their gambling habits can apply to the scheme and they will have their accounts removed from all gambling sites for a set period of time which cannot be reversed.
Variety of Payment Methods
Choosing a suitable casino site will also require a variety of payment methods and withdrawal methods.
The standard for online payments is usually debit and credit cards, but the UKGC also recently banned the use of credit cards at British casino sites. This is one of the reasons that some are moving to overseas sites. Many consumers use credit cards to separate betting transactions from their account statements to avoid stigma when applying for something like a mortgage. For withdrawals, UK betting sites will offer wire transfers and payment wallets, but overseas sites can also provide these, and support for cryptocurrencies is becoming more common. This is giving the overseas sites an advantage by offering more consumer options.
Consumers choosing to use these casinos abroad should also consider the terms and conditions for withdrawals to ensure that the fees and times are standard. Withdrawals are usually instant for e-wallets, 1-3 days for cards, and 3-5 business days for wire transfers.
Bonuses and Promotions
One of the exciting parts of choosing a new casino are the welcome bonuses and promotions. Consumers like to get freebies and gifts, so the potential for welcome rewards and free bets is enticing.
Another issue with the UKGC restrictions has been regulations on the marketing of UK gaming companies. There is also a movement for an outright ban on gambling marketing in the country. This is another reason why punters have been looking for new options outside of the UK. Bonuses and promotions are usually more generous outside of the UK sites, and welcome rewards can be up to 100% or more, with sign-up rewards being matched up to £500 in many cases.
Catalog of Games
Another consideration when choosing a suitable casino site is the selection of game titles. Using non-GamStop casinos will often provide access to a large range of game titles, and that is also driven by the reduced marketing in the UK.
Some of the most popular games are slots, live dealer roulette and poker. Those who are conducting their own research on new sites should look for a good mix of games but, more importantly, should ensure that the company provides transparent access to game statistics that are certified by their respective gaming authority. This will ensure that the casino values fairness, and that payout ratios are at an acceptable industry level.
Customer Support and Responsible Gaming
Customer support is another important factor when seeking a good experience at the online gambling tables.
Many users will never use customer help, but it’s important to know that it is available. Reputable sites will offer access to 24/7 chat support, and they will also provide other contact options available such as phone, email, and a good FAQ section. Large companies, such as those in the UK, will usually provide smoother customer service due to increased staffing levels and this is an area where UK companies can have an advantage. If using an overseas site in the likes of South America, it is important to check that English is a supported language for customer service staff and that the time zone is suitable.
Non-UK Casinos and Casinos not on GamStop
The gambling scene in the UK has been forced to apply strict regulations over the last few years after pressure from government and mental health groups over a rise in problem gambling.
Although it is important to control the problem, the measures that were used are also punishing users who are more comfortable with their gambling habits. The new UK rules have also expanded into the in-play experience, with measures such as spin timers and bet sizing limits.
These measures and rules are driving users to non-GamStop casinos but they should not be seen as a loophole to avoid the GamStop regulations. You can discover more here about casinos not on GamStop.
If you are an experienced gambler then conducting a little background research will be enough to find a safe and reliable online casino in the UK or abroad.
The UKGC is the preferred regulatory body for UK consumers because of the imcreased customer support and problem gambling help. The problem for many is that these rules have become too strict and the in-game experience is being affected with users moving to casinos not on GamStop.
It is important for players to find a casino that is reputable and regulated by a gaming authority. Transparency, security and good customer support are also key when finding a suitable platform and there are many suitable options available, in the UK or abroad.