For starters, non-UK casinos do not have to follow UKGC rules and regulations. This means that UK players can access a number of features that are usually not permitted on UK sites. This includes options for no account casinos which can be found under the Curaçao or Scandinavian licences. Other reasons players might be thinking about these casinos is because of Brexit regulations.
Different international casinos
There are actually a number of different options when it comes to foreign casinos. There are independent casinos that are not based or even owned by UK companies. However, these sites will often still have a UKGC licence, which means that it is very easy for UK players to join these sites and play any of the games that are available on the site.
The other option is foreign licensed casinos. These sites do not have a UKGC licence, but will have licences from a different jurisdiction. With this in mind, it is important to remember that UKGC laws require casinos to hold a UKGC licence if they are allowing UK players to access their site. This means that if they don’t have this licence, they shouldn’t allow UK players.
Checking out the licencing
That being said, it’s still possible for UK players to have a look at the gambling options outside of the UK. When doing this, though, there are a number of different factors that players should be considering before signing up. The first is the actual licence and whether there actually is one. We never recommend choosing a site that has no licence at all.
If a casino does not hold a licence we will not be recommending it. There are many other licences out there that have strong support and security options in place and operate in a similar way to the UKGC. This is particularly notable with regards to the Malta Gaming Authority licence, which joins the UKGC in claiming top spot when it comes to casino licences.
Checking the licence
There are other international casinos with various licences as well. For instance, some casinos will have licences from Curaçao, Cyprus or Gibraltar. Others will have Scandinavian licences from Denmark or Sweden. Each of these jurisdictions offers something different in terms of the level of trust. Curaçao, for instance, does not have such a strong reputation as some of the other options, so players should be aware of this.
- Many international licences can be used
- Not all licences offer the same in terms of security
When it comes to finding out where the casino is licenced, most sites will simply display this information at the bottom of the page. Players can simply check out which jurisdiction has awarded it. However, it can be worth checking up on this, which can easily be done by fact checking on the jurisdiction’s website to ensure the company details all match up.
It’s also possible for players to check the registration number to ensure that it is the same one as the casino brand. Once verified, players can then move on to signing up with no qualms. This actually a process we go through as well when we are reviewing and recommending any international sites to our players, alongside other features such as games and bonuses.
Can UK players join?
While it is an important step to check out the licences, there’s no point to it all if the casino doesn’t actually accept UK players. Many players do believe that they can dodge any restrictions in place using VPNs, but this is not a good idea. Casinos will be able to find this and when found out, players will simply be removed from the casino.
However, while an international casino may not hold a UKGC licence, they are still required to follow the rules and regulations of their chosen jurisdiction. Across the globe, requirements are getting stricter as the iGaming industry grows. This is actually of great help to operators and players alike, as it means fewer harmful practices can occur. This means that while UK players can open accounts, many will simply be blocked.
- Players do try accessing sites that restrict UK players
- Some sites accept UK players against rules
- UK players should be mindful when signing up to non-UK sites
Advantages of international casinos
While it is harder to find international sites that do accept UK players, there are some, and when signing up to one, there are some distinct advantages on offer. For example, these sites will often give players the chance to sign up a lot faster than UKGC sites. This is because there are often fewer verification steps to go through. Some sites don’t even require verification at all.
It also means that players are able to remain anonymous when playing online. These sites will also offer a number of different payment options, some of which are not always available at UK casinos, like cryptocurrencies. Finally, the bonuses are often larger, with a higher number of bonus spins offered, which is a major draw and one of the reasons players tend to try out these sites.
For some players it’s an advantage than some international casinos offers a no-verification process, which makes it easier to play faster.
Disadvantages of international sites
As we have mentioned, though, there are some disadvantages to these sites. For instance, the level of player protection is a lot lower than that which is offered by the UKGC. As these casinos do not have to abide by UK law, aspects that players may not usually think about are exposed. For instance, deposits are not covered and GBP may not be a payment option.
There is also usually a dearth in the responsible gambling options. Gamstop, which all UK casinos need to be a member of, is not a requirement at international casinos. This means that problem gamblers are able to continue on playing with no real help available. If searching for casinos not connected to Gamestop, see our dedicated page. When signing up there, you should consider alternatives to Gamstop. Some sites also offer unknown games from poor providers and even offer pirated games to players, reducing the player experience.
Bonuses at international casinos
A big reason many UK players start taking an interest in international casinos is because of the bonuses. Some non-UK sites have pretty impressive bonuses on offer, partly because they do not have to adhere to UKGC regulations. It also helps that these sites hold licences that are cheaper to acquire and may not have to pay so much tax in their location.
However, we cannot stress enough how important it is for players to check out whether they are actually eligible for the bonuses. Some sites that do allow UK players may not actually extend this to the bonuses they offer, which might be smaller or indeed non-existent. UK players may also need to use different currencies to get these bonuses if they want to play.
One of the more commonly found bonuses online is the welcome bonus. This is the one that draws in new players and is usually the biggest one. It can come in a range of different forms, but is usually a match deposit bonus. This can be anywhere from 50% to 400% and is a major boost to the players’ bankroll when playing online.
Sometimes welcome bonuses will also include bonus spins into their offer. These spins are always attached to a specific slot game that must be played if the player is to retrieve these spins. International sites are often able to offer huge numbers of free spins (often hundreds), which is one of the reasons why these sites can be so appealing to UK players.
One of the important things players need to remember, though, is that all of these bonuses will have wagering requirements of some kind attached to them. Sometimes these international sites will have minimal requirements, again making them more attractive to players. However, this won’t be obvious until the details are checked out, which is something we incorporate into our international casino reviews for our readers.
For sites that do have wagering requirements, players will need to understand exactly what these entail before signing up. Playthrough requirements can often be as little as 5x or as much as 70x. The higher the requirement, the harder it is to achieve and actually get your hands on any winnings. As such, we take a look at the whole bonus, recommending sites with good all-round options.
Another big draw of international casinos is the game selection they are able to offer. Many non-UK licenced sites are actually able to offer a huge amount of different casino games, often numbering in the thousands. This is good for players in one sense, as it means they have a huge range to choose from and can avoid any boredom setting in. However, there is a disadvantage.
The reason these sites can offer so many games actually comes down to the software providers they are using. UKGC sites are required to use providers that also hold a UKGC licence. Providers that do not cannot offer their games. This means that providers at non-UK casinos might not be as reputable, offering lower quality games or even in some cases pirated versions.
However, the use of unknown software providers can be hugely appealing to UK players as they will be able to access a large number of games that they have never seen before. On top of this, some of these sites will also have exclusive games that are made for their site. All of this only enhances the gaming experience for any player who signs up.
Not only do these sites have a large quantity of games, though; they also have a wide variety. Players are able to find almost anything on here. From slots to live table games, there’s something for everyone. Apart from the risk of falling foul to biased games, for some players, the positives attached to a huge selection outweigh the cons of unlicensed software providers.
Accessibility at international casinos
Another aspect we consider when recommending international casinos is how accessible these sites are. We take a look at the setup of the site and whether it offers user-friendly functions. This is important as players need to be able to navigate the site quickly to find the games they want. This is especially important for new players who need to find out where everything is.
Having a fun theme is another good feature, but there needs to be a fine line between fun and overwhelming. Sites that have too many graphics can be overwhelming and operate slowly, which is frustrating. In these instances, it is better to choose a clutter-free casino site so that everything runs smoothly at all times. In line with this, taking a look at the software powering the site is key.
In this day and age, everyone is using mobile devices for almost everything they do and this includes playing casino games. We check to see if these international sites cater to this, offering all their games and other features for all devices. Some will have dedicated apps, but not only are they not always available for iOS, UK players may not be able to download them.
With this in mind, we prefer to focus on whether the casino has made sure that their mobile browser site is fully compatible and scalable with a wide range of devices. By offering this as the mobile option, international casinos make it very easy for players to switch between the two versions of the site, enabling them to log on whenever they feel like playing.
Getting an account
A final thing to consider when joining an international casino is the actual signup process itself. As we mentioned, UK players will still need to find a site that accepts them before this part of the process can even be set in motion. For most casinos, signing up is the same as it is at UKGC casinos – inputting personal data such as name, age and an email address.
However, some of these non-UK licenced sites have some extra options up their sleeves. For instance, some of these sites have the incognito mode available, which is not an option at UKGC casinos. This means that players do not have to give any personal information, and will even not retain this information on their site even when provided it. This ensures players total privacy.
No verification needed
UKGC sites also need players to go through a verification process when they make a withdrawal. International sites do not always need this. This means that players can skip the rather time-consuming process of finding and scanning documents, waiting for them to be reviewed. Instead, players can jump right ahead to getting their money withdrawn instantly and enjoying their hard-earned winnings in a faster fashion.
Non UK Sites post Brexit
As some of these international sites are European-based, many UK players will actually be considering how this affects their gaming once Brexit comes into effect. The single market is one of the biggest benefits casino operators enjoy when operating out of the EU. Currently, the Malta licence is the way to go for companies that want to make use of this exciting and useful business option.
With the UK leaving the EU, there is a possibility that things will change for some players and the international casinos they enjoy playing at. It’s good to be thinking about it, but actually it is unlikely that anything will change much for UK players. The only thing that might change is if the site removes its business from the UK once Brexit is finalised, though this is unlikely.
- Players need to check with their own casinos
- UKGC licenced sites are unlikely to be affected
For those that aren’t at UKGC licenced sites, things are still unlikely to change when Brexit comes into full effect. However, we still recommend that players choose casinos that have licences as this is still the best way to ensure player safety. Of course, the best protection is under the UKGC licence, but everyone is free to choose which casinos they want to play at.
Despite some of the more obvious downsides, international sites do offer a lot to UK players. The main thing for UK players is to actually find a site that does give access to UK players. Of course, it’s possible for players to skirt around any restrictions that might be in place, but they run the risk of violating casino policies and getting banned as a result.
For players who do find international sites accepting UK players, there are a wealth of fun options waiting for them. With tonnes of games, lucrative promotions and decent security, there are ample winning chances. However, player protection is still limited from any site that is not with the UKGC. Despite this, it is perfectly legal for UK players to join these sites if they so choose.
Why play at international casinos?
As we have outlined, there are numerous good things about joining up to an international casino. The fact that they don’t have to follow UK rules is a main one, which means that players can access thousands of games and big bonuses alongside anonymous payments options and no verification accounts. This makes these sites an exciting alternative to those usually available to UK players.
International casinos FAQ
It can be, but check out the licence for security reasons.
Yes, but normally only if the site has a UKGC licence. Some MGA casinos are open to UK players as well, even though they don’t have a UK license.
Yes, these can be large, but vary across casino sites.
No, it is legal even if the casino doesn’t have a UK license. However, it is illegal for international casinos to try to attract UK players, but it’s perfectly legal for them to join.
Read our recommended sites list for the best international casinos.