GamStop and How it Works
GamStop is an independent self-exclusion tool that allows people who have issues with online gambling and don’t trust themselves to regulate their impulses to be banned from placing wagers. After registering at GamStop, you will no longer be able to access any online casino accounts that you have or create new ones.
Keep in mind that the ban doesn’t necessarily need to be permanent – you’re free to select a period of time that you wish to be banned for, and after it expires you will be free to continue playing like before. The idea of GamStop isn’t to punish people with gambling addiction, but rather to provide them with help through an easy to use tool that works the way they want it to.
GamStop is not a fool-proof solution, as there are multiple ways to “cheat” the system and still gamble, circumventing your ban. One popular way to do that is to play at offshore casinos which aren’t affected by GamStop-issued bans, but that comes with its own set of disadvantages that make that option rather unappealing.
How to register at GamStop
Gamstop is available to all residents of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but it’s important to note that you can not register someone else in the program (like a family member) – it is the individual who needs help themselves that must complete their registration.
While registering, you would need to provide several personal details such as your name, postcode, date of birth and e-mail address. Upon confirming your account, you will be able to choose whether you want to be excluded for 6 months, 1 year or 5 years.
Offshore Casinos not on GamStop
In order to operate legally in the UK, a casino site needs to be licenced by the UK Gambling Commission, which in turn ensures that the games are fair and the winnings owed are paid out. But obtaining such a licence is very expensive – every form of licence requires a yearly fee and/or a percentage of profits. Some casinos don’t want to pay said fee and instead prefer to gain a different licence, one that will allow them to legally serve clients and can serve as a badge of honour that will earn the players’ trust.
Most of those casinos are not supported by GamStop, and there’s a very simple reason for that – GamStop is primarily aimed at the UK market and most casinos that lack a UK licence are not allowed to accept bets from Brits. That doesn’t mean they don’t, but they do so illegally, without permission from the UK government and no obligation to pay out any sort of wins to UK winners. It’s very unfair to categorize all unlicenced casinos as scams, but a considerable number of them are known to lack reputability.
The licence offered by the UK Gambling Commission isn’t the only one that casinos can receive in order to get certified. Granted, every casino looking to service players in the UK needs it – but many that don’t still quietly accept UK players anyway. Some alternative licences include:
This is one of the most lucrative licences a casino can have, as it’s given to every casino that pays the (relatively low) fee and hosts its servers in Curacao. Game fairness is not tested, and on top of that casinos don’t pay any tax to Curacao.
One of the very few foreign licences which allow a casino to service UK players. That’s no coincidence, as obtaining a Malta licence requires casinos to commit to fair payouts and properly handled customer data.
Much like the Curacao licence, the only requirement to obtain this one is to pay, and to be willing to accept deposits (and, conversely, pay out winnings) through Gibraltar banks. Beyond that, you have no obligation to protect players.
One of the cheaper options in terms of maintaining the licence, with a relatively low annual fee compared to the Gambling Commission. They take care to ensure that the casino software is functional and fair, but not much else.
Should you play at offshores casinos?
When you’re banned from UK casinos, we can certainly understand the temptation to register at one operating outside the country’s borders and thus unaffected by the GamStop ban. But is that really such a good idea?
The short answer is no. UK casinos are licensed by organizations which answer directly to the government, which in turn ensures that they’re fair and honest. And while certain off-shore licenses are as good as the UK ones, many have significantly looser regulations and some are entirely meaningless and given freely to anyone who pays.
You could play at non-GamStop casinos if:
- You believe you’re in charge of your spending habits and never bet more than you can afford to lose
- You aren’t afraid that a casino may refuse to pay out your winnings or let you withdraw your deposit
- You’re certain your addiction is behind you and you’re ready ro re-approach the hobby from a healthier perspective
- You simply prefer the games, bonuses and layout of an off-shore casino more than any of the UK ones
- You used GamStop by mistake (for example you intended to block yourself for 6 months, but clicked on a year)
Top 3 casinos not on GamStop:
Ares is home to some of the most beloved slot games of all time, including Book of Ra, Jack and the Beanstalk, Narcos and Starburst. To let you enjoy them fully, they offer a staggering 400% bonus on your first deposit.
Holding a Curacao licence, Crazyno offers players a wide variety of slots and table games, as well as live casino. Players can take advantage of a 250% welcome bonus and a 100% match every Monday.
Unlike many UK casinos, Paradise8 accepts bitcoin and many other kinds of cryptocurrency. After depositing, you’ll receive a very generous 300% match bonus and 100% cashback on your first deposit made in Bitcoin.
Betting companies on GamStop
Over 200 different companies, many of which operating multiple online casinos, currently participate in GamStop. You can find the full list on the official GamStop website, but some of the better-known names include:
Betting companies not on GamStop in 2020
Most casinos that don’t officially operate in the UK are excluded from GamStop by default – if the casino is not listed on GamStop’s official list of partners, then you can make the assumption that you will not be banned from it. Some more notable casinos excluded by GamStop include:
Alternative self-exclusion tools like GamStop
GamStop is certainly the biggest and most popular self-exclusion service, but by far not the only one. Here are a few GamStop alternatives for UK players:
Unlike GamStop, which works on the basis of blocking your accounts, Gamban blocks access to casino sites altogether through the use of software you can install on your computer or on Android or Apple devices through the use official apps downloaded from their respective app stores. The downside is that Gamban is a paid service, and it can also be easily turned off while GamStop can’t.
Just like Gamban, GamBlock uses software to block out access to casino sites and instead redirects you to pages where you can receive help. This is also a paid service, and the prices are much steeper than Gamban – in addition, you also need to pay a separate fee depending on what devices you use, while Gamban’s single fee encompasses desktop and all mobile devices.
COUNT ME OUT, GA & GMA
Prevention isn’t always the best way to tackle gambling addiction, and for some people placing the sites under lock and key is simply not an optimal solution. That’s why organizations like Gamblers Anonymous, the Gordon Moody Association, GamCare and, of course, Count Me Out can provide you with the support that a mere block can’t.
Payment methods for casinos not participating in GamStop
The methods for depositing in casinos that don’t participate in GamStop are not too different from those used in regular, UK-licenced casinos. The biggest restriction that you’ll need to work around is that some UK-issued debit cards might not work, since UK banks might not work with companies that are not legally allowed to take payments from UK citizens. Still, there are work-arounds – you can use e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, and even if they’re not officially supported many e-wallet services also provide users with their own cards linked to their wallets. That way, even if the casino doesn’t officially accept PayPal for example, you can probably still pay with that balance by using a PayPal-issued debit card.
Probably the most popular method of deposit for offshore casinos, however, is cryptocurrency. While crypto has been around for years, it has only recently become a valid and widely accepted method of paying for goods and services, with many players and casinos preferring it due to the fact that it’s not regulated by any government. As you might have guessed, Bitcoin is the most popular crypto among casinos, alongside Tether, Ethereum and LiteCoin which have also gathered popularity recently.
Frequently Asked Questions About GamStop
Is GamStop free?
Yes! GamStop is completely free to use, with no hidden fees or taxes. Regardless of whether you set the ban to just 6 months or have it perpetually renew, you will never be charged a penny for it.
Can I cancel my GamStop ban before it has expired?
No. It is not possible to cancel, shorten or hasten the ban that you have selected. If at registration you confirmed that you want to be banned for 5 years, then there is no way for the ban to be lifted – not even by GamStop themselves – before the 5 years are over. That’s why you need to think very carefully and consider whether this is the necessary measure for you.
Is it possible to auto-renew my ban?
Yes. By accessing your GamStop account you can easily set your ban to auto-renew, essentially banning you perpetually from participating in casinos. The auto-renew process can be cancelled at any time, but keep in mind that the period of time you’re banned for can not be reduced. In practical terms, this means that if your ban auto-renews every year, even if you stop the auto-renewal process you’ll need to wait for the year to be over before you can play.
Do I need to pay tax on wins from non-GamStop casinos?
That depends entirely on where the casino is located, as some countries (for example those in the EU) do not tax wins at all, while others will take a cut just as they would with any other income. To make the matter even more confusing, depending on the country sometimes the cut will be taken from you (meaning that you will play by the laws of your country) and sometimes from the casino (meaning that the cut depends on the country where the casino is registered). As such, it’s impossible to say how all non-GamStop casinos fare.
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