How “Casinos Not on Gamstop” Avoid Self-Exclusion to Target Vulnerable Gamblers

By Mike Fatouros | Updated: April 1st, 2024

This article was updated: April 1st, 2024

Casinos can provide an exciting venue to take a chance on Lady Luck, but for some people, gambling becomes an addiction.

What was once an innocuous pastime may morph into an uncontrollable urge, potentially leading to self-destructive and dangerous patterns. Gamstop, a UK-based non-profit organization, aims to provide such struggling individuals with a secure, easy-to-use platform to curb harmful inclinations and get back on track.  

While most responsible online casinos support Gamstop’s efforts to protect vulnerable players, certain establishments care more for profits than people. As Pokies has discovered from our investigation, these non-Gamstop casinos appear to cooperate with one another to purposely target the at-risk individuals Gamstop wants to help. 

We’ve created this objective, informative guide for two purposes:

  1. Investigate these non-Gamstop casinos to shed light on what these establishments actually offer (rather than what they claim to offer)
  2. Provide gamblers searching for “not-on-Gamstop casinos” with an objective overview before they spend their money on one of these platforms

We’ll tackle this topic from various angles, starting with some fundamental information on Gamstop and how to spot potentially unreputable casinos based on the marketing tactics they employ.

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What Is Gamstop?

Let’s start with an overview to bring everyone up to speed.

Gamstop is a free, non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that provides players with the opportunity to exclude themselves from registered Gamstop casinos. As of March 31, 2020, all casinos in the UK are legally required to register with Gamstop. To date, more than 200 gambling companies, some of which are present in 30+ casinos, have registered with the platform. 

Some well-known names in the Gamstop database include: 

  • 888 casino
  • 32red casino
  • Bet365

These and other renowned online casinos are licensed through the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which regulates online casinos to promote safer gambling. Reputable casinos recognize the importance of the Commission in providing gamblers with responsible ways to play.

Licensed online casinos are rigorously monitored to safeguard players against bad-faith actors.

Many of these same online casinos, in a testament to their prioritization of players’ wellbeing, provide multiple warnings and safety nets to protect players, including ways to self-restrict their online gambling activities. This includes daily and monthly gambling limits and exclusion from particular casinos.

How Does Gamstop Work?

Gamstop complements casinos’ consumer protection efforts. As mentioned, most casinos are receptive to this support and even feature Gamstop on their platforms.

Gamstop works by giving users the option to self-exclude themselves from online casinos for a set period of time. The process usually works like this:

  1. If a person wants to discontinue gambling but fears that they may be tempted to gamble again before they’re ready, they can sign up for Gamstop. This service allows users to exclude themselves from all casinos on the Gamstop site for a chosen period (up to a lifetime). 
  2. Gamstop works cooperatively with GamCare, which provides advice and information for people struggling with addiction. Recovering addicts can talk to advisors and receive help to either create a healthier relationship with online gambling or, if they choose, permanently stop gambling.
  3. Gamstop users can edit exclusion period preferences at any time after talking with an advisor.
  4. After the exclusion period ends, the player can access any of the previously restricted casinos.

This process helps people to step away from online gambling if they believe that they are starting to form unhealthy habits.

In January and February 2021, Gamstop reported that it had surpassed 200,000 users. Notably, female Gamstop users are on the rise, with about 29% of total users being female, and overall, registrations rose 14% year-over-year

Gamestop also reported that 49,328 users who attempted to gamble were successfully blocked in January 2021.

“We’re pleased that Gamstop is serving as an effective safety net, providing crucial breathing space to those who are struggling with their gambling,” said CEO Fiona Palmer. “Awareness around self-exclusion schemes and blocking software has been increasing throughout the last year, and it is important that we continue to spread the message about what help is available to those who need it most.”

The Role of GamStop in the Gambling Industry

Online gambling has been a prominent part of the industry for several years. However, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of many social and sporting venues, online casinos have experienced a significant increase in business.

According to a report from CNBC, the UK Gambling Commission reported that fewer people overall were gambling in 2020, but existing online gamblers became more active, spending more money and expanding their range of activities.

Some experts are concerned that the factors brought about by the pandemic—including isolation and increased levels of stress, anxiety, boredom, and financial woes—may increase the risk for some individuals to demonstrate risky behavior and, potentially, become addicted.

As mentioned, most licensed companies allow consumers to self-restrict if they are concerned they may be developing a problem, and the UK government is also considering revising gambling regulations to better serve consumers in the digital era.

Many casinos have pledged support for non-profit bodies like Gamstop that protect and support those with gambling addictions.

How Are Non-Regulated Casinos Different From Other Online Casinos?

As mentioned, all casinos licensed in the UK must now register with Gamstop. However, the UKGC is not the only entity that provides legitimate licenses to online casinos.

Several governing bodies in the iGaming industry inspect online casinos to ensure a fair, safe gambling experience. It’s important for consumers to be aware of these entities to ensure they are spending their money with legitimate, licensed providers.

The most well-known iGaming licenses are:

Gambling Licensing

United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC): One of the first official gambling bodies, the UKGC still imposes some of the most rigorous checks and balances on betting and casinos in the UK.

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA): An equally reputable iGaming authority, the MGA seal of approval is one that is not issued lightly. Games’ transparency and responsible gambling are always monitored closely in all MGA-licensed casinos.

Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association (GBGA): this regulatory body imposes similar regulations as the UKGC and operates in accordance with the same legislation (Gambling Act 2005).

Curacao eGaming: This is the oldest e-gaming licensing body, having issued permits to online casinos since 1996. A Curacao license opens the door to nearly every country in the world and covers various types of games, including lotteries and sports.

Some lesser-known gambling licenses include:

  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
  • Alderney Gambling Control Commission
  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission
  • Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission
  • Dutch Gaming Authority

Non-Regulated Casinos in the UK

Of the casinos we investigated for this piece, many claimed to be licensed through the Government of Curacao.

When we inquired with the respective authority, we discovered that this is false.

Unregulated casinos do not carry any of the above licenses. In order to acquire such authorization, a casino would have to adhere to the rules set by the respective authority. Not complying with these rules results in loss of license and online casino closure. 

Pokies strongly believes that users have a right to make informed decisions about where they’re spending their money online. Unregulated casinos and their affiliate sites run counter to this mission.

Why Is Casino Licensing Important? 

It may not affect you much if an online casino pays taxes and follows a host country’s regulations. However, such measures establish a contractual and mutually-beneficial relationship between the casino and patrons. 

With a licensed casino, you don’t have to worry about: 

  • Getting paid when you win money
  • Unfair practices, such as hidden regulations which aim to restrict players’ winnings
  • Fair use of the games, as originally designed by their developers
  • Personal and banking information leaks
  • Fair mediation when issuing a complaint about the casino

Even if you abide by the rules and win fair-and-square, you might never see your full earnings if playing on an unregulated platform. Without a license or reputation to speak of, these casinos have nothing to lose and may refuse payouts to legitimate winners, among other underhanded practices.

How Do Non-Gamstop Casinos Attract Players?

Because of these potential drawbacks, non-regulated casinos have a distinct disadvantage in attracting players to their platforms.

Many consumers are rightfully wary of casinos willing to skirt regulations, including mandatory Gamstop registration in the UK, as it indicates a lack of transparency and disregard for consumers’ best interests.

Unsurprisingly, these same entities are often not above other underhanded tactics to take advantage of various players, not only those struggling with addictive behavior.

Here’s a sneak peek into their playbook for attracting players.

Forming “Independent Platforms” to Promote Unregulated Casinos

This group of casino sites not registered on Gamstop is made up of multiple separate entities, but evidence suggests that they work together to promote themselves by establishing supposedly objective, reliable “independent platforms.”

They use these platforms to reel in vulnerable players who have been searching for “not-on-Gamstop casinos” and related search terms.

These non-Gamstop casinos do not rank high in searches individually, but flying under the radar is part of their strategy. With their combined resources, this alliance of unregulated casinos can establish various websites to lure customers.

This is likely a reason why they don’t employ traditional marketing tactics, such as advertising or organic marketing. 

When someone searches “what casinos are not registered on Gamstop” or a similar search term, they may come upon one of the following sites or a similar one designed by not-on-Gamstop casinos to acquire customers: 


As you can see, nearly all of them directly target “casinos-not-on-gamstop” in the URL as part of their search engine optimization strategy, allowing them to rank highly in related searches.

What’s worse—many of the first-page Google search results for the keyphrase link to scam sites like these, presenting them as legitimate, trustworthy entities.

When you visit one of these websites, you’ll see that they only have a handful of web pages, all of which are related to casino sites not on Gamstop. Most gambling affiliate sites contain several web pages that cover a range of topics related to the iGambling industry.

That’s why we suspect that all of these sites may be owned by the same group for the purpose of funneling players to their casinos.

We examined Ahrefs data to gauge how many consumers could end up at not-on-Gamstop casinos through one of these sites, and here’s what we found:

Search KeywordGoogle Searches per Month*
Casinos not-on-Gamstop4700
Sites not-on-Gamstop1300
Gambling sites not-on-Gamstop1100
Casino not-on-Gamstop600
*Ahrefs data generated in 2021

We are not so concerned with the number of people searching for these sites. After all, it’s expected that those struggling with addiction will look for ways around self-imposed limits.

What troubles us is the number of at-risk or addicted players that not-on-Gamstop casinos can target using these tactics. As you can see, there’s a huge potential pool of vulnerable people that these sites can take advantage of to boost their profits.

Using Social Media Platforms to Attract Players

Another prominent strategy we’ve noticed is using online communities to promote not-on-Gamstop casinos.

On the forum site Reddit, we found a user promoting multiple “casinos not on gamstop” in their posts, one of which was accompanied by a long list of targeted keywords seemingly designed to attract Reddit users looking for non-Gamstop casinos.

Casinos not on Gamstop Reddit

Upon searching the username Google, we found two additional instances of the name being used, both of which were tied to unsecure, spammy gambling websites promoting online pokies and casinos on Reddit.

In another instance, we discovered a small group of users posting and commenting on one another’s questions to promote various websites and services—including non-Gamstop casinos. You’ll notice that a small handful of names show up to respond to one another across different forums.

Casinos not on Gamstop Reddit2

These are, of course, fake profiles—obvious ones at that.

In one case, u/klaris95 provides information about finding the best men’s haircut, but in another, they talk about the difficulty of getting pregnant as a woman. Similarly, the user asks questions about local services in Pennsylvania, Paris, and Canada.

We found a similar issue on Quora as well, with questions linked directly to non-Gamstop casino sites. However, due to Quora’s requirement that users log on with their real names and the ability to report spam links, it’s more difficult to fly under the radar with this strategy on Quora than it is on Reddit.

Casinos not on Gamstop Quora

Through a combination of Google search and social forums like Quora and Reddit, these casinos have created a way to target vulnerable gambling addicts who are actively searching for a way to get around gambling exclusions.

Common Similarities Between Non-Gamstop Casinos

We’ve made it clear that, from an ethical standpoint, we object to casino sites targeting vulnerable individuals, but we also know that some people may just brush this strategy off as smart marketing.

However, the way these casinos acquire their customers isn’t the only problem we have with these types of casinos.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that more often than not, these same non-Gamstop casinos aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. While they promise a large selection of games and fair payouts, that’s often far from the truth.

That’s because most of them fall under the category of “rogue casinos.”

How to Identify Rogue Casinos

To protect players, many sites like this one establish blacklists to warn players about the risks of unlicensed casinos, also known as “rogue casinos.”

There are various reasons a casino could be classified as rogue, including:

  • Unlicensed: Players can find a casino’s licensing information at the bottom of its homepage, where all legal gambling websites must display their operating number. If you cannot locate it, it’s likely the casino is unlicensed.
  • Fake or Pirated Games: While rogue casinos often claim to have thousands of casino games from multiple software providers, the reality is that these are often pirated versions of the original games.
  • Unfair Use of RNG: As their games are often pirated versions, there is no guarantee that these games meet the expected random number generator (RNG) and return to player (RTP) measurements.
  • Sneaky Terms & Conditions: While the bonuses at these casinos are impressive, they’re often a smokescreen to draw players in. Check the Terms & Conditions, and you’ll notice there are numerous transactional limits, making it impossible to make a sustainable profit.
  • Unfair Practices: Customer support exists, but you’re unlikely to get actual assistance. Customer support agents are more likely to provide excuses to deter players from realizing they’re being conned than to provide speedy resolution to disputes.
  • Long Payment Processing Times: Payments coming into and out of rogue casinos are often distributed to multiple bank accounts in different countries, resulting in long processing times.
  • Lack of Security: These sites tend to be well-designed with clear attention to detail, but what they have in aesthetics they lack in fundamental security and other privacy measures.

What Games Can You Play on Non-Gamstop Casinos?

Unregulated casinos offer more than an opportunity to sidestep self-imposed restrictions. They also offer a broad array of casino games, including video slots, poker, roulette, blackjack, lottery, sports betting, and arcade games.

This wide variety gives unsuspecting customers an incentive to sign up, unaware the casino may employ underhanded tactics to steal players’ money and withhold winnings. What they don’t initially realize is that the games these rogue casinos offer are often unlicensed, bootleg versions.

Various aspects of these pirated copies—including randomness, return to player, and volatility—are often altered to skew the odds in the casino’s favor.

Best Not-on-Gamstop Casinos

At this point, we hope we’ve shown why gambling sites that are not registered on Gamstop or licensed through a reputable governing body are not trustworthy and should be avoided.

With that said, we acknowledge some players who have self-excluded from other gambling sites may still be looking for an online casino to try their luck.

That’s why we looked into the options to find the lesser evils (so to speak) and provide better alternatives to the sites suggested by the non-Gamstop casino sites.

These more reputable options include:

  • Vegas Wild Casino
  • MyStake Casino
  • Rolleto
  • Cocoa Casino

Keep in mind that these are not the best casinos to play in 2024 overall, but unlike other non-Gamstop casinos, they do use official versions of games and are licensed through at least one legitimate gambling body.

If you decide to visit one of these sites, though, proceed with caution. Because they operate without an official UKCG license, they may be shut down by UK gambling authorities.

Real Player Reviews of Not-on-Gamstop Sites


While data is informative, first-person testimony can be far more revealing. To underscore our research on unregistered casinos’ unfair practices, we’ve compiled several players’ reviews. Below, you’ll find overall TrustPilot scores and firsthand accounts  from real users describing their experience using various rogue platforms. 

Very Well Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.5/5
“Definitely a SCAM site. After reading the small print on what docs they require and also the reviews from people who have been scammed, it’s another one to avoid. Looks like they are preying on people who have Gamstopped themselves…”

Royal Oak Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.6/5
“They [always] find a new excuse to delay the withdrawal process… They keep doing it so you will cancel the withdrawal and play your winnings. It’s so bad. You can tell they want you to not withdraw.’’

Jackpot Charm Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.9/5
“This place is a joke. I had £1000 in my account and [they] started saying I need a passport all of a sudden. Bearing in mind I’ve [withdrawn] four times before. I’ve just ordered a passport, and [it] would be ages before I could withdraw the £1000. I lost my patience so I just spent the money in my account. I hope they burn to the ground. I will wait for my Gamstop [restriction] to expire.’’

Crazy Star Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.7/5
“I have won 25k on live roulette from €400. I have handed in all I.D. and selfies and now they’ve locked my account for no reason. Every day they tell me ‘wait for the technical team to email you.’ They tried telling [me] Visa is down and I should join an e-wallet account. Has anyone ever been paid by this site?’’

The Red Lion Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.6/5
“Has anyone actually managed to get a successful withdrawal off this casino, or even got as far as getting their account verified? I’ve turned £25 into £800 on the sportsbook, but they are refusing to verify my account, so I can’t withdraw. Obviously, reading these reviews, this is no real surprise.
Numerous emails sent requesting info on what is actually happening with the account. Get the odd one back but with no real substance and never really answers the question so I have to email back and start the whole process again. Presuming they only deal in deposits and not withdrawals. 😳’’

Play at Harrys Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.5/5
“The worst casino site ever. Unfortunately, being a compulsive gambler and having blocked myself from the majority of casino websites, I had the misfortune of being able to set up an account with these con artists. I have now sent four emails asking to be self-excluded. Have never received as much as a word of response and can currently deposit whatever amount I wish. No self-exclusion [or] deposit limit function on their website, so all I can say is they are preying on the misfortunes of problem gamblers. I will be contacting the gambling commission to advise of this as surely this is an illegal practice they are operating. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!”

CasoBet Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.6/5
“Do not use this casino. I have wagered 35x on the bonus they forced on me. I read through the terms and conditions, looking at every detail. I have tried contacting them to explain why I can’t withdraw any of my £5,800 winnings. Every withdrawal I make keeps getting rejected, and I’ve had no reply or reason for this. Absolutely disgusting behaviour from this casino business. I hope karma plays a part here.’’

BetFlip Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.5/5
“Do not deposit money into this site. They will never ever pay you.
I made 4 deposits here and lost every time. On the 5th deposit I won over $5k in sports betting and cleared the ridiculous 45x rollover requirement. When I went to withdraw, my money was reduced down to original deposit. They said single game bets are illegal. They told me that I had to wager on 3 selection combo parlays.
I was lucky enough to make 3 team parlays and roll it over again….. accumulating another $5k, and then they went ahead and stole that balance also.
Complete scam. If you deposit here you will lose even if you win.”

Agent Spins Casino

TrustPilot Score: 1.8/5
The casino accepted deposits of more than 400 euros from me. At some point I got lucky and won 500 euros. I ordered a withdrawal on November 27th. Today is December 21st and I still haven’t received my money. They gave me promises to pay within 3 weeks. Today I received a letter that they cannot pay me and they are closing my account.”

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Protecting Players From Rogue Casinos

The internet and mobile devices have revolutionized gambling for better and worse. While gambling is now easier than ever, the heightened accessibility and convenience carries increased risk.

With millions of people struggling with online gambling addictions and harmful habits, tools like Gamstop are needed now more than ever. Publicly- and privately-owned entities like Gamstop, as well as government regulatory bodies, have a crucial responsibility to help those who cannot separate fun from compulsion.

On the other hand, there’s more that needs to be done. Gamstop has even been criticised for not doing enough to prevent players from circumventing its system, and rogue casinos pose an additional hurdle to protecting at-risk players.

Even licensed casinos that make use of these tricky marketing tactics usually don’t have customers’ best interest in mind. Ultimately, their priority is profit—at all costs.

By registering with Gamstop and implementing their own self-exclusion schemes, reputable online casinos are doing their part to provide a fun experience with guardrails to promote safer gambling.

Rogue casinos, on the other hand, leverage addiction—even going so far as to make addicts their target audience—to get ahead.

If you’re struggling with addiction, know that there are ways to curb unhealthy gambling habits and prevent yourself from falling prey to a “not-on-Gamstop” casino’s underhanded strategies to separate players from their money.

*Disclaimer: We have removed all hyperlinks from the sites mentioned in this article, so that we do not provide them with further power in terms of their standing in the Google Search Engine results.

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