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Horse Racing Not On Gamstop
Betting on horse racing is a very popular pastime in the UK and worldwide. Its popularity in comparison to other sports is difficult to pin down as it varies from survey to survey. In the UK, it is the backbone of the business for real world high street bookmakers. Online, it usually features second as the most popular sport to bet on, behind only football in most polls. In nations across the world, it is rarely outside the top five most popular betting sports.
There are two disciplines which are most commonly bet on: flat racing is a race of pure speed with no obstacles. This is tough enough for both horse and rider, but the other main form of the sport involves also tackling obstacles. Steeplechasing can involve big fences, ditches and water obstacles. In the UK the most famous example is the Grand National, with iconic ‘fences’ like Becher’s Brook more like a giant hedge, with the landing side lower than the take-off side to make things even more difficult. There is also hurdle racing, where the obstacles are less imposing, but still a serious hazard to a speeding horse.
For the serious punter, it’s a serious business. From Hamilton to Haydock and from Ascot to York, every meeting is a possible destination for study. Any number of different factors can be considered by eager punters before the crucial decision as to where to place their stakes is taken. Form guides; jockeys; the success rates of different stables; the conditions of the racecourse and the local weather forecast are just some of the criteria which are likely to be researched. For the more casual hobbyist, the attractiveness of the jockey’s colours and the quirkiness of the horse’s name are crucial determinants of the destination of a punter’s cash.
And there is plenty to bet on. Horse racing meetings are a daily occurrence, with several meetings each day. Then of course there are also more races to bet on across the world – a big focus for online sports betting sites and portals. In the UK, serious punters will be betting on any race, any day, while the more recreational punter tends to focus on the big races. The Aintree Grand National and Epsom Derby are probably the biggest single races for the casual fan. The big national festivals, like Ascot, Goodwood and Cheltenham are also massive magnets for punters’ cash.
Whether you are a regular reader of the Racing Post; or you think it’s all a matter of pure chance and fortune or somewhere in between, the fact is that sports betting operators make a tidy profit from your stakes. On your local high street or in the nearest town centre, the chances are there are several different bookmakers for you to choose from. Online, the choice is even greater. Those same high street bookies also have an online presence, together with still more which are online operators only.
Now there are even more options to choose from: all UK land based high street bookmakers and most online sports betting operators, must comply with the strict regulations of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). But United Kingdom and Europe based customers can now also place online bets with other online sports betting companies which operate under an international licence. These operators are often regulated via the Dutch administered Caribbean island of Curacao.
Many sports betting sites and portals which are licenced via Curacao are focused on the American market, but also accept customers from across the pond in Europe. This offers them some advantages when compared with locally regulated sites, because they don’t have to comply with all the onerous rules and regulations which the UKGC and European regulators impose on their licensees.
In the UK, these alternative sites are often referred to as ‘not on Gamstop’, because membership of Gamstop (a self-exclusion mechanism which applies equally to all gambling companies operating in the UK gambling market) is a requirement of the UKGC licence.
Placing a horse racing bet with one of these ‘not on Gamstop’ companies has advantages and disadvantages. It does, it is fair to say, carry additional risks when compared with betting with a traditional UKGC licenced site, which you should be aware of. But first, let’s look at some of the reasons why it may be worth considering such a move in the first place.
Advantages of horse racing not on Gamstop
- Quicker registration process and withdrawals – Perhaps the most obvious advantage is the likelihood of a swifter, smoother signing on process. Gambling sites like casinos and sports betting portals which are licenced via the UKGC are required to carry out identity checks on new customers. These are sometimes done on registration, but must in any case be carried out before any pay out. These ‘know your customer’ (KYC) checks can involve the requirement to upload documents such as passports, driving licence and / or utility bills in order for the customer to prove their identity and place of residence. Non-Gamstop sites may not have to carry out these government required anti-fraud measures, so you may be able to start betting sooner, and your first claim may well be processed quicker than under a UK registered site.
- Different payment options – UKGC registered sites are not allowed to accept credit cards as payment for gambling. However, credit card payments are not banned by the Government of Curacao, so you may well find credit cards are allowed as a deposit method on non-Gamstop sites. Since most Curacao licenced sites are predominantly focused on the American market, you are likely to find alternative payment methods which are provided for customers there.
- Alternative bonuses and promotions – The kinds of promotions, bonuses and loyalty schemes which can be offered to customers are strictly limited by the UKGC in order to discourage unhealthy gambling patterns. A Curacao licence carries fewer of these restrictions, so it is possible for operators in that market to make marketing offers not available to the standard UK or European market.
- Greater variety of foreign races – UK focused sports betting sites do generally offer the possibility of betting on horse races all across the world. Nevertheless, the focus is usually on UK and Ireland based race meetings. With Curacao licenced sites being more inclined toward the American market, you may find a better service if you prefer a foreign flutter. Australian horse racing is another popular option for many non-Gamstop sites.
Disadvantages of horse racing not on Gamstop
- Not suitable for players with a gambling problem – Players with a known gambling problem are not recommended to switch to a Curacao licenced sports betting site. Gamstop’s comprehensive self-exclusion mechanism does not work with Curacao licenced operators. Other similar betting and gambling welfare organisations, such as GamCare or the Gamban app, are also unlikely to be supported. Even if you only suspect keeping control of your spending may be a problem for you, it is best to steer clear of non-Gamstop sites.
- Poorer coverage of domestic horse racing meetings – The coverage of UK and Irish race meetings will vary. The focus of Curacao licenced sites can be more targeted toward the US, Australian and overseas markets generally. Always check closely that you are happy with your chosen site’s horse racing coverage before going through the registration process.
- No UKGC protection – Betting on a UKGC regulated site can seem like a pain sometimes. All those documents to upload and waiting around for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn… but it has its upsides too. Consumer protection is relatively good – the UKGC is a body with teeth to refer to if a dispute arises. A Curacao licence offers you little in this respect. If you do run into trouble, you are likely to be on your own. There is little in the way of support for individual punters, and its licensees also tend to offer less customer support than you would expect to find on a typical UKGC regulated site. Bear in mind also that whatever support is provided is likely to be focused on the US and Latin American market than the UK or European one.
- Different payments – As we have seen, the possibility of being able to use your credit card for making deposits is a definite advantage of many Curacao licenced sites. However, other payment options which you may be used to seeing on UKGC regulated sports betting sites may well be absent. PayPal for example, is rarely if ever found on a Curacao regulated title. This is because, rather like the UK and most European governments ban the use of credit cards to make gambling payments, the US government does not allow PayPal to be used for this purpose. Other payment options may also be more suited to the trans-Atlantic market rather than the UK / European one.
- Data protection – Data protection laws which apply to Curacao licenced sites are different from those which apply to the UK and EU. It is vital that your passwords and confidential financial data are kept safe. The standard of data protection may not be as comprehensive as you would expect from a UKGC regulated operator.
Is horse racing betting not on Gamstop safe?
It is usually safe to bet with Curacao licenced non-Gamstop sites, but it does represent an additional risk. It is best to stick to operations which have been reviewed by sites like this one. It is also a good idea to do a little digging of your own: for example by checking online for poor reviews and negative customer feedback.
It is in any case always good practice to begin with low value bets whenever you begin to place bets with a new site.
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