Offshore betting is on the rise in many places around the world, for a number of reasons. As the potential harms of the gambling industry become better understood, regulations become tighter and tighter. While, on the whole, this is good for consumers and the industry by and large, it does drive some people to bet offshore. But is this safe? There are many dangers associated with this kind of betting. Let’s consider a few of the biggest.
- Protections and recourse
One of the biggest issues you’re going to face is that the offshore site is under no real obligation to adhere to rules regarding player protections. Any request you make to customer service may simply go ignored, and in many cases, the worst and most predatory offshore operators have used misleading terms and conditions or advertising schemes to attract customers under false pretences.
If you sign up to an offshore betting account, you’ve got no guaranteed recourse in the case that something goes wrong. Without any legal protection, everything you do on such a site is at your own risk.
These protections extend to many areas of your betting, too. Most importantly, perhaps, aside from funds which I will look at shortly, is the lack of adequate protection on the personal data needed to sign up to such a site. Sensitive financial information, along with virtually all sensitive personal information, is required to be stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act. With as many as 65,000 cyber attacks attempted in the UK alone each day, when signing over sensitive personal information to an offshore gambling site, you are at serious risk.
- Lack of guidelines and regulation
The process of applying for a license from the UKGC is long and laborious, and the guidelines are extremely strict. These regulations are in place to help and aid customers and to make the betting experience safer and fairer for them. With around 2,600 licensed operators offering online betting services of one kind or another according to Findbettingsites, you’ve got no shortage of options.
With offshore betting sites, none of these guidelines are necessarily going to be followed. This means that, for instance, the games themselves will not adhere to the rules of fairness which the UKGC dictates. Thus, the house edge is probably enormous and perhaps insurmountable. It may be virtually impossible to make any actual winnings on an offshore site.
This means they will also, no doubt, prey on problem gamblers. Addressing this issue has long been the goal of the UKGC, and while they may still have a long way to go even for licensed sites, the complete lack of regulation on offshore betting sites means that they may, in many cases, simply be set up to drain money from gambling addicts.
While you may wish to move your gambling offshore precisely because of certain restrictive regulations, trust that regulations as a whole are put in place for your own benefit. You have no guarantee of a fair deal with an offshore site.
- Funds unprotected
Perhaps the simplest and most immediate problem you’re going to have with offshore betting sites is that you have little to no protection for the funds you deposit into any such site. Some of the worst offshore betting sites may simply set themselves up to take deposits and hold them, with only the barest illusion that you can win it back through their games. again, in such cases, it’s very unlikely you’d be able to get that money back.
Per year, scam victims in the UK lose over £1 billion to these kinds of schemes, and offshore, unlicensed betting sites certainly make up a good proportion of that figure. If your bank refuse to refund such losses, then you have no other recourse.
The dangers of offshore betting are many, and very serious. You stand a chance of losing all the money you stake without ever having a chance of winning anything. Even in the case that an offshore operator offers services with the best of intentions regarding fairness, you still have no protections in the case that something goes wrong. Keep your betting away from offshore companies.