Offshore Online Casinos Explained

The online gambling terrain is fast-transforming with the emergence of new virtual casinos almost daily, a majority of them classified as offshore casinos. Anyone examining online gambling possibilities is probably acquainted with the phrase “offshore online casinos”. In essence, these are gambling portals that are hosted and controlled in a country different from the gambler’s. The word “offshore” might initially provoke doubts or apprehension amongst gamblers. However, views have changed over time. Nowadays, many offshore casinos are fully acknowledged as lawful, secure, and balanced places for gamers to partake.

Read on to learn all there is to know about offshore online casinos. 

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Offshore Online Casinos in a Nutshell

Offshore online casinos are safe havens for all those players who reside in countries where gambling, together with online gambling and its other forms, are prohibited. This is where offshore casinos come into play. 

What helps the players join these without any fear of legal prosecution is the fact that no gambling law prohibits them from accessing online casinos. Some countries, like the USA, or more specifically some of its states, can impose certain legal restrictions that prevent different payment processors from transferring funds to offshore casinos. Still, these are the harshest restrictions as far as banning offshore casinos goes. Elsewhere, offshore online casinos might 

 be blocked by the internet providers following the orders from the authorities, but players can use any Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent the geo-restrictions. 

Even though offshore casinos operate from jurisdictions with lenient gambling laws, that does not mean they are free to do as they please. Offshore casinos are legitimate casinos with clearly defined rules and guidelines that serve as the backbone of fair and safe gaming online. More importantly, offshore casinos must be licensed by reputable gambling jurisdictions in order to offer casino games to players worldwide and do business in any of the jurisdictions.

When it comes to the legality and safety of offshore casinos, the most straightforward answer you can get is that they are no different from your locally licensed online casinos or any less safe. Offshore casinos, as enterprises, are simply registered in another country and abide by the laws of another jurisdiction, but that makes them no less legal than the online casinos registered anywhere else. Players from almost every country in the world can access offshore casinos without the fear of any legal repercussions. Since offshore casinos are not registered in the countries that prohibit gambling, they are not subject to their laws. 

However, to be considered legal, all offshore casinos have to obtain gaming licenses, go through auditing processes, and are subjected to the same scrutiny as are their counterparts in the USA, the UK, and elsewhere. Some licensing authorities are widely regarded as global leaders and are a good sign of the fair practices of an online offshore casino. 

Namely, offshore casinos licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Malta Gambling Authority can be considered the safest playing options. Apart from these gaming authorities, offshore casinos can often be licensed by other reputable gaming control bodies such as Curacao e-Gaming Authority, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, and others. 

These gambling authorities perform rigorous checks of all aspects and characteristics of casinos, such as fairness of their games, the safety of information and banking transactions, and more. They also perform regular checks to make sure casino operators stick to the responsible gaming policies and abide by the gambling laws of the country they are registered in. 

On top of having a reputable gaming license, some offshore casinos have their games, especially the RNG-powered ones, tested by the independent auditing agencies such as eCOGRA, iTechLabs, and Gaming Laboratories International (GLI). With such stamps of approval, offshore casinos can vouch for the fairness of their games and confirm that every outcome of spins or hands played is indeed random. 

Why Play in Offshore Online Casinos — The Advantages of Offshore Online Casinos

One of the primary reasons why players opt for offshore online casinos is because they want to avoid the restrictive gambling laws that might be in power in their countries. In that case, offshore online casinos provide a legal and safe alternative. However, that is not the only reason. 

Namely, offshore online casinos are premier gaming venues with thousands of different slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, keno, and many other games. Thanks to modern technology and the power of the internet, offshore online casinos can offer top-notch casino experience 24/7, every day of the year. 

The gaming catalogs in offshore online casinos are powered by dozens of top software providers, such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, Playtech, Novomatic, IGT, ShuffleMaster, NYX Gaming, and many others. That sort of gaming diversity and playing options are impossible to see anywhere other than in online casinos. Most offshore casinos now have Live Casino sections where players can play their favorite casino games against live dealers via HD streaming services. These Live Casino games in online casinos provide a realistic gaming experience that was otherwise only available in land-based casinos. 

What’s more, you can now access all of the offshore online casinos’ games and features anywhere whether you are using your PC, laptop, or a mobile device. Being able to play favorite casino games on the go via mobile devices is becoming a top priority for many casino players, and offshore casinos are creating dedicated mobile apps and mobile versions of the sites for Android, iOS, and any other kind of operating system so that players can have a personalized and premium gaming experience. 

Furthermore, the market for offshore online casinos is as fierce as they come. Strong competition pushes casinos to improve their offers continually and attract new players with different promotions. Offshore casinos offer lucrative sign-up offers for newly-registered players, together with the reload bonuses and VIP loyalty schemes for existing ones, thus keeping everybody happy. 

Another crucial advantage of offshore casinos is that the winnings generated in online casinos are not taxable. This means you are not legally required to report the winnings to the IRS as they are not generated within your country. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Offshore Online Casinos?

It must be pointed out that not all offshore online casinos are licensed and regulated casinos, which might lead to a series of problems for players who don’t make sure to check whether the casino is licensed or not. 

First, some players have reported issues with payments when playing in offshore online casinos. Some casinos have been known to deny players the money they earned, invoking some obscure rules from the Terms and Conditions sections of the site to justify their actions. In that case, the players can’t complain to their local authorities since offshore casinos are beyond their jurisdiction. Even if the offshore casino is licensed, there can be problems with payment withdrawals and processing, so it is definitely something that falls under the disadvantages category.

Secondly, you can never be too sure if the games are rigged or not. If the offshore casino does not hold any valid licenses or stamps of approval by independent software testing agencies, you can’t possibly know if the games are truly fair. 

Banking in Offshore Online Casinos
Offshore online casinos offer various payment methods to players, but processing a payment to an online offshore casino is not always smooth sailing. There are legal restrictions that countries that have banned online gambling of any sort impose and that deal with processing casino payments, most notably the USA’s UIGEA.

Under UIGEA, no financial institution is permitted to process transactions between players and offshore online casinos knowingly. The result of these restrictions is seen in financial institutions performing regular screenings to find such payments and block them. The biggest issue for players is not knowing whether their deposits and withdrawals will come through.

The most common payment methods used by players in offshore online casinos are credit/debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Maestro. These financial institutions do process the payments, but not all of them come through due to these legal restrictions.

Players can then turn to prepaid cards, such as Visa prepaid and Paysafecard. These methods are safe and convenient, but you need to make sure the prepaid cards can be used internationally.

Players can also use bank transfers, but these are risky because of legal restrictions and typically high fees. However, they are suitable for high rollers due to high deposit and withdrawal limits.

The safest and most propagated banking method for offshore online casinos these days is banking with cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and others, are not controlled by financial institutions, which means you can safely make payments regardless of the legal restrictions.

What to Look for In Offshore Online Casinos?  

To make sure you have made the best choice when it comes to offshore online casinos, you need to pay attention to the following casino characteristics. 

First, check if the casino holds any of the reputable gaming licenses we mentioned, such as the one from UKGC or Malta Gaming Authority. If these gambling jurisdictions have licensed the casino, then you have a reason to feel safe playing there. In addition, if any of the software testing agencies like eCOGRA and GLI have tested the gaming software, then the fairness of the games is guaranteed.

Speaking of security, we can add that casinos that employ at least the 128-bit SSL encryption methods to protect the transactions and personal data are highly recommended. This is because no third-party interference is possible if these safety measures are used. 

Moreover, you should always check the banking methods that the offshore casino has to offer. If the casino allows the use of Skrill, Neteller, Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin, or any other of the reliable and recognizable payment methods, then you can expect all money transactions with the casino to go through smoothly and without any unexpected fees. 

Offshore online casinos are also quite famous for the hefty casino bonuses they offer. When choosing the next offshore casino, check what welcome bonuses it offers and what their terms and conditions are. With casino bonuses, it is always wise to check the wagering requirements and other limitations. The biggest bonuses in terms of bonus funds or free spins are not always the best choices. You need to look for a balance between what you get from the casino and how you can cash in on those bonuses and promotions. 

Finally, you should pay attention to the casino’s fair and responsible gaming policies. If the casino follows the responsible gaming policy (and thus protects vulnerable players from the adverse effects of irresponsible gambling through any of the self-exclusion schemes or similar), then that casino is worthy of consideration.