What happens to a player’s money when a fast withdrawal casino or other gambling site that is licensed by the UKGC stops operating? Is it refunded? Is it confiscated? Let’s find out!
- A fast withdrawal casino that is licensed by the UKGC must offer any of the three levels of protection: Basic or No Protection, Medium Protection, and High Protection in case of insolvency.
- The site's terms and conditions must clearly state the level of protection offered, and the online casino is responsible for ensuring that players understand the level of protection before depositing money.
- Only customer funds, which include deposits, winnings, and bonus money, are covered by protection, while money staked within an open bet is not.
- All UKGC casinos must segregate player funds and keep them in accounts separate from their business accounts.
- Basic Protection offers zero protection of player funds.
- Medium Protection offers some level of protection, although it does not guarantee a refund if the fast withdrawal casino goes out of business.
- High Protection is the safest option for players, as player funds are held in a formal trust account that is legally and practically separate from that of the casino.
- No protection level can guarantee players will be reimbursed if the gambling site goes bust.
- The level of protection offered should not be the sole deciding factor when choosing between fast withdrawal casinos to play at.
The rise of online gambling has created a highly competitive marketplace in the UK, where the average player is better informed, better served and better equipped with a wide range of choices. Gambling operators are putting their best foot forward to attract and retain players with all sorts of perks, such as fast withdrawal times.
However, despite all the information, choices and understanding that players possess these days, they often overlook a crucial aspect when depositing their funds at casinos that pay out fast and other gambling sites – the safety of their money in case the business goes bust.
When you deposit or stake money at a UKGC-licensed online casino, it's crucial to understand that neither the Gambling Commission nor the government protects your funds as it is done in the case of personal bank accounts.
To ensure transparency and accountability, fast withdrawal casinos that are licensed by the UKGC are required to clearly state the level of protection they offer in case of business failure. There are three such levels of protection:
The UKGC would conduct regular checks to ensure compliance as well as the protection of player funds as per the operator’s terms and conditions. But, it would not intervene if players get their wires crossed with casinos regarding the level of protection they are offered.
For this reason, it is important to find out before funding your gambling account how the fast withdrawal casino you decide to play at is going to treat your money.
What Kind of Gambling Funds Are Protected (If At All)?
The UKGC considers the following as customer funds, which can be covered by protection:
- Deposits in one’s player account
- Winnings owed or remaining in the account
- Bonus money owed or received as per terms and conditions of an offer
However, money staked within an open bet is not considered customer funds and hence, not covered by any arrangements that the gambling business has in place in the event of insolvency.
An open bet in gambling is when money is staked on an event that has not yet occurred, and the gambling site has not calculated the player's winnings or losses. An example of this would be sports betting which many casinos with fast withdrawals offer.
Understanding the 3 Levels of Protection at UKGC Casinos
The UKGC defines the 3 levels of protection of players’ funds as follows:
Basic or No Protection
The money in your player account is considered part of the assets of the gambling business in question. If the casino goes bust, you lose it all, whether you staked it or not. No extra protection is offered.
The exact statement for No Protection in the terms and conditions varies from one fast paying casino to the next. But the overall message would be something along these lines: “No protection in the event of insolvency. Not protected. No Segregation of customer funds. Not protected segregation.”
The concerned operator makes arrangements to keep your money safe in case the business fails. One way to do this is via insurance. Nevertheless, it is not a guarantee that players will get their money back in case of insolvency.
A statement for Medium Protection in a fast withdrawal casino's terms and conditions would read something like this:
“Customer funds have been segregated by keeping them in accounts separate from business accounts to meet the medium protection criteria set by the Gambling Commission. Also, arrangements have been made to distribute the assets in the customer accounts to the customers if the business becomes insolvent.”
The online casino puts players’ funds in an account that is legally recognised as separate from that of the company. The money in it is controlled by an independent trustee and audited by an external auditor. This gives you the best chance of getting it back if the company files for bankruptcy.
A statement for High Protection in a fast withdrawal casino's terms and conditions would read something like this:
“Customer funds are held in a formal trust account that is legally and in practice separate from that of the company. This account is verified and controlled by an independent trustee or external auditor to meet the high protection criteria set by the Gambling Commission.”
Can You Ever Be 100% Protected?
The difference between Basic and Medium Protection is stark. The former takes up zero safeguarding measures to protect players’ money leaving them vulnerable to potential loss with no chance of recovery ever.
In fact, in March 2018, the UKGC proposed renaming ‘Basic’ Protection to ‘No Protection’ to ensure consumers understand their funds are at risk if such an operator goes bankrupt.
This proposal has been put to the test multiple times, with online poker operator PKR being an apt example. The company went into administration, holding funds under Basic Protection, leaving approximately 60,000 players at risk of losing their money.
Fortunately, PokerStars came to an agreement with Administrators, bailed out PKR, and reimbursed players around $2 million. Without this intervention, players could have faced a long wait and potentially received very little or nothing – all because of the lack of brevity in the terms and conditions.
Medium Protection, on the other hand, offers some level of protection, although it is more along the lines of ‘we can’t promise anything, we’ll see what we can do.’ You can think of it like a Quistclose trust where the lender gives money to the borrower for very specific purposes.
Player funds are held in a separate account and are not commingled with the borrower's (in this case casino site's) other assets. Quistclose trusts are often used in situations where there is a high risk of insolvency. Yet, Medium Protection doesn’t guarantee a refund if the fast withdrawal casino goes out of business.
The difference between Medium and High Protection, again, is subtle. The latter means something along the lines of ‘we will definitely take up necessary steps to ensure player funds are repaid in case we shut down.’
But if you thought a High Protection level would guarantee players a repayment, you’d be disappointed.
The UKGC states that even though online casinos licensed by them must keep player funds in a separate account (which further defeats the purpose of Basic or No Protection Level altogether), this doesn't guarantee that players will get their money back if the company goes bankrupt. Players who use gambling services do so at their own risk.
What Is Expected Of a Fast Withdrawal Casino?
The UKGC requires every fast withdrawal casino in the UK to inform its players about the level of protection that applies to them. This information should be mentioned in their terms and conditions and players must get a link to it.
The operator must display the rating for how it treats a player’s money and explain with clarity what happens to it if the business goes bankrupt.
Moreover, the casinos must also confirm that a player understands the rating before they make a deposit. If the arrangements or level of protection change, players must be informed before their next deposit and be given the choice to agree or opt out.
While all this might seem convenient and beneficial for the player, in reality, such information is usually buried deep within a lengthy list of terms and conditions. This prompts most players to simply click the ‘agree’ button without fully understanding what they are agreeing to.
You must also remember that the UKGC does not monitor the financial health of online casinos in real-time or on a day-to-day basis. It does so at the time of licensing and then from time to time.
List of Fast Withdrawal Casinos Ranked According to Their Funds Protection Policy
- Gala Casino – High Protection (T&C)
- Foxy Games Casino – High Protection (T&C)
- Ladbrokes Casino – High Protection (T&C)
- Paddy Power – High Protection (T&C)
- Pokerstars – High Protection (T&C)
- BetUK – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Videoslots – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Grosvenor Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- 21.co.uk – Medium Protection (T&C)
- LeoVegas Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- PlayOJO Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Casumo Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- NetBet – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Mr Vegas – Medium Protection (T&C)
- All British Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Hyper Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Fun Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Merkur Slots Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Mega Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Monopoly Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- MrGreen – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Pink Casino – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Slot Boss – Medium Protection (T&C)
- Rizk Casino – No Protection (T&C)
- Mr Q Casino – No Protection (T&C)
- Conquer Casino – No Protection (T&C)
- BritainBet – No Protection (T&C)
- Casushi Casino – No Protection (T&C)
Please be aware that the information provided in the above list is solely for informational purposes. Although we ensure the accuracy of the presented data, we cannot guarantee that operators protect customer funds the way they claim.
Also, while we will do our best to keep this list up to date, it may become outdated if operators modify their policies. Most importantly, the claimed level of protection might not be applicable to players who are not based in the UK. Should you spot inaccuracies, feel free to get in touch with us.
Should You Choose a Fast Withdrawal Casino Based on the Level of Protection It Offers?
When it comes to choosing a fast withdrawal casino to play at, it all comes down to personal preference. While the level of protection offered by such sites is an important factor to consider, it is not the only thing to keep in mind when deciding where to bet your money.
There are several other factors to keep in mind including the exact speed of withdrawal, selection of games, accepted banking methods, quality of customer support, mobile-friendliness of the site, its security measures in place, fees associated with deposits and withdrawals, casino bonuses on offer, and overall reputation in the market.
Also, some people prefer to deposit their funds with larger companies, believing that doing so will protect them from the risk of insolvency. This belief may have some validity – larger, international operators are generally more stable than smaller, independent gambling sites.
Additionally, publicly listed gambling companies with transparent financial accounts can provide a greater sense of security than private companies.