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How To Avoid Restrictions When Gambling Online

Last edited: October 1, 2020
Reading time: 12 minutes, 22 seconds
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How to avoid restrictions when gambling online: a short summary

Online gambling can be difficult in some countries. There are countries that place restrictions on which gambling websites can be accessed. Some countries have even banned online gambling altogether.

Some people who live in those countries use a VPN to help them gain access to online gambling sites. A VPN is a tool to change your IP address. A VPN hides your actual location and encrypts your internet connection. This makes it very hard for others to track or monitor your online activities.

We recommend NordVPN when it comes to gambling online. This VPN is very fast, keeps no logs and has servers all over the world.

Note: While using a VPN can be a fast and easy way to gain access to gambling websites otherwise unavailable to you, it does come with certain risks. You can read about those in the article below.

Since the first online casino opened in August of 1996, online gambling has been a hobby for many millions of people around the globe. The popularity of online gambling is also increasing. The total reported profits from online casinos and bookmakers rose from 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2005 to an estimated 37.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.

In a big part of the Western world, gambling is legal. However, in most countries, there are strict rules that need to be followed for casinos, both offline and online. On top of that, online gambling is illegal in at least 10 countries. Many more countries place significant restrictions on what gambling websites can be accessed.

It’s difficult to gamble or place bets from these countries. Because of that, a lot of people have resorted to using a VPN to gamble online. Even though a VPN can be a very useful tool for unblocking and gaining access to online casinos, there are some risks to be aware of.

In this article, you will read all about online gambling with a VPN.

Why is online gambling restricted?

Of the 195 recognized countries in the world today, 56 of them have significant legal regulations in place to restrict gambling, and 10 of them have banned online gambling altogether. In order to comply with international law, most gambling websites use geo-blocking to deny access to gamblers from countries where online gambling is illegal.

The motivations for making online gambling illegal differ from country to country, with social, political, and religious factors all playing a part. Traditional (offline) gambling is illegal in nearly all countries where Islam is the majority religion. However, many have not gotten round to legislating against online gambling or do not have the infrastructure to prevent their citizens from accessing online casinos.

Other countries such as China and North Korea have banned their own citizens from gambling, but it is legal for foreign tourists to gamble while they are visiting.

How are online gambling restrictions enforced?

Map with location arrowMany of the countries that prohibit online gambling rely on gambling websites and casinos to filter out their citizens using their IP addresses and prevent them from playing. Even if you do gain access to sites that have banned your country’s IP addresses, you still need to sign up using some kind of payment method or an address. And after that, if you do manage to make an account, when you want to actually receive your winnings, you need to take extra steps to prove you are who you say you are and you are from where you say you’re from. All in all, it’s quite difficult to effectively circumvent these online gambling restrictions.

This doesn’t stop people from trying though. Some users have found that using a VPN helps them gain access to and gamble on certain sites.

Using a VPN to gamble online and gain access to online casinos

If you’re traveling to a country where online gambling is illegal, the only secure way to access your regularly visited online gambling sites is by using a VPN. By using a VPN service, you can route your internet connection through a server in your country of origin, or a country with more permissive gambling laws, such as the UK or the U.S. This means that you can then access online websites without being blocked because of your location.

VPNs have the added benefit of obscuring your actual location and encrypting your internet connection, making it very difficult for your activities to be tracked or monitored by others. Below you’ll find our top 3 VPNs suitable for online gambling. However, using a VPN to gamble does come with risks you should be aware of. You’ll find out what these risks are after reading about our ‘best VPNs for gambling top 3’.

Before moving on, we want to stress we do not condone the use of a VPN to do something that would be deemed illegal. Only use a VPN for online gambling when it’s not against the law of the country you are in and the Terms of Service of the site that you’re using.

Which VPN service is best for online gambling?

Poker chips on smartphone screen

When choosing a VPN service to overcome geographic restrictions on online gambling, there are two main factors you need to take into consideration: privacy and server location(s).

With these aspects in mind, these are the VPN services that we would suggest if you are looking to avoid restrictions when gambling online in another country.

NordVPN for online gambling

NordVPN is an excellent choice of VPN service when it comes to gambling online. They offer advanced encryption, a reliable, speedy service, and servers in countries all over the world. Because they are based in Panama, NordVPN has no legal obligations to keep any data logs of your online activity, increasing your privacy.

NordVPN
Deal:
Only $3,71 a month for a 2-year subscription
9.1
  • Excellent protection and a large network of servers
  • Nice and pleasing application
  • No logs
Visit NordVPN

ExpressVPN for online gambling

ExpressVPN offers a massive network of over 3000 servers across 94 countries for you to choose from, allowing for a speedy, stable service. Their user-friendly application works on Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac, with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a popular VPN amongst those who seek to unblock online casinos.

ExpressVPN
Our pick
Our pick
Deal:
3 months for free with a one-year subscription
9.5
  • Very easy to use VPN
  • Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Visit ExpressVPN

Surfshark for online gambling

Surfshark has over 1700 servers across 63 countries, giving you a considerable amount of choice when it comes to picking which country you’d like your IP-address and thus your virtual location to be from. Their easy-to-use software is compatible with Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Linux. Furthermore, Surfshark lets you use one account for an unlimited number of devices at once. The big server network ensures that you can gain access to gambling websites from all over the world.

Surfshark
Deal:
Safe and anonymous internet for only $2.49 a month
8.8
  • Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
  • 30 days money back guarantee. No questions asked!
  • Cheap with many extra options
Visit Surfshark

Risks of using a VPN for online gambling

As we’ve stated, there are some risks when using a VPN for online gambling. Below we’ve listed the most common ones.

Not being able to gain access to gambling sites

It might sound a bit weird, but sometimes, even with a VPN, you can’t access certain software or a certain site. This seems to vary from player to player, but we’ve read reports that using a VPN works for some, while it doesn’t work for others.

Also, software used by PokerStars, for example, can scan your PC for cheating software. But they also seem to be on the lookout for VPNs. When they see that you’re using such software, they will not hold back from banning you from using their software.

Getting your Account frozen or terminated

If a gambling site finds out that you’re using a VPN, and it’s clear that using a VPN is against their Terms of Service, they will freeze and sometimes even terminate your account. This means you can’t access your account anymore and you won’t be able to cash out.

Not getting your money (back)

If you manage to use a gambling site for a longer period of time, using a VPN, you can still run into trouble when you’re trying to get paid. A lot of websites ask for specific personal info before they transfer you your money. This usually includes a copy of your ID, a valid bank for them to pay you, and a legit address. These are used to make sure they send the money to the right person. However, this can also be used to see if you’re actually in the right country. If they find out you’re not really a resident of the right country, they could withhold your winnings and freeze your account.

When to use a VPN when gambling online

Cards On LaptopscreenSeeing these risks, you might think that using a VPN to gamble online is nothing but trouble. However, this isn’t entirely true. Most online gamblers that use a VPN do so because they’re temporarily abroad. They have access to an online gambling site in their home country, but they are away for vacation or on a business trip so they can’t access the site normally (even if temporarily). Using a VPN, they can still get access.

It’s important to note, however, that they usually can’t withdraw their money (cash out) from these other countries. They use the VPN to access their favorite site to play, and when they’re back home they can withdraw their winnings.

So, if you’re an avid gambler, and you’re going abroad for a short amount of time, using a VPN might be an option to still participate in your favorite online casino or gambling games.

We’ve looked at a couple of gambling and betting sites to see what their stance is on users running a VPN connection. This is what we could find:

Gambling/Betting Site Stance with regards to VPN use
Bovada Bovada’s Terms of Service clearly states that they reserve the right to immediately terminate or deny a player access to their account when a player shows fraudulent activity. The paragraph also specifically includes the use of VPNs and proxy servers.
Roobet Because Roobet deals with cryptocurrency, they get their fair share of VPN users trying to access their site from locations where it’s illegal to do so. However, Roobet also states that “You have no right to use the services as an anonymizing proxy, VPN or the like in order to bypass the law resulting from the blockade by roobet.com countries. In case of violation of these principles, roobet.com reserves the right to block and/or immediately close the account and you lose all winnings/balance.”
BetOnline BetOnline has VPNs mentioned specifically under their ‘Tools not related to Poker’-section: “The use of Virtual Machines and/or any software that specializes in screen-sharing and remote-access is prohibited. The use of a VPN is considered in all game play reviews and if it’s deemed to be used to circumvent our policies, appropriate action as listed in the Fair Play Policy will be taken.“
Poker Stars Poker Stars lists that you have to agree that you are not prohibited from receiving funds based on your geographic location (so that you’re actually from somewhere where you may use Poker Stars basically) and that if they find out you’re not in an appropriate location. They “may immediately terminate your account and all access to any of the Services.”

Poker Stars is also known for denying a well-known poker player, Gordon Vayo, his $285.000 winnings after he allegedly used a VPN to change his location.

In Which Countries is Online Gambling prohibited?

Below you will find an overview of some countries where online gambling is banned or regulated and what the punishment is for online gambling.

Country Laws, Rules, and Regulations
United Arab Emirates In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) not only are all forms of gambling illegal, but the state-controlled Telecommunications Regulatory Authority also holds a monopoly over providing internet access. This allows them to filter the content that their citizens have access to and prevent them from accessing online gambling websites. Anyone caught gambling can face a prison sentence of up to two years.
Nation of Brunei In Brunei, online gambling was made illegal under the Common Gaming House Act. Any form of gambling is illegal and is punishable by up to four years in prison.
Cambodia In the face of wide-spread gambling addiction issues, Cambodia banned all forms of gambling under its 1996 Suppression of Gambling Act. This ban is for Cambodian citizens only, with tourists being encouraged to gamble at several specially constructed casinos.
North Korea North Koreans are prohibited from gambling of any kind, including online gambling. Much of the country does not have access to the internet, and those parts that do are mostly restricted to the free domestic-only network known as the Kwangmyong. Tourists are allowed to gamble, but only at one casino located in Pyongyang and only in the presence of a state-sponsored guide.
Japan Until recently, all forms of gambling were illegal in Japan. Since 2016, certain types of sports betting and a few casinos have been legalized under the Integrated Resort Programme Law. However, online gambling remains strictly prohibited.
Singapore Under Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act, all forms of online gambling are illegal unless an exemption is granted by the government. In 2016, the Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools were given such an exception, meaning online sports betting can be conducted through them.
Cyprus The Government of Cyprus permits sports betting online, but all other forms of online gambling are illegal.
Qatar In Qatar, forms of gambling activities are considered illegal, even online sports betting is not permitted. The government also restricts what content can be accessed by its citizens and those caught attempting to access online gambling websites face jail time if convicted.
Lebanon In Lebanon, gambling of any kind that is unauthorized by the government is illegal, and the government has the power to block access to online gambling websites.
Iran Iran exercises strict control over what its citizens can access through the internet, using sophisticated methods, such as Deep Packet Inspection to censor content and prevent access to over 100.000 websites, including online gambling. As an Islamic republic, Iran has made all forms of gambling illegal.

There are only a few places in the world where online gambling is completely legal. These include Canada, most countries in the European Union, some countries in the Caribbean, and some states in the USA. In most other countries, online gambling is banned or at least heavily restricted. However, a lot of these countries don’t enforce this ban as much as others do. A lot of countries have strict laws when it comes to ‘offline’ gambling, but failed to introduce new laws when online gambling became a thing. This means that the rules regarding online gambling can be quite vague in certain countries. Some countries basically turn a blind eye to online gambling, while others actually go after people gambling online. In most Islamic countries, gambling is banned outright. This includes online gambling.

If you’re unsure if gambling (whether it be online or offline gambling) is illegal in your country, consult with a local expert to figure out what you can and cannot do.

Disclaimer

This article contains information on VPNs and online gambling. However, online gambling might be illegal where you’re from and we at VPNoverview do not condone any illegal activities, including illegal online gambling. Also, we do not condone the use of a VPN to break any rules and regulations an online gambling site might have in place. Always act in accordance with your local laws and the Terms of Service of any site or software you might use.

How To Avoid Restrictions When Gambling Online - FAQ

Looking for the answer to a specific question? Feel free to check out the frequently asked questions below. Can’t find the answer you’re looking for? Ask us in the comments and we’ll try and get back to you.

Yes and no. It all depends on the country you’re in. Certain countries ban gambling (including online gambling) outright, whilst others allow it. Most western countries have access to legal online gambling websites. However, it’s best to Google whether it is legal for you to gamble online in your specific country before doing so. Online gambling is legal in some provinces in Canada, most members of the European Union and several nations in and around the Caribbean Sea.

Whether online gambling is legal in the United States is a more tricky question. Rules and regulations vary from state to state.

There are a few states where online gambling is legal. These include Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cyber security analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Interested in the "digital identity" phenomenon, with special attention to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.

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