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 the UK, most of Europe and many states in America it is entirely legal to gamble online. However, not all countries are as permissive. Online gambling is illegal in at least 10 countries. Many more countries place significant restrictions on what gambling websites can be accessed.
If you happen to live in a country where gambling is illegal, or if you are travelling to one and don’t want to give up your hobby while you are abroad, don’t worry. There are ways to get around these restrictions using a Virtual Personal Network (VPN).
In this article, we will be looking at which countries have made online gambling illegal, how those restrictions work and how you can use a VPN to overcome them.
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 outright. 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. Land-based gambling is illegal in nearly all Islamic countries. 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.
Secular countries such as China and North Korea have banned their own citizen from gambling, but it is legal for foreign tourists to gamble while they are visiting.
How is Online Gambling Restricted?
Many of the countries who restrict online gambling rely on gambling websites and casinos to filter out their citizens using their IP addresses and prevent them from playing. Those countries who already significantly limit what content their citizens can access, such as Iran and Turkey, have more sophisticated systems in place to prevent access to online gambling.
In those countries that have banned online gambling outright, persons caught gambling, or attempting to gamble, can face significant punishments including potentially several years in prison.
Using A VPN To Gamble Online
If you live in, or are travelling to, a country where online gambling is illegal, the only secure way to access online gambling sites is by using VPN. In accordance with international law, most gambling websites check the IP address of incoming traffic and deny entry to those coming from servers in countries where online gambling is prohibited.
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.
In Which Countries is Online Gambling Prohibited?
Below you can find out more about the different regulations in place in different countries.
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 if they are convicted under Penal Code Article 414.
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.
In the face of wide-spread gambling addiction issues, Cambodia banned all form of gambling under its 1996 Suppression of Gambling Act. This ban is for Cambodian citizens only, with tourists encourage to gamble at several specially constructed casinos.
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 located in Pyongyang and only in the presence of a state-sponsored guide.
Until recently, all forms of gambling were illegal in Japan. Since 2016, some kinds of sports betting and a few casinos have been legalised under the Integrated Resort Programme Law, but online gambling remains strictly prohibited.
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.
The Government of Cyprus permits sports betting online, but all other forms of online gambling are illegal.
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 prison if convicted.
In Lebanon, gambling of any kind that is unauthorised by the government is illegal, and the government has the power to block access to online gambling websites.
Iran exercises strict control over what it’s citizens can access through the internet, using sophisticated methods, such as Deep Packet Inspection to heavily 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.
Which VPN Service is Best for Gambling Online?
When choosing a VPN service to overcome geographic restrictions on online gambling, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration. Privacy is essential, so picking a VPN service that you are sure is able to properly encrypt your data is critical.
A VPN service that offers a large number of servers spread across different countries is also essential, as that will give you a number of options when deciding which country you want to appear to be in.
With those factors in mind, these are the VPN services that we would suggest if you are looking to avoid restrictions when gambling online.
NordVPN is an excellent choice of VPN service when it comes to avoiding online gambling restrictions. 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.
One of the added benefits of using NordVPN is that it is one of the best VPN providers for bypassing restrictions on streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. Best of all, if you aren’t impressed after 30 days, you can claim your money back with no questions asked.
- Excellent protection and a large network of servers
- Nice and pleasing application
- No logs
ExpressVPN offers a massive network of over 2000 servers for you to choose from, allowing you to bypass geo-blocking and download through torrent-networks anonymously. Their user-friendly application works on Android, iPhone, Windows, and OS x, with a 30-day money-back guarantee on all their subscription plans.
If you’re looking to save money on your VPN service, then you can get an exclusive deal of 3 free months if you sign up to a year’s plan with ExpressVPN using our link.
- Super fast and simple VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading and streaming (i.a. Netflix)
- 2000+ servers in 94 countries
CyberGhost has over 2700 servers across 60 countries, giving you a considerable amount of choice when it comes to picking which country you want to appear to be from. Their easy to use software is compatible with Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Linux, letting you use one account for up to 7 different devices at once.
You can test out CyberGhosts services with their 30-day money-bak-guarantee, making sure they are the right VPN for your needs before you commit to them.
- Very user-friendly
- High quality for a low price
- Torrents and Netflix possible
As online gambling increases in popularity, more and more people are looking to overcome geographical restrictions to indulge their hobby. By signing up to the right VPN provider, travellers don’t have to give up their hobby while they are travelling and those living in countries who restrict online gambling can access the web content they want.
The benefits of using a VPN don’t stop with allowing access to online gambling websites. Users also enjoy enhanced privacy, protection from cybercrime and access to other geographically restricted content, such as streaming services and sporting events.