How to Avoid Restrictions When Gambling Online

Cards, laptop with three sevens on the screen, and a gambling dices
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How to Avoid Restrictions When Gambling Online: Summary

Despite the fact that most gambling sites don’t allow the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN), many people use a VPN for gambling. Remember, to sign up for a gambling website, you’ll typically have to pass residential ID checks to ensure you’re resident in a country. This means that, in most cases, you won’t be able to use a VPN for gambling on websites outside of your country.

However, using a gambling VPN to access your usual betting sites when you’re temporarily abroad is possible. Most people follow a process that goes as follows:

  1. They subscribe to a VPN for gambling. Many of the best providers like NordVPN and Surfshark don’t block gambling sites.
  2. They download a VPN onto their computer. Most providers offer mobile apps too.
  3. Those who are looking to use a VPN for gambling would need to choose a VPN server located in the same country as the website.
  4. They go to the gambling site of their choice, getting full access.

While some people gamble with a VPN, bear in mind that geographical restrictions are usually in place for a reason. Gambling could be illegal in your country, and we don’t condone the use of VPNs for illegal activities. Even if you’re simply holidaying abroad, gambling with a VPN could result in your account getting banned. You could also forfeit any money you may have won.

For more information on how people use a VPN for gambling, see our full article below.

Since the first online casino opened in August of 1996, millions of people around the globe have started to gamble online. This year, online gambling wagers will surpass $1 trillion, which is greater than the US national deficit!

In a big part of the Western world, internet 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 or significantly restricted in at least ten countries. As a result, many people turn to VPNs to gamble online.

In this article, you’ll read all about online gambling with a VPN, and whether or not you can gamble with a VPN on the top betting sites and online casinos.


How to Gamble Online With a VPN

4 aces cards over a laptopIf you’re traveling to a country where online gambling isn’t allowed, the only secure way to access your usual online gambling sites is by using a VPN. With 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 US. This means you can 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.

A step-by-step guide: Gamble online with a VPN

For the sake of transparency and understanding how this process works, we’ve listed the steps people commonly take to gamble online with a VPN below.

  1. They subscribe to a VPN for sports betting or online casinos. Some of the best-known providers people use are NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN.
  2. They download and install the VPN. VPNs can be installed on a computer, or you can download a mobile app of most premium VPNs.
  3. They look for a VPN server in a country that hosts the website they want to unblock. For example, those who are using a VPN for Roobet access will need to choose a VPN server in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, or Uruguay.
  4. They visit the gambling website of their choice.

By connecting to a VPN server, users change their IP address. For example, when a user based in the U.S. changes their IP address to a Brazilian IP, they should be able to access the Roobet website without being blocked.


Why Is Online Gambling Restricted?

Why is online gambling restrictedOf the 195 recognized countries in the world today, 56 of them have significant legal regulations in place to restrict gambling. What’s more, ten of them have banned online gambling altogether. To comply with international law, most gambling websites use geo-blocking, which blocks access to users 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 around 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, while it is legal for foreign tourists to gamble when visiting. Despite these differences, the methods used to block gambling from abroad are largely the same, as we’ll explain below.


How Are Online Gambling Restrictions Enforced?

Hand holding stop sign over 4 aces cardsMany of the countries that prohibit online gambling rely on gambling websites and casinos to filter out foreign visitors based on their IP addresses and prevent them from playing. This is why using a VPN for online gambling is common: a VPN changes your IP address, so you can spoof your location.

However, there’s no guarantee that a VPN will work. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the most well-known and best betting sites use KYC (Know Your Customer) identity checks to verify your signup information. If you don’t have any digital footprint in the country of the IP address you’re spoofing, you might not even be able to create an account.

What’s more, even if you do manage to create an account on a website that has banned your country’s IP addresses, you could face another obstacle when it comes to withdrawing money. Many websites will request proof of identity and address before paying out a large win.

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.


The Best VPNs for Online Gambling

Best VPNs for online gambling icon

Before moving on, we want to stress that we do not condone the use of a VPN for illegal activities. We advise you to only use a VPN for online gambling when it’s not against the law of the country you’re in and the terms of service of the site you’re using.

On top of that, you could be banned from gambling sites for using a VPN. You could also forfeit winnings if they were won using a VPN for gambling.

If you’re still looking for a good VPN for online gambling, even after having taken this into consideration, there are a few main factors to keep in mind:

  • Privacy protection (keeps no logs)
  • Server location
  • Security protocols

With these aspects in mind, these are the best VPNs for online gambling.


1. NordVPN: The best VPN for online gambling with fast connections

Screenshot of NordVPN homepage website with added logo in the corner

NordVPN is an excellent VPN service when it comes to gambling online. They offer advanced encryption, a reliable, speedy service, and over 5000 VPN servers in 60 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.

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2. Surfshark: The best VPN for gambling on multiple devices

Screenshot of Surfshark VPN homepage with logo

Surfshark has over 3000 servers across 65 countries, giving you a considerable amount of choice when it comes to changing your IP address. 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 vast server network ensures that you can gain access to gambling websites from overseas, all over the world.

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3. ExpressVPN: The best VPN for online gambling in 94 countries

Screenshot of the ExpressVPN website homepage with Get ExpressVPN button highlighted

ExpressVPN offers a massive network of over 3000 servers across 94 countries. This, coupled with a speedy, stable service, is why many people use ExpressVPN for gambling internationally. 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, although it is considerably more expensive than Surfshark and NordVPN.

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Three Risks of Using a VPN for Gambling

As we’ve stated, there are some risks when using a VPN for online gambling. After all, most gambling websites forbid the use of VPNs in their terms and conditions. Below, we’ve listed the most common drawbacks online gamblers might come across when using a VPN for gambling.

Infographic showing three risks of using a VPN for online gambling

1. Not being able to gain access to gambling sites

Virtual Private Networks can get you into a lot of places that would otherwise be hidden from you. However, sometimes, even with a VPN, you can’t access certain software or a certain site because of VPN blocks. 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. As part of this, they also seem to be on the lookout for VPNs. When they see that you’re using such software, they won’t hold back from banning your account.

2. Not getting your money (back)

Even if you manage to use a VPN for gambling over a long period of time, you can still run into trouble when you’re trying to get paid. A lot of websites ask for specific personal information before they transfer you your money. This usually includes a copy of your ID, a valid bank account for them to send the money to, and a legitimate address.

These details are used to make sure they send the money to the right person. However, this can also be used to check if you’re actually in the right country. If they find out you’re not really a resident of a permitted country, they could withhold your winnings and freeze your account, no matter how much you’ve won. They can even withhold winnings if you’re a resident but won the money with a VPN while out of the country.

3. 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 any winnings.


We’ve looked at a handful of the top betting and gambling sites to see what their stance is on users running a VPN connection. We discovered that the web’s most popular gambling platforms don’t allow VPN usage, which could result in the consequences mentioned above.


1. Bovada

Bovada logo horizontalBovada’s terms of service clearly state that they reserve the right to immediately terminate or deny a player access to their account when that player shows fraudulent activity. The paragraph also specifically includes the use of VPNs and proxy servers.

Bovada states that if they “determine that a player has engaged in fraudulent, unlawful, dishonest or improper activity (including, without limitation, the usage of a VPN, proxy or similar service that masks or manipulates the identification of your real location, or by otherwise providing false or misleading information, or by making bets, wagers or poker play through a third party or on behalf of a third party) we reserve the right to immediately terminate or deny a player access to their Account.


2. Roobet

Roobet logoUsing VPNs for Roobet could land you in hot water. Because Roobet deals with cryptocurrency, they get their fair share of VPN users trying to access the 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.”


3. BetOnline

BetOnline logo horizontalBetOnline has VPNs mentioned specifically under their “Tools not related to Poker” section, which states: “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.


4. PokerStars

Pokerstars logo horizontalPokerStars states that VPN usage is directly against the terms of use of the platform. When you sign up, you’re asked to agree that you are not prohibited from receiving funds based on your location. In other words, you can’t use a VPN for PokerStars to change your IP address and get around geographic restrictions. If you do, they could terminate your account and access to the service.

In fact, one high-profile case involved a US resident who had winnings of $692,000 withheld after PokerStars discovered that he had supposedly been using a VPN. So, be wary that winnings can be confiscated without notice if you gamble online with a VPN. Finally, it’s worth noting that PokerStars is using GeoComply, which could stop you from accessing the website with a VPN altogether.


5. Red Dog Casino

RedDog Casino logo horizontalAccording to Red Dog Casino’s terms of service, players may not use any software that helps them bypass restrictions: “Please note that any activities performed from the restricted countries are also forbidden for players, who use VPN connections and other malware.” They even refer to VPNs as malware, which is completely untrue! The best VPNs actually help protect you against malware (malicious software).


6. 7BitCasino

7BitCasino logo7BitCasino’s policies aren’t as straightforward as they could be. One user was supposedly told that they could use a VPN connection by customer service. However, their winnings were withheld when they attempted to make a withdrawal. After a dispute, their account and winnings were restored, despite gambling with a VPN.


7. 888Casino

888Casino logo888Casino monitors the software running on your device, which could give the game away. According to their terms, “we may gather information with regard to other software which is running simultaneously with the Software for detecting if you are using software which is associated with fraudulent activity (e.g. robots, malware, etc.) or checking if the connection you are using is via a VPN or proxy.” The consensus from online users is that this website is particularly good at spotting VPN use, so continue at your own risk.


8. William Hill

William Hill casino logoWilliam Hill is a longstanding online bookmaker that operates not only in the UK, but in Jersey and Gibraltar too. However, if you fall outside of these locations, your only way of accessing the website would be through a VPN.

Unfortunately, their terms directly call out the use of a VPN for gambling on their website. According to William Hill, you’re not allowed to “use a VPN or proxy to hide or alter the location or the identity of the device used to access the Website.” Doing so is considered improper use of your account, and could result in loss of funds and suspension.


9. Stake Bitcoin Casino

Stake casino logoWith the rise of cryptocurrency and its popularity, new business models have appeared in the online gambling world. One such business is Stake Bitcoin casino, which lets you play using funds tied to cryptocurrency. This platform is used by some top streamers, but their stance on VPN usage is negative.

Specifically, their terms and conditions section states that if “you attempt to conceal Your location, including but not limited to, through the use of a Proxy server,” you could forfeit winnings and have your account suspended or terminated. So, think twice before you use a VPN for Stake casino.


Which Countries Allow You to Gamble Online?

World Globus with four acesThere are only a few places in the world where online gambling is completely legal. These include Canada, the United Kingdom, 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, many of these countries don’t enforce this ban as strictly as they could. In the table below, you’ll find an overview of some countries where online gambling is illegal or regulated, and what punishments are used for online gambling.

CountryLaws, rules, and regulations
United Arab EmiratesIn the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all forms of gambling are illegal. The state-controlled Telecommunications Regulatory Authority also holds a monopoly over the provision of 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 BruneiIn 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.
CambodiaIn the face of widespread 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 KoreaNorth Koreans are prohibited from taking part in 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.
JapanUntil 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.
SingaporeUnder 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.
CyprusThe Government of Cyprus permits sports betting online, but all other forms of online gambling are illegal.
QatarIn Qatar, all forms of gambling activities are considered illegal, and even online sports betting is not permitted. The government also restricts what content can be accessed by its citizens. Those caught attempting to access online gambling websites face jail time if convicted.
LebanonIn Lebanon, gambling of any kind that hasn’t been authorized by the government is illegal, and the government has the power to block access to online gambling websites.
IranIran 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. This includes online gambling. As an Islamic republic, Iran has made all forms of gambling illegal.

Lots of “grey area”

A lot of countries have strict laws when it comes to “offline” gambling, but many failed to introduce new laws when online gambling became popular. 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. In others, the authorities actually go after people who are gambling online and may prosecute them. In most Islamic countries, gambling is illegal. This includes online gambling. If you’re unsure whether gambling (online or offline) is illegal in your country, consult with a local expert to figure out what you can and can’t do.


When to Use a VPN for Gambling Online

Laptop with gambling icon and a VPN shield icon attachedSeeing the risks, you might think that using a VPN to gamble online is nothing but trouble. To an extent, this is true, but some people have different motivations for using a VPN.

Most online gamblers that use a VPN do so because they’re temporarily abroad. They have legal, verified access to an online gambling site in their home country, but they’re away for vacation or on a business trip, so they can’t access the site as they usually would (even if temporarily). However, by using a VPN, they can still get access with their usual credentials.

Some people wait until they’re home to withdraw their money, as they may be unable to do so from abroad. We’ve had reports from readers who confirm that you could be expected to jump through extra hoops to get your payout. When attempting to withdraw winnings from Coral and 888Casino in the United Kingdom, one user was asked to provide proof of ID and address, despite having already done so when the account was opened.

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 continue to participate in your favorite online casino or gambling games. Just remember that you could be risking your winnings or even your account if you do so.


Disclaimer

Disclaimer iconThis article talks about using a VPN for sports betting or to gamble online in other ways. However, it is intended to be purely informational. Using a VPN for gambling online could be illegal in your country and we don’t condone using a VPN to break any rules or regulations imposed by gambling websites.

You should always act in accordance with your country’s laws and the terms of service of the websites or software you’re using.

How to Avoid Restrictions When Gambling Online: Frequently Asked Questions

By now, you’re probably well-versed on the risks of using a VPN for gambling, but you might still have questions. Check out our frequently asked questions below for more information.

It is possible to use a VPN to gamble online, but many gamble websites don’t allow it. They might deny you access or freeze your winnings if you do.

If you wish to use a VPN on a gambling website that does allow VPNs, here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Subscribe to a VPN for gambling. Our recommendation is NordVPN.
  2. Download and install the VPN or download the VPN provider’s mobile app.
  3. Connect to a VPN server located in the country that hosts the website you want to use.
  4. Go to the gambling website you want to unblock and enjoy!

It all depends on the country you’re in. Certain countries ban gambling (including online gambling) outright, while others allow it. 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 slightly trickier question. Rules and regulations vary from state to state. It’s always best to Google whether it is legal for you to gamble online in your specific country before doing so.

There are a few states where online gambling is legal. These include Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Each state has the right to regulate this activity, both in the real world and online. What’s more, laws can vary depending on the kind of gambling activity in question.

The best VPN for gambling is NordVPN. Its vast server network means you’ll be able to switch IP addresses in a heartbeat, and its security features allow you to stay inconspicuous online. However, many gambling providers don’t allow the use of a VPN for gambling. They have strict leglislation about who can use their services, so they ban VPN usage in their terms and conditions. We don’t advise using a VPN on these platforms.

In some cases, yes. This depends on the country you’re in and the platform you’re using:

  • If you use a VPN to access gambling websites in a country where gambling is illegal, you could end up facing legal consequences, including prosecution.
  • If you break the terms of service of your gambling website by using a VPN, you could forfeit winnings and have your account terminated.

We don’t condone using a VPN for any illegal activities online.

Cybersecurity analyst
David is a cybersecurity analyst and one of the founders of VPNoverview.com. Since 2014 he has been gaining international experience working with governments, NGOs, and the private sector as a cybersecurity and VPN expert and advisor.