Virtual private networks have become very popular among those who want extra privacy when using the internet. They’re also commonly used by gamblers who want to play at sites that they can’t normally access.
You might think that a VPN is perfect if you’re really interested in playing at a specific gambling site that’s currently unavailable. However, you should consider the pros and cons before using a virtual private network for such purposes.
I’m going to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of VPN gambling. I’ll also come to a conclusion on whether you should truly use these services.
What Does a Virtual Private Network Do?
VPNs might be quite popular among gamblers, but they have practical purposes, too. These services protect internet browsers from being victimized by hackers.
Every internet user risks having their data, identity, or money stolen. They may stand little chance to protect themselves, depending upon the hacker’s skills.
Cybercriminals can use IP addresses to track people. The IP address essentially leaves a trail to an online user’s whereabouts.
It relies on remote servers that are located in different cities and/or countries than the user. Hackers, meanwhile, face a near-impossible task of figuring out where the person is located.
How Does a Virtual Private Network Help Gamblers?
You can see that VPNs are quite handy when trying to stay safe online. But gamblers are interested in more than just the general benefits.
They use virtual private networks to access sites that might not normally be available to them. After all, certain online gaming jurisdictions only allow their residents to gamble over the internet.
Any real money casino, poker room, or sportsbook operating in these jurisdictions must block outsiders. For example, UK gambling sites don’t allow players from other countries.
They use software that determines when an outsider is trying to access their site. The prospective gambler will receive a message stating that their country/state is blocked.
A VPN helps gamblers get around such restrictions by masking their location. It allows one to access a remote server that’s located elsewhere.
If somebody wants to use a French gambling site, for example, they can select a server in Paris. The software would then be tricked into believing that the player was from France.
Pros of Gambling With a VPN
Virtual private network usage has ramped up among gamblers in recent years. Here are the main reasons why so many players are using VPNs.
Access Sites That Are Normally Unavailable
Again, certain gaming jurisdictions block other countries. They don’t want to run into legal problems by accepting bets from international players.
Unfortunately, this policy may prevent you from accessing some of the world’s top online bookmakers, casinos, and poker sites. You have two choices at this point:
- Accept the law and find a site that’s actually available to you.
- Use a VPN to hide your true location.
Under normal circumstances, you’d have to accept the fact that you can’t play at top-tier sites. But a virtual private network gives you the option to circumvent their rules and play for real money.
Enjoy Extra Protection
Virtual private networks weren’t conceived to help people play at unavailable gambling sites. They originally came about for privacy purposes.
You can add an extra layer of protection to your browsing habits with a VPN. The latter encrypts your information and ensures that cybercriminals can’t track your IP address.
Of course, betting sites, poker rooms, and online casinos also offer protection in the form of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. SSL encrypts your data to prevent hackers from stealing personal and financial details.
If you’re still paranoid about being targeted, though, a VPN offers even more peace of mind. It’s great for general internet usage beyond gambling.
Get Around Restrictive Browsing Laws
In some countries, including China, Cuba, and North Korea, governments are extremely restrictive on internet usage. They only allow their residents to access government-approved websites.
Gambling sites don’t typically make the approved list. Therefore, those living under totalitarian regimes must use a VPN to place online bets.
Draconian governments use firewalls to block people from accessing unapproved websites. But a VPN prevents firewalls from determining one’s IP address and thus allows them more freedom.
Cons of Gambling With a VPN
A virtual private network is an excellent resource when you’re looking to enjoy a gambling website that’s normally off limits. But before you call on a VPN, you should consider the downside to doing so.
You Can Still Get Caught Gambling Illegally
Not all virtual private networks are created equally. The best and, usually, most expensive ones are better at keeping your browsing activities private.
Cheaper VPNs, on the other hand, may be good for blocking your neighbors from snooping around your network. But they’re not so great at protecting you from governments or well-funded websites.
Some companies behind these services also work with law enforcement if pressed to do so. They’ll hand over your actual location and even usage statistics to the police if necessary.
Luckily, you stand almost zero chance of being arrested for illegal gambling with a VPN. But you could still get caught and face other consequences (discussed later).
Virtual Private Networks Cost Money
Many virtual private networks used to offer their services for free. However, the days of free usage are long gone.
Almost every VPN—at least the good ones anyways—require subscription fees. These fees may be due on a monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual basis.
In any case, you’re paying to protect your privacy and access restricted gambling sites. The costs range anywhere from $2 to $20 per month.
You might be able to get what you’re looking for from a $2-per-month service. But you should consider a more expensive option just in case you win big and don’t want the website discovering your true location.
Your Funds Could Be Confiscated
Provided you’re not in a country like North Korea or Cuba, you don’t have to worry much about any legal repercussions from VPN gambling. But you do face the very real risk of losing winnings and your bankroll if caught.
Gambling sites cover many scenarios in their terms and conditions. They call on these terms and conditions to confiscate your money for something like wrongly using a virtual private network.
You may still get away with gambling on restricted websites without being caught. The chances of a site investigating you, though, increase when you win a big jackpot or a poker tournament.
In 2017, poker pro Gordon Vayo won a major PokerStars tournament along with $692,000. However, Stars determined that he was playing from California, rather than Canada, like his IP address suggested, and didn’t pay the $692k prize.
Should You Gamble Through a Virtual Private Network?
You can see that making the decision to gamble with a VPN isn’t a slam dunk. You could still be caught playing at a restricted site and have your funds confiscated afterward.
However, you don’t always need to resort to such measures. Many countries have access to online casinos, bookmakers, and poker rooms.
I don’t fully recommend that you gamble with a VPN when considering that you’re breaking laws and risking winnings. But then again, the choice is all up to you.
Virtual private networks give you this choice. You just need to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you.
More and more of the online gambling industry is becoming regulated. Many jurisdictions now require operators to block players from outside countries.
This situation especially stings when you’re from a country that can’t access real money poker, betting, and casino sites. Normally, you’ll have to choose less-heralded offshore gambling sites as a result.
However, a VPN gives you an opportunity to still gamble at such websites. It masks your location and makes you appear to be located elsewhere.
Operators take a strict approach to dealing with those who violate their terms and conditions with VPNs. That said, you really need to consider if the risk is worth the reward.