Is Gambling With a VPN Illegal?

By in Casino & Gaming on
5 Minute Read
VPN Gambling

Plenty of people use virtual private networks to keep their details safe when browsing the internet. They want to protect themselves from hackers and ensure that their personal details don’t get stolen.

VPNs are also quite useful to gamblers as well. A gambler can use one of these services to play at sites they might not be able to access otherwise.

Of course, gambling sites in restricted jurisdictions block countries for a reason. Therefore, you may wonder if it’s illegal to gamble with a VPN at all.

This guide covers the basics of using a VPN along with the legality of the situation. It also discusses how the law specifically applies to VPN gambling.

How Does a VPN Work?

As the name implies, virtual private networks offer more privacy when you’re online. They also give you an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals.

Hackers try intercepting personal details, banking details, or any other information they get their hands on. These scammers can use such info to steal an identity, money from a bank account, cryptocurrencies, and other things of value.

Large companies became the first customers of VPN services. They used, and still use, virtual private networks to protect their sensitive information.

Nowadays, people from all walks of life use these services. They see VPNs as a great way to avoid being the victims of hackers.

Of course, anybody can use long passwords and update their security settings frequently to protect info. But virtual private networks are the next step in ensuring that one doesn’t get hacked.

When you normally access the internet, you’re using an unsecure connection. Skilled criminals who want to steal your financial or personal details can trace this connection back to your IP address.

When on a VPN, though, you access the internet through a remote server. This server could be located in another city or even an entirely different country.

In either case, the virtual private network safeguards your location. It’s akin to a special wall built around your connection that keeps scammers out.

Put another way, the remote server accesses the internet for you. That said, prying eyes won’t know your true location if they try intercepting data.

A VPN Masks Your Location When Gambling

You can see that VPNs are highly useful for protecting your online activities. Of course, gambling sites already do a good job of this themselves through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology.

SSL encrypts information that you exchange with an online casino, poker room, or sportsbook. Most gambling sites use the highest level of SSL available.

You can still rely on a VPN for even more protection from criminals. However, you should be just fine thanks to SSL.

The real benefit of VPN gambling involves accessing sites that would normally be unavailable to you. For example, you might be from the US and want to play at the top UK online casinos.

Virtual Private Network

Of course, the UK has a highly regulated gambling market that bars other countries. You won’t get any further than the homepage when visiting a British casino from America.

A VPN helps you get around this problem by masking your location. Again, these services access the internet for you from a remote server.

Most VPNs allow you to choose the location of the server you want to use. In the example above, you could select a London-based server to enjoy UK gaming sites.

Of course, you may question the point of circumventing British gambling laws when US residents can access offshore casinos.
Here are potential reasons why you might consider gambling with a VPN even when bookmakers, casinos, and poker rooms are already available to you:

  • You want to play for a big progressive slots jackpot that’s unavailable in your region.
  • You’re interested in a huge casino, poker, or sportsbook bonus.
  • You want to play casino games from a certain software provider (e.g. NetEnt).
  • You’re looking to play at large online poker sites (e.g. PokerStars) that aren’t available.

Most Countries Let You Use a VPN for General Purposes

Virtual private networks have earned a bad reputation for some of the activities that they hide. Illegal online gambling is just one of many crimes that you can commit using these services.

Nevertheless, most countries allow the residents to employ VPNs for general purposes. The average government has no problem with somebody using a service to protect themselves online.

Of course, laws aren’t the same across the board. Some nations completely ban virtual private networks to reduce any potential criminal element.

China, North Korea, Oman, and Russia are examples of places that don’t allow citizens to use VPNs under any circumstances. They treat VPN usage as a criminal matter.

You most likely won’t run into any legal trouble when using a virtual private network. However, you should consider checking your state‘s and country’s laws before doing so.

North Korea, for instance, has stiff punishments for those who use such services. You could wind up in jail if you’re caught using a VPN. This is why it’s so important to know local laws regarding virtual private networks.

Of course, no country allows you to break laws with these services. You can’t legally cyberstalk somebody, download copyrighted material, and hack into private networks just because you’re on a VPN.

Even the operators themselves have an obligation to report suspicious activity. Don’t expect your VPN provider to run cover if they believe you’re breaking the law.

Illegal Gambling Is Illegal Gambling

As long as your state or country allows virtual private network usage, you aren’t breaking the law by gambling with one. You might just be looking for more protection while betting online.

However, states and countries with regulated gambling markets often block those outside of their borders. Italy, for example, doesn’t allow the world to use their legal gaming sites.

Their regulated internet gambling market only applies to Italians. You can’t legally use a virtual private network to play at their sites.

Virtual Private Network

The same concept goes with any other regulated jurisdiction. France, Spain, Sweden, and the UK are all examples of nations that have internet gambling laws and regulations in place.

You stand almost zero chance of being arrested when using a VPN to break gambling laws in most countries. However, these chances increase when you’re living somewhere like Russia or Oman.

Your Funds Will Likely Be Confiscated

Again, you probably won’t deal with legal retribution for VPN gambling. But you could face potentially harsh penalties at whatever site you’re using.

Many sites state that they have the right to confiscate your funds for violating their terms and conditions. You’ll definitely be breaking terms and conditions by using a virtual private network to get around country restrictions.

At this point, the gambling site has two options:

  • Refund your deposit and close your account.
  • Confiscate your funds and close your account.

Either way, you’ve broken the terms and conditions, and you won’t be welcome any longer. The only question is whether the site will also take your money.

The latter happens quite often in these situations. You must be fully aware and prepared for losing your money if an operator catches you violating their terms.

Should You Gamble With a VPN?

The best-case scenario when gambling online is to live in a top-tier regulated jurisdiction (e.g. UK). This way, you don’t need to break laws to gamble at great sites.

However, you may run into situations where you can’t use the best casinos, poker sites, and bookmakers. You might think about breaking the law and a site’s terms and conditions in such cases.

Fortunately, you don’t have to fear being arrested in most cases. Only countries with draconian laws on VPN usage will consider taking extreme action.

But you do need to worry about what will happen to your funds and potential winnings. Certain real money online casinos have confiscated players’ money in these scenarios.

PokerStars caught pro Gordon Vayo using a VPN when he won an online tournament worth $692,000. They refused to pay him the $692k prize.

Vayo initially sued Stars for the winnings. However, he later withdrew the lawsuit after PokerStars proved that Vayo provided forged bank statements as evidence.

You may never win the type of money that inspired gambling sites to take a second look at your true location. However, you should keep Gordon Vayo’s story in mind assuming you do have dreams of winning big.

Conclusion

Using a VPN to get around a state’s or country’s online gambling laws is technically illegal. The UK, for example, blocks outsiders from gambling on their sites.

They don’t block other nations from their market for fun. The UK fully expects residents of other countries to follow their laws and gamble elsewhere.

Even still, illegal VPN gaming isn’t the world’s worse crime. You’re unlikely to face any repercussions when masking your location with a virtual private network.

The main thing that you need to worry about involves having your winnings and bankroll confiscated. Most sites leave themselves an avenue to do so if they catch you wrongly using a VPN.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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