You may already be familiar with the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Peoples’ thoughts on these usually divide into two main areas. One of them is that if you haven’t got anything to hide, then why bother trying? The other surrounds the lack of trust a person may have in both the government and internet service providers (ISPs) and any step you can take towards keeping information from them is both useful and the only sensible route to take.
A VPN can be used to make it look like you’re in a location when you’re actually somewhere else. It masks your actual location with an IP address based elsewhere. It wasn’t uncommon a short few years ago for people in the UK to use VPNs to be able to access the U.S. version of Netflix so that they could watch shows not available here, for example.
These pieces of software can be excellent for several reasons and many people use them legitimately. Yet there are also certain things to consider before utilising such a program. If you’re a sports bettor (or thinking of getting involved in online betting), you may be wondering whether you’re allowed to make use of a VPN for this. Many betting companies require you to prove you’re based in the UK, after all. Here, we’re going to have a closer look at VPNs and see how you can use them for betting online.
What Is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network serves as a simple way to enhance your online security helping you protect everything you do while online. Through the program, you disguise your internet traffic from the ISP that you use.
It works by connecting remote sites to each other via a “tunnel” across the public internet. That “tunnel” operates as a secure portal, linking your computer to websites in a manner that doesn’t allow anyone else to know what you’re doing or viewing. VPNs can even make it seem like you’re located in an entirely different country if you choose to use it that way. When it comes to accessing the online world in a secure way, a VPN is one of the best options.
It is key to note that a VPN will only help to disguise your activity if you don’t already have malware on your system. If you have previously downloaded some malware (most likely without knowledge of doing so), then this can provide a foreign agent with access to your computer, and they will be able to see everything you do, even with a VPN in action. As a result, you should use an appropriate anti-virus and anti-malware service to scan and remove any such issues.
Why Would You Want to Use a VPN?
Different people have different reasons for using VPNs. The most obvious of those is to disguise your online activity from others. Of course, this suggests that anyone using a VPN is up to no good online. That’s not true, though, many people are using these services to prevent their details being stolen or their data being tracked.
Many companies will set up VPNs as well, allowing their employees to travel anywhere in the world and access the company intranet safely from wherever they are. But one of the big reasons for using a VPN is to give your computer and the site(s) you’re accessing the idea that you’re located elsewhere from where you are. If you’re trying to access restricted content from a specific country, then using a VPN can determine that you’re in that country and remove the restrictions.
So, if you wanted to access a betting site with its operations elsewhere that is restricted in the UK, you could potentially use a VPN to do this. Is that a legal thing to do, though?
Are VPNs Legal to Use?
Virtual Private Networks are safe and secure to use, and in most instances, are also completely legal. Some countries have taken to banning the use of VPNs altogether, which isn’t surprising considering sites like Facebook or Twitter are banned in various countries, too. Banning VPNs stops citizens from being able to access these platforms through them. It is currently illegal to use VPNs in countries like China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and a few others.
In the United Kingdom, these VPNs are completely legal to utilise, though. That being said, VPN companies may be required to give access to the government due to the Investigatory Powers Act. Some internet carriers have, in the past, also blocked certain VPNs. It’s a similar situation in the USA, where VPNs are legal but may be subject to monitoring by the FBI etc.
If you do use a VPN to access an online sports betting site and place wagers, is that legal? Well, the answer to that isn’t quite as simple.
First, you need to be a resident of a country where it is legal to gamble in general anyway. Some countries are a lot more liberal with gambling laws than others and you need to ensure you hold an account in a country where it is legal for that company to operate. Each country you “visit” via the VPN has its own rules surrounding the gambling industry. Furthermore, each state in the U.S. has its own rules on betting, so it all depends upon the country that you determine your IP address should be displayed from.
Regarding betting companies, they usually don’t have any interest in your reasons for using a VPN. If you’re caught with an account, placing bets, and so on via a VPN, they will likely suspend or terminate your account. Most companies tend to state in their terms and conditions that you cannot use a VPN to hide your identity. Some even use software to spot players who look like they’re using VPNs for online activity.
There is something else that stands out for betting companies about VPNs as well. Because they conceal your IP address, a user can sign up under several aliases, appearing as many different people as possible, based in different locations. That trick is something that takes place so that they can claim a welcome bonus several times over. This is known as “bonus abuse” by online gambling sites.
To finalise, while you may manage to get away with utilising a VPN every now and then, it isn’t something that is allowed with most online sportsbooks and casinos. Betting on a regular basis via a VPN will likely flag up as suspicious activity at a gambling platform, especially if you’re in a restricted territory.