In recent years, virtual private networks (VPN) have exploded in popularity. Their roots date back to Microsoft’s creation of the peer-to-peer tunnelling protocol (PPTN) in 1996. Nevertheless, this technology only gained massive traction once smartphones became commonplace and internet adoption when through the roof. According to recent statistics, 31% of internet users have utilized a VPN service at least once, with the majority doing so via their mobile device.
What is VPN?
For the uninformed, a VPN is a service that funnels your data by creating a virtual tunnel that hides your IP address and the information you transfer over the internet. Thus, VPN makes it impossible for businesses, hackers, and government agencies to know what you are looking at when browsing the world wide web and from where. Meaning, you get to surf the digital sphere while enjoying total anonymity.
VPN services allow you to mask your physical location, making it appear like you are accessing websites from a region different than your actual one. Given that online gambling regulation is so diverse, this technology allows players to circumvent geo-restrictions and enjoy platforms and games that they otherwise would not be able to do so. Doing this violates operators’ terms and conditions that are in place so they can legally run their businesses. Out of fear of interfering with specific countries’ laws and possibly facing prosecution, operators and game providers implement geo-bans for players from those regions. However, players in countries where online gambling is legal also choose to use VPN services for other reasons.
Advantages of VPN Use in Gambling
The number of companies that offer VPN services today is vast. However, not all of them are equal in quality or in the number of locations they can mimic. Masking your IP address is beneficial if you wish to claim a bonus available only for players from a specific country. All you have to do is choose the desired location from the service’s server list, and the next time you open the targeted platform, it will offer all the deals aimed at players from your chosen location. The same applies to unlocking restricted games. For instance, NetEnt produces high-end reel-spinners, but this Swedish provider is also well-known for placing strict geo-restrictions on their titles. Using VPN software may be the only way you can enjoy NetEnt products such as Starburst and Gonzo’s Quest.
The bypassing of region restrictions aside, the main motive to use VPN when gambling is the added layer of protection that such networks offer. They increase online data protection by obscuring your IP address and making WLAN networks relatively risk-free. That minimizes the chances of external attacks, allowing for more peace of mind when laying down bets online.
Disadvantages of VPN Use in Gambling
VPN services cost money. Yes, there are free plug-ins, but you have to be wary of those as some have been a part of data mining scandals. Plus, they are likely to bombard you with ads and sell your bandwidth. Therefore, if you wish to play real money casino games while masking your location, you will have to pay $10 to $13 per month to a reputable VPN provider. Lower-end services are unlikely to circumvent security measures that some companies have to deny access to known VPN IP addresses to their platforms.
Know that when this software is on, due to all the data routing to foreign servers, this process will significantly slow down your internet speed. Lost connection issues may also frequently occur, which will interfere with your gameplay.
VPN does not give you legal carte blanche. If government authorities discover and attain proof that you have been using such a service to circumvent their laws, then you are eligible for criminal charges. That said, it is unlikely that they would waste resources to prosecute such offences. Yet, if your chosen operator finds out about your VPN use, he can close your account and confiscate all the money you have in your casino balance. This practice gets detailed in almost all online casino terms and conditions. Nonetheless, a far more likely scenario is that you get your account terminated and your casino balance refunded.