Does Prohibiting Access to Overseas Casinos Actually Work?

Increasingly, regulators and gambling authorities worldwide are taking aim at international casino operators. Supposedly as an attempt to curb irresponsible, unauthorised and problematic gambling, lawmakers are doing all they can to prevent players from accessing overseas casinos in some territories.

For a casino to be considered safe and worthy of your time, it needs to fulfil a long list of important requirements. It needs to be licensed and regulated, there should be plenty of decent bonus offers available and it should have a fair and transparent payment policy. It should also have the backing and support of as many satisfied customers as possible, along with plenty of games to choose from.

Online casino gaming is growing in popularity on a global basis, resulting in thousands of providers offering more casinos and gambling sites than is possible to estimate. The vast majority of which are running responsible operations and following all the rules.

In which case, why are certain authorities and jurisdictions outlawing access to certain international casinos? More importantly, is it ever advisable to use a VPN to access an online casino, which would otherwise be inaccessible in your territory?

Differences in Regulatory Standards

Ask those making the rules and the vast majority will tell you the same. The main reason why players tend to be blocked from many overseas casinos lies in differences in regulatory standards from one jurisdiction to the next.

In the United Kingdom, for example, online casinos are scrutinised heavily and ruthlessly by the country’s regulators. Getting a licence to operate an online casino in the UK means first fulfilling a whole bunch of requirements, followed by routine inspections by regulators to ensure you’re playing fair.

In some overseas territories, no such scrutiny takes place. Even where licensing and regulation are mandatory, regulatory standards may not be the same as they are at home.

This is supposedly the main reason why some people are forbidden from accessing casinos in certain territories. It’s also a strong argument in favour of governments’ efforts to curb problematic and irresponsible gambling.

Nevertheless, prohibiting access to overseas casinos isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds. There are even those who believe it to be counterproductive, given how easy it is to get around such restrictions where necessary.

Who Prohibits Access to Online Casinos?

The crux of the issue lies in the fact that comprehensively barring access to online casinos based in certain territories is borderline impossible. Say for example, if the United States wanted to prevent its citizens from accessing online casinos based in Turkey – the only realistic way to do so would be to ban all web traffic from the entire country of Turkey.

As this isn’t an option, it’s down to the casinos themselves to determine which players they accept from which territories. That’s why you’ll always see a list of ‘prohibited countries’ when checking out the terms and conditions of the casino – these are the places from which you are forbidden from accessing what’s on offer. 

However, whether or not the casino puts any geo-blocks in place to prevent foreign players from signing up is entirely up to them. Some casinos are pretty strict with regard to who they and will not accept – others don’t really care where you come from, just as long as you spend your money.

But even if a casino does put geo-blocks in place to prevent international players from taking part, it’s still comprehensively easy to get around them. 

The VPN International Access Issue

Today, you can score yourself a seriously capable VPN service for no more than around £5 per month. For this, you gain access to dozens of proxy servers all over the world, which enable you to get around the geo-blocks put in place by online casinos and other types of websites.

VPNs are particularly popular for accessing international streaming services and local TV channels, but can also be used for just about any other purpose.

For those who wish to do so, a VPN is just the thing for getting around the restrictions put in place by international online casinos. Not that doing so is necessarily a good idea, given how you’ll (probably) be breaching the terms and conditions of the casino by signing up from a prohibited territory. Something that in most instances means the casino has the right to withhold your winnings and the cash you deposit into your account, once they’ve detected your actual location.

Though again, there are online casinos all over the world that really do not care whether or not you play via a VPN. Just as long as you are spending money and fuelling their profits, they’ll let you get away with whatever you like.

All of which makes the whole international prohibition thing even more difficult for regulators to keep up with – particularly as VPN technology becomes ever more sophisticated.

Education Beats Prohibition

By taking a step back from the whole thing and considering the skyrocketing popularity of the sector, you find yourself looking at one inevitable conclusion:

Attempting to prohibit people from accessing online casinos isn’t the answer.

Irrespective of geo-blocks or even local/national laws, those who want to gamble online will always find a way of doing so. And it’s not as if finding a way around the current restrictions is difficult – anyone can do it.

This is why many experts believe now is the time to re-focus efforts and resources on education, over and above prohibition. Rather than telling people what they can and can’t do with regard to online gambling, it could be far more effective to educate them as to how to gamble online safely.

Outlawing online gambling altogether is one thing, but attempting to block players from certain online casinos while allowing free access to others sends a mixed message.  

By instilling online casino gamers with the knowledge, insights and confidence needed to make more educated and informed decisions, they’re far more likely to stay safe than if you simply tell them where they can play and where they cannot.

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