Is a VPN Needed to Bypass GamStop?
By Nancy William 5 minutes
In recent years, people have become very sensitive about protecting their internet whereabouts. This has been necessitated by intruders who want to know where users are located and websites that want to deny access to people in certain regions of the country/world.
In the battle against these issues, most people are now using what is called a “virtual private network” or VPN for short.
A VPN disguises the user’s true IP address location by routing the signal through a centralized server that is protected by the highest level of encryption technology possible.
There are times people will use their VPNs while connected to servers in places where internet access is acceptable based on the website or type of website the user is trying to use.
VPNs for Online Gambling
Throughout the world, there are still a lot of countries where online gambling is not legal. If a country does not permit its residents to gamble online, licensed online gambling operators in other countries are expected to block access to people in those restricted countries.
VPNs can be very useful at getting highly motivated online gamblers in restricted countries access to their favorite online casinos or sportsbook.
As an example, online gambling in China is illegal. If a brave soul living in China really wants to gamble through an online operator that blocks Chinese IP addresses, the Chinese gambler might simply switch on their VPN and route the signal through a country that the online operator does not restrict.
Now, let’s discuss another issue related to VPNs and online gambling. In the UK, there is an assumption that a VPN might be beneficial to UK gamblers who are registered with the UK Gambling Commission’s Self-exclusion program called “GamStop.” Is that a valid assumption?
First things first, GamStop is a voluntary self-exclusion program that allows GamStop-member online gambling sites to block the access of GamStop registered gamblers.
It’s the gamblers who get to choose how long they are to be excluded with the choices ranging from 6 months to 5 years. When the registration process is complete and the application approved, GamStop is very effective.
Is there a need for a VPN to Bypass GamStop?
The answer to this question is no. In fact, an online gambler’s IP address is of no consequence to the GamStop program.
The program flags gamblers for exclusion based on the personal details the gambler provided when they registered for the GamStop program. That includes personal information like:
- Full name
- Residential address
- Home phone and cell number
- Taxpayer ID information
After registration, all of the registered gambler’s existing online accounts are immediately blocked. Should they try to open new accounts, they won’t be able to use any of the aforementioned information because it will immediately cause the program to deny them the ability to open those new accounts.
For anyone who might be curious, there are ways a highly motivated problem gambler could avoid the GamStop program. A favorite option among astute and experienced online gamblers is simply registering with online sportsbooks and casinos that are not on GamStop.
Yes, some licensed online operators are not subscribed to the GamStop scheme. They are able to avoid membership because the UKGC has not yet made memberships condition of licensing.
Other ways registered GamStop gamblers can avoid the program include:
- Finding online gambling websites that do little to no account verification
- Choosing to use a cryptocurrency gambling site that offers total anonymity
- Reverting to retail gambling facilities
- Opening new accounts in partnership with a friend or relative
- Taking their gambling activities offshore to other jurisdictions
Can a VPN Help a GamStop Gambler Get Access to Online Gambling Sites?
It might not offer access to bypass GamStop restrictions, but it does promote other perks for online gamblers. If you look at the GamStop alternatives listed above, you will note that the last one references offshore online gambling.
You see, the online gambling community of today exists well beyond the borders of the UK. Online gambling has grown exponentially in recent years, which has resulted in a very large number of countries legalizing online gambling activities for their residents.
Some of these newer online gambling jurisdictions are able to offer licenses to very good online operators. That is sweet music to a UK online gambler who is looking to get around GamStop.
In many parts of the world, licensed online gambling operators are very fond of UK gamblers. Their fondness is often strong enough that they promote marketing programs that specifically target UK gamblers.
Likewise, UK gamblers love offshore gambling sites, but they do have several issues with which they need to deal when they go this route. They are:
- First, the UK has outlawed the use of credit/debit cards to fund offshore gambling accounts. It can sometimes create offshore account-funding issues.
- Second, offshore jurisdictions don’t offer much protection for foreign gamblers when gambling disputes arise. That could be a big problem if money is involved.
- Finally, a lot of offshore operators welcome UK gamblers but don’t make it easy for them to gain access to gambling sites. That’s where the old VPN comes into play. If a UK gambler switches on their VPN and routes their access through the jurisdiction in question, the access problem is solved.
VPNs might not help to access or bypass GamStop gambling sites, but they can be useful to online gamblers.