VPNs and Gambling: Are they Compatible?
When you say Internet, you say quick and easy access to virtual services, but not always security and privacy.
VPNs come to the rescue in these areas.
Using these services, you, the internet user, can surf the web, without concerns regarding hackers or third-party surveillance.
But can the same be said about you, the online gambler?
Let’s find out:
VPN Basics: From beginner to expert in no time
Virtual Private Networks are pieces of software that change your IP address and encrypt your traffic data when using the Internet.
How does a VPN work?
A VPN’s first essential process is called tunnelling: the connection protocol between your device and the VPN server. These come in several types:
- Point-to-point tunnelling (PPTP): The simplest and the oldest protocol out there. Several VPN services see it as outdated.
- L2TP/IPSec, or Layer 2 tunnelling: This protocol combines PPTP with the L2F protocol. While offering a more secure data tunnel, its issues are in the area of encryption capabilities. That’s why many VPN services bundle it with the IPSec online security protocol.
- Secure Socket Tunneling (SSTP): A safer choice, only the two parties involved in data transmission can decode the sent information.
- Internet Key Exchange, version 2 (IKEv2): Another protocol often offered together with IPSec, IKEv2 is especially good for mobile devices.
- Open Source VPNs: This refers to VPN software that is constantly being developed and improved by numerous developers. Not only are they the result of a gigantic common effort, but open source VPNs highly customizable and accessible. Such services are thoroughly audited, so you need not have effectiveness concerns.
In each case, your data is encapsulated in TCP/IP packets and transferred across the Internet.
But VPNs do much more for your safety, that being data encryption processes.
Encryption Protocol Basics
These processes take your shared data and ‘lock’ it through complex methods so that outside agents can’t access it. There are two main encryption protocols: Secure Socket Layer and its descendant, Transport Layer Security.
Note that their similarities outnumber their differences, as they are both safe and continuously updated systems. They are also often lumped together as SSL/TLS.
The main difference, other than age, is that TLS was meant to facilitate e-commerce safety.
How do encryption protocols work?
There are two main methods.
Asymmetrical cryptography requires two ‘keys’ in the form of immense numbers. One is public while the other, private.
A complex and almost-unbreakable mathematical formula relates these two large numbers.
You can imagine the public key to be the index of a locker somewhere in the locker room. The private one, however, is the key you would use to unlock your locker.
You can slide something inside the locker if you know its exact location, but you cannot receive anything without permission.
Now, as it utilizes complex calculations for all your shared data, asymmetrical encryption is really slow. Almost unworkable.
This is where symmetrical cryptography comes in handy.
In short, protocols like TSL employ asymmetrical cryptography only at a communication session’s beginning. Thus, it will only encrypt the process by which the client and server agree on a common key for the session. From that point on, they will employ the shared key for encryptions, as a method called symmetrical cryptography.
Here’s how it works:
- You request a secure connection from a server.
- The server sends back a list of cypher suites. You compare these with your own supported suites.
- One cypher suite gets selected – this is the key you will be using.
- The server then shares its certification, which contains its public key.
- Using the public key, you and the server establish a session key that is valid while you are actively using the service.
The whole VPN security and privacy processes are somewhat complex. But, you should know why and how VPNs are different and better than other internet security software types:
What isn’t a VPN
- VPN servers are not solely proxy servers.
Proxy servers are intermediaries that route your web traffic and mask your IP address. However, they do not encrypt your data, so exchanged information can still be intercepted.
- VPNs are not DNS services, although they may include such functions.
Some VPNs will allow for you to set Domain Name Server settings, thus only permitting some content to go through their network of servers.
The excluded traffic would go under your default IP.
Needless to say, DNS settings reduce your anonymity, as your IP will be visible to some extent.
- You cannot replace a VPN with a firewall, nor vice versa.
A firewall is the opposite of a VPN, and this is why you should use them together.
Here is the explanation:
A firewall acts as the virtual barrier for data packets that try to connect to your device. Its role is to analyze their safety and exclude dangerous content based on a predetermined set of rules.
In short, the firewall will regulate and secure incoming traffic.
And for the information that you send out, you will still require a VPN.
When you are using the two software types together, you secure your channels to the Internet in both directions.
- VPNs are not entirely anonymous but are safer and faster than Tor.
Let us make it clear:
Software like the Tor browser completely anonymizes your internet traffic. Your information is shared or ‘bounced’ across a network of volunteer devices, thus making your IP address and data untraceable.
VPNs, on the other hand, still send your data to the intermediary server.
Why shouldn’t you just choose Tor, then?
Tor surely is entirely anonymous, but it is slow and may not necessarily protect you while browsing.
It is true: the VPN server holds your data, but most providers make an objective out of securing and clearing your personal information once you stop using the service.
All is well, but what can a VPN actually do for you?
What’s the use of a VPN?
A VPN service will protect you from hackers by encrypting your data.
It will also allow you to fly below the radar when it comes to surveillance, whether we are talking about governmental or corporate agencies.
Not even your internet provider can see your online activity.
By changing your real IP address location, you may access streaming services unavailable in your home country.
But, maybe the most evident utility VPNs have, is hiding your IP address and changing your visible server location to another region.
What is your IP address?
IP is shorthand for Internet protocol. Think of it as a unique address identifying your device on the Internet of local networks.
Why would you want it hidden?
Having it changed makes it more difficult for the websites you access to identify you. Additionally, advertisers cannot target you directly.
You can additionally sidestep blocked content. And this is important for the average casino user.
As you well know, several gambling platforms are region-locked. This means that you may only access an online casino if you are from a specific area.
And no one likes that.
Therefore, you might get the itch to ‘relocate’ virtually to take advantage of a certain offer or high payout casino.
There are several factors to consider when attempting to supersede online casino Geo-restricted content:
Gambling Covertly: Plainly Illegal
In most cases, you can access the specific domain of an online casino by using a VPN, as well as play the available games.
From the website’s perspective, you really are another player from the designated country.
Problems arise when you either require KYC measures completion or request a banking transaction.
Once the casino requests your real address, there is no valid or legal method of faking your actual location.
Additionally, casinos use the services of third-party security agencies, such as Gaming Labs, for Geolocation checks. For more information regarding such an agency’s practices in iGaming regulations enforcement, we have a comprehensive guide to Gaming Labs. There you will find more data on geolocation services and much more, all explained in layman’s terms.
Simply put, gambling from a restricted area or even on a domain other than the one available in your region means you are breaking the Terms and Conditions of an online casino.
This will inadvertently lead to you losing rights of access. In some extreme cases, the online casino may even withhold any added funds, as a casino may not provide a money-back guarantee.
Be aware: An online casino may even pursue legal actions against you, and you would hardly have any defence.
And access restrictions can go a lot farther than you expect.
Some casinos perform background checks using banned gamblers databases. You may easily find yourself effectively excluded from most online gambling sites.
What is the reason for such harsh measures?
Each gambling platform takes all the regulatory steps for the jurisdiction it is active in upon launch.
Take a casino that functions with a UKGC license provided for the UK market. If you, as a Canadian user, join the platform, the UKGC does not account for your functioning.
For more information about how registered gambling sites ought to function, we give you our guide to legitimate casinos and their licenses. It will elucidate why changing your IP is unwelcome, as well as many other prohibited practices.
You understand that you cannot undermine regional restrictions when it comes to gambling. You may wish to maintain your security and anonymity. Can you use a VPN for this?
The answer really depends on the casino you are playing on.
Here are some reasons:
Most such sites stipulate that you are allowed one account per individual, home address, and IP. Thus, masking your online address may be interpreted as you trying to create duplicate accounts.
Another issue arises when considering responsible gaming measures. A casino will take all reasonable steps to ensure that excluded or self-excluded players will not join its platform.
Using a VPN might be taken as you trying to unfairly access its services.
Lastly, and this affects you directly, when settling a dispute, a casino or third-party agency will check the server logs. If you are using a fake IP, the evaluators may not be able to trace the online casino activity back to you.
You may lose the dispute, despite being correct.
What’s the Bottom Line?
VPN services are great tools for internet activity. They hit the right spot between anonymity and security.
In most activities, whether we refer to streaming content, accessing blocked websites, or peer-to-peer file sharing, VPNs are your best friend. Especially so, if you pick a robust one and use it together with decent firewall software.
When it comes to online casinos, however, we cannot recommend activating your VPN.
You may unwillingly cross-regional jurisdictive boundaries, which leads to losing funds and, worst-case scenario, even getting into legal troubles.
Additionally, the fake identity a VPN provides may result in you losing disputed funds or being excluded altogether due to safety concerns.
And online casinos have their ways to enforce such rules if they have reasons to believe that you are using a misleading internet identity.
What are the Alternatives?
More so, we’ll inform you regarding all governing rules and conditions.
Additionally, the Canadian gambler is in no short supply of great deposit-based bonuses, and we make an effort to curate all offers for you.
Lastly, we know that security remains a concern for all when it comes to online activities.
Especially since, for wagering on online casinos, you must provide considerable bank information, related to payment methods.
We will give you a better option: a constantly updated list of bitcoin casinos.
You may see cryptocurrencies to be the financial equivalent of VPNs. In all actuality, due to the blockchain encryption technology, cryptocurrencies are a lot more secure and provide full anonymity.
The main takeaway from this discussion is that safety is important, VPNs surely provide it, but they do not mix with gambling websites. For online casinos, you have other facilities that will do just that.