The terms ‘geo-blocking’ and ‘geo-targeting’ are frequently used across our site and many other online casino guides, and it is important for both new and experienced real money players to understand what these terms mean. This article clarifies why an online casino website may block its software or services altogether from certain countries and regions, and how you can get around these restrictions.
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What is geo-blocking?
Geo-blocking is essentially when an Internet website uses in-built security technology to limit access to its content or services based on the user’s geographical location. The tech behind geo-blocking first calculates the visitor’s location based on their IP (internet provider) address and its country of origin, then checks the user’s locations based on a pre-existing blacklist (which regions are not allowed or restricted) or whitelist (which regions are allowed).
Geo-blocking may restrict a visitor’s ability to access certain parts of the site, completely remove portions of the site’s content from the user’s visibility, or lock the user from even gaining access to the domain altogether. It is a common technology used by many different Internet companies to control access to media content, such as artwork, eBooks, movies, music, television shows, video games and more. Usually it is employed as a measure to account for copyright or licensing, but also for enforcement of pricing discrimination or to block malicious Web traffic from a specific region.
Geo-blocking is employed by Internet gambling venues due to the fact that online gambling laws and gambling legislations are different in every country. Offshore casino websites typically operate outside of a region’s borders and adhere to different international laws and regulations enforced by advanced gambling and licensing jurisdictions, but they must still abide by basic online gambling laws in each territory they service. Failing to do so could result in unexpected and unwanted legal action.
If you visit an Internet casino website and cannot play or even see certain casino game software, or cannot access the website altogether, this means your region is geo-blocked from the online casino in question in some way or form. Usually the website will put up a notice informing visitors of the restrictions, but many gambling venues do not actually do this and often leave it up to the player to figure out if their country of origin is allowed to access their services.
Make sure to check out our reviews of the top-rated casino websites in the world to determine if players from your region are accepted or on an online casino’s exclusion list. Remember, it is ultimately your responsibility to be aware of the online gambling laws that apply to players in your country.
What is geo-targeting?
Geo targeting is when an Internet website uses in-built technology to detect the location of a visitor to the domain via their IP address and Internet provider. With this information, a website can control and filter certain content based on the user’s recognised country, region, zip code, and so on. Advertisers and marketers often make use of geo targeting to reach their desired audiences, and other well-known businesses such as YouTube use geo targeting to control availability of content based on licensing and existing regional restrictions.
Geo targeting is employed by online casino websites to better service its players based on their country of origin. For example, an Internet casino might be running a special promotion celebrating a holiday specific to just one country, so they might only have certain promotional material appear to users who have IP addresses from said country. It’s also used by information services like OnlineCasinoWebsites – our top ranked casinos listed in the tables at the top of every page on this domain are geo targeted, meaning they only display real money gambling websites best suited for your country, or which accept players from your location based on local and national gambling laws.
Is geo-blocking and geo-targeting bad for online casinos?
These two pieces of Internet technology are not inherently negative for real money gamblers wanting to play their favourite online slots or table games. Online casinos only use geo-blocking so they abide by gambling laws unique to the countries they service to protect themselves and the player from running into undesired legal troubles – rarely is it used for anything else.
If only a few games are blocked to your country and not the entire site, it means the software provider of the games in question rather than the online casino has chosen to block its content from being accessed by users from your region. Geo-targeting is less common and is more often used so players from certain countries are serviced better.
In a nutshell, we advise real money players who discover they are geo-blocked from an online casino website to brush up on their local Internet gambling laws and find an alternative offshore casino site to frequent, of which there are plenty to choose from. However, we are aware there are many tools Internet gamblers have discovered and use to get around certain geo blocking restrictions, and we will discuss the merits and uses of these tools in the section below.
Why and how do people circumvent online casino geo-blocking restrictions?
If you have been on the Internet long enough, you are more than likely fully aware and knowledgeable about VPN (Virtual Private Network) services. These are digital services, paid or free, which grant Internet anonymity by masking your true IP address and allowing you to use an IP address from another country. VPNs are most often used to access multimedia content (films, television, YouTube videos) that is geo blocked or unavailable in a user’s country of origin, but they are also used as an additional security measure to safeguard your privacy while surfing the World Wide Web. Essentially, your detected IP address will appear from the country the server of your VPN is located.
VPNs are extremely popular with Internet gamblers, and not just for the additional privacy – but because it allows players to get around geo blocking and play casino games and entire casino websites they normally would not be allowed to access based on their local online gambling laws.