VPNs unlock the true potential of your online browsing experience. They grant access to different versions of websites and give the illusion that you’re based elsewhere. People have been using them to watch international streaming services, but there’s another growing use for VPNs in the modern world: online gaming.
Fans of online gaming are turning to VPNs in a bid to use different servers or play games that are only available in specific countries. Like all things related to this technology, a natural question arises – is this legal?
Well, it’s complicated.
It depends on what online games you’re playing
Are you looking to enjoy video games or does your online gaming revolve around slots and gambling games? If it’s the latter, then you will run into some legal issues when using a VPN.
It’s perfectly legal for a UK gambler to access casinos outside the country. Many choose to do this as it means the sites aren’t connected to GamStop and will offer unique perks like more relaxed regulations. Anyone looking for UK casinos not on GamStop can visit CasinoGam.uk to see just how many international sites are accessible.
Things get really murky when you use a VPN to join offshore casino sites that don’t accept UK players. You might be violating the gambling laws in this country – and there’s another concern too. You’ll have to use false information when signing up as these sites will demand an address. Therefore, if you win money playing the games, you can’t withdraw it as you’ll be unable to verify your account.
As you can imagine, this isn’t a problem with regular video games. There’s no gambling involved and most countries don’t impose restrictions on who can play games on their servers. In other words, avoid using a VPN for online gaming at casinos but don’t be afraid to use it for traditional gaming.
Are there rules for specific online games?
Before we move on from this section, let’s discuss the rules for specific online games. Using a VPN for regular online gaming is widely legal, but you should check with the game developer beforehand. Some companies impose restrictions on VPNs in their games and many players will face consequences.
Technically, this doesn’t make the VPN illegal, but it does mean the game developer can crack down however they see fit – as outlined in the terms and conditions. Fear not, you won’t go to jail, but you will probably get your account banned.
It depends on what country you’re in
Following on from above, VPNs aren’t always allowed when playing video games in certain countries. It’s reported by CyberGhost that the following countries impose strict laws on VPN usage:
- North Korea
What does this mean for online gamers? Well, if you live in any of these countries, there’s a high likelihood you can’t use your VPN to game – or for any other use. Moreover, using a VPN to access gaming servers or content in these countries may also cross legal boundaries. The laws around this are still quite blurry, so it’s best to avoid it just in case.
Stick to VPN usage in countries where it is legal – like the UK!
It depends on why you’re using the VPN
Why do you want to use a VPN for gaming? The obvious reason has been mentioned already; to access games or servers outside your country. In reality, you’ll rarely find video games that aren’t released globally, so most gamers use VPNs to play on different servers.
This is excellent if you live in the UK but your friends are in the US and you want to play a game with them. Simply switch your VPN to make it appear like you’re in the US and you can use the same servers as them.
Kaspersky outlines a few other key reasons to use a VPN when gaming, some of which are highly advantageous, such as:
- Protecting yourself from DDoS attacks
- Enabling a secure connection when gaming on public WiFi
- Reduce the risk of swatting
If you’re using a VPN for any of the reasons listed above, you won’t run into any trouble.
You can probably tell that there’s a but coming, and here it is. You can use a VPN to see the previous benefits when gaming but it can’t be used to do the following:
- Bypass an IP ban that a game imposed on you for not following the rules or cheating
- Create multiple accounts to gain perks on the same game
- Create accounts to sell to other gamers
If you’re caught doing any of the following, a game can ban you for life or seek legal action. It depends on how much damage is caused by your VPN usage. For example, if you’re using a VPN to hide the fact that you’re selling accounts, the game company can sue you for making money directly from their game.
Hopefully, this guide hasn’t confused you too much. You can use a VPN for gaming if you use it for the right reasons and to play the right games. Avoid it if you want to play online gambling games and always check that a developer allows VPNs before you activate it when gaming!