Geo-blocking is when bitcoin gambling sites refuse service to users based on what nation their IP address says they are in. This is done due to gambling laws in some nations, or more accurately, due to the credible threat of legal action against a site by the authorities of some nations.
It is equally illegal to offer online gambling without a local licence in Australia and Canada. If the site is operating in Australia it might obey the Australian laws and geo-block users in Australian because there is a credible threat of legal action by Australian authorities given the site is located in Australia.
However the site will ignore the equivalent Canadian laws and allow users in Canada because there is no credible threat of legal action by Canadian authorities.
The US Department of Justice and the FBI have shown that wherever a site is operating from there is a credible threat of US authorities taking action against it. That’s why some sites operating outside the US geoblock users in the US.
Geo-blocking hurts users and operators
Geo-blocking has been common in government currency online gambling for several years but in the early years of bitcoin gambling it was happily absent. Bitcoin allowed consenting adults anywhere to use sites without being discriminated against or needing permission from their overlords, just like it should be!
However by 2016 just over half the top bitcoin gambling sites use geo-blocking as detailed in the table below. This is bound to continue.
The best and most reputable sites can still make good money while geo-blocking high risk markets like the US. That makes these markets artificially less competitive because it leaves only lower quality and less reputable sites for US users to choose from. So laws that pretend to protect consumers in fact put them in more danger than they would be without those laws.
Who wants this and why?
When different laws are applied to different people on the internet, where we should be equal, the system of segregation that is nation states comes into sharp focus. Sites don’t want to turn away users but offering online gambling to high risk jurisdictions would put their business, finances and freedom at stake.
We have geo-blocking because we have gambling laws. These laws are made to protect government monopolies and government licenced operators and are covered for with a dash of hypocritical morality.
The current situation
The below table shows the current state of geo-blocking in the bitcoin gambling industry. Sadly 53% of operators geoblock users.
The biggest losers are the British who miss out on 47% of services. That includes bitcoins 2 best betting exchanges, the best binary options platform, one of the best sportsbooks and casinos and one of the best dice sites. This is thanks to the point of consumption tax.
American are next worse off missing out on 3 of bitcoins best gambling sites thanks to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Sites located in Europe are more likely to geo-block than sites located outside of Europe don’t.
The best way to get around geo-blocking is with a bitcoin accepting VPN. Legal authorities have never gone after individual online gamblers. They only ever go after the site operators and even make sure the busted sites pay out their users balances. As such you can feel legally comfortable bitcoin gambling from anywhere.
|FortuneJack||Binary options, Casino, Dice, Poker||Georgia|
|Nitrogen||Dice, Poker, Sport||Costa Rica|
|Betcoin||Casino, Dice, Poker, Sport||Costa Rica||-|
*Some sites list their licensing jurisdiction or some trustworthy country as their location even if they are not really located there.