Concern about who can see your IP has grown significantly over the past few years with people starting to realize the extent of the damage that can be done if malicious parties get hold of it. Suspicious activities from an IP often result in the account getting suspended until it's investigated.
In this article, we'll be answering whether online casinos track your IP address, and why so many websites, from casinos to sportsbooks, and even travel sites, track IP address activities. What is so valuable about IP data?
Can Online Casinos Track Your IP?
Whenever you visit a website on the internet, your IP address is open for the site to see as part of the information being exchanged between your computer and the website. Otherwise, the server hosting the site won't know where to send the information (i.e., the actual page's contents).
Most websites do not actively store and track your IP address, they use it for data transfer and when you navigate away from the page it is no longer stored. However, online casinos are required by regulators to track your IP address in order to perform potential audits and keep online gambling safe in the US.
The main reason is that online casinos are licensed for certain jurisdictions and may only offer real money games to people within that jurisdiction. One of the benefits of IP masking is that you can trick sites into thinking you're in a different physical location than you actually are. Therefore casino regulators require the online casinos to track the IP address of the user to make sure they're in a physical location where the casino is legally allowed to offer games of chances.
This 'geohacking' is mainly done by fraudsters - people looking to exploit the online casino in one way or another - so the online casinos are motivated to prevent these people from connecting illegally.
How to Avoid Online Casinos from Tracking You
Understandably, not everyone is thrilled with having an online casino track their IP address - especially if they're using one of the less reputable sites. So how do you prevent online casinos from tracking you?
Subscribe to a Premium VPN Service
The best way to get around any IP address tracking is by using a premium VPN service. A virtual private network (VPN) will route all your internet traffic through encrypted servers - distancing your real IP address and location from the sites that you access.
This means that when you access a site, the information transfer is done between the site and your VPNs encrypted server. This means, the IP address the site receives and thinks is you, is actually the encrypted server. The server then forwards the data from the site to your machine where you can view it normally. Any interaction you wish to make with the site is also forwarded through the encrypted server - acting as a sort of go-between between your computer and the site you're accessing.
If you wish to do this for the purposes of privacy, using a premium (paid) service is the way to go. Not only is their performance and detectability (some sites refuse connections from VPNs) much better than free VPNs, but the free VPNs are likely to track your IP address and data themselves and then sell that data on to 3rd parties as their way of making money.
The downside to using a VPN service is that it is against the terms and conditions of most online casinos - due to their requirement from gambling commissions to confirm the physical location of their players. If you do decide to use a VPN, do so at your own risk as players' accounts have been shut down and had their funds confiscated after the site has detected VPN usage.
Use an Alternative Payment Method
Another way you can avoid your online casino from tracking you is by using alternate payment methods. Online payment methods such as PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller require a large amount of information and identity confirmation before they can be used - so using those for an online casino is essentially confirming to them your identity.
Even the more conventional methods give providers a lot of information. Take debit/credit cards - people have had their identities stolen by people who steal credit card information, causing a lot of headaches for the poor person just trying to use their card online.
Now, this isn't such a big issue for the more reputable sites of the world that operate in heavily regulated environments such as Bet365 and Pokerstars. However, when using offshore or "dodgy" gambling sites, there can be a large amount of risk in giving over this information.
Other methods include cage payment options if available. As the name suggests, cages are brick & mortar casino cashier offices where you buy chips or exchange them to cash. There are casinos such as Caesars Online Casinos & Sportsbook that lets you top up your account within their Atlantic City establishments. In addition, you can take out your winning in these casinos in physical cash. This payment option removes any online transaction requirement, leaving your IP address private.
You can also forego the use of credit cards and online banking methods by using retail establishment payment methods such as PayNearMe. This method lets you deposit money to your online casino account with physical cash among establishments that support the service.
Look for Crypto Casinos
Instead of using cryptocurrency as a "fiat equivalent" on a traditional online casino site, another option is to use a full decentralized crypto casino site. There are licensed online casinos that let you top up your wallet with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. These casinos treat Bitcoin and other altcoins as cash once you made a deposit to your account.
What is the point of using cryptocurrency in traditional online casinos or sportsbooks? There is no means for the operator or anyone else to track all crypto transactions. With blockchain technology, the only recorded information an operator would see is your wallet address. No one has their name, address, contact number, or any private information attached to their cryptocurrency wallet.
With only your wallet address present, operators cannot use that information to track down the identity or address of the owner. There is also no IP address connected to each cryptocurrency transaction.
It is important to note that certain casinos are following strict KYC protocols. These protocols require you to provide proof of your identity with government-issued IDs such as your driver's license. Even if you deposited Bitcoin or other altcoins to your account, you will still need to follow these protocols before you can withdraw your money onto your crypto wallet.
Remember that all licensed casinos are required to uphold a know-your-customer (KYC) policy as an anti-money laundering measure. This method will not track your IP address or your browsing history. Licensed casinos that fail to have a KYC policy are at risk of losing their certifications. If you have any doubts about a casino's legitimacy, you can always verify its license by clicking on the regulation office logo at the bottom of the site. This should take you to the regulation's office home page, such as the UK Gambling Commission, which contains an operator's license details.
Online casinos do track your IP address in order to comply with gambling regulations, however, there are ways to avoid these and hide your information if you go about it the right way.