Despite all disagreements, the Australian government declared real-money online poker illegal in 2017 and banned all internet gambling platforms in the country.
Many domestic ones were forced to move their servers out of Australia. And most major international poker websites also halted providing their services to users in the country.
However, this wasn’t the end of online poker in Australia.
Although no such websites can operate in the country, people can use a VPN to mask their location and gamble on international platforms.
So, can you play online poker in Australia with a VPN? Read on to find out!
Can You Play Online Poker in Australia with a VPN?
Yes, you can play online poker in Australia with a VPN.
VPNs are legal in the country, and you can use them to access restricted websites or unblock content exclusive to other regions.
Since real-money online poker games are illegal in Australia, major gambling platforms don’t offer their services in the country.
However, you can mask your IP with a VPN and bypass such restrictions.
A premium VPN allows you to access major international internet poker platforms like:
However, an even more interesting question remains:
Is it illegal to use a VPN to play online poker in Australia?
The answer here is more complex than a simple yes or no.
There have been long-lasting debates on legalizing online poker games, but the laws governing the online gambling section have become more strict in recent years.
In 2001, the Australian parliament passed the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), prohibiting online casinos from offering and advertising real-money poker games.
However, Australian citizens could still participate in poker games on international platforms.
The IGA suffered from imprecise wording and definitions, allowing prominent poker websites to go around the rules.
In addition, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (the government body tasked with investigating IGA violations) had no law enforcement authority and had to coordinate with the police and other organizations to take action.
For these reasons, the IGA failed to halt online poker gaming.
Nonetheless, passing the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (IGAB) in 2017 profoundly changed Australia’s online poker industry.
Revising and strengthening the IGA, the IGAB declared online, real-money poker games completely illegal in Australia.
After it became the official law, most prominent internet poker websites stopped their services in Australia and no longer allowed Australians to participate in online games.
Domestic platforms were also banned or forced out of the country.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) supervises the enforcement of IGAB and has banned all Australian online poker websites.
It has also obliged ISPs to block real-money gambling websites.
That being said, the Australian government hasn’t criminalized the act of playing online poker.
The penalties apply only to the companies or individuals who host real-money online gambling in Australia, not those who participate.
Therefore, although online poker is illegal and most international platforms block Australian IPs, you can use a VPN to mask your location and participate in real-money games.
You’ll face no charges as a player even if your connection gets exposed.
7 Things to know when playing online poker in Australia with a VPN
Since online poker is illegal in Australia, there are no official guides to educate players on the rules and risks of using a VPN to participate in a game.
Here, we’ve laid out everything you must know before doing that:
1. Online gambling platforms can detect VPNs
Online poker websites can face penalties if they offer services to individuals residing in countries where internet gambling is illegal.
In addition, most of these sites are geo-restricted. Therefore, they employ advanced technologies to detect VPN connections.
It would be best to use a premium VPN to bypass such blocks. Otherwise, you’ll get detected and banned from the platform.
2. Potential withdrawal issues
Using a VPN to play online poker can result in losing your profit.
When your real IP gets detected and banned, most internet gambling platforms not only remove you from the games but also confiscate all your winnings, preventing you from cashing out.
It’s better to bet safely or withdraw from your account regularly to avoid losing your cash due to an IP ban.
3. Pay attention to deposit rules
Although most prominent online poker websites support PayPal, cryptocurrency, and other means of payment, some require you to make a deposit from a bank account registered in a particular region.
This effectively hinders you from participating in games from abroad. Unfortunately, there’s no way to bypass this restriction but you can look for platforms with milder KYC policies.
4. Different platforms have various rules regarding VPN use
Before participating in an online poker game, carefully read the platform’s terms and conditions. They usually have different rules regarding VPN use.
These are the VPN terms and conditions of three renowned internet poker websites:
- PokerStars: Although PokerStars doesn’t mention the use of VPN in its End User License Agreement, it states that it prevents residents of regions where online poker is illegal from participating and making deposits in real money games.
The platform’s policies also declare that if you attempt to bypass these restrictions, you’ll get banned, and your account’s funds will be seized.
- GGPoker: GGPoker is the only platform with explicit rules regarding the use of VPNs and proxies under section 15 of its Security and Ecology Agreement.
It states that users from prohibited countries aren’t allowed to use a VPN or proxy to participate in internet poker games, and if detected, their account will be suspended.
- PartyPoker: There are no explicit mentions of VPNs in PartyPoker‘s General Terms and Conditions. However, it states that you may use the platform only if it’s legal in your region of residence.
5. Mind your VPN’s server location
Aside from Australia, real-money online gambling is illegal in several other countries and a number of US states.
Among the countries where online poker is prohibited are:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- China Malaysia
- and Bangladesh
In addition, you can’t participate in real money internet gambling from the states of:
- South Carolina
- and Tennessee
To learn more, you can check out online gambling legality by state.
The main takeaway is that if your chosen VPN server is located in either of these countries or states, your IP will be blocked.
6. It’s best to purchase a dedicated IP
If you’re determined to play online poker with a VPN, we suggest you get a service that offers dedicated IPs.
A regular VPN IP address is easier to detect, as those are shared by hundreds if not thousands of users. On the other hand, a dedicated one is unique and belongs only to you, increasing your chances of staying off the radar.
7. Beware of DDoS attacks
Internet poker games take place in real-time. Therefore, even a slight delay can cause you to lose a fortune.
Based on this fact, hackers have started intercepting online casinos with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
These attacks overload the casino’s servers, slowing or shutting them down, which causes players to lose their money.
Sometimes, hackers might even track your IP and attack you personally.
We suggest using legit platforms with reliable servers and solid security measures to avoid DDoS attacks.
Also, a premium VPN can add another security layer to your connection.
So, can you play online poker in Australia with a VPN? The answer is yes.
Although real-money online poker games are illegal in Australia, you can use a premium VPN to access international gambling platforms.
Penalties apply only to companies and individuals who host internet gambling in Australia, not those participating in it.
However, if the platform on which you’re playing detects your actual location, it may block your connection and even seize your deposit.
Therefore, it’s better to use a high-quality VPN with obfuscated servers and consider buying a dedicated IP address.