Betfair provides a wide range of betting and gambling options for users — as long as you’re in a country where online gambling is legal. You can access Betfair from anywhere in the world, although you will need to take a few, simple steps to do so.
- Betfair will give you a notification if you’re in a restricted country. It may read, “You are not permitted to register with Betfair from the country you are in.” If you see that message or a similar one, the country you currently in has banned online gambling or Betfair specifically.
- You can get past this geographic content blocking by using a VPN service like ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN allows you to spoof your IP address by connecting to a VPN server located in your home country (the UK, for example) where Betfair is legal.
- You can purchase an ExpressVPN account for 1 to 12 months, there is currently an offer on the 12-month subscription providing 3 months of free service here.
- Many countries may have multiple VPN servers. ExpressVPN has several VPN servers located in the UK. For your purposes, connecting to any server within your desired country should work.
Anyone looking to access Betfair with a VPN should ensure they only do so if they are a resident of a country where accessing Betfair is legal. Using a VPN to access Bet365 services should not be considered a workaround for the purposes of illegal online gambling.
Why do people use a VPN for sports betting abroad?
Worldwide, gambling has always been a popular pastime. Indeed, when the internet truly began to take shape in the 1990s, online gambling soon followed. Online gambling is now a huge business, encompassing tens of thousands of websites, each partaking in an industry that’s estimated to be worth over $40 billion (GBP $32.78 billion). One of the biggest among these is the British betting site, Betfair.
Betfair hosts over 4 million users, 1.1 million active users, and around $483 million (GBP $393 million) in revenue in 2014. This easily makes Betfair a major international gambling hub, particularly given the website is legal in many different countries. Customers are regularly logging in and placing bets from over 46 countries. This includes one U.S. state (New Jersey) and Australia.
As gambling has always been a bit of a hot topic, and more so for online gambling, many countries have banned Betfair outright and other websites like it. In some countries, such as Canada, gambling, and even online gambling may be legal, but gambling through offshore websites like Betfair is not. For Canadians in particular, this means an inability to connect to websites that offer online gambling but have no physical address within the country. This is one of several reasons why Betfair, which once operated in Canada, closed up shop back in 2014.
In most U.S. states, online gambling is illegal, and even where it is permitted, many potential online gamblers face roadblocks from credit card companies and banks. A law exists that prohibits banks from processing payments used for illegal online betting. So as to avoid getting in trouble, most banks reject such payments. In the case of New Jersey, where online gambling is legal, many customers find their payments are still not processed, although a majority do now go through for users in those locales.
In several cases, such as in Portugal, Betfair is not illegal due to an issue with online gambling bans, but on acquiring the proper licenses. These licenses can often be difficult to obtain, or more costly than what may be worth the expense to the company. Betfair must balance its cost-benefit for each individual country, and in some cases, the market for online gambling just isn’t there. As for Portugal, Betfair is currently in the process of applying for a license there. Find out where Betfair is legal and where it’s banned at the bottom of this article.
Nevertheless, Betfair remains vastly popular among many would-be gamblers across the world, including those who live in countries where using Betfair is either outright banned, or sitting within the legal gray area. Since Betfair only allows users to connect to their service after determining if the user’s IP address comes from a legally-accepted country, Betfair users, like many internet users, generally find a workaround. That workaround exists with VPNs.
Laws and regulations change so please check local legislation to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
How to use a VPN to access Betfair abroad
Betfair’s popular service, which provides a platform for betting on anything from sports to politics, is barred for many users. Yet its method for blocking access from certain countries (something the company does mostly to protect itself from any legal repercussions) is easy to get around. Virtual Private Networks, like those services provided by ExpressVPN and others, allow users to connect to a server in a different country, thereby gaining access to geographically-blocked websites like Betfair.
Here’s how to access Betfair from anywhere:
- Sign up with a VPN that unblocks Betfair. We recommend ExpressVPN.
- Download and install the VPN app or browser extension for your device.
- Check it’s legal to use Betfair in the country you are traveling in.
- Open the VPN app or browser extension and connect to a server in a country where Betfair is unblocked.
- Go to Betfair and login to your account.
- You should now be able to place bets! If you’re still encountering restrictions, try clearing your browser’s cookies.
It should be noted that using a VPN to connect to Betfair while living in a country or U.S. state where online gambling is not permitted is still an illegal act. We don’t condone the use of a VPN service to break the law for the purpose of gambling. That said, ExpressVPN and other VPN services like it are particularly popular among international travelers looking to access geographically-blocked content from their home countries.
Let’s say a British resident was on holiday in the U.S. While sitting in a hotel room in New York, he might want to log into his Betfair account and bet on an upcoming soccer game, or perhaps place a few bets on the U.S. presidential election.
Now, if this traveler is worried about breaking U.S. law to access content legal in his country, this is where VPN services come in handy over, say, a SOCKS5 proxy server. Aside from simply assigning a new IP address, VPN services also provide an encrypted tunnel to users. This means that web-based activity is encrypted between your computer and the server you’re connecting to. Anyone trying to look in on your activity would have a very hard time doing so. This includes the ISP you’re utilizing while abroad. That encryption varies depending on the service you use, but most paid services use the highest level of encryption and privacy standards that include no log keeping and a kill switch for when the VPN connection drops.
Would it be legal for him to do this? That’s a bit of a gray area. While U.S. law prohibits online gambling, and anyone traveling is beholden to the laws of the country they’re in, the user may not be breaking any laws. We couldn’t find anything succinct to answer this question, so, as we said, this is a significant legal gray area. However, this article should not be taken as legal advice and we suggest you research local laws for yourself.
From testing, it is clear that accessing Betfair from the U.S. while using a VPN was extremely easy. Undoubtedly, this would also be true for anyone traveling abroad to Canada who wants to access Betfair as well. Australian citizens need not connect to a VPN service like ExpressVPN, as Betfair is fully licensed in the country.
Additional findings for connecting to Betfair in the U.S.
While researching how to connect to Betfair through a VPN, we discovered a few tidbits for anyone connecting while in the U.S. (and conceivably in Canada):
- Even connecting to a New Jersey-based server may not let you into Betfair’s website. Alongside connecting to Betfair through ExpressVPN, we tried connecting to a New Jersey VPN server using IPVanish. While the server connection was just fine, we were still rejected by Betfair’s website. Betfair’s website will still reject U.S. and Canadian IP addresses, even when you’re connected to a VPN.
- We discovered that this is because Betfair has a separate website for its U.S. operations, Betfair CASINO. This website will work even without a U.S. IP address, although it may not be what you’re looking for. Betfair CASINO not only requires an account separate from the regular Betfair website, but it also does not offer the same betting options.
- If you’re a U.S. citizen and desire to use Betfair in the U.S., you must be a New Jersey resident or be in New Jersey at the time you are using Betfair. Betfair CASINO will require you to install a location detector onto your browser to verify you are in New Jersey. Despite being legal to access Betfair while physically located in New Jersey, it is still illegal to do so while outside of New Jersey.
Where is Betfair legal?
Online gambling laws are perhaps some of the most overly complicated laws you will find. Each country has its own legal situation, and even places where online gambling is legal, the situation may be less than black and white. Laws are always changing as well, making it sometimes difficult to keep up with the legal situation on this topic.
For the sake of accuracy, we reached out to Betfair directly regarding which countries still ban their service. Below you’ll find a list of where Betfair is legal, and where it’s still blocked. Not included on either list are “gray area” countries where no law exists permitting or denying the right to use Betfair or other online gambling sites.
Countries in which Betfair is legal:
- Czech Republic
- New Jersey
Countries in which Betfair is blocked:
- American Samoa
- Brunei Darussalam
- France (including French Territories)
- Hong Kong
- Islamic Republic of Iran
- Lao People’s Democratic Republic
- Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa
- The Syrian Arab Republic
- USA (excluding New Jersey)
- Virgin Islands (USA)
*Note on illegal/legal countries: As mentioned, gambling laws change regularly, as well as Betfair’s own licensing agreements in different countries. This list is subject to change at any time. Please be sure to check the rules in your own country on a regular basis to ensure you’re compliant with local laws. If you do find any discrepancies in our list, please let us know!