Off-work hobbies like fantasy football used to be relegated to the basement of your neighbor’s house. Nowadays, playing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online for money represents one of the fastest-growing industries on the web.
But not everyone is able to freely participate, and access to sites like DraftKings is restricted in some regions. For example, DraftKings blocks players in certain states, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, and several others. These bans don’t always correlate to DFS being illegal in a state, but they sometimes do.
If you’re in a state where the service is restricted, you can bypass DraftKings location blocks with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN, you can make it appear that you’re in a different location by switching your IP address.
We’ll explain how to do this below, but before moving forward, you should check your local laws to ensure that you are playing legally. Using a VPN to access DraftKings’ services should not be considered a method to illegally play online fantasy sports.
How to play DraftKings anywhere with a VPN
For demonstration purposes, we’ll show you how to access DraftKings with a VPN on a desktop web browser. Note that the process might differ for Draft Kings mobile apps.
When you sign up for a DraftKings account on desktop, you’re required to download a plugin called “Player Location Check” by Geocomply to verify your location. Although DraftKings call this a plugin, it’s really a standalone app that installs on Windows, not a Chrome or Firefox extension. A VPN will change the location reported by this app to a country of your choosing.
A VPN sends your internet traffic through a secondary server and assigns you an IP address from that location. You get to choose the location of the server, so you can make it appear that you’re anywhere. This means that no matter where you are, DraftKings will think you’re in a location where play is allowed. Follow the steps below to unblock DraftKings.
Here’s how to unblock DraftKings anywhere with a VPN:
- Select a suitable VPN and subscribe. We recommend NordVPN for this purpose as it’s fast and reliable and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Install the VPN app for your device by downloading it from the VPN website or appropriate app store.
- Connect to the VPN in a location where DraftKings is legal and accessible.
- Open the DraftKings website and sign in or create a new account.
- Draft Kings will check your location using the Player Location Check app. If you don’t have the app, you’ll need to download it.
- Use your DraftKings account as normal.
You’ll need to connect to the VPN when you create your account and each time you log in. Be sure to log in from the same country each time. NordVPN had no issues bypassing the location check in our tests.
Again, before doing this, be sure to check that DFS are not illegal in the state you’re in.
Note that if you have issues, it’s worth double-checking if DraftKings still works in the state you’ve switched to. The legal situation surrounding DFS is changing continuously, so sites like DraftKings may change their policy with little or no notice.
Remember to uninstall Geocomply if you are no longer using DraftKings, and disabling it in your startup services if you do, for privacy reasons.
How to use NordVPN to unblock DraftKings
Never used a VPN before? It’s pretty simple. Here, we’ll provide detailed step-by-step instructions for signing up to NordVPN and accessing DraftKings from anywhere.
First, sign up for a NordVPN account. There are several subscription options available, but you’ll get better deals if you sign up for a longer term. Note that packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can always get a refund if you’re not completely satisfied with the service.
Once you’ve selected your plan, you can enter your email address and choose a payment method.
Once your account has been successfully created and confirmed, download and install the NordVPN app. When you’re logged in, you’ll see a location dropdown list with a search bar at the top. Type “United States” into the bar, then simply select a US server in a state where DraftKings isn’t blocked.
The location indicator should turn green, letting you know that you’re connected. You should now be able to access DraftKings with no issues.
(Note: You may alternatively choose Canadian servers if you think they’ll be a faster option based on distance from your geographical location.)
Why is DraftKings Fantasy Sports blocked?
Currently, DraftKings blocks play in seven states: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Washington. You can still open accounts in these states, but you can’t compete for prizes.
However, DraftKings is available in the biggest sports betting states, including Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It all comes down to gambling laws. Fantasy sports leagues represent a legal gray area, and every state in the US has different legislation regarding how games like this are controlled, taxed, and regulated.
There are some exceptions, so you should consult DraftKings terms for full details. For example, Idaho residents who are physically located outside the state can make deposits and compete for prizes.
For now, the only players who are cleared to play for prizes on DraftKings abroad are those who live in Canada. If you live somewhere else, you may get the dreaded “We cannot locate you” message the next time you try to make a deposit.
Whether DraftKings Fantasy Sports is or isn’t technically classified as gambling is an issue that the courts still haven’t completely decided on. As such, laws differ from region to region and continue to change.
Comparitech does not condone the illegal use of a VPN to log in to gambling websites in countries or US states where the act is not permitted.
Can I use a free VPN to unblock DraftKings?
Although there are some free VPNs on the market, they do not provide the privacy necessary to use DraftKings securely. Free VPNs have dodgy privacy policies that allow them to harvest user data. They use this data for profiling, and they sell it to third parties, including marketing companies and data brokers. This is the exact opposite of what a reputable VPN does, which is to provide privacy for its users.
In addition, many free VPNs have been found to suffer from app vulnerabilities, DNS leaks that allow your ISP to detect what you are doing online, IP leaks that allow websites to know where you really are, badly implemented encryption that leaves your data at risk of hackers and eavesdroppers, and even apps that are purposefully loaded with spyware and tracking libraries.
As if these massive security flaws and bad practices weren’t enough, free VPNs are also extremely slow, have download restrictions that prevent you from using them more than a little each month, and implement bandwidth restrictions to stop you streaming and doing other data-intensive tasks.