If you are from the UK and are abroad on holiday, for work or any other reason, then you may well want to login and play at your favourite bingo sites. However, it is likely that you will quickly discover that UK-licensed bingo sites are not available, which can be hugely frustrating.
If you are a regular bingo player, then this can feel like a real imposition on your ability to have fun. After all, what better way is there to relax than by playing a few games and seeing if you can hit the full house jackpot?
The good news is that there is a way around this problem. However, it does require you to be prepared to be a little flexible and it is not without its potential pitfalls. However, we will take you through all you need to know so that you can make your own decision about playing bingo while abroad.
If you are playing at a reliable and trustworthy bingo site while in the UK, then it will be licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, which means that it is legal for the site to operate in the UK. Unfortunately, unless the site also holds a license from the gambling authority of the country that you are in, then it is unlikely that it will be legal for the site to operate there.
When you connect to the internet, your device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) is assigned something called an IP address, which is public. You don’t need to understand the technology behind this, but just as a telephone number contains an area code, so does an IP address. This means that your UK bingo site is able to know where you are connecting from.
Because of this, the bingo site will know if you are trying to play from a country where it is not licensed or permitted to operate and therefore, it will block you from playing. If it didn’t do this, it would be breaching its license conditions and the bingo operator could be hit with significant fines or even have its license revoked.
While this may be extremely annoying if you are a bingo player, the licensing rules are designed to protect your money and identity, so ultimately, it is for your own good.
Having read the above, you probably leapt to the seemingly logical solution. You could join a bingo site that holds a license in the UK and in whatever country you are travelling to.
While on the surface this sounds like a solution to all of your problems, unfortunately it is not quite that simple. When you join a bingo site with this in mind, you should take the time to read its terms and conditions. Most often you will find that even if the site is licensed in both countries, it will not permit you to play when abroad using your UK account.
Each country’s gambling authority sets its own rules and as a result, if you signed up in the UK, it is unlikely to be the same as signing up in the country that you are in, even if it appears to be the same website.
Another logical option would be to create a new account for the country you are in. However, once again this has its own difficulties. When you joined your UK bingo site, you most likely had to verify your identity by providing a photo ID and proof of address. This identity verification is compulsory in nearly all countries, so you may not be able to create a new account unless you have an address in the country that you are in.
In other words, unless you are one of the lucky people to have property in multiple countries, you are likely to struggle with joining a bingo site while on holiday.
As mentioned at the beginning, there is a way around all of these problems. However, it is a little bit technically complicated.
We already explained how the bingo site is able to know your location from your IP address. To avoid this, one option is to use a piece of software that hides your true IP address and presents another. This is called a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network.
Some VPNs are free, and others require you to pay a monthly or annual fee. Essentially, it allows you to select a country and it then routes your internet connection through that location. For example, if you were in Spain and set your VPN to the UK, then it would appear as if you were connecting from within the UK to the websites that you visit (some VPNs will even allow you to choose a city).
If you use a VPN when abroad, your UK bingo site would think that you are still in the UK. This means that it would allow you to login and start playing as usual.
Using a VPN will almost certainly allow you to login and play. However, you could find that it comes back to haunt you later on. While it not illegal, it will almost certainly be against your bingo site’s terms and conditions.
The truth is that it is very unlikely that the bingo site would ever find out. However, there are ways it could discover that you are using a VPN and if you are lucky enough to hit a big win, then there is a real risk that the use of a VPN will be uncovered.
Bingo sites often carry out additional checks when a player hits the jackpot. This means that they could discover that you have been using a VPN and as it is against the terms and conditions, they could legitimately withhold your winnings. In fact, they could even ban you from playing at the site altogether.
As such, it is worth thinking carefully about whether you want to risk using this method to play while abroad. You are sure to have other options, for instance you could look for free bingo games online. While they may not offer quite the same level of excitement, it is certainly better than nothing. Another option is to purchase bingo tickets for games that you want to participate in before going away. Then, when you return you can check the results, and with a bit of luck, a huge jackpot prize will be waiting for you.