Country Restrictions in Online Casinos: Let’s Face the Elephant in the Room

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February 11th, 2021
Back Country Restrictions in Online Casinos: Let’s Face the Elephant in the Room

To obtain information about national eligibility in interactive hubs is a walk in the park, but to prevail in this exceptionally restrictive arena is an entirely different case, let alone beast.

Find and Replace command in Microsoft Word is something else. With a push of a button, you get to pinpoint the exact phrase, replace it with a more appropriate one, or delete it. You can even perform a bulk action, efficiently editing multiple sections in a document, depending on your criteria or intentions. And just like that, a word or syntax you’re not so fond of is gone — like it was never there.

The conceptual approach of such a software feature is useful in life, too.

Every once in a while, we conduct inner Find and Replace steps to improve our conclusions and perceptions, to modify methods or beliefs, or eradicate misapprehension we build over time. The process is empowering and rewarding: Just as we find better words to express ourselves or develop healthier habits, we obtain more appropriate lenses to observe our reality.

We do this in all walks of life, all the time, as individuals, groups, or organizations, particularly in our relationships, money-related areas, or, say, online gambling.

As we conclude each periodic overhaul — which, contrary to software, takes a bit longer to execute, for we’re just not made of hardware and code — the better, more prudent, and matured worldview emerges.

However…

Reminders of the old, replaced ways don’t become entirely invisible. Instead, they more resemble archived improvements, similar to the Track Changes command in Word, which allows us to record individual edits.

As a result, the editors, or shall we say, self-improving instigators — as well as those who knew us from before and other perceptive, insightful individuals we meet down the road — get to see modifications for quite some time.

(Editor’s note: Such transparency is probably the best and most important part of the whole concept, just as the virtue of having nothing to hide or conceal represents principal value for any online casino.)

The phenomenon is comparable to the wear and tear effects footfall creates on grassland.

We can always notice different, narrow shades of green on a lawn or meadow, pointing out the lanes residents or people used as shortcuts to stride across. Those patches of grass typically have more yellow on leaves: As human steps damage the blades and as constant walking compact the soil, restricting the amount of air, nutrients, and moisture grass absorbs, it takes some time for vegetation to recover afterward.

And, we can unmistakably tell from grassland that someone used to walk a particular path but does not do it anymore. The yellowish line, piercing through the dark green, healthy grass, remains for an extended period — even when both reach the same height again — serving as a testimonial of Find and Replace actions somebody undertook.

Transparency of nature and human beings is not accidental.

These traces serve as lessons to others, giving them a chance to avoid or abate unpractical, unpleasant, even awful experiences — just as lighthouses warn sailors about treacherous patches ahead or the quantified analysis of the worst online casinos helps players evade traps of questionable iGaming practices.

Or rogue interactive hubs. Or ones with predatory Terms & Conditions and fake games. Or venues with evasive withdrawal policies, myriad of players’ complaints, and unresponsive staff.

Undeniably…

Online gambling oceans hide true gems, archipelagos worth visiting, and experiences worth cherishing, but they also conceal significant hazards, just as any sea does. That’s what cruising is all about, and if we don’t like the mix, we better stay onshore.

Among all blunders and perils we may face in such an environment, there is one misconception that warrants a unique and supreme Find and Replace exercise each punter should use every once in a while — preferably at the very beginning of any gambling cruise.

Country restrictions in online casinos.

If for no other reason, then because interactive hubs are quite accustomed to using that same software command. In fact, as sifting through analytical data of the LCB complaints section suggests, some online venues are masters in Find and Replace deployment, particularly when it comes to national eligibility.

Hence this literary lighthouse: To make such a game a fair one for all parties involved.

Anatomy of A Constraint

To say that country restrictions are the giant elephant in the room is an understatement.

(Editor’s note: Equally, the idiom might be inappropriate. Elephants are just like us: They have a sense of self, they’re empathetic, understand teamwork, grieve for loved ones, have a lifelong bond with their families, are infinitely smarter than we give them credit for, are all-around curious and creative creatures, and can also be gay. So, to me, the appropriate metaphor could resemble facing a vicious tiger in a moat: Once you’re in his turf, there’s almost no way out.)

Why?

The whole eco-system surrounding country restrictions is exceptional, which only underscores the paramount importance of a proper approach.

First off, the responsibility to understand national eligibility deriving from T&Cs is entirely on players. Casinos don’t care whether we appreciate such a setup or not: It’s their way or highway. We can’t say ‘we haven’t read’ or ‘we omitted this and that.’

Whatever comes our way is on us.

Secondly, players perpetually have to keep track of all promulgations or statutory changes in the list of countries acceptable in any casino. Interactive hubs don’t advertise changes they make: It’s not like we’re reading a reputable media which publish remarks about edits made to an article.

Whatever assumptions we may have are ours to own.

Thirdly, venues change T&Cs — and country restrictions in particular — on the fly. Ten angels could be standing right next to us, swearing we did everything right in reading what we should, and it still wouldn’t make a difference. The paragraph we saw the other day is just no longer here, and what wasn’t there is now present.

Impromptu modifications irrevocably change our experience.

Fourthly, unless we play in a reputable jurisdiction that provides us with legal aegis, we can achieve very little through a mediation process. Numerous grievances of our members underline how unprotected punters may feel in shady online casinos. (Indeed, that tiger is not waiting to be tamed.)

Unless forewarned, we cannot be forearmed enough.

Finally, and most devastatingly, country restrictions in some online casinos operating from questionable jurisdictions are the supreme one-way street. Hubs will take our deposits even if we’re not eligible to play there but shall remain resolute in denying us withdrawals on the very same argument. This practice may leave us in distinctive vertigo, as venues’ sentiment echoes the eponymous U2 song:

“Just give me what I want, and no one gets hurt.”

Geometry of Solutions

Now, this setup is given. Just as any other company is well within its purview to govern business practices as it likes, the casinos have every right to create frameworks they deem proper. Simultaneously, to expect licensors to police each aspect of global iGaming stage is still a bridge too far.

So, if we don’t like what we see, we should hike and seek. That’s what the power of choice is all about.

Still…

Stepping into such grassland, or ocean, with no precautions, or lighthouse, may equal entering the beautiful green meadow of the Promised Land, or archipelago with seemingly safe harbor, only to find perfectly constructed minefield, or hungry sharks, lurking beneath.

This scenario is not a rule, and it doesn’t always happen, although it happens often, but when it does, it hurts — a lot.

Therefore, let’s see what we can do to avoid such outcomes.

(Editor’s note: Contrary to belief — and excluding country restrictions challenges that occur due to bugs in geo-restriction software a casino may use; those cases are always more comfortable to solve — we, as players, have several tools at our disposal to control the uncontrollable rapacious intentions we may face now and then.)

Conduct pre-gaming due diligence strenuously and religiously. We cannot emphasize this enough. While we may sound like a broken record, you can also interpret this as an instruction to fasten your seatbelts in an airplane: Even though you know nothing wrong may happen during the takeoff or landing, you do it.

So, let’s repeat all in the choir, to warm ourselves up: Always read T&Cs, choose interactive hubs with good rankings from reputable jurisdictions, preferably with a low volume of players’ complaints and engaging casino representatives present at trustworthy affiliate platforms, including responsive support staff and proper general background in terms of gaming certificates.

(Editor’s note: We seriously need a music theme as a background for this LCB mantra.)

And yes, speaking in terms of country restrictions, T&Cs may change on the fly. Still, careful and mandatory reading represent the foundation of any financial building we plan to erect in any online hub.

There’s no substitute or shortcut for this one.

Proactively look for verification of your country. Like it or not, we cannot entirely rely on the casino’s live chat to confirm our national eligibility. These agents work for the hub; sometimes, they are way too busy, occasionally even not trained well enough, not to mention optionally outsourced. Most importantly, they’re people, just like us, prone to mistakes or misinformation.

With that being said, we can always email direct support and inquire about country restrictions.

That way, we will, at least, have a written confirmation we may use later if needed. Since casinos know that such a clarification is an official document — and a much stronger argument in hypothetical mediation than chat correspondence — they will think twice before possibly compromising themselves.

Ensure that the iGaming regulator allows licensees to offer services in your country. By sifting through publicly available data on various iGaming jurisdictions, we can learn more about eligible regions.

For instance, if we check the list of forbidden countries for a Curacao online gambling license, we may see that they include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the USA, and Germany. The latter plans to treat hubs operating under the MGA umbrella in the same manner.

Thus, even if the venue advertises itself as more than welcoming — wherever we may reside — we should always corroborate such information with a reputable source. Otherwise, as already mentioned, we risk the whole fun, not to mention our deposit: A casino shall accept our money, just as it will decline our winnings.

Confirm that online gambling is not prohibited in your country. Whatever we achieve in online casinos won’t amount to a thing if we break our national laws. Those restrictions are paramount to enjoying safety while playing. Anything less than absolute compliance resembles high-stakes gambling using the wildest possible betting strategy against the opponent with a three-letter-agency badge — and a gun.

Two Steps Beyond: 69.70%

Of course, all these preparations are well ingrained in the methodology of each responsible punter. The process is similar to going through a preflight checklist.

(Editor’s note: Make no mistake, all the pilots and airplane crews know all the tasks they have to perform before and during the flight. Yet again, they use detailed written procedures to avoid overlooking critical steps.)

But…

Are there any preemptive maneuvers players can make to suppress country restrictions downfalls?

Yes, there are two — and one of them we should never do.

Verify casino account during registration. There’s probably no better way to confirm national eligibility than to conduct this activity at the very beginning of playing experience in a selected online hub.

The majority of players verify their accounts during the withdrawal phase. However, considering the constraint's anatomy, this effectively leaves us prone to unanticipated developments with very uncertain outcomes.

Instead, consider the verification at the early stage and secure flanks.

That way, we can know in advance whether we’re eligible to play in an online casino or not. Even if later stages deliver challenges, this move puts us in a much better negotiating position during the mediation process.

And that brings us to a solution we shouldn’t even consider.

Don’t use VPN. Like, never. We might think of this as a nifty way to hide our whereabouts, but in doing so, we breach one of the fundamental clauses of T&Cs. In return, this instantly triggers the casino not only to decline our potential withdrawals but to close our account on the spot.

Thus, using VPN is a major no-go: We won’t achieve a thing by utilizing this option.

Now…

One might argue that all these activities are way too much for a player looking for fun and a chance to make some money. But, in all earnest, we conduct such investigative steps in any endeavor we undertake in our lives, whether in business investments, employment interviews, shopping proclivities, or new people we meet.

We. Check. Them. All. Out.

(Editor’s note: In this context, God bless the internet. And please don’t tell me that you haven’t checked her Facebook profile or his LinkedIn bio.)

So…

Not only is this approach not unusual, but it’s necessary. And, in case you still wonder why, here is our statistical retort: Do you know the success rate of the LCB complaints services?

Sixty-nine point seven zero percent.

That is to say that 69.70% of all types of grievances our team manages results in positive outcomes — read: funds returned to players — regardless of the kind of complaint, and no matter whether we have contact with a casino or not.

That’s a pretty “Hooah!” achievement our ladies in this department — or players’ angels, depending on view — take rather humbly: During our chats in preparing this piece, all of them were, like, ‘well, that’s okay, but we could do even better than that.’

(Editor’s note: Once I reach such a success rate in my online gambling, I’ll be reviewing your writings while cruising on my 70-foot aluminum ketch in South Pacific. And, if I decide to grace you with my presence, I’ll charter a plane to fly you over there.)

But, do you know how many positively resolved complaints in the country restrictions segment belong to this particular group?

Zero.

In other words, once they happen, these issues are unsolvable due to the anatomy of constraint. Period.

The metaphor with explosive devices and ocean predators is not accidental in this lose-lose case. The only question is: How much such experience may financially maim us?

And even if we, here at LCB, involve our Data Research and Analytics guys to decipher the conundrum, we face similar outcomes: You can have one list of restricted countries at the hub’s T&Cs; the casino rep may send you a different one; a promotional offer supplied by the interactive venue will yet have another one.

(Editor’s note: Again, it would be haste omission to pin this one onto casinos. Surely, they can improve their business processes and fine-tune their output. But, if we were to evaluate red herrings we face nowadays, we’d soon realize these things simply happen — but it doesn’t mean we welcome them.)

And…

This is without even differentiating between misinformation, as false information one may spread while believing it to be accurate, and disinformation, as an incorrect one people share even though they know it to be wrong.

Open Your Doc, Ctrl+F, Do Your Thing, Save As

Online gambling is prone to both occurrences. We cannot change that, at least not in this lifetime. We can give our best to suppress misleading information, but the fact is that any area of human existence struggle with this, one way or the other.

What we, as players, can do, though…

…is to conduct Find and Replace steps to improve our perceptions while facing country restrictions challenges that offer inspiration and intimidation in finding a proper approach to a solution.

(Editor's note: To illustrate the significance — this particular segment is one of the most common reasons players submit complaints against casinos. The remaining ones are bet size and game contributions, withdrawal issues, and doubled accounts.)

Sometimes the best option boils down to less-is-more philosophy: Play only in a few casinos known to be right. Punters who use this approach also believe that we cannot win anywhere if we try to gamble everywhere.

Other times, players refuse to take a proactive approach, counting on forensic engineering of website updates to nitpick casinos' malpractices while presenting snapshots and eloquent argumentation throughout the mediation.

This effort usually ends in the same way as the complaint about using the identical IP address to host two players does, and we know how that one goes. (Tip: It’s not within that 69.70%.)

Finally…

Every once in a while, we stumble upon genuinely predatory casinos, the ones which use national restrictions as the ultimate disinformation bait. We can easily recognize them, for they don’t list ineligible states; instead, they claim it is players’ responsibility to understand whether the hub’s jurisdiction is valid in their country or not.

Lessons we take away from such places usually sucks, but instructs: Avoid them at any cost.

Whatever option we choose to stride across online gambling lawns or meadows — and even if we become masters in the geometry of available solutions effectively avoiding minefields and sharks — one fundamental thing remains.

When push comes to shove, we can only rely on ourselves — not on the casinos, affiliates, or regulators, but on our knowledge, responsibility, and prudence to pursue fun and financial gains while gambling.

And that includes occasional Find and Replace commands we have to use to improve and empower ourselves, creating narrow, yellowish lines in the grass to remind us of the paths we do not use anymore — but, instead, serve as lighthouses to others who follow.

(Editor's note: On second thought, the metaphor was correct, after all. We're so like elephants. Only, it's up to us to avoid ending in our room or crushed by the stampede of our misapprehensions.)

“To say that country restrictions are the giant elephant in the room is an understatement.”

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