The short answer to this question is yes, it is. But, really, there’s nothing unique about online casinos doing this. Every time you accept cookies when browsing a website, you’re disclosing your IP address as well as other bits of information about yourself and your user habits. But the practice of information gathering by online gambling sites is not intended for sinister purposes. Rather, information about internet users is constantly being mined and harvested by online sites to use as analytical data, to target sales and marketing initiatives and to improve the user experience of the site.
So, why do casino sites track and store your IP address and should you be concerned? Read on to find out more.
Legal Requirement: Geography
Given that the rules and legislation concerning online gambling vary from country to country and even from state to state within a country, including in the USA, online casino sites are legally required to supply users’ IP addresses in the event that their user database is audited. It’s a serious offense for online gambling sites to accept gamblers from outside their geographical jurisdiction. Storing user information is one way of proving that they did not.
Legal Requirement: Age Restrictions
In addition to being governed by geographical laws, casinos also have to adhere to legal age limits for gambling. Monitoring IP addresses is one way to determine the age of a user, although this is by no means foolproof if a family has a shared computer.
It may not be a popular practice, but websites and social media are constantly tracking their users’ browsing patterns. It’s no coincidence that shortly after you’ve googled a product or item, that very same product or service pops up in the ad field of your browser.
Casinos are no different in wanting to tailor their online offering to their customers. Perhaps someone prefers slots to live mobile casinos. Yet others may prefer to play at live dealer online casinos — in which case they’ll probably receive more reviews of new games than someone who regularly plays blackjack. Target marketing is a fact of life and it’s here to stay.
Do Casinos Track Your Winnings?
Yes, casinos do track your winnings, but if you’re worried about the IRS, you’d have to be winning big (extremely big) to be flagged. As long as you stay on the right side of the law as far as taxes are concerned, you can rest easy that your online winnings are safe.
How Online Monitoring and Tracking Can Benefit Players
It’s not only online casino sites that benefit from information gathered online. Sometimes the practice can also benefit the player. Whenever and wherever you go online, you’re leaving a digital footprint so that your information is vulnerable to hackers and would-be fraudsters. They can steal identities, money or even fake activity in other people’s names. Having sites track your general online habits enables them to detect erratic or unusual behavior and to prevent fraud before it happens.
And what if you could use tracking software to improve your poker game? A self-teaching tool, this software can also analyze your opponents’ strategies — just don’t forget that they’ll probably be using the same software.
Can You Block Your IP Address?
The answer is another yes — but beware. You can block your IP address by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN,) which puts a “middleman” digital layer between your actual IP address and the site you’re browsing. There are many VPNs out there, but not all VPNs are equal. If you don’t subscribe to a reputable site (that is, a premium site that you pay for,) you’re potentially even more vulnerable to hackers than simply going through your own IP address.
Also, if you’re playing online gambling sites using a VPN, it’s illegal for the reasons mentioned above. Casinos need to account for your real location. You may find yourself on the wrong side of the law and have your account shut down if you disguise that location.
Another way of “disguising” your identity and IP at casinos online is to gamble using cryptocurrency since only your wallet address — no name, no other personal information — is visible. As already mentioned, just make sure you stay legal. You may want to transact anonymously, but your IP address must be detectable by the site.
IP Address Tracking is Common Practice
We have seen then, that online casino sites are not alone in tracking your IP address and using the information and your user habits for a number of reasons, most of them good. You need to be digitally aware and to make sure the sites you’re visiting are safe and above all and legal — and that your online activity is too. You can rest assured that your privacy is of paramount importance when you register with BetMGM to play safely and securely.