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ONLINE POKER ON STATE LEVEL IS A MESS

This week the representative from the geo-location solution known as GeoComply got together with iGaming Business to provide a webinar called “Regulation Online Gaming by Location.” PocketFives came during the hour long webinar, which mainly focused on the difficulties operators and players will have to face intrastate online gaming markets in the United States. Two Nevada casinos have received the first legal U.S. online gaming license earlier this week. According to them the process of verifying the players could prove to be a bit steep.

Geo Comply has told audience members to open up the call which is Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act also known as UIGEA, which was passed in the year 2006. This paved the way for online gaming in the United States. The UIGEA created an exception to its prohibition if the bet or wager is located within a single state. The bet is authorized by laws of the state and the regulations include age and location to verify and make sure that the bet does not go against any Federal laws.

Nevada’s neighbor to the east which is Utah prohibits any form of internet gambling, but Nevada is easily regulating online poker. Now can the Nevada operators be positive that they are not accepting players from Utah? GeoComply has responded to this by saying, "The message to online operators in the U.S. is clear: you're going to need location technology that blocks access from outside the single state you're doing business in."

While pinpointing the location it is centered in IP data. The GeoComply officials have pointed out that many players can fake their IP address using many websites and their services. "The testing laboratories and Nevada operators are going to want to prevent spoofing, which allows players to mask or hide where they are located. Multiple forms of location technology are going to need to be deployed to double-check player location."

GeoComply has said the IP data will not be an acceptable form of technology in Nevada because it can be spoofed by the public. Also the Nevada operators that are taking players from Utah they could face severe penalties. "If a Nevada operator is taking bets in Utah, they can be prosecuted in Utah for violation of its laws. They can also be prosecuted by the Feds under the UIGEA and they can get their license revoked in Nevada." The thing that Utah could do is that they could try to shut down gambling websites or seize IP addresses.

There is technology that exists that can easily verify a player’s location. GeoComply has turned to things like Wi-Fi location, GPS, and even cell tower location. In Nevada two location checks are required especially if the device that is being checked is a cellular device. The operators can check the player’s location on every bet or location verification can take place at regular or irregular times during a player’s session. There was an instance in New Jersey when the gaming officials discussed verifying a player’s location each time he placed a bet.

GeoComply has stressed many times that an IP address is not sufficient enough by itself to verify an individual’s location. For example, around nine out of ten Canadians reside within 100 miles of the United States border. Around eight out of ten Americans live on or near the border. "Most of Nevada's population centers and visitors lie in border region. The potential to lose or block up to tens of millions of players gives you a good reason to choose an accurate player location solution wisely."

There are a large percentage of players that are accessing online gaming websites in favor of those their computers. Studies show that 92% of traffic comes from computers, which leave only 8% from cellular devices. GeoComply stresses that "It is important to recognize that a large percentage of mobile users will use Wi-Fi to access your system. Wi-Fi offers better speed and often costs less than mobile data."

The location of the cellular devices can be difficult to pinpoint."In terms of mobile devices, IP accuracy tends to be at its least accurate. That is mainly because the actual IP address comes from the ISP. So, if you are located far away from the ISP that the cell tower is using, the IP address will still come from that location. If you're using your home computer, the IP address will be accurate to within zero to five miles."

The player’s experience online can be difficult if the location checks that they are experiencing are slow or inaccurate. GeoComply has said “Players are motivated to play, but your method of verifying location must be simple, painless, and fast for players to enjoy their experience." The company has provided advice to the operators to use slimmer buffer zones, increase their accuracy, and simplify the process.

Source: Pocketfives