GeoComply leads crackdown on gamblers who disguise their location

Updated March 19, 2017 - 10:07 pm

Backing up about 100 feet from the California border near the Fashion Outlet in Primm, Nevada, a reporter is finally able to log into the World Series of Poker application on an iPhone.

The reporter is here to test the accuracy of the geolocation service used by the poker application to ensure people physically outside Nevada cannot access the game. WSOP uses the geolocation technology of Vancouver-based GeoComply, a 5-year-old company that also serves daily fantasy sports company Draft Kings and MGM Resorts.

Geolocation and age identification services have been at the heart of the debate over legalizing online gaming. Opponents have sought to ban online gaming in part on the basis that neither technology is fool-proof.

The reporter’s first attempt to log into WSOP just 10 feet from the California border didn’t work. The reporter’s exact location could not be determined, a message on WSOP said.

Once the reporter is logged into WSOP, a driver slowly takes him over to the border to the Primm Lottery in California as he plays WSOP.

The reporter is able to fold a hand as they reach the store in California. As he tries to place a bet on the next hand while circling the store, a black box pops up onto his screen, halting play.

“We have detected that you are attempting to wager from outside the state of Nevada. You should immediately cease and desist from attempting to wager.’’

DISGUISING A LOCATION

While the reporter’s attempt to play outside Nevada was caught quickly by GeoComply, it was rather an unsophisticated test trial. Most people seeking to gamble outside their state use proxy servers to disguise their location.

Such proxy servers tripped up Draft Kings in 2015, leading to criticism it wasn’t doing enough to prevent illegal betting.

The company then hired GeoComply, which it called “the gold standard” for geolocation services.

GeoComply holds licenses to operate in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, the three states that permit online gaming. The company is also authorized to service the Georgia Lottery.

GeoComply uses what is called a “multi-tier system of checks” to determine someone’s location, such as IP address, GSM, GPS and Wi-Fi positioning.

David Salas, deputy chief of the enforcement division at the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said the state’s geolocation providers had their systems “vetted” for accuracy. There have been no reported cases of people logging in from outside Nevada, Salas said.

The National Association of Convenience Stores, a past critic of online gaming and geolocation services, did not respond to requests for comment.

Chief Executive Officer Anna Sainsbury founded GeoComply in 2011 after consulting Washington, D.C., officials about online lottery regulation.

“After the D.C. project ended, I couldn’t shake the notion that somebody really should create a technology capable of enabling highly regulated, jurisdictional industries to operate over the internet,’’ Sainsbury said.

She pitched her concept to gaming companies exhibiting at G2E in Las Vegas in 2011.

LANDING FIRST ORDER

GeoComply’s first order rolled in from Bally Technologies, which had a customer seeking to go live with online poker in Nevada. The company got its breakthrough when it received approval by New Jersey to service six online gaming operators.

It will soon launch a project with MGM Resorts to permit patrons to wager on their phones when on-property.

Sainsbury has diversified from providing geolocation services to U.S. online gaming jurisdictions to other countries and industries. It now blocks about 100,000 illegal attempted transactions a month worldwide.

From a handful of workers in 2010, the company has grown to close to 60 people with at least 50 in technical roles. GeoComply has just a few employees in Las Vegas but might expand when more states go online and as the MGM project launches.

The company’s online gaming revenue is primarily driven by the volume of transactions. Games such as poker are more lucrative than casino games.

Daily Fantasy Sports operators such as Draft Kings generate “huge volume,” Sainsbury said, with peak transactions per second reaching as high as 1,000 in the early stages of the NFL season.

With online gaming’s future in the hands of legislatures around the United States, GeoComply is focusing on other industries for growth. Revenue from U.S. online gaming now pales in comparison to the film, TV and sports world.

While the armed forces would seem to be a potentially big market for location services, Sainsbury sees opportunity in a different sphere.

“I saw a ‘60 Minutes’ special on weaknesses in the 911 services ability to locate emergency callers.’’

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Varram lats you play with your pet remotely
Varram’s pet robot is designed to let you remotely interact with your real pet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES-Formlabs releases new products
Formlabs, a company that produces 3D printers for professionals, has released two new products that can be printed on their hardware. One is a material to print dentures, and the other is an elastic-like material that can be used for printing various flexible pieces. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like