U.S. Sports Betting Now Legal: Geolocation Compliance Post-PASPA

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On May 14th 2018, the the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), enabling legal sports betting in the US. With the PASPA repeal, there is an inherent need for sportsbooks to utilize geolocation technology for regulatory compliance purposes.

We have all heard of The Internet of Things – the term used to describe how the internet has gone from a desktop computer at home or office, to the near ubiquitous network of connected devices today. From our phones to our cars and our TV. Everything is connected.

However, with the internet of things has also come the need for “The internet of places”.

States’ Rights concerns as well as the requirement for National Sovereignty over what can and can’t be accessed on a territorial basis have given rise to the need to determine with a very high degree of certainty, what jurisdiction an internet-connected consumer is governed by.

Historically, the notion that you could indeed draw geographical boundaries on the internet would have been laughable; such was the weakness of the original technologies and the availability of cheap and easy methods to fake your location online.

With the advent of regulated iGaming in the US in 2013, states wishing to participate meaningfully in iGaming today have taken the initiative in deploying stringent geolocation and security protocols in order to geofence their services to solely within their own state boundaries. By doing so, they act within the clear letter and spirit of the Federal Law in UIGEA and the Wire Act which requires such rigorous geolocation tools as a prerequisite of operating within a particular jurisdiction.

GeoComply is proud to be the geolocation compliance solution chosen by licensed operators in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Georgia, West Virginia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania to uphold state regulations and their geographic borders. This also means that we not only enable eligible traffic to access wagering from these states, but we also block traffic from states that outlaw it, such as Utah, California and New York.

Given the arrival of US legal sports betting in more states, the need to define physical location on the Internet has only become more significant. No matter how or in what manner such an industry may be regulated, there is now advanced geolocation technology available to powerfully filter consumer access in any shape or form that may be required. Be it to promote or restrict online access, technology is no longer an impediment to a chosen business or legislative model – it can be an indispensable tool and enabler.

GeoComply’s technology is currently in action throughout the US, processing up to 10 million transactions per day. Our technology ensures states’ rights are respected through adequate geofencing, and business operators are equipped with advanced tools needed to uphold relevant business and compliance requirements.

For sports betting, our geolocation compliance solutions are designed to be highly adaptive to the what we predict to be a constantly changing regulatory landscape.  Given the volume and speed at which state level sports betting legislation is currently being proposed and passed, GeoComply’s systems are designed to turn on or off access in real time for any particular state or zone. A handful of states have already passed legislation to allow sports betting and are poised to jump on the opportunity now that the SCOTUS has made its decision to repeal PASPA. Several other states have pending legislation at the moment, whereas tomorrow could bring a whole host of others. This dynamic checkerboard of legislation can easily be responded to with a geolocation solution that enables wagering in new jurisdictions at the drop of a hat.

By providing the means to respect sovereignty and the jurisdictional powers of a given physical territory all via the internet, geolocation technology therefore provides a necessary 2-fold function. One, to uphold the preferences and rights of any given jurisdiction seeking to enable yet contain user access within their borders. And two, to respect the wishes of any jurisdictions that choose to not participate or license such activity, or that may ban it all together. Neither can be achieved without adequately robust and adaptive geolocation tools. So if a state doesn’t want it, they don’t have to have it. Every use case has a technical solution.

To perform a geolocation, GeoComply gathers pinpoint accurate location data from multiple data sources to determine the whereabouts of the user. Then, we confirm the integrity of that data to ensure it is secure and has not been masked or tampered with, by any host of tools such as proxies, VPNs, remote desktop software, jailbroken devices, mock location settings, anonymizers, the list goes on.  By the time we approve or deny a transaction, the data may have gone through over 350 checks that our compliance algorithms seek to verify.

We are not re-inventing the wheel here – everyday location sources that we’re familiar with, such as in-built phone GPS, or the wifi geolocation used to ‘check-in’ on Facebook – may be leveraged to locate the user. The main difference between these open-door tools and compliance grade geolocation compliance systems, is the way in which the location data is interrogated to ensure it’s secure and trusted for legal or regulatory applications.

Therefore, it should be well noted that the technology and safeguards which may be necessary if state or federal parties choose to move forward with sports betting are very capable, and in fact quite robust, to uphold such standards. GeoComply believes that all legislative and regulatory issues can easily be addressed with effective geofencing technology.

GeoComply specializes in helping companies detect & monitor geolocation fraud, built on technology deployed in the regulated US iGaming market. GeoComply’s tools are device neutral; keeping you covered whether your customers use a web browser, iOS device, Android device, Smart TV or living room device. Our proven & easy-to-integrate solutions ensure all your requirements are catered for, without intruding on end-user experience.