New Jersey: What Happens When iGaming Geo-Location Services Fail?

Online gamblers in New Jersey received a shock recently when the state’s iGaming geolocation provider GeoComply experienced technical difficulties, resulting in mobile devices dropping players. The technical issue, which originated in GeoComply’s data center, lasted for about 45 minutes.

Elizabeth Cronan, GeoComply’s VP of Government Relations said, “We encountered an unanticipated network communication error. Our team responded and fixed it right away. We have notified all affected clients and they’re aware of the issue and the steps we took to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”

WSOP, PartyPoker, and PokerStars Tournaments Went Down

The technical issue affected three prominent online poker tournaments, as well as sports betting and online casino games across the state. The outage was especially critical for the online poker operators, who were forced to suspend the tournaments.

PokerStars and WSOP have been privately communicating with individual players, while Partypoker issued an open statement.

Ty Stewart, WSOP’s Executive Director made this statement“It’s regrettable that a state-wide technical issue with one of the state’s key iGaming vendors interrupted service for New Jersey’s online poker operators recently. We think it’s an isolated incident and will attempt to process compensation to players who were impacted as soon as possible.”

If you were among the New Jersey poker players affected by the canceled tournament, a refund or share of the prize pool could be yours. However, it may take a day or two for your poker tournament to figure out the money owed, and distribute it.

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Casino iGaming and Sports Betting Impacted Too

Fortunately, the only big sporting event during the outage was the NFL game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, sports bettors eager for in-play betting may have lost out on a few mobile sports betting opportunities.

For mobile casino players, the technical issue was simply a temporary inconvenience. In less than an hour, mobile casino iGaming was back online.

Geo-Location: A Key iGaming Technology

GeoComply’s geolocation service is built into every state-regulated mobile casino, poker, or sports betting app in New Jersey. Gamblers who wish to play on their laptop or desktop must download the GeoGuard extension. Once installed, the geo-location technology works continually in the background, until a problem such as the recent one occurs.

What Geo-location technology does is allow iGaming apps and websites to determine with great accuracy whether a user is within a regulated iGaming jurisdiction. This is essential, because state laws require gamblers to be physically within jurisdiction borders in order to legally gamble.

When a technical error at the source occurs, players are disconnected, since the geo-location system can not verify the player’s location. The good news for New Jersey gamblers, is that technical failures are extremely rare.

Geo-location Software is Reliable, But Not Perfect

The first online casinos in New Jersey launched in late 2013, and for the first six months, geo-location problems were a regular issue. However, once Geocomply fixed the bugs in its system, there were far fewer problems.

Keep in mind, geolocation technology isn’t perfect. While dropping players is rare, iGaming operators occasionally get into trouble with state regulators when players succeed in getting around geolocation.

For example, the Gaming Innovation Group was fined $25,000 after a mobile casino player managed to place just one bet from outside New Jersey. The player’s actual location or the amount of the wager were made public.

Overall, geolocation technology works very reliably, especially if you consider the huge amount of traffic relying on it.

The fact is, gamblers in New Jersey place more than $10 billion in online poker, casino, and sports bets last year alone. Considering that the recent system outage is the only major one in years, it only goes to show GeoGuard’s reliability.

Are you a New Jersey resident interested in playing online in our state and taking advantage of the best offers?  Check out our curated list of NJ casinos, NJ sportsbooks and online bonuses. And if you are a poker player, please check our list of Best Poker Sites in New Jersey.

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