One of the key elements to state-by-state regulated betting is geography. Or very specifically, whether you are located in the state where you say you are. If you wish to bet in New Jersey, say, then your IP address must match with your physical location.
Otherwise, quite literally depending on the game you wish to play, no dice.
But if you are located where you say you are, your device will let the operator now and away you go – betting freedom.
Except, that in more than a few instances of late it has become clear that some people who are, indeed, where they say they are within a state’s borders are being disqualified from being able to participate due to what would pear to be glitches in the system.
Or more specifically, glitches in the system of the sole provider of geo-location services to the regulated betting sector, GeoComply.
One such unfortunate is Anthony F. Cicali, otherwise known as the Twitch personality Eatahoagie who, despite living well within the borders of New Jersey, has been persistently shunted out of the system by the geolocation service.
Shunted, that is to say according to the GeoComply system, to Massachusetts. That is over 270 miles to the northwest.
Cicali takes up the story. “I upgraded to a new Wi-Fi router and mac OS X software Big Sur 11.1 at the same time,” he sets the scene.
“Since then it’s been non-stop troubleshooting try to figure out why I keep getting dropped signals and my computer won’t geolocate properly. I’ve played online casinos and poker from the same spot for the last five years with minimal issues.”
Cicali has struggled to get in contact with GeoComply in order to get the situation resolved.
“This has been the most frustrating part,” he says. “The company has been giving me some response but it’s through email only.”
He points out that having battled the issue for almost a month, he has had to send over fifty emails to date and with no sign of the issue being resolved.
“They claim that I do have enough Wi-Fi signals in my are , but then I purchased and spent more of my own money to get a Wi-Fi antenna. I now have a dozen signals and still I’m dealing with the issue.”
Part of the problem is that GeoComply has a monopoly of the market and seems to be under little pressure to improve its service.
“My main problems is that for a major tech company that literally is the only gatekeeper for every online casino in NJ. They do not offer phone support, live chat support or any screen-to-screen live fix,” he says.
“This company I’m sure has a lot of talented people working there but they push off most the basic problem solving to the day to day casinos to fix through their support.”
This is a bad enough problem for one person but the chances are that others will have been caught out by the failing tech.
“I know personally I have had multiple people tell me they will not play online because they can never get located,” says Cicali.
“I’ve heard them get explanations from support that said, ‘it’s because you live to close to the border’ but a quarter of NJ is near another state or border.”
“We have iPhones that can geolocate us with in 15 feet now a days to our exact location but this software constantly boots people. I run a direct Ethernet line to a fixed computer and it still can’t locate my location, the answers they have sent me have been complicated.”
Cicali says he is well-versed in computer technology and is knowledgeable enough to want to persist in getting the problem sorted. “But this might not be the case for many other ordinary joes.”
“I have heard multiple people say their software is constantly having multiple issues with Macs. Macs make up 12% of the U.S. market or so, so between that and people near the border, I would be curious to see how many actual geolocate errors are actually happening that are false errors.
“I know the system was designed to keep people from out of country or out of state out of play, but I wonder how many are actually false negatives from NJ? I would love to see the data.”
Cicali probably isn’t the only one.