How Gaming Sites Verify Player Locations

Online poker and possibly internet bingo are coming to the US soon. In face in Nevada online poker is already here! So far Nevada has two poker sites, Ultimate Poker and WSOP. (World Series of Poker) In the three states that have legalized online gambling operators must verify that all players are located within the state’s borders. There are companies that specialize in verifying the identity and location of players.

One such company is Locaid based in San Francisco. Locaid verifies the location of online gamblers for Ultimate Poker, William Hill, WSOP and others. In the industry Locaid’s CEO Rip Gerber is known as the “sheriff of online gambling.” Gerber says the description is inaccurate and that he is more like the border patrol. Gerber described what his company does and said “We are the world’s largest location company. We created what’s known as “location as a service.” We provide location information to all industries, from financial services to health care to hospitality and gaming.”

Gerber said that in states with legalized internet gambling regulators are saying “I’m OK with it as long as you can verify that that person placing the bet on that device is in my state.” To avoid trouble with federal regulators states must make sure that the locations of all players can be verified to make sure no illegal online gambling takes place. Gerber said his company can locate over 5 million devices around the world using multiple location sources. The sources include cell towers that dot the landscape, and wireless carriers like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. The location could also be determined by through an IP location from internet connections or via a third party database.

Gerber’s company provides the location information to 888 Holdings, Verify, GTech or Bally. Gerber described how the system works and said “Basically, we draw a line around the state and ping the device they are wagering on. If the dot is red (outside the border), the transaction doesn’t go through. If it’s green (inside the border), it’s OK. That information is provided to the sheriff’s office.” For example Caesar’s takes Locaid’s information into their system to determine whether a wager can be processed. Caesar’s uses other information such as age and identity verification,

Gerber said players still try to trick the system. He warned that hackers and blackhat players have found ways around location and identity verification processes. Gerber said his company is constantly trying to keep up with hackers and the sophisticated technologies they are constantly developing.