The vast majority of poker players in New Jersey have had little to no problems logging into the state’s online poker rooms, but gambling regulators don’t want anyone to have any trouble whatsoever. To that end, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is taking steps to loosen geolocation restrictions for potential players.
Now, the idea of loosening any sort of restrictions or regulations or anything having to do with internet gambling may sound like a bad idea, but not to worry, the Garden State’s gaming sites will still be limited to players within state borders. It is those borders that are causing the problem.
About a month and a half ago, GeoComply, a company that provides geolocation services for New Jersey gaming sites, reported that about 95 percent of eligible players within the borders of New Jersey had their physical locations successfully verified. That left 5 percent that GeoComply identified as being outside of the state, even though they were not. In many industries and in many situations, 95 percent is a very good success rate, but that is not good enough in this situation. GeoComply and other companies use wifi and cell phone signals, among other resources, to determine where a player is sitting. In order to be absolutely certain that a player is in New Jersey, the DGE and the geolocation services established a buffer zone by the border. Anyone on the Jersey side of the border was undoubtedly within state lines, but those within the buffer were determined to be too close for the DGE to be comfortable allowing them to play.
To ameliorate the situation, the DGE has made an effort to shrink that buffer, allowing more players to be successfully geolocated. Brian Mattingly, CEO of 888 Holdings, told Philly.com, “By allowing us a little bit more flexibility and easing the tolerance in that distance, it made it significantly better in the second and third month.”
888 provides the software platform for both WSOP.com and the All American Poker Network.
Of course, this means that geolocation accuracy will have to be even better than it was when online gaming launched in New Jersey in November, as there is less room for error. “We have worked with the geolocation vendors and casinos to enhance the technology to make it more accurate and reliable, and to reduce false negatives,” DGE spokeswoman Kerry Langan told Philly.com.
Gaming revenues have been a bit lower than expected in New Jersey so far, with geolocation problems cited as the main reason for the disappointment. January gambling revenues for the state were $9.5 million, but with geolocation improving, that number is expected to grow.