Geolocation Guide

The result of strong laws regarding exclusive interstate gaming is a due diligence required by all gaming providers to put an emphasis on Geolocation. Geolocation is the method in which online poker companies identify the geographical location of a user, based on their digital footprint. The rules for New Jersey are simple. If you are located within the boundaries of the state, you are able to play online poker on one of the state’s regulated websites. And if you are on the literal outside looking in, geolocation is able to see that. The only thing better than a secure financial gaming experience is one that is played with an even playing field with only New Jersey’s finest playing along side.

The process for securing a geolocation for an individual user is a rigorous one. New Jersey has the pleasure of offering third-party provider called CAMS to outsource the immediate technology required to geolocate a user. CAMS is licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and is approved to handle player verification along with geolocation for multiple sites.

A primary way for CAMS to locate a player is through a wi-fi connection. Users in New Jersey differentiate between using a hardline or going wireless when they play online but given that most modern computers have a wi-fi option available in them, CAMS can use that to triangulate a user’s location within feet.

Wi-fi has time and again proven to be the best way to geolocate. It also the preferred method of doing so by the New Jersey DGE. Unlike a hardline, wi-fi is able to pick up a user’s location based on surrounding factors other than the physical location of a user’s computer. Wi-fi is able to pick up on other networks in the surrounding area and use them as base to ping the user’s MAC address, and eventually, their geolocation.

This method does rely on other networks being in the immediate area for players to proverbially bounce off of, but the relative density of most of New Jersey allows for issues to remain at bay.

The success rate of locating a player is high. According to data published in 2014, the company GeoSuccess says that 95 percent of players from a sample of five million were accurately geolocated using their software. GeoSuccess is used by nearly all of New Jersey’s approved online gaming sites.

Unlike the state of Nevada where the emphasis for geolocating is put primarily on the gaming service providers, New Jersey and the NJDGE are more proactive in ensuring a foundation for ensuring that geolocation remains a high priority at all times.

There have been a few small hiccups along the way, especially when the technology was first introduced, but the first major issue did not occur in New Jersey until October 2016. In the midst of the partpokerNJ GSSS series, the problems for a series that had not performed as well as hoped hit a peak. During the GSSS Main Event, the geolocation system effectively went offline about three and half hours into the tournament.

Many players who were located in New Jersey were told by the system that their location could not be found and in effect, disqualified them from participating in the event. An hour was spent on the part of partypokerNJ to resolve the issue, but after doing their due diligence to immediately figure out the problem, the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the tournament.

Players affected were refunded for their entry fee and the total prize pool was divided in two ways. 50 percent went toward a chip chop for the remaining players and the other half went to splitting up the prize pool equally among players in the event. It was the best solution to an awful problem and to their credit, partypokerNJ has not had a significant recorded issue since the debacle.

All of New Jersey’s gaming sites are on notice to ensure this never happens again and keep the game running as smooth as ever.

Geolocation is one of the most important factors in allowing for a safe and secure playing environment for customers within New Jersey’s borders. Thanks to the up-to-date software employed by regulated service providers and the third-party hosts employed, geolocation is a minor concern for any player on the fence about playing online in New Jersey.

It is the engine that keeps all the pieces in motion and the technology for geolocation will only increase in the upcoming future. All players in New Jersey can play with the peace of mind knowing they are playing exclusively with fellow residents of the state. As online poker continues to rebuild in the United States, geolocation becomes all the more crucial. The lessons learned in New Jersey will serve to benefit other states who regulate online gaming.