Bwin.party Partners with GeoComply for U.S. Geolocation Services
European online-gambling giant bwin.party, the parent company of PartyPoker, has entered a partnership with Nevada-based GeoComply to provide geolocation services in conjunction with online gambling solutions bwin.party hopes to offer within the U.S.
The deal continues a recent trend of bwin.party fleshing out its offerings in preparation for a possible reentry into the US market, provided the company can receive regulatory approval. GeoComply already possesses a Nevada online gaming-services license, having been approved by Nevada regulators last month, and is among the list of applicants for similar approval in New Jersey.
Bwin.party had initially applied for a Nevada online license but was never granted approval. One well-connected source told me that Nevada’s original application was “DOA”, bogged down by the company’s past. Among the ongoing problems bwin.party faced:
The long-running US-facing services of PartyPoker, which was the largest such site facing the US market (including Nevada) from 2000 or so until late 2006 (post-UIGEA);
The settlement between PartyGaming and the DOJ was at the federal level only, and gave no compensation to the states;
Bwin.party progenitor PartyGaming also led the charge in offering blackjack (through PartyPoker) and online casino games (through PartyGaming) to US-based online poker players;
Bwin Poker, the other half of the bwin.party merger, never offered any sort of settlement to US officials (at the federal or state level) regarding bwin’s US-facing poker service on the Ongame Network;
Former bwin.party co-CEO James Ryan, also the former CEO of PartyGaming, had a previous murky past from his early role as the CEO of Excapsa (UltimateBet). That tenure encompassed the majority of the online cheating at UB, and stretched well past the point when some other companies left the US market.
It all appeared to be too much for bwin.party to overcome. Back in March, bwin.party CEO (former co-CEO with Ryan) Norbert Teufelberger announced that bwin.party had “chosen not to do business in Nevada,” a cart-before-the-horse construct designed to appease investors.
Instead, it appears bwin.party has regrouping and surrounding itself with already licensed entities in an effort to make the company more appealing to regulators. Here’s a CalvinAyre piece on bwin.party’s flipflop, of which this recent deal with GeoComply is clearly a part. Bwin.party also has agreements in place with Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts if it can ever find a way to get Nevada regulators to allow them in.
GeoComply, which is based in Henderson, NV, the southeast portion of metro Las Vegas, claims on its website that it uses multiple layers of geolocation detection. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s online site:
The power of GeoComply’s solution is in the richness of the data it gathers. GeoComply combines, analyzes, and encrypts multiple location data sources from a user’s device in order to deliver the most accurate and informed location results. Depending on the device’s capabilities, a combination of IP, WiFi, GSM, and/or GPS location data is collected for each location request.
Unlike other geolocation solutions that rely heavily on one data source, GeoComply supports geolocation in more than 202 countries and has the ability to trace more than 4.8 billion devices worldwide. GeoComply’s decision engine pulls in its location data received from each data source to form a combined analysis of the user’s latitude and longitude on a map, specified in meters. GeoComply’s database specialists draw upon 2.5 billion IP addresses and 700 million WiFi and GSM access points to pinpoint locations worldwide. On devices where GPS is enabled, GeoComply’s solution will also collect the device’s GPS coordinates and feed it through the centralized monitoring and controls system.
GeoComply also claims it can detect various forms of location spoofing, including the use of VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). By also recording the MAC addresses of tracked devices — referring to a unique hardware identification code embedded into most electronic communications devices — the company then claims to be able to block known spoofing devices (computers, smartphones, etc.) on an ongoing basis.
Like bwin.party itself, GeoComply has also secured several online partnership deals. The company already lists Bally Technologies, Microgaming (Optimal Payments (the modern-day successor to NETeller), and SkillBet among its clients, along with several other sites with less of a connection to online poker.
Here’s the announcement, which bwin.party and Geocomply distributed as a press release:
GeoComply, which was recently awarded a license by the Nevada Gaming Control Board to provide geolocation solutions to online gaming operators, has been selected by bwin.party digital entertainment to support them across both PC and Mobile devices in the US.
bwin.party, the global online gaming company, chose GeoComply because of its ability to deliver on the high standards of compliance required by regulators in the US.
“We are thrilled to have won this tender and to be now working with bwin.party in such an exciting new market,” said Anna Sainsbury, CEO of GeoComply USA, Inc. “As a specialist company focused on the iGaming space; we are very much looking forward to assisting bwin.party in delivering to the gold standard of iGaming compliance in geolocation technologies.”
In addition to holding a Nevada license, GeoComply has submitted a license application with the state of New Jersey where a regulated market for online gaming is set to open this November.