GeoComply’s GeoGuard Gives PA iPhone Users An Online Gambling Lifeline

Posted on July 26, 2019

Necessity is the mother of invention.
Focus on the solution, not the problem.
The answer you seek is right in front of you.

These may be fortune cookie quotes, but they proved to be the impetus for solving the Apple problem. In June, Apple updated its app store’s terms of service, including some new rules for real-money gaming apps.

It rocked the gaming industry, especially in Pennsylvania. As a result, online casinos and sports betting apps were largely unable to launch on an iOS platform. It represented a huge chunk of missed opportunity since over 47% of smartphone users use Apple.

The costly problem begged for a fix.

GeoComply, a Vancouver-based company, had something on the shelf that ended up being a lot more rewarding than a piece of paper wrapped in a cookie.

An Apple workaround saves the day

The GeoGuard Location Validator, an app produced by GeoComply, allows users to obtain location data from their iOS device. It performs a geolocation check and sends data back to integrated websites.

The GeoGuard Location Validator isn’t exactly new. GeoComply started developing it as a peripheral concept about five years ago in response to Android apps not being accepted into the Google Play Store.

As Android users got more familiar with the APK download process and as more operators went live in New Jersey, there was less need for an immediate solution.

“We put it on the shelf. We figured we would save it for a rainy day,” said GeoComply VP of Regulatory Affairs Lindsay Slader.

Signs of a storm in the app store has been brewing

There were hints of a storm brewing before Apple officially tweaked their guidelines. They showed signs of changes in the real-money gaming policy on a case-by-case basis as early as fall 2018. Some of GeoComply’s client’s expressed difficulty with the Apple submission process. They wanted to know about possible options, such as moving away from an app-based experience. GeoComply began ideating how to repackage content in order to be compliant with geolocation standards. Slader explained:

“It became apparent for us that we needed to update this and whip into shape for a production-ready product. As difficult as this policy is, I think it makes it clear now for everyone what the policy is on a universal basis as opposed to trying your luck on a case-by-case basis.”

SugarHouse launches online casino with GeoGuard

Casinos that launched PA online casinos and online sportsbooks in June and July promised a “coming soon” Apple solution. On June 17, SugarHouse launched its online casino. It proved to be a trailblazer in another sense. SugarHouse was the first to offer iOS users access to their online casino and sportsbook. Sister property BetRivers started offering the technology hours later.

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Is GeoGuard a long-term solution?

Slader admitted that GeoGuard is Plan B for the moment. The ideal solution would be a native app in the app store.

“The Apple situation has thrown everyone for a curveball but really forces quick innovation and change. This service is something we were able to throw into the ring for everyone to grab onto as an immediate lifeline. I think what we will see with Apple’s new policy is a shift to new operators developing their content in an HTML5 focused way, redesigning the user experience from the beginning, or other bits of technology to support that.”

GeoGuard values customer privacy

GeoGuard Location Validator is a third-party app. The company serves nearly all of the iGaming market and has been approved by regulators, including the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

GeoComply does not collect personally identifiable information. The geolocation checks carried out on behalf of the operator are anonymous. Only the operator knows who the user is, their address and information on what and how much they are betting.

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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