Geolocation Restraint in Online Sports Betting — What it is and How to Play by the Rules
Since the national decriminalization of online sports betting in 2011, states have been given the authority to legalize the pastime that so many enjoy. The legalization of online wagering however is not a free for all as there were certain regulations enacted to ensure safe and legal transactions. One of those constraints is geolocation, a measure put into place to ensure those placing online bets aren’t doing so across state lines.
Initially, these regulatory hurdles stunted the growth of legal online betting. Compliance with such regulations however is on the rise as there were a record number of legal NFL bets placed at the beginning of the season. As legal online NFL betting gains popularity across the country and becomes more accessible to bettors, the top NFL picks are becoming more of a focal point for many hoping their team makes it through to the playoffs this year. Though regulatory compliance is on the rise, the geolocation constraint remains a hurdle for many bettors eager to put their money on their team.
History of Online Betting Constraints
Because the legality of online betting in America still varies from state to state, there are certain restrictions imposed on the bettors from sportsbooks and platforms wanting to ensure they stay compliant. The geolocation restraint in particular is one that has historically given bettors the run around and has led to frustration amongst online wagerers. Though there is no federal law banning online gambling in the US, the Federal Wire Act passed in 1961 does prohibit online betting across state lines.
Currently, the only two states where gambling is illegal in all forms is Utah and Hawaii so as long as you are outside those two states, you are free to wager online. Being free and being able however are two different matters as legal bets often still get denied online due to geolocation requirement failures. There are, however, several things that one can do to mitigate these failures.
Tips for Navigating the Geolocation Constraint
One of the first things to be aware of when online betting is the reputation and legitimacy of the sportsbooks you are using. Using smaller and less reputable sportsbooks may leave you with more failed bets due to the platform using a VPN to appeal to a wider range of bettors in different locations. Additionally, having two different sportsbooks at your disposal is advised so that if the geolocation restraint is giving you trouble on one, you can always fall back on the other.
Being close to state lines can also trigger a failed geolocation compliance as your computer’s IP address may represent that you are in the incorrect state. This issue however can often only be corrected by contacting your provider. A weak WIFI signal on a computer can also trigger a failed geolocation check so ensuring your connection is strong and stable is always advisable. If you are using your phone for online betting, one of the most common mistakes is not having your location accessible to the app or browser you are using. This is also a simple fix and just involves going into your settings to enable your app or browser to use your location. Because smartphones use GPS and a combination of 4G/5G and WIFI, there is often less of an issue when it comes to geolocation requirement failures.
Final Thoughts and Tips
Having a secure and legitimate connection before you place your next NFL bet is crucial in making sure you bet within the legal guidelines. Many reputable sportsbooks are now requiring bettors to download location validators to ensure their users aren’t using a VPN to mask their true location. These location validators can actually ease the process of geolocation and prevent hiccups and failed bets. The geolocation requirement keeps bettors compliant with federal regulations and is easy to satisfy with some simple troubleshooting. As legal online betting continues to grow in popularity there are sure to be more regulations put into place. However, ensuring you are compliant with the geolocation requirement will get you off on the right foot towards placing your next online bet.