Geolocation services fundamental to online/mobile sports betting
Legal Sports Report

The First Approval For West Virginia Sports Betting Has Been Granted

GeoComply West Virginia fence

West Virginia started issuing interim permits for sports betting in preparation to launch a state-regulated industry later this summer.

GeoComply Solutions, a leading geolocation supplier, is the first to earn approval for WV sports betting. CEO David Briggs confirmed the preliminary go-ahead in a press release issued Wednesday:

West Virginia has been very proactive in their goal to become among the first states to introduce legal online sports wagering and we are grateful for the support they have shown us in the licensing process.

We are now ready to supply compliance-grade geolocation solutions to the local operators and partners in the West Virginia to get online sports wagering up and running in the state.

The WV Lottery published its proposed rules for sports betting on Tuesday, commencing a 30-day public comment period.

GeoComply approved for WV sports betting

The West Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed its sports betting bill in March, two months before the Supreme Court decision triggered its activation clause by striking down PASPA. The federal ban is now gone, and WV will be among the first states to join Nevada in the sports betting marketplace.

The law authorizes both in-person and mobile/online wagering, and regulators have crafted reasonable rules for implementation. Each of the five casino licensees can deploy up to three individually branded platforms.

The Greenbrier is the only WV casino with a confirmed partnership in place. In June, FanDuel announced that it will provide both retail and online/mobile sports betting under the property’s license.

The law also mandates that operators can only accept bets from customers physically located within WV. That’s where geolocation becomes a necessity. To comply, betting platforms must block users who attempt to access the sportsbook from outside the state.

Managing General Counsel Danielle Boyd said the WV Lottery is “really pleased” to issue the first interim approval to GeoComply:

With the recent repeal of PASPA, we have set a very aggressive timeline for introducing sports wagering in the state, and are happy to have GeoComply show its readiness to support our launch in time for the new NFL season.

Despite ongoing resistance from the governor’s office, regulators and operators are still tracking toward a Sept. 1 launch.

Geolocation crucial to mobile sports betting

As gambling technology goes mobile, geolocation has become fundamental to the integrity of the industry. And few if any do it better than GeoComply. Based in Vancouver, it is the industry leader for determining a customer’s true location.

In West Virginia, GeoComply will build a virtual fence that mirrors the state’s borders. Customers who cross that imaginary line will lose access to WV sportsbooks. If they’re heading northeast, they’ll be venturing into Pennsylvania sports betting territory, another geofenced market if and when wagering starts.

GeoComply’s services can be localized to the extent needed, including the ability to pinpoint locate in three dimensions.

The Mississippi sports betting law, for example, allows mobile betting only within the state’s 28 casinos. A similar restriction could be in place for the two properties soon to offer Rhode Island sports betting. Suppliers like GeoComply can help operators comply with that restriction.

The company currently provides its services across multiple verticals to operators in 42 US states. Its list of clients includes casino giants MGM and Caesars, multiple state lottery agencies, and daily fantasy sports site DraftKings.

The new DraftKings Sportsbook also relies on GeoComply to locate its New Jersey sports betting customers.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering poker, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.