Geolocation Issue Causes US Sports Betting Outage During NFL Game

Posted on October 23, 2020

Sports betting apps across the US suffered downtime on Thursday night because of an issue at geolocation provider GeoComply.

Apps were affected in multiple states as users were unable to verify which state they were in because of the malfunctioning provider. The issue hit during the middle of NFL Thursday Night Football, meaning customers were unable to place second-half bets or cash out of open positions.

However, the outage was resolved by the fourth quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles matchup with the New York Giants.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania suffer NFL betting blow

An outage affecting NJ and PA sports betting apps during a football game featuring two of the states’ favorite teams certainly is less than ideal for sportsbooks that are reliant upon mobile wagering.

The markets for sports betting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania account for the highest mobile share in the young US market. Both see nine out of every 10 wagers placed via a mobile device in a typical month.

Market leaders FanDuel, DraftKings and BetRivers were all affected. Poker apps were also down temporarily.

What happened to GeoComply?

The issue started at GeoComply, which provides geolocation services for most major US sportsbooks. GeoComply’s product allows sportsbook apps to verify that the bettor is within the state in which they wish to wager.

GeoComply said it suffered an “unexpected network communications error.”

Here’s the full statement from Elizabeth Cronan, GeoComply VP of government relations:

“Last night we encountered an unexpected network communications error, which our team responded to and remedied immediately. We have alerted all affected clients and they are aware of the issue and the steps that were taken to resolve it as quickly as possible.”

What happens in the future?

It wasn’t ideal timing for any operators, but FanDuel in particular took some flak on social media. The company had major issues with its DFS data just two weeks ago, although both incidents started with third-party problems.

The outage also shows just how reliant the industry is on one geolocation provider in GeoComply.

If it goes down for an extended period of time, does the industry have alternatives?

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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