The SugarHouse Casino is one of the biggest names in Pennsylvania gambling. The SugarHouse Sportsbook was the first in Philadelphia to take in legal wagers.
So, why doesn’t the SugarHouse mobile app, released in New Jersey, also work in Pennsylvania?
The reasons are both simple and complex.
Reason No. 1: The Wire Act
The simple reason first.
Even though the Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 made it legal for states to set their own sports gambling laws, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 remains in place.
Originally designed to fight organized crime by then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the Wire Act makes interstate sports betting illegal. Even though New Jersey and Pennsylvania both offer legal sports betting, New Jersey betting must stay in New Jersey, and Pennsylvania wagering must remain in Pennsylvania.
Reason No. 2: Geolocation technology
How the SugarHouse New Jersey mobile app knows that it is legally required to stop working as you drive across the Ben Franklin Bridge and back into Pennsylvania is a bit more complicated.
It’s all about geolocation technology and a large number of software companies that are the unseen beneficiaries of the legalization wave.
Each gaming operator’s website and mobile app is outfitted with software. It then either reads an IP address, triangulates from a WiFi signal or uses the location services loaded onto a smartphone’s hard drive.
As soon as a customer logs into the app, the geolocation technology is engaged. According to a demonstration by industry leaders last year, the technology performs a scan of your location every 60 seconds. If it determines that you’re beyond the area of legal operation, the app ceases to work.
Many of these companies have been involved in the gambling industry for years. This includes online state lotteries, casinos with online gambling and poker, and daily fantasy sports.
However, never has the American market seen an expansion of the gambling industry like it sees now. It is likely to continue over the next five to 10 years. New companies are always entering the fray, as are new and better technologies.
With tens of billions of dollars at stake, not only does this technology prevent people from placing wagers illegally because of their location; it also ensures to not mistake bettors who are legally within a state’s borders.
Those “false positives” are now few and far between. It thankfully paves the way for a more seamless rollout of the next generation of mobile betting apps.
This technology ensures that every time you head across the Delaware River and back into Pennsylvania, that mobile app stops or starts working.