Although regulated in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, online gambling is still illegal across the majority of the US. Despite this, players are still attempting to participate on these real-money sites, and are finding advancements in technology both helping and hindering their efforts.
With the rollout of 4G, along with sophisticated tablet and smartphone devices it has become easier than ever to play in online gaming sites. However, many large gambling brands are now refusing player accounts to anyone located in unregulated US states.
In order to get around this, some players have begun to use the internet to their advantage, searching for sites where they can slip through the net or even finding Canadian postal codes and using them during their registration process. Some tech-savvy players are even using VPS or dedicated servers offered by many hosting companies, to set up a VPS server in order to play from a remote computer in another part of the world.
Their attempts to access the games have proven somewhat successful, with illegal offshore gambling taking in around $2.6 billion from US players throughout last year. However, regulated US markets are fighting back.
Technological companies have developed geo-location software, erecting digital fencing around the state borders of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to combat illegal online activity. A key component of many geo-location systems is data received from wireless carriers, via connections made from phones to cell towers. This means that it is not possible for users to trick the software by downloading application on their smartphones that mask its GPS coordinates.
Further technological developments are also ensuring that minors or banned members of casinos cannot access these websites. Multiple layers of high technology will allow companies to cross-check the information provided by a player at the sign-up process against private and public databases, amongst other sources. This could see software developed that asks personal identifying questions, which are only answerable by a legitimate user.
The battle against prohibited gambling games in the US continues to receive media attention. The recent Hollywood release, Runner, Runner explores the world of illegal online gambling, with Justin Timberlake playing a Princeton student who turns to Internet poker as a solution to his rising debt issues. As well as showing that gaming sites such as 7 Sultans brings sexy back, Timberlake’s performance in Runner, Runner has proven significant for the industry.
The film has sparked discussions around the introduction of legislation that would legalise online gambling across the US. The American Gaming Association are hoping that the film will highlight the dangers of illegal internet wagering and will encourage sensible regulation of the online poker market. The group’s website states that a federal law would protect players, prevent underage gambling and help eradicate problem gambling, opening up a market where technology is no longer needed as a weapon in the online wagering war.