|(with acknowledgements to Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post)|
One of the main problems for the online casino business is location: the Internet is a global, unregulated network, which doesn’t respect the vagaries of national legislation. And for online gambling, that is a major headache, as most national legislatures try to curb gambling beyond their borders, if not within. So far, Internet gamblers have assumed they were safe by virtue of the anonymity of the Net. Well, not anymore, it seems.
This is due to the development of 'geolocation' technology, which attempts to match a person's location based on a computer's Internet address. As you might expect, the online gambling industry was one of the first to jump aboard.
Silicon Valley's Quova Inc., one of the leading providers of this technology, claims it can correctly identify a computer user's home country 98 percent of the time and home city about 85 percent of the time, but only if it's a large city. Independent studies have rated the accuracy rate of such programs at 70 to 90 percent.
'There are a number of sites out there that just don't care about the laws. They are perfectly happy to let U.S. gamblers in even though they know it's illegal,' Jeremy Thompson-Hill, an account manager for OrbisUK, which provides the sentry technology used by Sports.com and Ladbrokes.com says. 'But most reputable companies want to be able to say to the United States, 'We're taking every reasonable precaution to prevent the use of our gambling software in your country.”