Gaming Innovation Group Fined $25k in NJ for Geolocation Flaw

  • Nevada gambler able to wager at New Jersey Hard Rock Casino Online by manipulating geolocation data
  • The technology flaw allowed the out-of-state player to post a $29 bet
  • The wager cost Gaming Innovation Group $25,000 after regulators fined the company for the breach
A flaw in Gaming Innovation Group's geolocation technology enabled a Nevada gambler to manipulate the location data.
A flaw in Gaming Innovation Group’s geolocation technology enabled a Nevada gambler to manipulate the location data.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has fined Gaming Innovation Group $25,000 (€22,241.87) for a geolocation issue that took place in the summer of 2018. The company provides online gambling technology for the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, but a player from Nevada was able to access the site. The Nevada gambler placed a $29 (€25.80) wager.

Geolocation issue

In New Jersey, online gambling regulations dictate that operators must use geolocation technology within their operations. The technology is used to ensure a player is located within the state’s borders before granting access to a site. Any violation of state gambling laws or regulations can result in a fine or additional punishment.

Gaming Innovation Group, based in Malta, discovered a flaw during a review of its geolocation services on July 4. A geolocation company inspected the Hard Rock online casino’s system. During the review, it found that an individual from Nevada was able to change data to falsely show his location in New Jersey.

When the flaw was discovered, Gaming Innovation Group acted quickly. It shut down the system, reported it immediately and came up with a fix. The company is calling the issue a one-time incident.

Gaming Innovation Group said: “This one-off single incidence of out-of-state gambling was due to a technical vulnerability, which was quickly discovered and reported to the regulator in New Jersey in the first week the company went live in New Jersey.

“An end-user from outside the state of New Jersey with technical knowledge managed to access the front end debugger to change the location and pretend to be from New Jersey.”

NJ gaming laws

In New Jersey, the law states that players who take part in any type of online gambling must be physically present in the state to do so. Geolocation technology is used to certify a player’s location, using multi-layered checks to pinpoint it. If the player is found to be within the state’s borders, then access to the requested gaming site is granted.

When geolocation technology finds that a player is located out of state, they are denied access to the site. In the instance of the Gaming Innovation Group, the player in Nevada was able to trick the system to allow access and place the wager.

Additional fines

The fine levied against the Gaming Innovation Group is the second one issued within just a few weeks for the state of New Jersey.  According to VSO News, gaming regulators handed down a $10,000 (£7,719) in late April in the sports betting sector. PokerStars was found to have allegedly accepted wagers on sporting events that involved colleges in New Jersey.

The parent company of PokerStars, The Stars Group, was fined on April 12 for two separate instances. The Division of Gaming Enforcement reported that PokerStars’ sportsbook accepted a total of 217 wagers on prohibited games in 2018.

The majority of the wagers were placed in November on a game between Rutgers University and Eastern Michigan University in men’s basketball. Rutgers is a state university in New Jersey.

State law indicates that sportsbooks cannot provide wagering on games that involve a college in New Jersey or college games that take place in the state.

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