Betting across Canada on Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles was, in a word, robust, especially in Ontario, the only province in the country with an open, competitive, regulated, sports-betting market.
With 40 operators now live in the province, sportsbooks indicated heavy action on the big game. That, of course, isn’t news.
What is news is what GeoComply reported about what was happening on their front last week.
The Vancouver-based company provides fraud prevention and cybersecurity to detect location fraud and help verify a user’s true identity. Companies like GeoComply can prove to an online sportsbook that bettors are physically located where they claim to be, more important in our age where sports betting is legal in some U.S. states and not in others.
In Canada, while the market is open in Ontario, that isn’t the case in other provinces and territories. GeoComply processes geolocation checks to verify online sports bettors’ locations.
According to John Pappas, SVP of Government & Public Affairs, GeoComply, in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the company supported their clients’ compliance needs by identifying and blocking more than 9,000 attempts to access their gaming systems from outside of Ontario. People try using Virtual Private Networks to mask their whereabouts, bypass geo-locks, and access sites.
That would break the law and Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario regulations requiring that bettors must be located in the province. Pappas said they defend against “spoofing” (masking your location) attempts thousands of times a week.
“As part of the regulatory mandate, GeoComply is constantly combatting attempts from around the globe to access our customers platforms in Ontario,” he said. “This is always more pronounced around major sporting events, so we weren’t surprised by the Super Bowl. Our anti-fraud systems were optimized well in advance of the Big Game, not just in the U.S. where the Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event of the year, but for our Canadian customers as well.”
Pappas said a reason explaining so many blocks might be underage gamblers trying to access sportsbooks in Ontario. The standard age to place a sports bet in most U.S. states is 21. However, in Ontario, it’s 19.
“Ensuring geolocation compliance in Ontario is paramount,” he said. “If American consumers wanted to skirt age requirements, turning to sportsbooks in Ontario could be a way to get around the restriction. It’s just another reason that geolocation-compliance assurance is critical on both sides of border.”
GeoComply’s sports betting clients include DraftKings, Fan Duel, and BetMGM.
Pappas says the company also identified and blocked nearly 300 attempts at proxy betting going into the Super Bowl. In one instance, the data shows they identified someone accessing their Ontario sportsbook account outside the province, then within 30 minutes that same account was accessed inside Ontario, revealing a completely unrealistic travel time.