The sudden and unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people around the world live, interact, and conduct business. Both individuals and corporations have suffered financially, with some industries being hit particularly hard. Gaming businesses, for example, continue to struggle in the wake of COVID-19. Fortunately, services like LocationSmart exist to help casinos and sports betting establishments diversify and take advantage of online revenue streams.
Businesses who have responded to the pandemic with flexibility and creative problem-solving have successfully mitigated some of the financial impact. Casino businesses can follow suit by offering and promoting online gaming to consumers. Likewise, sports betting establishments can use mobile and internet solutions as another tool in their arsenal to promote social distancing for on-site betting where allowed.
However, iGaming comes with strict regulations that require location verification. LocationSmart, a worldwide leader in geolocation, can help casino businesses validate transactions, enhance player experience, and ultimately recover a portion of lost revenue.
Coronavirus and the Casino Business
Like most of the hospitality industry, the casino business has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. Many casinos closed their doors, furloughed or laid off employees, and sold real estate. As people continue to practice social distancing and—in many cases—avoid making nonessential purchases, casinos, bars and sporting venues have struggled to stay afloat.
Even as states and businesses begin to reopen, the effects of COVID-19 will linger for betting establishments. Casinos in Macau, the world’s largest gambling location, have started to resume business. Patrons must wear masks and have their temperature taken, and no eating or drinking is permitted at the casino tables.
Attendance and revenue are down, with Bloomberg News predicting that yearly revenue will decline by over half. Unfortunately, the fate of casinos in Macau hints at what casinos in the United States may expect in the coming weeks and months.
Many people will remain wary of large crowds for the foreseeable future, and others will continue to spend less money due to financial strain caused by the pandemic. Tourism will continue to decline as many people avoid traveling. And older generations, who traditionally account for a large portion of slot revenues, are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Together, these factors don’t bode well for casinos.
Hope for the Casino Business
However, casinos that are willing to adapt may recover revenue through online gaming. According to Forbes, COVID-19 has increased Internet usage by 70%, with online gaming receiving a major boost worldwide. Casino Journal reports that online gaming in New Jersey was up 25% in March, accounting for an additional $12-$13 million in revenue.
Getting on board with online gaming is a solid plan for casinos, but it’s not without complications, especially due to tight local and state regulations. This is where geolocation through companies like LocationSmart can help casinos with gaming compliance while still providing a stellar customer experience (and generating much-needed revenue in the process).
LocationSmart is a worldwide leader in location APIs. The company offers a robust platform that delivers critical location data, consent management, compliance services, and device profiling. The first provider to launch mobile and iGaming in Nevada and Delaware, LocationSmart is trusted by top gaming operators to validate transactions and improve player experience.
The enterprise mobility platform provides core location technologies that span indoor and outdoor use for any device type, platform, or network. LocationSmart serves Fortune 500 and start-up customers alike and delivers the broadest reach and largest global footprint among cloud-based geolocation services.
Using LocationSmart to Capitalize on iGaming Revenues
Mobile gaming and iGaming are relatively new, highly profitable, and exponentially growing. Still, they are tightly regulated, which means casinos and other businesses hoping to profit from iGaming must carefully comply with local and state laws. At the same time, these iGaming operators will want to keep customers happy with a positive gaming experience. LocationSmart can help satisfy all parties through their geolocation services.
How are geolocation services used in iGaming?
In many cases, before bets are accepted and transactions are conducted, companies must verify that a player’s location is within the authorized jurisdictional boundary. Geolocation is used to accomplish this task. For instance, a player who downloads an iGaming app must give permission for location data to be accessed at the time of transaction.
When the player attempts to complete a transaction, their location is verified using data gathered from the player’s device. If the player is within the authorized boundary, then the transaction is approved. Otherwise, the transaction is denied.
Verification sources in the online gaming industry include:
- IP location and connection attributes
- Wi-Fi signals
- Device profiling and behavioral heuristics
It’s important for casino businesses to have multiple verification factors and a layered approach to location intelligence in order to achieve compliance.
Why should I use LocationSmart for geolocation?
LocationSmart is an established and trusted partner to the gaming industry. Not only was LocationSmart the first provider to launch iGaming location services in Nevada and Delaware, but the platform also provides geolocation services for customers operating in a number of other US states, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe. They are the number one source of device location verification for fraud prevention and gaming compliance.
How does LocationSmart verify a user’s location?
LocationSmart relies on a variety of factors to confirm that a user’s location is within compliance, including IP location. LocationSmart delivers IP Intelligence data for location compliance applications only from sources with the highest standards.
To provide an additional layer of location intelligence, LocationSmart offers device location insight through a Mobile App SDK and Web Browsers. These technologies use Wi-Fi, cell site, and GPS, depending on what location technology is the most accurate and accessible at the time of use. Authentication and verification techniques help confirm that both the user’s device is in an approved area.
With enhanced patron intelligence data, LocationSmart can also determine if the user’s device can be trusted based on current and prior activity. This includes evaluating VPN use, whether the device in use is the same device the patron typically uses, if the user’s location data meets consistency checks, remote desktop access, and much more.
How does LocationSmart check compliance?
Of course, it’s not enough to verify the user’s location alone. It’s also essential to compare the user’s location against approved geographic boundaries for the gaming transaction. LocationSmart performs compliance checks to allow gaming operators to follow regulatory requirements in regulator-specified areas.
Gaming operators work with LocationSmart to configure rule-based compliance checks against pre-configured geofences and zones. Compliance checks can include IP geolocation, browser location, mobile app location and rules-based threat assessments and behavioral analysis.
With such a layered and robust approach to location verification, it’s not surprising that LocationSmart is trusted by top gaming operators. Broadening the reach of their trusted solution to all mobile or internet gamers whether they use a browser or a mobile app reduces adoption hurdles and increases the ease of engagement with mobile gaming applications. Even more importantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, it also increases revenue opportunity for casino businesses while allowing users to practice prescribed social distancing and self-isolation directives from health officials.
Final Thoughts: How Casinos Can Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 with LocationSmart
The question isn’t whether operations for casino businesses will change in response to COVID-19, but how they will change—and for how long. Thriving during and after the pandemic will require flexibility, creativity, and a willingness to adapt. For casino businesses, online gaming is a smart strategy to recover revenue and capitalize on booming online revenue streams.
Because online gaming is tightly regulated, casino businesses will need to ensure that they comply with relevant local and state laws. Players must be located within authorized boundaries, and LocationSmart is an established expert in this area.
LocationSmart’s geolocation services will allow casino businesses to remain in compliance, satisfy players, and mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on revenue while putting patron and employee health and safety at the forefront. For casinos looking to diversify during these unique times, LocationSmart is a trusted leader and a safe bet.