The Michigan House of Representatives Regulatory Reform Committee has recently been spotlighted for its gambling and gaming regulations, particularly VPN blocking. Even though the topic sounds extremely unrelated, the issues raised could affect the US gambling fan base.
The Michigan Division of Internet Gaming, which would have regulatory control over all online gambling sites in the US state of Michigan, was the subject of a measure being discussed by the Committee. Remember, accessing Michigan online casinos via VPN is illegal and can lead to fines and criminal charges.
John Pappas, the spokesperson from GeoComply, was asked to testify on the technologies they use in over 40 states to prevent individuals from visiting online gambling sites like iGamingMI.com from other states or even from outside of the United States. Here’s a snapshot of what Pappas had to say.
What Does GeoComply Do?
GeoComply is a private regulatory company that claims to have technology that can stop individual wagers from violating stringent state and federal rules while gambling online. According to Pappas, their clientele ranges from state lotteries to online casinos and sports betting platforms.
During his eight minutes of testimony, John Pappas gave no technical explanation of how GeoComply works. However, according to the resources of GeoComply, it verifies a player’s precise position by using Wi-Fi, GPS, IP, Bluetooth, and a mobile device.
According to GeoComply, more than 350 analytical checks are performed to guarantee that bets are placed only by those authorized to use a gaming website. While this may seem like an impressive number of checks, it also raises questions about the right of a private corporation to undertake so many invasive searches.
Market analysts were shocked and rather alarmed by this assertion. Furthermore, Pappas made some harrowing claims about VPN blocking and their handling.
How VPNs are Handled by GeoComply
One of the Representatives on the Committee stumbled into the VPN problem more by accident than by intent. Once again, Pappas made some frightening statements without providing any concrete proof to support them.
He said that VPN software is forbidden in the view of GeoComply and their customers. According to him, officials cannot take the chance of permitting someone who is using a VPN to play, even if they reside in Michigan.
He continued by saying that GeoComply searches a device for VPNs and, if found, ensures that the user is unable to place a wager. While this may not sound like a big deal, it does sound frightening when you consider the threats that circulate online gambling threats.
The Truth About Gaming Websites and VPN Use
VPN services utilize technology that makes it difficult to detect that their customers are using a VPN. For example, Surfshark uses a Camouflage mode that hides your activity even from your ISP. Security and anonymity are the main reasons for using a VPN in online gambling.
The bitter truth is that thousands of individuals do and might continue to use VPNs in violation of US gambling regulations. As a recent report revealed, a UK gambling company called Ladbrokes is more than willing to help customers gamble abroad, particularly by facilitating the use of VPN software.
While GeoComply’s claims are noteworthy, it doesn’t hold much credence without proof. It is undeniable that the blocking environment will become considerably harder as both home VPN services and so-called decentralized blockchain VPN services gain traction.
Services like GeoComply are a “ringfence of virtual borders,” in Pappa’s own words. It can help individual end-point users from incurring financial losses and fines, through VPN blocking and geo-compliance. However, the invasive searches that they conduct, according to their own words, are also questionable.