Geolocation Service Outage Disrupts Online Poker in Nevada

Both Nevada regulated sites WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker suffered geolocation outages on October 21 and 23 as AT&T performed “network infrastructure maintenance.”

The Nevada sites utilize mobile phone location tracking as part of their required geolocation strategy to limit play to those within the state borders.

Affected players received pop-up messages explaining that their location could not be verified.

WSOP cancelled 10 tournaments and both sites warned players about the outage by posting in 2+2. During the service break, a number of players were badly affected. Some players in Nevada found themselves bumped from tournaments and had to watch in anguish as they were blinded out.

Complaints on 2+2 range from anger at the lack of notice—“ I have been online for 3 hrs, signed up for a tournament, and 3 hrs into it I get a popup message basically telling me I’m going to be kicked off at 9pm”—to confusion as to what compensation will be offered:

“I got kicked off during an all in hand, after the flop and just as the turn was dealt, which I must have won since I’m still in the tournament. It moved me very near the top but since I haven’t played I’m now about 25th. I know WSOP doesn’t want this to happen but it is frustrating for me as player. I don’t know any fair way to compensate me, I could have busted out by now and maybe not playing was a gift but I also could be in first place.”

A WSOP rep on 2+2 denied that WSOP had any control over the issue; “Believe me, we’re just as frustrated.” Another WSOP rep explained: “we immediately posted to 2p2, and also Twitter, Facebook, and Google +, in an effort to reach as many players as possible. Unfortunately, we could not send an email in time.”

The rep explained that WSOP was working with the location service provider to improve the technology so that problems could be avoided in the future. He made no mention of any plans to set up an email alert service, or plans to create a pop up warning that players would see immediately upon logging in to the site.

The Ultimate Poker rep Scotty was asked similar questions: “Don’t you think that UP should have had some notification of the pending geolocation interruption in the lobby or splash page, so that your ATT-based customers could avoid registering for tournaments etc.?”

Scotty replied: “Agree, we will improve with time.”