Routine mobile communications maintenance by AT&T illustrated this month how vulnerable geolocation facilities on internet gambling websites can be.
Nevada’s first two legal online poker sites, Ultimate Poker.com and WSOP.com, suffered tournament and other interruptions on two days in October as a result of geolocation and communication outages occasioned by AT&T scheduled maintenance.
The mobile communication outage immediately impacted the site’s mandatory geolocation services, which track mobile phone usage to function, ensuring that players are within Nevada boundaries when they access the action.
During the outages, frustrated players bumped out of tournaments were advised by screen messages that their location could not be verified.
WSOP.com confirmed on the twoplustwo forum that 10 of its tournaments had been affected, as players complained that they had been blinded out during the disruptions, losing money.
Players have urged the site operators to ensure that players were notified in good time when AT&T scheduled maintenance is to be carried out so that visits can be planned to avoid such disruptions.
WSOP representatives were the most responsive to player complaints, explaining that efforts had been made at short notice via social media to warn players, and that the operator was as frustrated as the players by the incidents. They assured players that WSOP was working with the geolocation contractor to improve the technology.
One player suggested that online poker companies could better use their websites to warn of impending outages, a recommendation which an Ultimate Poker spokesman said had merit.