On July 17, 2019 the PA’s third online casino launched with just 22 titles (they now have over 150). But the real story of the SugarHouse online casino debut was the launch of its Apple integration.
Back in June 2019, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines. It required operators to develop a native iOS-based product. Affected apps would be removed from the Apple App Store if they did not come into compliance and new apps could not be added to the store.
On July 18, 2019, the solution for Apple users arrived in the form of the GeoGuard Location Validator, an app produced by GeoComply.
How do you like them apples?
Once verified by the super-quick process, iOS users have access to the browser-based version of the online casino or online sportsbook. Users must be physically located in Pennsylvania to play, which is exactly what GeoGuard verifies.
How GeoGuard and SugarHouse work together
SugarHouse finished third in the race to online gaming in Pennsylvania behind Hollywood Casino and Parx. But they were the first to offer iOS users access to their online casino and sportsbook. Sister property BetRivers started offering the technology just hours later. Other Pennsylvania online casinos and sportsbooks have followed their lead.
SugarHouse is tapping into a huge market. Apple ranks as the second-most popular mobile operating system with a 47% market share.
There is no iOS app for online casinos or sports betting in Pennsylvania yet. But the third-party app, GeoGuard Location Validator, is a solid solution. Before heading to PA, all the sportsbooks in New Jersey already used the GeoComply technology. This should alleviate any “third-party” download jitters.
How to install GeoGuard Location Validator
First, go into the App Store. Then type “GeoGuard Location Validator” or “GeoComply” in the search bar.
Click on the “Get” button followed by the “Open” button.
You will see this welcome screen that says, “Just 2 fast steps and you’re ready to go.” I was skeptical. Usually, I need to come up with a username, password with symbols and three security questions. Not the case here.
Finally, click “Let’s start!”
If you agree and allow, you can be set up in less than 15 seconds.
Two quick steps to get verified on GeoGuard app
The app asks that you to enable location services on your device to use the GeoGuard app supported websites. Then it says to click “Always Allow” on the pop-up message.
Click on the “OK, I understand” white-shaded box, which prompts this pop-up.
Click “Always Allow.”
In order to securely verify your location, the GeoGuard Location Validator needs to send you notifications. You must click “Allow” on the pop-up message to proceed.
Click on the “OK, I understand” white-shaded box which prompts this pop-up.
That really is it.
Return to your browser to continue.
How to adjust settings for GeoGuard
You must click “Always Allow.” If you click “Only When Using This App,” it’s not going to work.
If you click “Only when using this app” (which I always do), you need to go settings. There you can change location from “while using” to “always.”
When asked GeoGuard would like to send you notifications, you must say yes. If not, you have to go into settings and move the toggle on “allow notifications.”
What if I don’t download GeoComply and try to play on iOS?
Once logged into PA.PlaySugarHouse.com, there will be a prompt for the GeoGuard.
After it is downloaded, you’ll return to the SugarHouse website. If you’re located inside Pennsylvania’s borders, you’re all set. If you’re not, you’ll get a “geolocation failed” message. And it’s a bit scary.
Who is GeoComply?
GeoComply provides geolocation compliance technology. The Vancouver-based company started in 2011, and now serves nearly all of the iGaming market. GeoComply’s client list includes Rush Street Interactive, which owns SugarHouse and Rivers Casino.
Some other GeoComply clients include:
- Golden Nugget
- William Hill
- MGM Resorts
- Scientific Games
“Necessity is the mother of invention, and this new launch is a very good example of that,” said GeoComply CEO David Briggs when asked about the new product.
“Since Apple hardened their policy on refusing any iGaming Apps with wrapped HTML 5 code in, our team has been working extremely hard over the last few months, along with Rush Street Interactive, in order to find a way to service iOS users while meeting the high regulatory standards demanded in States such as Pennsylvania. Although there is more to come from us in terms of further features and innovations in order to make the product easier to use from a UX perspective, we are glad to get something out there for patrons on iOS devices.”