The deadly COVID-19 pandemic forced the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to exclusively move online, but industry experts have warned that location masking could create technical headache for organizers.
Industry experts pointed out that WSOP players could use make use of VPNs or virtual hosts to disguise their locations. They raised question how operators could be able to root out gamers who would disguise their locations. The question is really important for WSOP events, which will be shared between the United States and international pools, will likely attract large number of players.
The first virtual WSOP has been scheduled to start on 1st of July, featuring 85 official WSOP bracelet events. While previously such Series included a smattering of online events, these upcoming events have been limited to gamers in Nevada and New Jersey, which have legalized online poker. But, problems may arise as more than 50 per cent of this year’s online WSOP tournaments are scheduled to be opened to international players for the first time.
The first thirty one events will run on 888 Holdings’ ring-fenced platform the WSOP.com North American network, while the remaining events will take place on the upcoming GG Poker Network, which will allow players from Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia to enjoy online poker. As it is not legal for platforms licensed by the United States to accept global traffic, these two pools of players will be kept separated from each other.
It is a fact that American players have long found secret ways to disguise their location so that they could take part in international online gaming events. Thus, industry experts are concerned that the same problem could arise again when WSOP events will be shared between the United States and international pools in July this year. But, a few believe that the illegal practice could be prevented.
Peter Bassill, the founder of Hedgehog Security, said, “VPN services can be easy to spot. There are a number of checks that operators perform on the raw network packets that will reveal if the user is taking advantage of a VPN. These checks are widely in use with streaming service providers as well as many of the larger operators.”
While online poker platforms and some experts like Bassill are claiming that they are adept at weeding out VPNs, location-masking methods are getting more complicated, making it more and more difficult for operators to gauge how widespread the controversial practice.