PA Online Gaming Now Available On iPhones Thanks To PlaySugarHouse

PA Online Gaming Now Available On iPhones Thanks To PlaySugarHouse

Online sports betting and casino gaming is beginning to be available to Pennsylvanians, but until very recently only Android apps could be used to access these gaming platforms on mobile devices. Finally a workaround for users of Apple devices (iPhones and iPads) has been created. It’s not a functional Apple app, but it at least will let iPhone and iPad users access PA online gaming sites.

PA’s new gambling market goes online

Gambling is a recent arrival to the Keystone State. Recent changes in national and state laws have paved the way for (among other things) new physical sportsbooks at land-based casinos and online sports betting as well online versions of other traditional casino games like slots, pit games (blackjack, roulette, etc) and even online poker.

As of now (July 21, 2019) the first of these online sportsbooks and casino game offerings are beginning to trickle out, with more to soon follow, some this summer, some later on in the year. SugarHouse Casino, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, and Parx Casino have all launched online versions of their sportsbooks while Hollywood Casino, SugarHouse Casino, and Parx Casino have online casino gaming platforms up and running.

The Apple iOS problem

Pennsylvania’s online gamblers using Android devices have been able to access these new casino online games and sportsbooks without any problems, using either a downloadable app or through a browser interface. iPhone or iPad users have faced problems however and it’s entirely due to Apple policies.

Apple recently altered the requirements for apps on their platform that deal in money transactions. They required that all such apps be written in native iOS programming rather than outside app development languages like the much more frequently used HTML5.

Ostensibly, this gives Apple the ability to ensure greater security for their users when using Apple devices for money transactions, but in the process Apple has made their mobile devices completely useless to customers using online gaming apps (most of which are written using HTML5).

What’s worse, iPhone users can’t even use the clunkier (but functional) browser-based online gambling platforms either – until now.

The solution

One of the common requirements made by state gaming regulators like the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is that users must be physically located in a particular state in order to access online gaming platforms sanctioned by that state. To ensure this, geolocation must be verified on the mobile device being used.

GeoComply is a geolocation service provider that has created an iOS app called GeoGuard that Apple device users can use to finally access PA gaming sites. Users can find it in the iOS app store under the name GeoGuard Location Validator.

How to get started

For Apple mobile device users, before attempting to access the PlaySugarHouse or BetRivers online gaming sites, first go to the app store, search for “GeoGuard Location Validator” and download and install the app. During the installation process, make sure you select “Always Allow” location services for this app. Also make sure you click “Allow” when asked if the app can send you notifications. Both of these steps are important for the app to function correctly and allow access to these online gaming sites.

Once the app is installed, fire up the browser and head to the PlaySugarHouse or BetRivers websites in PA. The GeoGuard app will tell the online gaming site where you are physically located and as long as you are currently in PA, you should no longer be restricted access.

Only SugarHouse and Rivers for now

Unfortunately, this iOS device workaround doesn’t yet work for all online gaming platforms, just PlaySugarHouse and BetRivers. Rush Street, the parent company of these two casinos (and others around the US) worked with GeoComply to make sure Apple’s customers could at least reach their gaming platforms via browser interface.

Over time, online gaming apps written in native iOS language will be developed and this problem will go away. Exactly when that will happen? We can’t say.