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DraftKings works to improve location controls

DraftKings is staring down a possible ban in New York.
DraftKings is staring down a possible ban in New York.Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Embattled DraftKings Inc. said Friday that it has adopted new technology that will improve its effort to block players from states where its contests are banned.

The Boston daily fantasy sports company said it has partnered with GeoComply USA Inc., a Las Vegas firm whose software helps online services determine where their customers are located. Its clients include casino operator MGM Resorts and companies that provide online sports betting in states where such gambling is legal.

The announcement follows reports that DraftKings' existing controls were easily circumvented and comes as the company faces the possibility of having to exclude customers in more locations because of opposition from state authorities.

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A spokesman said DraftKings activated the new service this week. He added that the company had planned the improvement before a Nov. 13 New York Times story that showed how players in banned states could get around DraftKings' existing controls.

The spokesman acknowledged that DraftKings' previous controls largely relied on users' Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses, identifying numbers, which can be easily manipulated to make Web traffic appear as if it is coming from another location.

GeoComply says its tools can detect and block users who are using Internet services that disguise their actual location.

The company has not allowed entries into its fantasy sports contests for cash from five states whose gambling laws seemed to clearly prohibit them: Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington. Last month, it also began blocking users from Nevada, where regulators ruled the contests were a form of gambling that required licensure. Now, DraftKings is staring down a possible ban in New York, raising the possibility it will face stiff penalties if it fails to consistently block players from locations where its contests are forbidden.


Dan Adams can be reached at dadams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielAdams86.

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