Anna Sainsbury is currently the CEO of GeoComply, a company which provides geolocation services for gaming companies. One of the challenges of offering gambling is to be able to segregate users to a particular geographical area, and this isn’t as easy as it may appear, and Sainsbury’s company is a leader in the provision of this service to the industry.
Anna, who is Canadian by birth, began her business career as manager of a small coffee operation, the Cowboy Roasting Company in North Vancouver, B.C., from 1998 to 2004, where she gained some business and management experience.
While at this job, she obtained a degree on the side in interior design, marketing, and accounting from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, where she attended from 2001-2004. She also completed the Canadian Securities Course in 2004 and received her license as an insurance broker in 2005.
So based upon her education, you may never expect her to have become a CEO of a tech firm and planned on a career in selling insurance, but her career path did indeed take her in a much different direction.
Anna did go on to work as an insurance broker after receiving her license, for 1 year and 7 months, but left the role to take a position in 2005 as Commercial Director with Technical Systems Testing, a global company with an office in Vancouver, where she lived, and this got her into the technological realm.
TST happens to be a company which specializes in testing for gaming companies, so this role provided ample opportunity for Sainsbury to become familiar and proficient with the needs of the gaming industry as far as technological services go.
After serving in this role with TFT for a little over 4 years, Anna left in 2009 to become an independent consultant to the gaming industry, in the field of gaming compliance and regulation. This led to her being named CEO of GeoComply in 2011, the position she currently holds.
Anna now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, where GeoComply is located. The emergence of regulated gambling in the United States has created a demand for a solution where the physical location of players needs to be tightly managed, to comply with these regulations, and GeoComply is at the forefront of this task.
The New Jersey market has been a particular challenge, much more so than in Nevada, since they’re about a million people who live within a mile of the state’s borders, and the task here isn’t just to exclude players out of state, it’s also to ensure that players who are physically located within the state are included.
This is not as simple as just defining one’s location by IP address, as is normally done outside the gaming industry. This isn’t very precise, and users can very easily use workarounds, and all you really need to do to accomplish this is to connect to the internet through a server located in the area you wish to be known to be located in.
This technique is used frequently by gamblers all over the world to get around country-specific internet restrictions, and also to prevent authorities from accessing their internet activity.
Geolocation is what is used to determine the location of your cell phone, and if online gaming was limited to playing on mobile devices, this would be a much simpler task, but the problem is that a lot of players play on computers, which does not have such technology built in. Players generally connect to the internet through wired connections which does not leave a geographic stamp like a mobile device does, since it is wireless.
So the problem is, satellites can determine your location if it the connection is wireless, but can’t do so with wired connections. The solution of Anna Sainsbury and her company GeoComply has been to require users to have a Wi-Fi wireless connection available, and while they don’t have to access the internet this way they need their computer to be able to detect it.
While this has been somewhat of an inconvenience, as some users don’t have computers with the ability to pull this off, and must perform an upgrade, it does allow for an acceptable degree of accuracy to appease regulators enough.
The latest data out of New Jersey show a 95% accuracy rate, which isn’t perfect, but the goal here is to pursue leading-edge results while looking to improve upon current technology, and this is where Sainsbury and GeoComply are standing out.
Sainsbury proudly remarks: “New Jersey has enacted the most stringent geolocation requirements for regulated iGaming in the world, and I’m happy to say that we have successfully stood up to the challenge.”
Sainsbury obviously lacks the technical training to contribute anything on that end, but she has demonstrated an overall understanding of the industry as well as proficiency in managing people and this small company out of Henderson, Nevada, is certainly taking off under her leadership.
As the market for regulated online gaming in the United States expands, and it seems just a matter of time before that happens, companies like GeoComply will likely expand in turn, at least those who have proven themselves to be reliable and effective, as GeoComply has done so far.
This is indeed a long way from managing a very small coffee company or selling insurance, but Anna Sainsbury has found her true calling in the gaming business, and has indeed achieved quite a bit of success at her relatively young age, and seems poised to lead this company into a much bigger frontier as further opportunities emerge.