It pays to play in the world of social media and geo-location apps.

Case in point, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer  rewarded the Foursquare “mayor” with tickets to several events. In the world of geo-location based apps (such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt, The “mayor” is the person who has checked in at the location the most within a 60-day period, but with only one check-in a day counted.)

Robert DiTota, a 26-year-old a bartender and University of Central Florida student, smiled and posed for pictures with Dyer outside the $480 million complex.

“I’m walking downtown constantly,” DiTota said, adding he started checking in when he strolled by the massive building on Church Street a few months ago. He lives a block away at City View condominiums.

As a result, he was mayor when the center opened on Oct. 1. A few days later, Orlando announced the Foursquare contest. “Once I realized I was mayor, I made sure I checked in everyday,” DiTota said.

The prize includes tickets to Orlando Magic and Orlando Predators games, Lady Gaga and Brad Paisley concerts, the circus and other events.

Way to go Robert !!

But, here’s the rub – some contend the virtual honor could be rigged by fake check-ins. Reason being, participants don’t have to be at the Amway Center to check in on Foursquare. Some can be more than a mile away – I, personally, have checked into conference calls held in Ottawa, Canada while sitting in my office in Sacramento, California.

Trevor Griffin, who lives in Orlando but works in Lakeland, said he wrote a computer command that automatically checked him in to the Amway Center every two hours — but knew he could never catch up to DiTota. He e-mailed Foursquare, saying the contest wasn’t fair, but never heard back.

Foursquare says fakers represent only 1 percent of check-ins in general.

“As with any game, you have to deal with people who try to bend the rules,” said a Foursquare spokeswoman.

DiTota, who racked up 50 check-ins, shrugged off the notion of someone questioning his mayor title. City officials did, too, and said this was their first attempt at a social media contest.

“And, it was someone who was genuinely here,” city spokeswoman Heather Allebaugh

By the way, you can follow me on Foursquare here.

[hat tip]