Michigan Sends Cease And Desist Letter To Bovada To Stop Operations

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Bovada Michigan

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has announced that they are taking the steps needed to remove illegal gambling operators. The MGCB issued a cease and desist letter to Bovada, a popular unregulated casino and sports betting operator. Bovada.com and Bovada.lv now have 14 days from the receipt of the letter to take steps to shutter their operations in Michigan.

Michigan Aims To Remove Illegal Operator Bovada

The MGCB states that due to Bovada operating an unregulated and unlicensed online gambling operation, they are in violation of the Michigan regulations. Operators need to apply and be approved by the MGCB in order to launch a sportsbook in the state. Bovada has illegally operated in Michigan for years even before the Great Lakes State launched its own betting market.

With clear and defined sports betting and iGaming rules, Michigan argues that Bovada is in violation of multiple laws.

Laws Bovada Is In Violation Of

“The proliferation of online gaming platforms has led to increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies worldwide, and this action serves as a stern warning to overseas companies that flouting local regulations will not be tolerated,” said Henry Williams, MGCB Executive Director. “The MGCB remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding Michigan’s laws and regulations and will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance within the state to ensure a fair and secure gaming environment for all.”

How Has Bovada Managed To Operate Without A License?

Michigan is not the only market that Bovada operates in without a license. In fact, only Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Nevada have actually banned the offshore book. However, it seems the offshore may have only banned new signups and still allows existing users to log in and bet, even while located in those banned states, in defiance of those crackdowns.

Bovada’s parent company Harp Media B.V. has its head quarters in Curaçao and not in the United States. Because of this, it has operated under the radar in most markets for years.

However, now that the regulated sports betting market has grown to more than half of the states, clear rules are being set. There are defined regulations for the likes of Michigan sportsbooks that are required before they can offer odds.

Bovada is not a recognized sportsbook with a betting license in Michigan. Therefore, the MGCB has the full authority to remove the sportsbook.

Whether it can do it effectively remains to be seen.

Will Other Markets Follow?

Bovada has seen itself removed from five markets previously, marking Michigan as the sixth to push for its removal. Markets have their own regulations that have clear protections for residents and oversight on gambling. There is an incentive for states to want to remove operators who are offering odds outside of the clear guidelines set by states.

The American Gambling Association has been at the forefront of the fight against unregulated sportsbooks for years. In 2022, the AGA urged the Department of Justice to crack down on illegal gambling. Michigan may be the next domino to fall for the market to truly work to remove unregulated operators.