AGA Wants Feds To Fight Offshores, Too, After West Virginia Crackdown On Bovada

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
West Virginia Bovada

West Virginia has officially sent a cease and desist letter to offshore sportsbook giant Bovada. The unregulated and unlicensed online sports betting and casino operator has now received four such letters this year, with WV joining Colorado, Connecticut, and Michigan calling for Bovada’s removal. The American Gaming Association told it is calling for even more support at the federal level in the fight against illegal gambling.

West Virginia Moves To Remove Bovada Operations

The West Virginia Lottery issued the cease and desist letter to Bovada on June 27. Bovada has yet to respond. The offshore operator is currently blocked in seven states. If bettors attempt to create an account in these markets, they will be unable to do so.

Markets Where Bovada Has Ceased Operation:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York

However, this does not seem to affect already existing accounts. Users who previously accessed Bovada can continue to do so even if Bovada “withdraws” from the markets. There so far seem to be no true safeguards to prevent Bovada from operating in any market.

The recent push from multiple states, however, should lead to more efforts to block or crackdown on illegal gambling if it is to be effective.

AGA Supports State Crackdowns On Offshore Sportsbooks

The American Gaming Association has also been calling for the federal government to get involved in addressing the offshore betting industry. In response to West Virginia’s action against Bovada, the AGA told it is also calling for action by the U.S. federal government, as states should not have to do so themselves.

“Recent enforcement actions against Bovada by Michigan, Colorado, Connecticut, and West Virginia are proof that states have tools to fight back against offshore operators and should serve as blueprints for other states to follow. But states should not have to take on this battle alone – the DOJ must also use its powers to aid the fight against illegal gambling, which Congress has clearly identified as a department priority.”

Chris Cylke, AGA Senior Vice President, Government Relations

According to the AGA, Americans wager more than $510.9 billion a year in illegal and unregulated betting. The AGA estimates that it costs the legal industry $44.2 billion in gaming revenue and $13.3 billion in taxes. What additional services could states offer their citizens with that additional tax revenue in annual budgets?

With markets now going after Bovada, a change may be imminent. But Bovada is not the only offshore sportsbook and casino operating illegally in the United States. There are many. We are likely still far off from the offshore market’s last days in the U.S., but this is a step in the right direction.

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