Members of Congress have requested help from Department of Justice in going after illegal offshore gambling operators. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Encouragement for illegal market investigation
On June 29, nearly 30 congressional leaders sent a letter to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the need for action against illegal offshore gambling operators. The letter pointed out issues with offshore sportsbook operations; the American Gaming Association (AGA) praised the effort.
AGA is hopeful that the letter will spur the DOJ to take action
The AGA is hopeful that the letter will spur the DOJ to take action, as offshore gambling operators threaten consumers in the United States. Such illegal operations also affect legal gambling providers across the country.
Calling for action against offshore gambling operators
Dina Titus (D – Nev.) and Guy Reschenthaler (R – Penn.) are among the 28 members of Congress that signed the letter to the DOJ. In the request, lawmakers asked that the DOJ make a concerted effort to fight illegal offshore sportsbooks offering services to players in the United States.
The letter points out the predatory nature of such operations, which places US residents at risk of financial and cyber crimes. Such operations are not forced to adhere to anti-money laundering protocols, sports betting integrity, or age restrictions.
The offshore operators also essentially undermine the efforts by the states to capture tax revenues via legalized sports betting channels.
Currently, 35 individual states, along with the District of Columbia, allow regulated sports betting. According to the letter, over 157 million Americans have or will have access to legalized gambling in the future.
developed sophisticated platforms that are nearly indistinguishable from those of legal providers”
Lawmakers say that the US can no longer turn a blind eye to the illegal market that is thriving and operating unrestrained. The letter points out that: “These offshore operations, including Bovada, MyBookie, and BetOnline, have developed sophisticated platforms that are nearly indistinguishable from those of legal providers.”
The illegal operators offer promotions and favorable odds to entice players from the US to place bets. The brands are also cited via reputable sports media outlets, bringing further attention to their services.
work with us
Lawmakers that signed the letter are asking the DOJ to work with the gaming industry, sports leagues, and other stakeholders. The groups can work together to identify the worst actors. The end goal is to investigate the sports books and prosecute them.
Members of Congress also feel that Americans need education on the dangers associated with illegally betting on sports.
The lawmakers want the DOJ to respond by September 6, 2022. Tools that Congress can use to take federal law enforcement action should be provided in the response and prosecutorial support provided to stop these operators.
The focus of the AGA is not only on illegal sports books but also on online casinos and unregulated skill-based machines. The AGA has already requested federal help from the DOJ regarding offshore operators. In April, the group sent a letter asking for a crackdown on the illegal services.
The AGA would like to see the DOJ prioritize consumer protections for Americans by enforcing federal regulations on illegal operators. The group feels the DOJ is the only entity that can address the problem properly.