The American Gaming Association (AGA) is speaking out against illegal iGaming operators in the United States. Late last week, a letter was sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to take action against illegal operators that offer online sports betting and casino gaming in the county and unregulated skill game providers.
In the letter, the AGA points out the nature of illegal gaming and the threat the actions of such operators pose to consumers and the economies of states that offer legalized options.
Details of the Letter
AGA President and CEO Bill Miller wrote in the letter that while illegal iGaming operators are nothing new, the coordinated manner in which operations take place online and in land-based format has elevated the problem where national attention is required. The AGA wants to see the DOGJ make illegal operations a priority and protect consumers of America by cracking down and enforcing federal regulations.
As part of the letter, the AGA added actions they would like to see the DOJ include educating consumers. Information is needed on legal gaming options and the dangers of participating via illegal operations. Players who access sports betting or online casino services via illegal operators are at risk in several ways.
Federal or state regulations do not restrict offshore operators. This can cause issues of security or payment problems for consumers. Personal information is not as heavily protected as it would be with a licensed entity. Players are also at risk of payment issues when they earn a big win, which is a significant issue.
The AGA also wants to see the DOJ take on skill-based game manufacturers too. Such companies must adhere to the Johnson Act when it comes to registration requirements and anti-money laundering practices.
Miller wants to see bad actors taken down as they do not offer players consumer protections or fair play. According to the AGA, the federal government should take action against any company that does not adhere to these standards. Without regulation, it is difficult for consumers to have legal recourse for unpaid winnings or other issues.
Taking On Major Illegal iGaming Operators
The AGA did not hold back in its letter, calling out companies like Bovada, BetOnline, and MyBookie regarding illegal operations. Millions of players visit such sites regularly, including individuals based in the United States.
Such companies have offered services to US players for many years. The activity took place before the UIGEA and the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. With these laws struck down, online gambling was free to take place within individual states in the US with legalization. The AGA wants to shut down the offshore sites so that players can only access licensed operators. There are several states that offer regulated online casino gaming and sports betting with consumer protections in place.
Currently, unregulated gaming operations offer services to US residents, and such operators are outside the reach of traditional law enforcement. While it might be difficult to prosecute such services, the DOJ could be active in alerting consumers of the differences between offshore operators and licensed providers.
The AGA feels that the federal government could be more proactive in educating citizens on legal gaming options. This includes showcasing how problematic illegal services can be. Campaigns with ads or other marketing that would provide a difference to consumers can make intelligent choices regarding gambling.