AGA Calls on US Attorney General to Prosecute Illegal Offshore Sportsbooks

AGA Prosecute Illegal Offshore Sportsbooks

  • The AGA Contacted the US Department of Justice re Illegal Offshore Sportsbooks
  • These Unregulated Sportsbooks Often “Prey on Vulnerable Customers”
  • The DOJ “Could be More Active” When it Comes to Going After Abusive Sportsbooks

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The AGA Contacted the US Department of Justice re Illegal Offshore Sportsbooks

In early April, the American Gaming Association (AGA) sent a letter to the US Department of Justice, and in it made clear their disdain for the illegal offshore mobile sportsbooks that for decades have taken advantage of American gamblers while being subject to zero regulations.

The letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland was signed by the president of the AGA and Chief Executive Officer Bill Miller, and his words spell out his organization’s concerns regarding these offshore sportsbooks, saying:

While the challenge of illegal gambling is not new, the brazen and coordinated manner in which it occurs – both online and in communities – has elevated this problem to a level that requires significant federal attention. We urge the Department to make it a priority to act…to protect American customers, crackdown on illegal operators, and enforce federal regulations.

Since the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May of 2018, over thirty states have legalized, regulated, and taxed their own sports betting market, so far fewer American gamblers have needed to rely on those offshore sportsbooks to handle their betting action.

Still, those illicit sportsbooks continue to prey on unknowing US gamblers, and the AGA wants the DOJ to do something about it.

These Unregulated Sportsbooks Often “Prey on Vulnerable Customers”

In the April letter to the DOJ from AGA CEO Miller, he breaks down the offenses these offshore sportsbook “bad actors” continue to commit, including:

  • Prey on vulnerable customers
  • Offer no consumer protections
  • Do not ensure integrity or fair play
  • Generate no economic benefits for states and/or tribal nations

Says Miller:

Illegal operators have been put on notice – their days as a scourge on our nation are numbered.”

In most cases, offshore sportsbooks tend to pay off winners because if word got around that they were welching on bets nobody would bring their action there, however, there are still enough examples of “bad actors” ripping off consumers that the AGA feels it needs to act.

These offshore sportsbooks do this by shutting down their sites and giving gamblers with money in those accounts no legal recourse since those operators do not have to adhere to the same gaming regulations and rigorous testing that legal operators must in the US

Those issues and more were laid out in this letter to spark action from AG Garland.

The DOJ “Could be More Active” When it Comes to Going After Abusive Sportsbooks

In the letter, Miller accuses the DOJ of failing to do as much as it could to counter these offshore sportsbooks that are operating illegally, making this suggestion:

The federal government could be proactive in educating the citizenry about legal gaming options that exist.

However, up until the middle of 2018, the only option most US gamblers had was to travel to Vegas or Atlantic City so they were happy to be able to place bets on those offshore sportsbooks and they were willing to take the gamble that their wins would be paid off.

Now with so many states offering a legal option for sports gamblers, expect those offshore sportsbooks to gradually become a thing of the past, but meanwhile, some concentrated heat from the American Department of Justice could certainly speed that process up a bit.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]