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In the U.S., the residents of over thirty states and D.C. can now legally place wagers on pro and college sports, but any gamblers living outside those areas are stuck making their bets the old-fashioned way – either by using illegal local bookies or unregulated offshore sportsbooks.
Battling these illicit operators is a full-time job for the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), a group that was one of the first regulators to offer laws that control the activity of online gambling operators in order to create a secure gaming environment for consumers.
Given the reasonable taxes in Malta and the prestige of the MGA license, it’s no wonder that so many gambling companies base their operations there, and those sportsbooks that don’t and remain unregulated yet available are exactly what the MGA just warned consumers about.
In a statement released last week, the gaming authority said:
The MGA would like to remind consumers not to utilize services provided by an entity unless they have ascertained that the entity in question is authorized to provide such services by the MGA. The gaming regulatory framework obliges authorized persons to comply with strict legal requirements in the interest of consumers.
It’s a matter of better safety.
It takes a tremendous amount of faith to place a bet online since you must trust that sportsbook with your bank information and other personal data as well as trust that they will pay out in the event of a win, and the MGA reminds us that some companies do break that trust:
The activities of unlicensed entities are unregulated and do not provide the necessary safeguards delineated by virtue of the framework, making transactions with such entities risky for consumers.
The MGA makes it their duty to ensure that gaming is “fair and transparent” to the bettors, and they do this by focusing on:
Bill Miller, CEO of the American Gaming Association, has similarly warned online gamblers about these unregulated operators and the risks involved in using them, telling the media these companies are “becoming a serious threat to the legal, licensed gaming industry.”
Having those safeguards in place helps to make gambling secure and fun.
Of course, this is not the first attempt to warn the public about these unregulated operators, and earlier this year the American Gaming Association went as far as to write a letter to the U.S. Attorney General requesting federal help in eliminating these illicit companies.
The AGA asked the Justice Department to investigate some of the best-known offenders of federal and state gambling and money laws and shut down those operators or at least prevent them from advertising to consumers in the United States.
Multiple U.S. lawmakers also wrote to the A.G. requesting a federal crackdown on these illegal gambling operators, but so far there has been no official response to any of these letters so in the meantime desperate bettors are still using those sites to place their bets.
As more U.S. states legalize sports betting, expect more and more of those illegal sportsbooks to look elsewhere for suckers to bet, but in the meantime, the MGA and AGA will continue to keep as much of that industry regulated and as safe as possible.
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]More info on Mike Lukas
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