7 States Pen Letter Asking AG for Help With Offshores But Can't Get Their Own House in Order

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Regulators from seven US states sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland dated April 28, 2023 asking for assistance in combating what they refer to as "illegal, offshore sportsbooks and online casinos".

Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams and fellow state regulators asked AG Garland to address the significant threats offshore illegal gambling poses that state regulators cannot tackle alone.

"In Michigan, strict laws and rules govern internet gaming and sports betting and provide consumer protections, promote confidence and ensure fair and honest gaming," Williams said. "We are willing to help the U.S. Department of Justice in any way we can as it pursues enforcement of U.S. laws against offshore illegal gaming enterprises that take advantage of our citizens."

Other state regulators signing the letter represent Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Nevada, and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Kirk D. Hendrick sent the letter to Attorney General Garland.

Just like with marijuana - and it looks like abortion as well now - individual states are tasked with setting laws pertaining to online sports betting and casino gambling.  The Justice Department tends not to get involved unless there are other criminal components at play such as money laundering, tax evasion or racketeering.  It's hard to charge someone these days with the simple act of bookmaking when there's a DraftKings commercial being shown every fifteen minutes.

None of the regulators provide examples of how these offshore sportsbooks are taking advantage of their citizens.  Furthermore, most offshore books do not accept customers from either New Jersey or Nevada.  Mississippi does not offer mobile sports betting.

It's simply untrue that offshore books have failed to invest in age verification requirements.  They've had tools in place since 2000.

"Loss of state tax revenue" is likely the true motivating factor behind the letter.

  1. Lack of investment in responsible gaming programs
  2. No age verification requirements to protect minors
  3. No controls to prevent money laundering
  4. No guarantees of fair payouts for customers
  5. Loss of state tax revenue that funds important initiatives like education

The timing of the letter could not be any worse.

This week we are learning of alleged "insider information" being used for suspicious wagering activity in a game featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers college baseball teams.  The University of Alabama fired its baseball coach Brad Bohannon on Thursday.  Some industry experts suggest that the Justice Department may need to step in to investigate.  None of this involves offshore sportsbooks.

"State regulators like the MGCB ensure operators offer products that pass technical standards and testing, and we also require operators to comply with reporting requirements," Williams said. "Offshore operators flaunt state regulations and offer products that do not protect the public, which greatly concerns me and my fellow state regulators."

The word of the day, boys and girls, is "DEFLECTION".

The letter was sent out following criticism mounted over irresponsible advertising and partnership deals between regulated sportsbooks and universities.  Last we checked there were no offshore sportsbooks serving as betting partners with any academia.  The American Gaming Association released its code of conduct, five years too late, last month.  It requires members to sever ties with universities and cease any mention of "risk free" bets.

Industry watchdog Gambling911 (the site you are reading now), pulled up the Google machine to find out just how well that is going (see below).

Oh, and while we're on the topic, can anyone with half a brain explain why BetMGM is still showing commercials featuring Jamie Foxx when the actor is said to be on his death bed?


- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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