American Gaming Association Asks DOJ to Crack Down on Illegal Gambling Sites

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to “crack down on illegal online sportsbooks and casinos and unregulated “skill game machines.”

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“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,” AGA President and CEO Bill Miller wrote.

“We urge the Department to make it a priority to act … to protect American consumers, crack down on illegal operators, and enforce federal regulations.”

In the letter, the AGA cites numerous ways in which illegal gambling and operators pose a threat to “consumers, state economies, and the legal gaming industry.”

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How DOJ Should Address Situation

Also in the letter, the AGA lists ways in which the Department of Justice should address illegal gambling, which include the following measures:

  • Continuing to educate consumers on legal gaming options and the dangers associated with illegal operations.
  • Investigating and indicting the largest offshore operations — such as Bovada, MyBookie and BetOnline — that openly violate federal and state laws.
  • Clarifying that “skill-based” machine manufactures must comply with Johnson Act registration requirements and anti-money laundering standards and pursuing aggressive enforcement actions against those entities that do not fully comply.

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Illegal Sites Make Big Money

“Illegal operators have been put on notice: their days as a scourge on our nation are numbered,” Miller said in the letter. “These bad actors prey on vulnerable customers, offer no consumer protections, do not ensure integrity or fair play, and generate no economic benefit for states or tribal nations.”

According to Kona Equity, Bovada brings in an estimated $18.4 million per year in revenue.

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