The gaming control boards of seven U.S. states have crafted a letter to the US Department of Justice and US Attorney General Merrick urging federal prosecutors to crack down on offshore online sportsbooks and casinos.
The call to action was publicized in a press statement issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The April 28 letter announced Michigan as one of seven states whose gaming regulators reached out to the DOJ. Besides Michigan, the other states whose gaming regulators signed the letter include Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Nevada.
Michigan, like Nevada and New Jersey, is a member of the online poker-specific MSIGA (Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement). All seven states supporting the plea to the DOJ offer legalized sports betting.
The plea to the DOJ asserts five primary factors the DOJ should consider in pursuing offshore sportsbooks and casinos:
- Lack of investment in responsible gaming programs
- No age verification requirements to protect minors
- No controls to prevent money laundering
- No guarantees of fair payouts for customers
- Loss of state tax revenue that funds important initiatives like education
Such pleas have emerged periodically from the US casino industry. In 2019, the American Gaming Association assailed the DOJ with a similar call to action. The DOJ itself has slowed markedly on the issue of pursuing international operators regulated elsewhere since 2011’s “Black Friday” online-poker crackdown, and its occasional takedowns in recent years have largely targeted online sportsbooks being operated from offshore locales by owners located within the US.
“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,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams. “Offshore operators flaunt state regulations and offer products that do not protect the public, which greatly concerns me and my fellow state regulators.”