Several state gambling regulators, including Nevada, are requesting the intervention of the federal government in targeting offshore-based online betting platforms.
Nevada requests federal intervention against overseas online betting sites
As per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kirk Hendrick, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last week, seeking federal action against these illicit gambling websites.
“As the primary regulators of the legal gaming industry in our seven states,” said Hendrick, “we write today to urge the Department of Justice to prioritise combating illegal, offshore sportsbooks and online casinos.”
In late 2022, the American Gaming Association released a report that shed light on the annual expenditure of Americans on offshore sports betting sites. According to the report, Americans wager $63.8 billion at illegal bookies and offshore sites. This has led to a loss of $3.8 billion in gaming revenue and $700 million in state taxes.
In contrast, legal sports betting garnered roughly $100 billion in bets placed by Americans last year. However, almost 40 percent of the U.S. sports betting market is still dominated by illegal sportsbook operators.
The dangers posed by these unlawful operations are well known, including a lack of investment in responsible gaming programs, loss of state tax revenue that funds important initiatives, no age verification requirements to protect minors, no controls to prevent money laundering, an absence of guarantees that customers will receive fair payouts and much more – Kirk Hendrick, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Hendrick further suggested that state gaming regulators are not able to address the risks posed by offshore illegal gambling alone, and require the involvement of the federal government. The regulators urge the Department of Justice to prioritise the investigation and prosecution of these offshore sites, and offer their assistance in any way possible.
In 36 states and the District of Columbia, sports betting has been legalised. Meanwhile, online casinos are only legal in six states.
The report from the AGA also covered online casinos. An estimated $337.9 billion is wagered annually by Americans at offshore online casinos, resulting in a $3.9 billion loss in state tax revenue. The offshore market in the U.S. is nearly three times larger than the legal U.S. iGaming market, estimated to be worth $5 billion in 2022, with an estimated revenue of $13.5 billion.
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