Michigan successfully blocks Bovada from operating in state  

Home » Michigan successfully blocks Bovada from operating in state  

Offshore betting site Bovada has been blocked from operating in Michigan weeks after the state regulator hit the firm with a cease-and-desist order.  

On 29 May, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) ordered the Curaçao-based Bovada to stop allowing Michigan residents to access their games without the appropriate licence in place.  

The order gave Bovada operator Harp Media BV 14 days from the receipt of the order to block Michigan residents from using its services.   

The regulator said that Bovada was in violation of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act and multiple parts of the Michigan penal code. 

In a statement emailed to iGaming Business, the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) SVP of government relations, Chris Cylke, said successful enforcement actions against Bovada by Michigan and Colorado “are proof that states have tools to fight back against offshore operators and should serve as blueprints for other states to follow”.

“But states should not have to take on this battle alone – the department of justice must also use its powers to aid the fight against illegal gambling, which congress has clearly identified as a department priority,” Cylke added.  

Connecticut joins the club

Last week, Connecticut sent its own letter to Harp Media BV on 14 June, noting that Bovada’s actions were in violation of Connecticut General Statutes which prohibit gambling and professional gambling.  

The state’s department of consumer protection ordered the operator to cease and desist advertising and offering its games and services to Connecticut customers.

“Bovada does not possess an online gaming operator’s licence or any other relevant qualification that would allow Bovada to provide online gaming to Connecticut residents; nor do Bovada’s actions fall within any of the excepted activities to the prohibition on gambling listed in Conn. Gen. Stat,” the letter said.

Various industry stakeholders believe legal action should follow the cease-and-desist orders.

Speaking recently, Las Vegas-based Brendan Bussmann of B Global said: “The cease-and-desist is first and then how far can you prosecute along the way to protect against illegal operators is next. This is where the feds come into play, it needs to be a coordinated effort.” 

Bovada’s state blacklist grows

Bovada has a long-running history as a leading black market sports betting offering in the US. It has already been blocked by five other US states including New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Maryland and Delaware, according to Bovada’s website.  

Industry reports and the AMA’s Cylke have said that Colorado has also been added to Bovada’s blocked list, but it is not clear exactly when the state was added.

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