The American Gaming Association (AGA) has called on the U.S. Department of Justice to crack down on illegal, online sportsbooks and casinos and unregulated “skill game” machines in a new letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“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 in a letter Wednesday, April 13. “We urge the Department to make it a priority to act… to protect American consumers, crack down on illegal operators, and enforce federal regulations.”
The AGA letter outlines the “pervasive nature” of illegal gambling and the threat these unregulated operators pose to consumers, state economies and the legal gaming industry as part of the association’s ongoing initiative to stamp out the illegal market.
Specifically, the AGA urges the Department of Justice to address illegal gambling by:
- 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.
“Illegal operators have been put on notice: their days as a scourge on our nation are numbered,” added Miller. “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.”