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Connecticut Consumer Watchdog Warns Against Offshore Books

Written By J.R. Duren on August 21, 2023
Yellow Sign Says Warning Scam Alert with Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection logo

Last week, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) issued a statement warning consumers against the dangers of gambling with offshore betting sites.

“Offshore” typically refers to betting operators who are based outside of the United States but illegally take bets from people located in the United States.

The companies often use juiced-up odds and big sign-up bonuses to lure customers in. In a DCP press release Commissioner, Bryan T. Cafferelli said in a statement:

“Like anything, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These illegal platforms will make promises of better odds, higher payouts and out-of-this-world sign-up bonuses allegedly endorsed by celebrity athletes just to entice consumers.

And while their platforms might look legitimate, they are illegal and not subject to regulation and inspection by the state.”

Betting with offshore sites puts your money at risk

What makes offshore betting sites so dangerous is that they don’t have to follow the regulatory and legal framework states set forth to protect bettors.

So, it’s possible that a bettor could place a bet on a huge underdog, get a massive payout, and then never receive their money because the offshore book chooses not to pay out.

In this case, there would be no legal recourse for the bettor. Their money would be gone.

“Consumers are putting their personal information and money at risk by using these platforms,” Cafferelli said. “If you choose to engage in gaming activities, do so responsibly and legally.”

Only three sportsbooks are legal in Connecticut

The state of Connecticut is home to only two regulated, legal sportsbooks at the moment: DraftKings and FanDuel.

DraftKings and FanDuel operate their sportsbooks on their own, while the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC) is looking for a sports betting operator to partner with now that PlaySugarHouse has left the state.

Those three sportsbooks must follow strict laws and regulations related to:

  • Which bets are offered
  • Making sure all bets placed with Connecticut sportsbooks are placed within the state’s borders
  • Bettor deposits and withdrawals
  • Payouts
  • How bettors’ personal information is protected

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong noted that all those protections go out the window if bettors wager with an offshore book:

“There are only three legal, regulated gaming operators in Connecticut…Any other site soliciting bets is illegal and unregulated and your money and personal information may not be protected. If you play, play responsibly. Please report any illegal gambling to the Department of Consumer Protection.”

Lottery looking for new partner as one sportsbook plans to exit

Earlier this year, PlaySugarHouse’s owner, Rush Street Interactive, announced it was leaving the state.

As such, the CTC is searching for a new sportsbook partner. The original deadline for the search was June 14. However, the CTC has yet to decide on a partner.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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