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DOJ Reassures Its Commitment To Battling Illegal Online Gambling

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on August 30, 2023
Laptop with Cash Suggests Online Gambling with FBI and DOJ logos

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said it remains committed to investigating illegal offshore sports betting and online casino activities. 

The DOJ’s response comes after seven states formed a coalition in May urging the agency to prioritize fighting illegal, offshore online gambling.

DOJ working with FBI to combat illegal gambling

In the letter addressed to Kirk Hendrick, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the DOJ wrote:

“The Department has undertaken, and continues to pursue, investigations into illegal gaming. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the investigative arm of the department tasked with vetting allegations of violations of federal gaming laws.”

The DOJ continued by saying it takes illegal gambling “seriously” and continues to investigate and prosecute unlawful Internet gambling. 

Legal online casino games are limited to six states. Those include:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • West Virginia
  • Connecticut
  • Michigan

As for online sports betting, it is legal in roughly 30 states, plus Washington, DC. 

Regulators demand a crackdown on illegal gambling

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), over $500 billion is gambled illegally through unregulated gambling websites yearly. As a result, states are missing out on roughly $13 billion in tax revenue. 

In April, Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) Executive Director Henry Williams wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland about the threats from offshore operators. In the letter, Williams wrote:

“In Michigan, strict laws and rules govern internet gaming and sports betting and provide consumer protections, promote confidence and ensure fair and honest gaming. We are willing to help the US Department of Justice in any way we can as it pursues enforcement of US laws against offshore illegal gaming enterprises that take advantage of our citizens.”

Williams highlighted several dangers posed by illegal sports betting and online casino sites, including:

  • No age verification requirements to protect minors
  • Lack of investment in responsible gaming programs
  • No controls to prevent money laundering
  • No guarantees of fair payouts for customers
  • Loss of state tax revenue that funds essential initiatives like education

Megan Bennett, an intergovernmental liaison at the DOJ, said the department will use necessary resources to combat illegal gambling issues. 

“The Department appreciates the adverse impact illegal gaming has on individuals and communities and will continue to use all available tools to detect, investigate, and prosecute such illegal activity.”

Photo by PlayUSA
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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