West Virginia Issues Cease-and-Desist to Bovada Sportsbook in Regulatory Crackdown

Back West Virginia Issues Cease-and-Desist to Bovada Sportsbook in Regulatory Crackdown

In a notable move to clamp down on illegal online gambling, West Virginia has recently targeted Bovada Sportsbook, becoming the third U.S. state to take action against the Curacao-based site within a month. On June 27, the West Virginia Lottery issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bovada, demanding that the site cease operations in the state. As of now, Bovada has not responded to the order.

National Trend of Crackdowns on Offshore Gambling Sites

This decision follows similar actions taken by Michigan and other states. Michigan initiated the trend by issuing a cease-and-desist order in early June. The increasing scrutiny on offshore sports betting sites like Bovada underlines a broader push by states to enforce local gambling regulations more stringently. These sites often operate without the necessary licenses, making them illegal in many U.S. jurisdictions.

The rise of online gambling platforms has caught the attention of regulatory bodies nationwide. States are sending a clear message to overseas operators: non-compliance with local laws will not be tolerated. For example, the Michigan Gaming Control Board is determined to uphold state regulations and ensure a fair gaming environment for all participants.

Several other states, including Colorado and Connecticut, have also ordered Bovada to halt operations within their borders. Massachusetts is reportedly considering taking similar measures, even though it already has six legal online sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, ESPN BET, Caesars, BetMGM, and Fanatics Sportsbook. Due to increasing regulatory pressure, Bovada has stopped receiving wagers from punters in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.

Financial Impact and Statistics on Offshore Gambling

According to the American Gaming Association, Americans wager over $500 billion annually on offshore gambling sites, with sports betting accounting for $63.8 billion of that total. Online slots and table games constitute the majority of this activity, while unregulated gambling machines contribute an additional $109.2 billion each year. These numbers underline the vast scope and financial impact of unregulated online gambling.

West Virginia has been bold in embracing online sports betting since its legalization in 2018. The state boasts a robust market with eight active operators, including well-known names like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, BetRivers, and BetMGM. Although the state allows for up to 15 online sportsbooks, unregulated entities like Bovada do not qualify. This creates challenges when disputes arise with offshore sites, as they do not comply with state and federal laws.

In 2019, BetLucky was shut down for failing to meet the standards set by the West Virginia Lottery. Additionally, the state supports five brick-and-mortar locations that host some of the best sports betting apps, including the Greenbrier (FanDuel), Mountaineer Casino (Caesars), Wheeling Island Hotel/Casino (Betly), Mardi Gras Casino (Betly) , and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (ESPN BET).

West Virginia's recent actions are part of a growing movement to address the challenges posed by unregulated online gambling. As this trend continues, players can expect to see more stringent enforcement of gambling laws.


''West Virginia Targets Bovada Sportsbook in Latest Crackdown on Illegal Betting''wvnews.com, July 03, 2024.

“In 2019, BetLucky was shut down for failing to meet the West Virginia Lottery's standards”

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