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Massachusetts Gaming Commission Eyes Bovada Action

With the rise of regulated sports betting in US States, there’s also been a growing push to take action against unregulated, offshore sportsbooks like Bovada. From the American Gaming Association to state gaming commissions, regulators, operators and trade advocacy groups are taking a hard line against their unlicensed competitors. This week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) became the latest voice in that rapidly growing chorus of criticism and potential legal action.

Earlier this week, MGC Commissioner Nakisha Skinner brought the question up in at the group’s planning meeting saying, “I wonder just with the discussion around the cease and desist letter that Michigan has spearheaded and, Connecticut, I learned this morning, has signed on, I wonder if it is worthwhile to have a discussion among the commissioners as to whether there are any steps we might want to take as a commission along those lines.”

The cease and desist letter Skinner is referring to was issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board last month and sent to Bovada’s Curacao-based operator, Harp Media B.V. In the letter, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams threatens Bovada with legal action saying, “The proliferation of online gaming platforms has led to increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies worldwide, and this action serves as a stern warning to overseas companies that flouting local regulations will not be tolerated.”

While gaming regulators are keen to take action against unregulated, offshore operators, Skinner also noted that there actually aren’t a lot of options when it comes to actually taking that action. Some jurisdictions have considered moving against vendors who work with Bovada but, so far, no regulators have done that.

No matter what else happens, it’s clear that Bovada is on the radar of a lot of US gaming regulators and lawmakers and their days of serving US customers may be numbered.