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Michigan Tells Bovada to ‘Cease and Desist’

The State of Michigan is cracking down on unregulated, offshore sports betting and online casino gambling with a stern warning to Bovada to stay away from state residents. Michigan’s big move comes at a time when regulated sports betting is exploding in the US, while illicit gambling continues to thrive.

Earlier this week, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) sent a cease-and-desist letter to Harp Media B.V., which operates Bovada. In the letter, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams informs Bovada’s operators that the company is currently in violation of a number of Michigan laws including the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, and the Michigan Penal Code. All of these codes bar unlicensed operators and illicit gambling from taking place within state borders.

Williams stated the justification for going after the Curacao-based Bovada in a statement 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. The MGCB remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding Michigan’s laws and regulations and will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance within the state to ensure a fair and secure gaming environment for all.”

In the wake of the cease-and-desist letter, Bovada now has 14 days to actively prevent Michigan residents from accessing its site, or it will face legal action.

So far there hasn’t been any official response from Bovada, but the company has pulled out of Nevada and New York after similar actions were taken by authorities there.