MGCB Urges USDOJ to Take Action Against Illegal Gambling

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The governing body over online sports wagering and casino gambling in Michigan has joined a state-led coalition with six other states. The newly formed group of state gambling regulators is urging lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Justice to take more serious action to combat illegal and offshore sportsbooks and online casinos. 

Michigan’s governing body, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), oversees and regulates the gambling and sports betting industry to ensure all licensed operators are maintaining standards set by the MGCB. The MGCB also conducts investigations with the support of local law enforcement to help take down illegal gaming operations. 

Now the MGCB Executive Director, Henry Williams, with the support of several other state regulators, has asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to address the problems currently facing legal entities in the offshore illegal gambling industry, noting that state regulators cannot combat the issue alone. Apart from Michigan, the letter was also signed by regulators from Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, and Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Kirk D. Hendrick. The letter was sent on April 28th to U.S. Attorney General Garland. 

While the entire letter wasn’t revealed to the public, some sections were published on the MGCB official site

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

The letter cited the following as dangers Americans face when they use or support these illegal offshore gambling sites:

– Lack of investment in responsible gaming programs

– No age verification requirements to protect minors

– No controls to prevent money laundering

– No guarantees of air payouts for customers

– Loss of state tax revenue that funds important initiatives like education

State governments institute strict guidelines and safety measures to ensure poker sites, online casinos, and sports books give players a fair experience. 

Williams continues in the letter, “State regulators like the MGCB ensure operators offer products that pass technical standards and testing, and we also require operators to comply with reporting requirements. Offshore operators flaunt state regulations and offer products that do not protect the public, which greatly concerns me and my fellow state regulators.” 

One of the growing concerns the MGCB has noted is the lack of safety that comes with playing on an offshore gambling site. Once these illegal gambling sites obtain players’ money, nothing is stopping them from closing up shop and vanishing. Legal online sportsbooks and casinos have laws, payout requirements, and dispute resolution procedures overseeing them from pursuing any illegal activity. 

The letter proposes that additional support from the federal government would make a difference to state regulators and help better combat illegal gambling sites. The state and federal government would surely benefit from an online casino or sports betting market where no illegal or offshore entities exist. During 2022, online casino gaming generated more than $289.2 million in state taxes for Michigan and more than $77.8 million in city taxes. Online sports betting brought in $20.5 million last year. Given the popularity of offshore gambling, the state and local governments could be missing out on millions of dollars every month. 

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: