AGA To Media: Stop ‘Blurring The Lines’ Between Legal And Offshore Betting

Posted on May 22, 2020 - Last Updated on May 21, 2020

West Virginia has a regulated sports betting market. The state is also in the process of launching online casinos, after legalizing them in 2019.

Just because West Virginia sports betting is regulated, doesn’t mean offshore gambling has stopped.

The two-year anniversary of the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) just passed. Legal and regulated sports betting markets were supposed to curtail offshore sports betting. However, gambling in non-regulated markets is still prevalent.

American Gaming Association (AGA) President, Bill Miller, recently spoke out about offshore entities and the problem with media outlets referencing them.

It is problematic because many sports bettors cannot tell the difference between offshore and legal sportsbooks.

According to Casino.org, Miller said:

“This becomes especially difficult when mainstream publications continue to legitimize the dangerous illegal market, blurring the lines between legal, regulated sports betting and the predatory, unregulated offshore market.”

A simple way to tell if a gambling app is legal is to check PlayWV.com. We only review and reference legal and regulated sportsbooks and casinos.

Miller blamed PASPA for creating an industry that very much exists today. In a LinkedIn post, he said:

“PASPA never came close to doing what policymakers intended. Instead of protecting competition, the failed law perpetuated a massive, $150 billion-a-year illegal marketplace that left athletes and consumers vulnerable.”

Although residents in the Mountain State have access to three quality online sports betting apps, online casinos have been slow to launch. The majority of offshore sportsbooks come equipped with a casino section, where you’re able to play slots, blackjack, and a number of other table games.

Until West Virginia rolls out an online casino, it’s very likely that the state is losing money to illegal, offshore operations.

Let’s examine how these offshore sportsbooks can differ from legal platforms and how far WV is from releasing legal online casinos.

WV Online Casinos

The precautions taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 have severely impacted the state. WV casinos, along with retail sportsbooks haven’t accepted a wager in months. The good news is West Virginia is also starting to open back up, with retail casinos and sportsbooks set to reopen on June 5.

While online casinos were legalized in March 2019, they won’t launch until this summer at the earliest.

No one could have possibly predicted that every retail location would be shutdown. However, not having mobile casino apps available during this time has negatively affected WV.

Del. Shawn Fluharty co-sponsored the state’s iGaming legislation and spoke out about how WV constantly drags its feet. In an interview with PlayWV.com, he said:

“West Virginia seems to be a state where the legislature acts and then the legislation gets parked. It’s incredibly frustrating and holds us back in many areas, not just gaming legislation.”

Fluharty stated that WV will endure a $300 million budget deficit following this pandemic.

There is little uncertainty that the state is losing some potential revenue to offshore sites that permit gambling of all sorts. Fluharty continued:

“There’s no doubt West Virginians are also playing things like online poker, however, they are doing it online in unregulated, overseas markets without the state seeing a penny.”

In late April, the WV Lottery approved rules in regards to launching online casinos. This may be a sign that legal casino apps will launch sooner than the initial target of Spring 2021.

Fluharty and gamblers alike know they’re missing out on a great opportunity. He said:

“If iGaming legislation was up and running, we could be seeing sustained revenues, which would help us tremendously.”

Despite the state not taking advantage of the chance to offer online casinos with everyone stuck at home, it appears that the time is near.

Offshore vs. Legal Sportsbooks

There are many differences between legal sports betting apps and offshore sportsbooks.

The most important aspect is simply that one is legal and the other is not. Regardless of whether or not your state offers sports wagering, it is against the law to bet through an offshore operator.

For those who can bet legally in their state, there’s no reason not to. Regulated sports betting options are better than offshore books in a variety of ways.

The biggest factor is that they are trustworthy when it comes to your money. You’re able to safely deposit funds and withdraw your winnings while knowing that nothing is going to go wrong.

Beyond your money and account being safe, legal sportsbooks payout in a very timely manner.

Another major difference is the customer support that accompanies legal operators. If you do have an issue with the sportsbook, there are plenty of ways to receive assistance.

With an offshore site, you don’t have many options to turn to if you have a problem and you certainly have no legal recourse.

The one thing that offshore books have going for them is that they’re allowed to list odds for anything they want. This includes betting markets that involve politics or even reality TV shows.

Since you can’t bet on these events at legal books, people turn to illegal options.

Miller wants media outlets to refrain from talking about offshore sportsbooks as if they’re just another alternative. Of course, with the Presidential Election coming up next fall, a lot of news programs discuss what the betting odds look like.

For the record, election betting in West Virginia is not legal. With these markets not available on legal betting apps, the odds you are seeing are coming from offshore entities.

Miller wants the general public to understand that offshore books are “illegal, unregulated, and predatory,” while income from these sites contributes to “money laundering, drug trade, and human trafficking.”

 

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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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