January 8, 2024 3 min read


Illegal Betting Flourishes in the USA Despite the Legal Industry’s Growth

Some of the most popular unlicensed websites included Bovada.lv, MyBookie and BetOnline

The PASPA has been repealed for years now, allowing multiple US states to launch legal sports betting. As a result, dozens of jurisdictions now offer wagering products. However, the black market is still going strong, analysts say.

As reported by Covers, illegal sites continue to thrive, both in jurisdictions that are yet to launch legal sports betting and in markets that already offer legal wagering alternatives. The matter was discussed at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States’ recent meeting in Florida.

Experts pointed out that states without legal sports betting are especially vulnerable to black market operators as consumers who wish to bet there have no choice but to resort to illegal operators.

Lindsay Slader, the senior vice president of compliance at GeoComply, pointed out that anyone who wishes to place a bet does so, even if they are in Georgia. Slader added that the regulated market does not stop some players from picking unlicensed operators either.

And, as it turns out, some unlicensed sites are very popular.

Some Unlicensed Websites Are Flourishing

While the US legal sports betting operators are quickly dominating the markets with legal gambling, their unlicensed counterparts still enjoy a fair market share. Recent data shows that Americans visited illegal betting sites a total of 201 million times during the first three months of the NFL season.

Some of the most popular unlicensed websites included Bovada.lv, MyBookie and BetOnline, all of which recorded tens of millions of visits during the first three months of the football season. Slader noted that these sites’ offerings are especially attractive to people who don’t have access to legal betting.

As it turns out, betting with one of these sites isn’t that hard either. Bovada, for example, operates undisrupted in many states and even offers an official mobile app that can be downloaded by consumers in America. However, having Google check every company’s license would be difficult, which is why no surefire solution has been devised as of yet.

Some Seek to Bet with Operators in Neighboring States

Black market websites aren’t the only way to bet for people in states with no gambling. Some folks have been trying to surreptitiously access sites that are legal in neighboring states and play with them.

However, many of these attempts were successfully blocked by GeoComply’s geolocation services. The firm said that a total of 1.5 million people in Georgia have tried to access one of the regulated websites in the US. There have also been 1.7 million attempts in Nebraska, GeoComply’s data shows. This mirrors Quebec customers’ attempts to access the Ontario market, Slader pointed out.

Finally, Slader pointed out that some online sources incorrectly say that gambling is legal in states where it isn’t further confusing the public.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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