May 31, 2024 3 min read

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Michigan Gaming Control Board Cracks Down on Bovada’s Illegal Operations

Henry Williams, Executive Director of the MGCB, stated that this action marks an important milestone as global regulators grow more apprehensive about illegal online gaming platforms

A cease-and-desist letter has been issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) against Bovada, an offshore online gaming operator registered in Curaçao. The move comes after an investigation found that Bovada.com and Bovada.lv were both available to Michigan residents without proper licensing.

Executive Director Williams Warns Illegal Online Gaming Will Face Strict Enforcement

Executive Director of the MGCB Henry Williams said this was a significant step because regulators around the world have become increasingly concerned with online gaming platforms. He added:  

“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.”

Bovada is run by Harp Media BV and has been accused of violating several state statutes such as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act and Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. These laws specify that only internet gambling establishments which are licensed by the state (including federally recognized tribal casinos) may provide such services within Michigan. Running an unlicensed betting operation in this state can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years or fines amounting to $100,000.

Harp Media BV has 14 days from receipt of notice of the cease-and-desist order issued by MGCB to prevent access to its gambling offerings from any device located anywhere within the geographical boundaries of the state of Michigan. However, should it fail to do so then legal proceedings shall be initiated against them by the MGCB.

MGCB Stresses Consumer Safety in Crackdown on Unlicensed Online Gambling

The MGCB also emphasized the need for consumer protection. The regulator pointed out that unauthorized websites lack the necessary measures specified by Michigan’s rules to assist players in managing their gambling habits. According to the organization, such systems’ absence can pose a significant danger to people with gambling-related problems.

Despite this fact, MGCB cannot directly enforce its rules against a company like Harp Media B.V., which is based outside the country. However, previous experiences show that regulatory pressure may work in this case. 

Last year, Virtual Gaming Worlds stopped operating in Michigan after being warned by regulators about the same issue. 

It is unclear what Bovada will do next given these legal obstacles. The recent action taken by the MGCB is intended to make internet-based gambling more secure and fair, especially for residents within Michigan.

For their part, people living in Michigan should be careful when selecting where they gamble online. The Regulator advises them to only use platforms licensed by the MGCB, a list of which can be found on its website.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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