Washington Warns against Working with Illegal Betting Firms

With sports betting’s popularity growing the Washington DC Lottery has urged media outlets, marketing agencies and consumers to give illegal gambling operations the cold shoulder.

Washington’s Office of Lottery and Gaming Calls for a Stop of Illegal Gambling

The Washington DC Lottery has issued an official warning to consumers, media outlets, and marketing agencies that engage or work with unlicensed betting operators, commonly referred to as offshore markets.

In a statement, the Office of Lottery and Gaming (OLG) announced that it was aware of companies and media outlets that were currently partnering with sports betting agencies in the jurisdiction, and that those do not hold the necessary licenses.

As such, the OLG advised consumers to refrain from using unauthorized sportsbooks and recommended that media outlets and marketing companies break ties with illegal betting agencies.

The only relevant parties that may run a sportsbook in the jurisdiction are those that hold a license directly from the DC Lottery, the OLG explained. The United States has been caught in a feverish legalization push with 20 states now offering sports betting legally.

Today’s ballot is also important, as it offers an opportunity to voters in Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado and other states to revisit existing gambling legislation or adopt sports betting entirely.

Bad Actors and Licensed Operators

Presently, operators that do not hold a license may still extend their products to various jurisdictions across the United States, using third-parties to mask payments, and circumnavigate regulation. By doing so, they end up categorized as “bad operators,” i.e. entities that offer sports betting product without the necessary license.

Such operations, however, drain tax revenue from legal operators and pose an additional risk to consumers as they often fail to provide the necessary protections. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), though, sports bettors have been opting for licensed solutions instead.

One of the most famous illegal operators, 5Dimes, recently reached a settlement with the US Government for the sum total of $46.8 million, and is now trying to pivot towards the New Jersey sports betting market, entering as a legitimate operator instead.

The Garden State, which spearheaded legalization of the sports betting industry on a federal level in 2018, has been one of the most proactive states in suspending illegitimate operations, blocking access to websites such as BetOnline, for example, another popular offshore betting agency.

A Fair Sports Betting Product in Washington DC

In its statement, the OLG said that it remained committed to fair and safe sports betting in the District. To do so, however, the OLG has to make sure that all stakeholders have undergone a rigorous licensing and monitoring process.

Not having the relevant license imperils customer well-being, the OLG noted. The Lottery launched its dedicated sports betting platform in May, 2020, and has been powered by Intralot.

Nevertheless, William Hill’s own sportsbook is still pulling ahead of the lottery in terms of total handle and revenue. That is even more impressive given the fact that William Hill’s sportsbook is limited to a physical venue only at the Capital One Arena.

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