In mid-April, the American Gaming Association (AGA) wrote to the US Department of Justice’s Attorney General to ask for the DoJ’s support in prioritizing the enforcement of federal regulations on illegal online casinos and sportsbooks and unregulated skill game machines.
The AGA has not that US citizens have a longstanding interest in betting on sports and have long been seeking channels to place such wagers even before sports betting was officially legalized on the territory of the country. The US Supreme Court’s ruling to lift the restrictions that had been imposed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) paved the way for the legalization of the new form of gambling across the states. Previously, the American Gaming Association has estimated the illegal sports betting market in the country at more than $150 billion annually.
As CasinoGamesPro already reported, sports betting is currently legal in more than 30 states and Washington D.C., with over 157 million adults across the US already enjoying legal and regulated channels to place wagers on sports events. Despite this, the AGA remains concerned because a large illegal sports betting market involving offshore online betting platforms still exist in the country.
According to the trade body of the US national casino industry, the illegal sports betting websites also hold a considerable competitive advantage that allows them to offer various promotions and better odds to consumers at the expense of responsible gaming commitments. Furthermore, illegal and unregulated betting platforms do not pay any federal and state taxes and do not comply with regulatory obligations and compliance costs.
Illegal Sports Betting and Skill-Based Machines Require Further Regulatory Attention
Also, this is not the first time when the AGA has made comments to the US Department of Justice regarding the growing number of unregulated skill game machines.
The manufacturers of such gaming terminals have been arguing that their games are based on the players’ skills but, according to the trade body of the US casino sector, it is safe to say they are operating in a certain gray area of the law which makes them exempt from regulation. The American Gaming Association, however, believes that such machines function in a similar way to traditional slot machines and, even worse, many customers are not aware of the differences between the regulated devices and the skill-based ones operating in the gray sector.
Reportedly, the unregulated skill-based machines expose customers to much more risk. They are not subject to the testing and regulation aimed at ensuring fairness and game integrity, and there is practically no oversight for the illegal machines, which leaves them basically unregulated. No anti-money laundering measures or cybersecurity standards apply to skill-based machines, with these terminals often being linked to criminal activity, the AGA said.
As mentioned above, the President and CEO of the trade body has called for the DoJ to support stricter regulatory measures to be imposed on the sector. For the time being, whether the US Department of Justice would take some action and bring certain restrictions on so-called skill-based machines in order to tackle their effect on local people, remains unknown.
If yes, it could get in contact with US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and ask them to block access to unregulated and illegal sportsbook platforms. Such a practice has already been used in Australia, where the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been using its regulatory powers to block illegal online gambling websites to protect local residents. When it comes to the skill-based machines, the DoJ could order the enforcement authorities to seize the terminals in order to stop the offering of such gambling options to American adults. The providers of such forms of gambling could, on the other hand, face severe fines for offering unregulated gambling services.
Another measure that could be taken to deal with the illegal skill-based machines which practically operate in the gray sector is a legislative approach to impose industry-wide restrictions to prevent Americans from accessing such games.