Becomes the fourth state to do so

West Virginia sends cease-and-desist letter to offshore sportsbook Bovada 

Reading time 1:32 min

The West Virginia Lottery has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bovada Sportsbook. West Virginia becomes the fourth state in the US to legally order the Curacao-based website to cease its operations.

West Virginia could follow seven other states in prohibiting citizens from placing bets with Bovada Sportsbook, as the offshore website has also ceased taking bets from users in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, and Michigan.

The cease-and-desist notice, sent on June 27th, has not been answered by the offshore sports betting website as of now, according to media reports.

Earlier in May, Michigan became the first state to send a cease-and-desist directive to the website. Each letter allows residents 14 days from the date of receipt to stop using the sportsbook operator, Harp Media B.V., in order to prohibit gambling on the website. Bovada is receiving the same amount of time from West Virginia.

In recent times, gambling regulatory agencies have become more stringent owing to the rise in iGaming activity. The directives serve as a reminder to foreign operators that it is unlawful to operate in local jurisdictions without a license.

According to WVPrepBB, there are rumors that Massachusetts could also file a lawsuit against the offshore operator. Ten daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators received cease-and-desist orders from the Bay State in March.

The American Gaming Association states that Americans bet more than $500 billion a year on offshore gaming websites. Sixty-eight billion of that total comes from sports betting alone. 

In 2018, West Virginia approved regulated internet sports wagering. Eight sportsbooks are currently operating in the state's legal program, including industry heavyweights such as BetMGMCaesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

Offshore bookmakers are exempt from the Mountain State’s 15-sport limit on online sportsbooks. This is because operators operating without a license are exempt from local, state, and federal legislation.

The Greenbrier Resort (FanDuel), Mardi Gras Casino (Betly), Mountaineer Casino (Caesars), Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack (Betly), and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (ESPN BET) are the five regulated land-based casinos in West Virginia that are currently linked with sports betting apps.

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