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West Virginia Is Fourth State to Issue Cease-and-Desist Order to Bovada

West Virginia sent Bovada a cease-and-desist letter, as yet another state cracks down on the unlicensed sports betting operator

COVERS (July 3, 2024) – West Virginia issued a cease-and desist letter to Bovada on June 27. John Myers, director of the West Virginia Lottery, confirmed the letter was sent to Curacao, home to Bovada’s headquarters. Bovada has not yet acknowledged the letter’s receipt.  

West Virginia’s recent move against the unlicensed sports betting operator, first reported by Legal Sports Report, makes it the fourth state to take such actions against Bovada.   

Michigan regulators were the first to take legal action against Harp Media B.V., Bovada’s operator. The Michigan Gaming Control Board issued the cease-and-desist letter in May, giving Bovada 14 days to “take steps to prevent Michigan residents from gambling on their websites. Colorado soon followed suit. Their efforts were successful, resulting in Bovada’s withdrawal from those states in June.  

Bovada has now restricted access in seven states. Along with Colorado and Michigan, residents of Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware are restricted from accessing Bovada’s site. But there may be more to come.  

Last month, Connecticut confirmed it was also sending out a cease-and-desist order to Bovada. Meanwhile, Massachusetts is considering taking the same legal action. Massachusetts is no stranger to cease-and-desist orders, issuing them to 10 daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators in March.  

Unlike most countries, United States sports betting regulations are mostly controlled by individual states. Following the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), states rushed to legalize sports betting. So far, 38 states and Washington, D.C., offer some form of regulated sports betting.  

Without a dedicated federal gaming regulator, the onus falls on the states to tackle unlicensed and/or unlawful gambling operators. They have begun to take up that task in earnest – against Bovada and others.

It is, however, a piecemeal approach, where a consolidated effort would carry more weight. But unless the U.S. Attorney General’s office takes up the mantle, the states are on their own to protect their constituents from unregulated gambling operators.  

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