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Michigan Blocks Bovada from Operating Amidst Legal Crackdown



Michigan’s Bold Move: Successfully Blocking Bovada’s Operations

Imagine a state taking a firm stand against illegal gambling, protecting its residents and gaming industry.

Michigan’s recent action against Bovada sets a precedent for regulating offshore betting operations.

Learn how this bold move by the Michigan Gaming Control Board could reshape the online gambling landscape.

Delve into the details of this regulatory victory and its implications for the future of online betting.


Michigan’s Bold Move: Successfully Blocking Bovada’s Operations

In a significant victory for regulated gambling, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has effectively blocked the offshore betting site Bovada from operating within the state. This decisive action follows a cease-and-desist order issued on May 29, mandating Bovada to cease its unlicensed operations targeting Michigan residents.

The Regulatory Clampdown

The MGCB’s order directed Bovada operator Harp Media BV to block access for Michigan residents within 14 days of receiving the order. Bovada, based in Curaçao, was found in violation of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, and several sections of the Michigan penal code. These legal breaches prompted swift and firm action from the state regulator.

Industry Reaction and Support

The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) SVP of Government Relations, Chris Cylke, praised Michigan’s enforcement efforts. In a statement to iGaming Business, Cylke remarked, “Successful enforcement actions against Bovada by Michigan and Colorado are proof that states have tools to fight back against offshore operators and should serve as blueprints for other states to follow.”

He further emphasized the need for federal support, adding, “States should not have to take on this battle alone – the Department of Justice must also use its powers to aid the fight against illegal gambling, which Congress has clearly identified as a department priority.”


Expanding the Enforcement Horizon

Michigan’s bold stance has inspired other states to follow suit. Recently, Connecticut joined the effort by issuing its own cease-and-desist letter to Harp Media BV on June 14. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection highlighted that Bovada’s operations were in violation of the Connecticut General Statutes, which prohibit unlicensed gambling activities.

The state’s letter explicitly stated, “Bovada does not possess an online gaming operator’s licence or any other relevant qualification that would allow Bovada to provide online gaming to Connecticut residents; nor do Bovada’s actions fall within any of the excepted activities to the prohibition on gambling listed in Conn. Gen. Stat.”

Calls for Coordinated Legal Action

Industry experts believe that cease-and-desist orders are just the beginning. Brendan Bussmann of B Global stressed the importance of coordinated federal efforts. Speaking to iGB, Bussmann noted, “The cease-and-desist is first and then how far can you prosecute along the way to protect against illegal operators is next. This is where the feds come into play, it needs to be a coordinated effort.”

Bovada’s Growing Blacklist

Bovada’s history as a prominent black market sports betting operator in the U.S. is well-documented. The site has already been blocked by several states, including New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Maryland, and Delaware. Recent reports indicate that Colorado has also joined the list, though the exact date of enforcement remains unclear.


The Path Forward for Michigan

Michigan’s success in blocking Bovada sets a strong precedent for other states grappling with illegal gambling operations. The MGCB’s actions underscore the importance of robust regulatory frameworks and the enforcement mechanisms needed to uphold them. By effectively removing unlicensed operators from the market, Michigan not only protects its residents but also supports the integrity of its regulated gambling industry.

Implications for the Gambling Industry

The crackdown on Bovada highlights several critical aspects of gambling regulation in the United States:

  1. Strengthening Legal Frameworks: States need strong legal frameworks to combat unlicensed operators effectively. Michigan’s use of existing laws to block Bovada demonstrates the effectiveness of comprehensive regulatory measures.
  2. Coordinated Efforts: The cooperation between state regulators and federal authorities is crucial. As Chris Cylke of the AGA mentioned, the Department of Justice’s involvement is necessary to tackle illegal gambling on a larger scale.
  3. Industry Support: Support from industry stakeholders, such as the AGA, plays a vital role in pushing for enforcement and ensuring compliance. Their advocacy can help streamline efforts across different jurisdictions.
  4. Public Awareness: Educating the public about the dangers of unlicensed gambling sites is essential. Awareness campaigns can help deter residents from engaging with illegal operators and encourage them to choose regulated platforms.

Future Challenges and Opportunities

While Michigan’s action against Bovada is a significant milestone, the fight against illegal gambling is far from over. Offshore operators often have sophisticated means to circumvent state regulations, requiring continuous vigilance and adaptation from regulators.

However, this challenge also presents opportunities. States can collaborate to share best practices, develop advanced technological solutions for monitoring and enforcement, and create unified strategies to address the evolving landscape of online gambling.


Michigan’s successful blocking of Bovada from operating within its borders marks a critical step in the ongoing battle against illegal gambling. By leveraging existing laws and demonstrating firm regulatory action, Michigan sets an example for other states to follow. The broader implications for the gambling industry are profound, highlighting the need for coordinated efforts, robust legal frameworks, and continuous public education. As the landscape of online gambling evolves, Michigan’s proactive approach serves as a blueprint for ensuring a safe, fair, and regulated gaming environment for all.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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