West Virginia Lottery Tells Bovada Sportsbook To Hit the (Country) Roads

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West Virginia Lottery officials await word from Bovada Sportsbook after becoming the latest state regulators to issue the Curacao-based company a cease-and-desist order to stop taking bets within its jurisdiction.

The West Virginia Lottery oversees the state’s legal sports betting market, which launched with online and retail outlets in 2018. West Virginia was the fifth state to do so following the demise of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that year.

Lottery director John Myers told Gaming Today that the letter was sent on Thursday.

Bovada didn’t respond to Michigan’s recent order for nearly three weeks, missing a mid-June deadline to pull out of that state. Bovada eventually complied, as it did with a subsequent order from Colorado officials.

The list of states that have issued cease-and-desists to Bovada continues to grow.
The list of states that have issued cease-and-desists to Bovada continues to grow. (Gaming Today Illustration/Brant James)

Bovada Ban Grows Across United States

Currently, Connecticut and West Virginia are the only states known to be attempting to join Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York in forcing out the illegal, unregulated offshore sportsbook. Massachusetts officials are reportedly mulling similar action.

Anecdotally, industry officials believe that black market sportsbooks control 65% of the US market, even though 38 US states and jurisdictions offer legal sports betting. The American Gaming Association claims that $500 billion in taxable wagers are annually lost offshore.

Observers still question why Bovada is yielding to building momentum as it — like other offshore sportsbooks offering illegal wagers in the US — remains beyond the reach of the American legal system. Tech solutions work until the sportsbooks tinker with their blocked URLs.

Whatever the reason, states with legal sports betting have enjoyed increasing success in eliminating offshore sports betting operations.  Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites offering markets resembling sports betting have also faced a crackdown in several jurisdictions.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Lead Writer
Brant James is a lead writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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