Michigan Regulator Warns Players of Dangers of Gambling on Unregulated Sites

Identity theft and unpaid winnings are among the most common complaints from victims of offshore sportsbooks and casinos.
Michigan Regulator Warns Players of Dangers of Gambling on Unregulated Sites
December 21, 2021

Online casino players and sports bettors in Michigan are being warned about the risks of using unregulated sites following reports of identity theft and non-payment of winnings.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) recently released a statement, outlining the dangers of offshore sites, and the protections offered by regulation.

The state went live with its first legal iGaming sites in January of this year. With plenty of great legal options now available, there is no need for Michiganders to use risky unregulated casinos or sportsbooks. Nevertheless, the MGCB is still receiving correspondence from players who have been victims of nefarious behavior from illicit sites.

MGCB spokesperson, Mary Kay Bean told SportsShield, “Licensees of the Michigan Gaming Control Board can be held accountable for their conduct. Offshore providers cannot be held accountable by the MGCB for stealing money, identity theft, or other conduct issues.”

Identity theft is a particular concern for the regulatory body. MCGB Executive Director, Henry Williams said, “If you share personal information with an unregulated gambling site, there are no guarantees your information won’t be sold to or used by criminals.”

Moreover, this kind of crime is far from being a rare occurrence. Williams continued, “Identity theft is the most common complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2020, 1.3 million identity theft reports were made in the U.S., including more than 24,000 cases of identity theft reported in Michigan.”

Over a Million Cases of ID Theft

Identity thieves can use your personal data for a range of illicit activities. According to the International Revenue Service (IRS), these include fraudulent credit applications, medical care, and filing of taxes. It can cost victims a lot of money and harm their credit scores. Undoing the damage, once it’s done, is a long and arduous process that could follow the victim for years.

ID theft is not the only danger associated with unlicensed gambling sites. The MGCB says it receives many complaints that winnings and refunds are not being paid out.

To make matters worse, the MGCB is often powerless to help in these scenarios. “Unregulated” means just that: the regulators have no way of keeping unlicensed sites in check.

Williams explained: “Unlike regulated gambling, there is no mechanism for the MGCB to handle a patron dispute with an unregulated, offshore gambling site. Our agency does not have the authority to pursue a dispute with an unregulated site.”

A Vehicle for Organized Crime

There is a further, more underground problem that can afflict unsanctioned gambling sites. They are often targeted by organized crime gangs, for money laundering, wire fraud, and other illegal purposes. By partaking in gambling on these sites, players may be unwittingly assisting in criminal activity.

When you put all of these factors together, it is easy to see why the MGCB has concerns. Players who want to find secure MGCB-licensed sites on which to wager can find a list of regulated online casinos and sports betting sites by clicking these links.

2021 has been a year like no other for Michigan’s regulators. The state’s first iGaming sites went live in January and have been a hive of activity ever since, making the Garden State the third-biggest by revenue, in the whole of the US. In October, Michigan generated almost $110 million from online gaming.

The tax contributed to state coffers so far this year, exceeds $220 million — money that will be invested back into the local community. If Michiganders needed another reason to play at regulated sites, then this is surely it.

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