HomeThe ShuffleThere’s A Reason More Bettors Prefer Legal Sportsbooks (Like Knowing You’ll Get Paid!)

There’s A Reason More Bettors Prefer Legal Sportsbooks (Like Knowing You’ll Get Paid!)

New research from the American Gaming Association shows that more U.S. bettors are moving away from illegal bookmakers to use safe, legal options. Last year, spending with illegal bookies fell 25 percent in states with regulated sports betting.

U.S. sports bettors are getting the message that legal, regulated sports betting providers trump illegal bookies, for a number of important reasons—including the guarantee that if they win, they’ll get paid.

New research from the American Gaming Association (AGA) shows that, in states with legal sports betting states, illegal bookies took in 25% less percent less in 2019, while legal online and mobile betting spend increased 12%.

The AGA study shows that bettors overwhelmingly prefer legal operators, with 74% saying it’s important to only bet through legal providers. Despite this, 52% of sports bettors participated in the illegal market in 2019. The study found that illegal sports betting is driven largely by confusion about online operators. More than half (55%) of consumers who placed most of their wagers with illegal operators believed they bet legally.

In the Shadows

“Illegal, offshore operators continue to take advantage of unknowing consumers,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “This only worsened during the sports shutdown, with unregulated bookmakers offering odds on everything from the weather and shark migration patterns to whether your friends’ marriage will survive the pandemic.”

Even respected news organizations like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as ESPN and Yahoo Sports have mistakenly promoted offshore sportsbooks, unaware that they are illegal in the U.S., and offer none of the protections and safeguards of the regulated market. The AGA is quick to contact these outlets, and point them to its website, which offers an up-to-date list of licensed online and retail sportsbooks.

The AGA is also focused on educating customers on how to wager legally Miller said, especially with the return of Major League Baseball this week and the NBA this month.

Is Your Bookie Legal? It’s Easy to Find Out

There are other important reasons bettors should beware of offshore bookies, said Miller. In addition to the risk of not getting paid, these bookies don’t contribute to tax revenues in the state, and they don’t produce any jobs in the country.

Moreover, “you don’t know where the proceeds of the betting are going,” Miller warned. “You’re not at all clear how your personal information is going to be used. If you’re funding (bets) with a PayPal account, what happens with that data? It’s a worry for all of us, all the time, even in the most legitimate business transactions in cyberspace.”

It’s easy to find out if your sportsbook is legal and protected. Go to the AGA’s interactive sports betting map at https://www.americangaming.org/research/state-gaming-map.

What’s An Affiliate, and Why Does It Matter?

In most states, online gaming operators have partners who help them market their products to prospective players. These partners are called affiliates. Affiliates are licensed in each jurisdiction, in a process similar to the one undergone by operators. In some states, this is a lengthy and expensive process. iGaming Player was one of the first licensed affiliates in New Jersey—and it took a year for it to win final licensing approval.

Here’s a good way to determine if an affiliate is legitimate: look at the website’s ads. If the affiliate is advertising any operators NOT listed on the AGA interactive map, there’s a good chance they’re not licensed.

Remember, doing business with offshore operators and unlicensed providers, including affiliates, just isn’t worth the gamble. To be safe, and bet safe, only patronize legal U.S. sportsbook operators.

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