Curaçao-Based Bovada Faces Cease and Desist from Michigan Regulator

The operator of Bovada, Harp Media BV, has been charged by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) with giving gamers in Michigan access to and without the required licenses. Numerous gaming laws in Michigan are allegedly broken by this claimed infraction, including the Michigan Penalty Code, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, and the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.

Online gaming and sports betting license applications are only accepted in Michigan from federally recognized tribe casinos and casinos regulated under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. In Michigan, running an unauthorized gambling operation is a crime that carries a maximum $100,000 (£78,562/€92,276) fine, ten years in jail, or both.

Harp Media BV has been given 14 days from the receipt of the order, dated May 29, to prevent Michigan residents from accessing its services. Failure to comply will result in legal action from the MGCB.

Official Statement from MGCB

Henry Williams, executive director of the MGCB, emphasized the broader implications of this cease-and-desist order. “The proliferation of online gaming platforms has led to increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies worldwide, and this action serves as a stern warning to overseas companies that flouting local regulations will not be tolerated,” Williams stated.

He added, “The MGCB remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding Michigan’s laws and regulations and will continue to actively monitor and enforce compliance within the state to ensure a fair and secure gaming environment for all.”

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The crackdown on Bovada comes as Curaçao, Bovada’s home base, undergoes significant regulatory reforms. The National Ordinance for Games of Chance (LOK), a new regulatory framework, aims to improve the region’s reputation, which has been marred by lax anti-money laundering (AML) rules and criminal activity.

Earlier this month, Michigan reported an 8.7% drop in online gaming revenue for April. Sports betting and iGaming operators in the state recorded $234.8 million in April revenue, a decline from the previous month. Similarly, Detroit’s casinos reported a monthly revenue decrease of 11.7% to $109.4 million.

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