Illegal Gambling Site Bovada Claims Colorado, Michigan Aren’t Served — One Bettor Saw No Change

Photo by Thomas Pajot/Shutterstock

Gaming regulators in Colorado and Michigan noticed their states pop up on June 20 on the Bovada list of “Which Countries Are Restricted?” However, on June 21, a bettor notified Bonus on social media about being able to play online poker on the illegal site that said it was restricted and it “seemed to work fine.”

Officials in Colorado and Michigan sent “cease and desist” letters to Bovada’s owner, Curaçao-based Harp Media. Both threatened legal action against Harp if Bovada didn’t shut down in their states.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) sent a letter on May 29, and Colorado did so on June 4.

On June 20, Bovada spelled “Colorado” as “Colorad,” with a space before the period. This appeared to reflect Harp Media’s hurry to comply with the cease and desist letters.

On June 27, the “Which Countries Are Restricted?” page on Bovada fully spelled out Colorado:

Bovada remains open to United States residents, except for those living in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan and Colorado.

Bonus emphasizes that Bovada is an illegal site for all US online gamblers.

However, on June 21, an X user who didn’t specify a state of residence said there was no restriction from gambling on the illegal site.

Replying to Bonus about the Colorado and Michigan closures, “Hartman Teets” wrote on June 21:

I was on poker last night after initially taking all my money off…… is it supposed to be halted exactly? Seemed to work fine.

Colorado Responds to Bonus

Bonus contacted Colorado and Michigan gaming regulators about the claim by “Hartman Teets.”

Kyle Boyd responded for the Colorado Department of Revenue (CDR) Specialized Business Group (SBG).

The communications manager told Bonus on June 24

The Division of Gaming has taken action by sending the previously provided Cease and Desist letter, and the Bovada website reflects this. Should the Division of Gaming encounter any future concerns, the Division of Gaming will work to address them.

Michigan Responds to Bonus

MGCB Public Information Officer Lisa Keith informed Bonus on June 27 that the regulator that there’d been no change since she talked on June 25.

At that time, Keith told Bonus:

The Bovada matter is still under review by the MGCB. We don’t have any additional information to share at this time.

The regulator had given Harp Media it had 14 days from the receipt of the May 29 letter before MGCB took “legal action.” The regulator also said vendors who continued to serve the illegal site might face consequences.

Massachusetts Discusses Bovada

On June 26, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) held an “agenda setting meeting.”

During the meeting, the MGC discussed “illegal markets.”

Asked by Bonus about Bovada, Thomas Mills, MGC communications division chief, said on June 27:

During yesterday’s agenda setting meeting the commissioners had a brief discussion regarding when to bring this to a public meeting. … During that discussion, Commissioner O’Brien noted that much of the action that could be taken is outside of the Commission’s jurisdiction and needs federal and/or state attorney general involvement. The request from Commissioners was for an update from our legal team at an upcoming meeting, but also to reach out to the Massachusetts AGO.

Once this is scheduled it will be placed on a public meeting agenda and noticed on our website.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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