Research from BonusFinder.com has revealed an upward trend in the number of searches for unlicensed, offshore sites over the last twelve months, with weekly searches having increased by 42%.
Using Google Trends data between May 2019 and May 2020, BonusFinder.com found that searches for the term ‘online casino’ have climbed by 149% in the last year and 37% in the first five months of 2020.
The research identified a total of 38 unlicensed sites operating and targeting players, with search volumes for one company reported to be three times higher than generic searches for ‘online casino’, while overall searches for the other 37 offshore operators increased by 42%.
Fintan Costello, Managing Director, BonusFinder.com, said: “Despite many US states and state regulators doing a great job in licensing many elements of the industry, it is clear from our research that the demand for online casino is accelerating and that players are increasingly turning to unregulated sites to play.
“The message is clear. The black market is targeting US online casino players more than ever, and players are falling prey to unlicensed activities with little or no safety measures in place.
“This is dangerous at the best of times, but the US, like many countries, is facing unprecedented economic challenges and many individuals have become more vulnerable to black market targeting.
“Player safety is paramount, and regulators need to take urgent action to stem this alarming trend. The regulated online casino industry has the tools, technology and expertise to provide US players with proven products they can enjoy responsibly, safe in the knowledge that player protection is the number one priority.”
The increase in searches raises concerns over player protection measures, especially at a time when the US finds itself in a position of financial uncertainty.