Bovada now restricted in Michigan and Colorado after cease-and-desists

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Bovada has officially stopped taking customers in Michigan and Colorado after both states sent cease-and-desist letters to the offshore sportsbook in recent weeks.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board warned at the end of May that the Costa Rica-based operator must stop accepting customers from the Wolverine State within 14 days or else face legal action. The MGCB said Bovada, owned by Curaçao-based Harp Media BV, was in violation of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act and the Michigan Penal Code.

Colorado issued a similar ultimatum around a week after Michigan.

While Bovada didn’t appear to meet Michigan’s 14-day deadline, as of Friday, it says it is no longer accepting new sign-ups in either state. The sportsbook’s website notes that Bovada is available to U.S. residents “except for those living in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, and Colorado.” It had already been blocked in those first five listed states.

It is not possible for would-be users to sign up from within any of those seven blacklist states. However, Bovada is offering existing customers in those jurisdictions the chance to withdraw any outstanding balance on their account in the form of cryptocurrency. Customers in states where Bovada is not blocked have multiple withdrawal options.

Massachusetts, Connecticut could be next

“Successful enforcement actions against Bovada by Michigan and Colorado are proof that states have tools to fight back against offshore operators and should serve as blueprints for other states to follow,” said the American Gaming Association SVP of Government Relations, Chris Cylke, in a statement.

And more states could soon follow suit on Bovada.

The gaming division of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bovada on June 14 that stressed that its operations in the state are in breach of the Connecticut General Statutes and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Meanwhile, a Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting last Wednesday discussed the possibility of taking action against the unlicensed operator. Commissioner Nakisha Skinner proposed holding a formal assessment to decide “whether there are any steps we may want to take” and Chair Jordan Maynard agreed.

Cylke added that it cannot be left to the states to enforce the matter themselves.

“But states should not have to take on this battle alone – the DOJ [Department of Justice] must also use its powers to aid the fight against illegal gambling, which Congress has clearly identified as a department priority.”