Offshore sportsbook and casino website operator Bovada has been accused of violating state gambling laws in Kentucky. According to a proposed class action lawsuit filed in Kentucky federal court this past Tuesday, plaintiff Billi Jo Woods says she’s lost thousands of dollars since beginning his gambling journey at Bovada earlier this year.
Woods v. Morris Mohawk Gaming Group Class Action
The proposed claim accuses Morris Mohawk Group and a handful of other companies responsible for Bovada of operating an illegal gambling entity in Kentucky, causing residents to lose thousands of dollars.
The two sites in question, Bovada.com and Bovada.lv, offer gambling options ranging from sports betting to poker and slot games. The problem is, they’re not licensed to operate anywhere in the US. However, they’re still entirely accessible to residents even though these offshore gambling websites aren’t legal entities in Kentucky or any other state.
Since Kentucky sports betting and KY casinos have yet to launch, offshore sites have had an even easier time pulling the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting customers.
The claim argues:
“Bovada has evaded the laws of Kentucky and other states. Bovada has advertised and presented itself to consumers in Kentucky as a legitimate online business. But this is false. In fact, Bovada is an illegal enterprise. Bovada’s online presence and advertising provided an aura of legitimacy and legality to Plaintiff and class members.”
Offshore Sportsbooks Look Like the Real Deal
Bovada has been in operation since 2011, touting itself as a reputable, trustworthy gambling operator. The reality, says the claim, is that Bovada continues to violate state law and mislead residents into believing the brand is entirely permissible. As a result, the operator continues to profit from countless customers illegally.
Despite the lack of legal approval, Bovada accomplishes this by making its site appear as convincing as possible — and making the sign-up process quick and seamless.
Registering for a Bovada account is as easy as entering a bit of personal information onto a page. After advancing past a quick verification process, registered users can then begin wagering as soon as they’ve deposited funds. Bovada makes the deposit process especially easy as well. Unlike legal, licensed books, Bovada welcomes both cryptocurrency and credit cards as acceptable deposit methods.
Congress Urges For Action On Offshore Gambling
This isn’t the first time an offshore gambling website has been scrutinized. According to Woods’ complaint, more than 24 Congress members penned a formal letter to the US Department of Justice in June 2022. The letter urged Congress to take action on illegal offshore gambling operations.
Perhaps the most concerning part of this letter, however, was its allegation that Bovada sportsbook searches make up half of all sportsbook queries conducted. This reasserts the misleading nature of Bovada’s websites and further underlines the need for tighter regulations on offshore gambling websites.
The American Gaming Organization has already demanded the investigation and indictment of Bovada operators for their involvement in a criminal enterprise. Progress has yet to be made, however, making the need for headway in this Kentucky claim all the more crucial.
If approved, this proposed class action would involve any Kentucky resident who wagered and lost at least $5 on Bovada within a 24-hour period. The claim estimates that tens of thousands of Kentuckians have ultimately been affected by Bovada’s actions.