Michigan GCB warns on unregulated gaming sites

December 6, 2021

ID theft, non-payment of winnings listed as chief complaints.

There is a difference between gambling and simply risking one’s money.

That was the message from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which on Monday issued a warning about the dangers of using unregulated gaming sites.

According to a statement attributed to MGCB executive director Henry Williams, Michigan residents who place wagers on unregulated gaming sites may gamble on more than they expected and become identity theft or deposit theft victims.

“If you share personal information with an unregulated gambling site, there are no guarantees your information won't be sold to or used by criminals,” Williams said. “Identity theft is the most common complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2020, 1.3m identity theft reports were made in the US, including more than 24,000 cases of identity theft reported in Michigan.”

Williams went on to note the Internal Revenue Service says identity thieves use harvested personal information to apply for credit, file taxes or obtain medical services.

“This unauthorized activity can damage your credit status and cost you time and money to recover,” the IRS said.

Based on complaints to the MGCB, patrons of unregulated gambling site report their winnings are not being paid or they cannot obtain a deposited refund. Williams said, unfortunately, patrons using unregulated sites do not have recourse to seek recovery of their money through regulatory agencies or the courts.

Other crimes are associated with unregulated gambling sites, the MGCB added, saying the Federal Bureau of Investigations has identified unregulated online gambling as supporting organized crime through money laundering. By contrast, regulated casinos and online gaming sites must follow know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering requirements.

On its website, the MGCB offered a list of authorized/approved internet casino gaming and online sports betting sites licensed by the regulator.

“Unlike regulated gambling, there is no mechanism for the MGCB to handle a patron dispute with an unregulated, offshore gambling site,” Williams said. “Our agency does not have the authority to pursue a dispute with an unregulated site.”


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