Connecticut to Send Cease & Desist Letter to Bovada for Operating Illegally in State

Covers received word that the state’s Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division is drafting a cease-and-desist letter for the offshore sportsbook operator.

Grant Leonard - News Editor at Covers.com
Grant Leonard • News Editor
Jun 11, 2024 • 22:12 ET • 4 min read
Connecticut state capitol
Photo By - SIPA

Bovada is being told to cease illegally activity in another state with legal sports betting. 

After word first surfaced on social media, a representative from Connecticut’s gaming regulator confirmed with Covers that a cease-and-desist letter will be sent in a week or two to Curacao-based Harp Media B.V., a company that operates one of the most popular offshore sites for online sports betting and casino gambling. 

The news comes just two weeks after the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that Bovada’s operator had 14 days from receipt of a C&D letter to “take steps to prevent Michigan residents from gambling on their websites,” so Connecticut’s mandate will likely be similar.  

The representative also said that the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division sends out cease-and-desist letters regularly, but it’s not typical for the regulator to send out a public notice every time. 

There are only three Connecticut sportsbooks currently licensed to operate in the Nutmeg State, so reminders about these regulated online Connecticut sports betting sites usually go out in the late summer when sports betting activity ramps up for football season. They also serve as reminders about the dangers of utilizing unregulated platforms to place wagers. 

Enemy of the state

Bovada has been in the crosshairs of the legal sports betting industry for a while now. The American Gaming Association’s CEO specifically named Bovada and other “illegal sportsbooks and casinos” in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in 2022 calling for a crackdown on the unregulated market. 

“These illegal sites also enjoy many competitive advantages that allow them to offer better odds and promotions and ignore any commitment to responsible gaming because they do no pay state and federal taxes or have comparable regulatory compliance costs and obligations,” Miller said in the letter.

New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Nevada have all passed legislation in recent years to ban Bovada from their sports betting markets. 

Connecticut sports betting landscape

The Nutmeg State has one of the smaller legal markets in the U.S. sports betting industry. The three sportsbooks in Connecticut only bagged $156.8 million in wagers in April, but still achieved a more than 20% year-over-year increase in handle that month. 

FanDuel has ruled the roost for 12 out of the last 13 months, while DraftKings doesn’t trail too far behind in handle and revenue. 

Fanatics launched as the state’s third sportsbook option in December, taking over for PlaySugarHouse as the Connecticut Lottery’s sports betting partner. 

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