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Michiganders may risk identity theft and loss of deposits when gambling on unregulated gaming sites
Detroit, Dec. 6, 2021 - Michigan residents who place wagers on unregulated gaming sites may gamble on more than they expected and become identity theft or deposit theft victims, said Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams.
"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, 1.3 million identity theft reports were made in the U.S., including more than 24,000 cases of identity theft reported in Michigan."
The federal Internal Revenue Service says thieves use your 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.
Based on complaints to the MGCB, unregulated gambling site patrons say winnings are not being paid or they can't obtain a deposited refund. Unfortunately, patrons using unregulated sites don't have recourse to seek recovery of their money through regulatory agencies or the courts.
"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."
Other crimes are associated with unregulated gambling sites. 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 offers a list of authorized/approved internet casino gaming and online sports betting sites licensed by the MGCB.
Gambling in any form is for entertainment purposes only. If someone has a gambling problem, please call the state's 24-hour, toll-free helpline at 1-800-270-7117 or the MGCB's responsible gaming section at 1-888-223-3044. You also may visit the MGCB website at www.michigan.gov/mgcb for information on self-exclusion programs including the Disassociated Persons List and the Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Responsible Gaming Database.
"The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."