The Betting Scene: Players in states with licensed sportsbooks need to be extra careful online

With several large online sportsbooks pulling out of U.S. states that have regulated sports betting, players need to be wary of fly-by-night operators.

Players should check out new operations before sending money

Just prior to the 2019 NFL season, several of the largest online sports betting operations announced that they would no longer be taking bets from players located in U.S. states that have licensed and regulated sportsbooks. These online operators took extra notice of states that also have online sports betting.

Once the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, several U.S. states were poised to get into the sports betting business. New Jersey, who fought the good fight for the entire country, was the first state to offer betting on sports and they also were the first to accept wagers on sporting events over the Internet. Today, handle in New Jersey exceeds that of the state of Nevada.

Current operators take notice 

Just prior to the start of the NFL season, industry giant BetOnline reached out to their customers in New Jersey to let them know that their action was no longer welcome. Players were urged to withdraw the funds in thier accounts. From reports we got many players have pulled their funds and BetOnline processed their payouts with any delays or issues.

We reached out to BetOnline and asked why the sudden withdraw form one of the largest sports betting markets in the U.S. We got back a quick "No Comment", but it's pretty obvious. The NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has been very aggressive in their rhetoric and approach to anyone who is taking bets from the state's residents and without a license to operate in NJ. A representative at BetOnline who refused to go 'on the record' stated that they didn't want to be become a "target" and feel the wrath of the DGE.

US sports betting online sportsbooks pull outReports also surfaced regarding Bovada and BookMaker, two cornerstones of the online gambling industry pulling out of several states as well. Bovada has a point in their Terms of Service telling players from DE, MD, NJ and NV that they are not only banned from playing with the Canadian sportsbook, but any attempt on the players part to "circumvent these restrictions by any means will result in your accounts closure and any balance considered forfeit."

Places like GTBets and MyBookie already had restrictions on accounts in several states, including New York. These were also put into place to avoid coming under scrutiny in states that have shown an inclination to prosecute offshore, online operators.

Where does this leave players?

This knee-jerk reaction among online operators, though warranted, has left players in New Jersey, New York and other states in a bit of a quandry. 

We heard from several BetOnline players who asked about where to play now? Of course, the first choice, especially in NJ, is to play with a licensed and regulated operator within the state. But places like New York and Maryland, don't have online access to any sports betting yet and players simply refuse to drive miles from home to get down a sports bet. 

Players can still play at many reputable books online, but several newer outfits or places that are price-per-head operations are apparently targeting players from Jersey and other regulated states, taking aim at the void left behind by the larger sports books that have now vacated the state. 

This is where extreme caution must be exercised. Online betting houses that have not completed one year of football and baseball season are certainly suspect. Places that we have never heard of in our 21+ years are also to be avoided. Simply stated, players should not panic if a sportsbook they have been using for years, suddenly does not want their action anymore.

For starters, there's the licensed operations within the state or a handful of great places online that will be more than happy to take a bet. But do not, DO NOT, go off half-cocked and play at the first good offer that pops into an email inbox. We received several messages via chat and email regarding the quest for a new sportsbook and a number of these inquiries were asking about websites that we had never heard of.  Players are urged to do the same due diligence that you would when looking for anything online -  a little homework, can keep players out of trouble. Check with us here at OSGA for the validity of a gambling website before signing up.

Check back every week for The Betting Scene as we will highlight new items of interest in the world of online sports betting. 

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