Blackmarket bookmakers: Can users tell the difference?

Apr 1, 2021 by

Sports betting - Wikipedia

With the sports betting phenomenon sweeping the United States, a new user-protection issue has reared its head. In order to operate legally, sportsbooks need to endure the rigorous licensing process. However, often illegal bookmakers are indistinguishable from legitimate operators in the eyes of the majority of users, studies suggest.

Nonprofit group Conscious Gaming is committed to promoting better igaming practices in the United States. As a part of their research efforts, investigators dove into the world of legal and illegal bookmaking operations. Identity theft and financial fraud are part and parcel of the illegal trade, so they are motivated to educate users before they are the victims of a scam.

Their study showed that 35% of respondents were unaware of the legal status of sports betting in their state. With legislation fluctuating so quickly across state lines, consumers are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the latest legal developments.

In terms of recognising a shady operator, 75% of New Jersey and Pennsylvania respondents were unable to draw distinct comparisons. Unless a prominent brand is recognised, users are unsure what to look for or how to spot red flags.

Conscious Gaming is therefore attempting to make licenses more visible to consumers. Because sportsbooks must acquire licenses to operate legally and ensure fairness, these licensees are displayed on their online platforms. If users are able to spot these when assessing a prospective bookmaker, their data and deposits will be much safer.

Cryptocurrency is trending, and some bookmakers accept it as an anonymous deposit method. However there is little protection against fraud. In addition, it is currently not legal to accept cryptocurrencies at licensed bookmakers, so any bookmaker advertising this option is black market by default.

As sports betting becomes more commonplace, the hopes of onlookers like Conscious Gaming will be to bring consumer safety more into standard practices and education.

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