When you make something illegal, you don’t erase it – you simply drive it underground. Simple economics dictates demand driving supply, and through the context of legal sports gambling, demand is skyrocketing.
State after state has adopted legalized sports betting legislation, creating a lawful, regulated supply funnel for those who wish to place wagers.
Other states, like Georgia, have balked at the prospect of legalized sports betting, leaving its citizens to search for other avenues. Often, that means unregulated offshore gambling websites, which makes them vulnerable to a raft of online crimes such as identity theft and fraud.
So much for legalizing gambling causing an increase in criminality.
Georgia’s failure to pass pro-gambling legislation was a boost to the would-be scammers who prey on consumers – particularly those who are unfamiliar with the online landscape.
An elevated risk of fraud
Far and away, the most common risk when depositing funds on unregulated online gambling sites is identity theft.
A shocking 1.3 million identity theft reports were filed in the United States in 2020. That number will only rise with the considerable ratio of our lives taking place across internet platforms.
Mitigating risk is one of the most important factors in preventing identity theft. Unfortunately, when evaluating unregulated offshore gambling sites, many neglect that level of caution.
Folks simply want to place a bet, and the path of least resistance is often the one that wins. That means potentially exposing bank account information and other personal details to cybercriminals. That’s not a fun notification to receive.
A money launderer’s paradise
The risk of criminality may go even beyond the end-user when using offshore gambling websites. One of the largest criminal components to these websites is that they’re a haven for money laundering activities. In fact, a UN study estimates that 2-5% of the world‘s GDP is illegally laundered every year.
This means each and every year, millions of dollars funnel through unregulated gaming sites, funding illicit activities across the globe. These activities may even include atrocities such as human trafficking, run by transnational criminal organizations.
Depositing funds into these sites makes you an unwitting, but still, active participant, in those activities.
Scammed? You’ve got no recourse.
Ever find yourself sitting at home, when all of the sudden your phone explodes with notifications that your account is overdrawn and your credit rating is suddenly in the toilet?
Did you remember the $20 parlay you placed on the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, Houston Texans, and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open on some offshore gambling website your buddy clued you into?
That’s a common theme (maybe not the Banana Slugs part), and should it occur, you have absolutely zero recourse.
United States law enforcement has no jurisdiction to pursue the people behind offshore gambling websites. This means you’re out of luck if you lose your rightful winnings, or you find that your information sells online.
It’s the inherent risk of taking to underground gambling platforms.
Georgians driven underground
In the wake of the state failing to adopt legislation to legalize sports gambling, Georgians are unfortunately afforded few options should they choose to place bets on sports.
Many of them will include sketchy, unregulated offshore websites. That unnecessarily exposes Georgians to risk they wouldn’t incur in a legal establishment or website.
Time will tell if Georgia legislators accept the turning national tide and write the legislation that paves the way to safe, legal gambling in the state. Until then, gambling Georgians have precious few options – many of which involve illegal offshore gambling websites.