New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is threatening to blackball and potentially prosecute the popular gaming content website OddsShark over its alledged affiliation with illegal offshore websites.
Offshore sports books — like this one in Costa Rica — are not allowed to operate in US states, and New Jersey’s gaming regulator is now going after Antigua-based affiliate provider OddsShark for ignoring those legalities. (Image: Monica Quesada/The Tico Times)
In a letter acquired by by AmericanCasinos.com, state Deputy Attorney General Anthony Strangia singles out OddsShark for providing promotional links to sites such as Bovada, Betonline, and 5 Dimes. Those offshore sites — and others — are still available to New Jersey residents, essentially flaunting state laws.
Legal sports betting has been very much alive and well in the Garden State since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May of 2018. Geolocation technology should make it impossible for New Jerseyans to be able to access offshore betting sites of any kind.
The letter goes on to demand that OddsShark “remove any online gaming links that are not authorized under federal law or under the law of any State.”
And regulators don’t stop there. They’ve also CC’d other operators with the letter, insisting that they blackball the site.
“By copy of this letter, the Division is instructing all New Jersey casinos and internet gaming providers that they must cease doing any business with OddsShark.com, regardless of whether the platforms are promoting their New Jersey activity, or activity in other jurisdictions.”
The DGE goes on point out that the site may be in violation of criminal state laws covering racketeering.
How Does it Work?
The affiliate model being employed by OddsShark is used by industries across the internet, not just in the gaming space.
Amazon, for example, was able to build its empire in part on the power affiliate programs, which allow smaller websites to send business Amazon’s way and get a cut of those sales.
But imagine that those sites were promoting links to illegal, knock-off brands. Now imagine that the knock-off brand was being sold next to the legitimate brand with no distinction being made, and you essentially have what we see at OddsShark, where NJ’s legal sites are promoted alongside illegal, offshore sites.
The DGE made it clear years ago that it wouldn’t stand for such scenarios, and now it’s drawing a legal line in the sand.
That ruling means that OddsShark was likely aware that its offshore affiliate model was against state regulations, but they’re certainly not the only ones doing it.
While they’ve been singled out, other content and odds providers are also doing the same thing in New Jersey and elsewhere.
So far, there’s been no response from the management at OddsShark. However, as of Friday morning, links to the illegal offshore sites referenced in the DGE’s letter were still available on their website.
It will be a situation to monitor, as regulators make it clear that they “reserve the right to pursue appropriate civil or criminal sanctions against you if you fail to take the requested actions.”
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