Conscious Gaming: record wagering volumes signal bad news for illegal bookies

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Responsible gaming organization Conscious Gaming has cited record volumes of US sports wagering over the past weekend as a clear signal that bettors are increasingly eschewing illegal operators in favor of regulated bookmakers.

It noted: “Record volumes were recorded this past weekend for legal US online gaming and sports betting. This signals US consumers favor the regulated US industry and are turning away from the illegal, unprotected, offshore bookie businesses of the past.

An additional benefit, it said, is that revenues that were once channeled to the illegal market, are now staying in the communities where these bettors live.

Drawing on data from parent firm GeoComply, Conscious Gaming said that this year’s NFL Conference Championship weekend saw more than 30 million geolocation transactions recorded in 17 US online betting states (including the District of Columbia), an increase of 260% over the same weekend in 2020.

Two new states, Michigan and Virginia, launched legal operations just in time for the weekend’s games and from those markets alone 7.5 million transactions came from over 400,000 accounts, making up 25% of overall volumes across the US market. The addition of Michigan and Virginia helped drive all-time high transactions in a weekend that featured a heavy sporting event schedule.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan and Virginia placed legal online bets for the first time this past weekend,” said Seth Palansky, Conscious Gaming’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “This demonstrates that Americans will abandon illegal websites and the street corner bookie to place their trust in companies that are accountable, provide robust consumer protections and responsible gaming measures.”

Moreover the tax dollars that were previously siphoned off by illegal gambling operators are now staying in the United States, added the organization, benefiting state governments and taxpayers and creating economic growth. In 2020, legal online gaming in the US generated hundreds of millions in tax dollars for cash strapped states.

As more and more states seek to legalize and regulate various forms of internet gambling and sports wagering, Conscious Gaming, an independent non-profit created by GeoComply, is committed to technological innovations that protect consumers, strengthen responsible gaming programs and make self exclusion programs effective and universal.

“As the industry grows, it is important for it to remain firmly committed to protecting problem bettors and putting additional processes in place to ensure the growth can be managed effectively and responsibly,” added Palansky.

Conscious Gaming has also created PlayPause, an innovative multi-state repository enabling consumers to self-exclude from online betting. It also allows other prohibited individuals (athletes, coaches, employees, etc.) to be easily added to the database and excluded from betting.

PlayPause works to better protect consumers, break down silos and encourage information-sharing among state regulators, operators and sports leagues. Furthermore, it prevents vulnerable players or prohibited individuals from betting, regardless of where they are, instead of just inside their current state borders, as it is now.

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