Why Offshore Gambling Sites Continue to Thrive

Offshore online gambling sites are as strong as ever, much to the disappointment of regulated gaming advocates. There are reasons for this.

Legal online sports betting is available in 30 states. Six of those states have legal online casinos. Four have active regulated poker sites.

One of the goals of legalization was to stamp out the illegal operators. That has not happened. There are several reasons why.

The biggest reason unlicensed gambling sites still thrive is that 12 states don’t have any forms of legalized sportsbooks. Another eight only have legal sports betting at casinos. In most of those cases, the sportsbooks are not near the state’s largest cities.

Another factor is that two of those states are California and Texas. Those are the two largest by population. Georgia is number eight on the list. Those three states are almost 25% of the entire US population. 

Most states without legal sportsbooks have daily fantasy sports. This includes pick’em sites like PrizePicks and Underdog Fantasy. However, those companies have come under fire in recent months. The days of pick’em fantasy may be close to over.

Online casinos are not widely available 

Online casinos are legal and open in Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. That leaves about 85% of the country without legal online casinos. 

Casino games make offshore sites more money than sports betting. As long as casino sites remain illegal in over 40 states, offshore ones remain the only option.

Legal online poker only operates in Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It is legal in Connecticut and West Virginia. Neither state has any sites. Delaware had a legal poker site. It closed in 2023. 

The legal poker sites that exist are small. WSOP only networks player pools in Nevada and New Jersey. PokerStars combines player pools from Michigan and New Jersey.

West Virginia recently entered the interstate poker agreement. It hopes to join the legal online poker world in 2024.

Offshore poker sites combine player pools from not just most US states, but also, many other countries. Unlicensed online poker rooms are exponentially larger than legal ones that only cover one or two states. This allows larger game selection and tournament prize pools.

Another issue is the poor products available in legal poker states. One example is WSOP. Its software and customer support are among the worst in the industry. 

Offshore sportsbooks take big action from all

There are many discussions about how big legal sites limit players. That is not the case at major offshore sites. There is so much liquidity in those markets, and expert bookmakers involved, that large bets from professional handicappers don’t scare them as much as smaller books with less action or expertise. 

Novelty props are available 

Offshore sportsbooks don’t need to ask regulatory bodies to approve bets. This means that novelty props like the color of the Gatorade shower on the winning coach and how long the National Anthem takes to perform are on the board. You can even bet on the Puppy Bowl. Political betting is also available at offshore sites.

Affiliates still promote these sites

In an earlier article, I noted how many websites still promote offshore sites because legal operators only work with major media companies. Locking smaller websites out of the legal market leaves those groups with no other choice but to continue promoting offshore sites. This is a problem caused by the legal industry it appears to have no intention of fixing.