[toc]There are many offshore, online sportsbooks that take bets from American customers.
This is well-known, despite the fact that they all operate in the United States illegally. Federal law prevents legal sports betting outside of Nevada.
Almost all of them are not brazen enough to have a real presence in the US, however.
But at least one online sportsbook that is bucking that trend, as a site called MYBookie.ag claims to have an address in Florida.
MyBookie.ag, at a glance
The website is like a lot of US-facing online gambling websites and sportsbooks, in that it takes action on just about anything — sports, casino games and horse racing.
(Online casinos and poker are illegal in most US jurisdictions. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware license such sites. Obviously, MyBookie does not have a license in any of those places).
Americans are allowed to open accounts at the website, although residents of a wide swath of countries cannot:
According to the website, MyBookie’s “sportsbooks websites are legally licensed by the Government & Laws of Curacao.” (Curacao, not shockingly, is not considered to be a bastion of gaming integrity.)
MyBookie made a brief appearance in Deadspin’s takedown of the sports betting industry in 2016.
MyBookie, in Florida?
Where MyBookie really diverges from other offshore books is its brazenness in serving the US market. Most of those companies keep a relatively low profile with their US operations. They operate well beyond the reach of US authorities.
But MyBookie claims to have a physical address in Florida: 8115 NW 74th AVE, Medley, Florida, 33166. It also appears to be advertising frequently on the radio in that state, per anecdotal accounts.
MyBookie appears to share an address with a company called All Transport Inc.:
Whether that company has a link to MyBookie — or if it is even a real transport company — is in question after some initial investigation.
A person who answered the phone at All Transport’s main number spoke very little English. That person directed me to call another phone number. That number went to voicemail, but said nothing to link it to All Transport.
The website also has a variety of errors that don’t mesh with the idea that it is transporting anything domestically or internationally.
The inefficacy of federal sports betting law
No matter how much of a presence MyBookie actually has on US soil, this reality persists: US law is currently doing nothing to stop it.
Federal law — PASPA — prohibits sports betting, or at least intends to. But it is doing little to discourage operators from serving the American market.
Just a year ago, authorities busted an illegal sports betting ring in Florida. Illegal sportsbooks with links to Florida were also involved in the $600 million Western Union settlement with the US government earlier this year:
Finally, Western Union has been on notice since at least December 1997, that individuals use its money transfer system to send illegal gambling transactions from Florida to offshore sportsbooks. Western Union knew that gambling transactions presented a heightened risk of money laundering and that through at least 2012, certain procedures it implemented were not effective at limiting transactions with characteristics indicative of illegal gaming from the United States to other countries.
But law enforcement can only do so much; some other illegal operator will quickly swoop up that action.
Some of the action is undoubtedly going to MyBookie, which is basically thumbing its nose at the US sports betting prohibition.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the timing of a sports betting bust in Florida. It took place in 2016.