Vegas, Inc: Gaming association, FBI ask the public to report illegal gambling

November 16, 2015


The American Gaming Association is asking the public for help with one of its top priorities at the moment: fighting against illegal gambling.

The Washington, D.C.-based casino industry lobbying group said Tuesday that it’s cooperating with the FBI in asking the public to use the Internet Crime Complaint Center to report illegal gambling activities. The complaint center, also referred to as the IC3, allows individuals to submit information to the FBI about suspected criminal activity fueled by the Internet.

Those who fill out forms do not need to be victims of such crimes — the IC3 says it accepts reports from third parties, too.

Geoff Freeman, the gaming association’s president, said his organization’s work with the FBI will allow it to make significant headway in its quest to stop illegal gambling.

“In particular, the Internet Crime Complaint Center will be an invaluable tool for people in every state to report tips about the multi-billion dollar illegal gambling sector that preys on consumers, steals jobs and deprives state and local governments of revenues generated by the legal, regulated casino gaming industry,” Freeman said in a statement.

The gaming association has placed a major emphasis on stopping illegal gambling this year. Freeman unveiled an initiative in April aimed at cracking down on unlawful forms of gambling by partnering with law enforcement, creating an advisory board and producing research, among other efforts. Tuesday’s IC3 announcement is part of that initiative, the association said.

Freeman also stressed the need to fight unlawful operators during a speech at the Global Gaming Expo in September, when he said illegal gambling “affects the credibility of our industry.”

Later at the expo, the association touted the results of research on illegal gambling conducted by Jay Albanese, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Albanese found that in 2014, more than 80 operators in 23 states were federally convicted of running illegal gambling businesses.

Through Albanese’s research, the association hoped to underline a link between illegal gambling and organized crime — a point echoed by the FBI in Tuesday’s announcement.

“This joint initiative leverages the Internet Crime Complaint Center network to address transnational organized crime groups that use illegal gambling, most notably internet sports gambling, as a means to finance other forms of violent and illicit activities,” J. Chris Warrener, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in the statement.

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Christopher Browne