As part of the American Gaming Association’s “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative, the nation’s top law enforcement and national security agency and the casino gaming industry are cooperating to combat illegal gambling in the United States by touting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The online tool is a vehicle for the public to report tips and complaints pertaining to online crimes.
“Our effort with the FBI will help us make significant headway in the fight against illegal gambling,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “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.”
“Establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with public and private industry counterparts is essential in combating illegal gambling,” said J. Chris Warrener, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “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.”
The IC3 is the FBI’s national platform for receiving information on any cyber-affiliated crime. The IC3 accepts cyber-facilitated crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant. The tool allows detailed information to be easily submitted. Those wishing to report an illegal gambling tip may do so here: http://www.ic3.gov/.
Earlier this year, AGA formed its Illegal Gambling Advisory Board as part of its “Stop Illegal Gambling – Play it Safe” initiative. The Board is composed of: Tim Murphy, former deputy director of the FBI (chair); Ed Davis, former Boston police commissioner; Bill Young, former Clark County sheriff and head of Las Vegas Metro Police Department, current senior vice president of compliance and security at Station Casinos; James Dinkins, former executive associate director at Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; and J.B. Van Hollen, former Wisconsin State attorney general, U.S. attorney, and district attorney.
A report released by AGA in September and conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Dr. Jay S. Albanese details the strong ties between illegal gambling operations and organized crime organizations in the U.S. The prevalence of illegal gambling has been so significant that, in 2014 alone, 80 operators in 23 states were convicted at the federal level of running illegal gambling businesses.
The AGA’s illegal gambling initiative, which Freeman launched in April in Biloxi, Mississippi, focuses on four key areas of illegal gambling: illegal sports betting; black market machines; Internet sweepstakes cafes; and illegal online betting. The initiative seeks to distinguish the highly regulated, $240 billion legal gaming industry—which supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in taxes across 40 states—from the criminal networks that rely on illegal gambling to fund violent crimes and drug and human trafficking.