Google searches related to unlicensed offshore online casinos have surged in the last year, research says.
US.- Searches for unlicensed, offshore online casino brands have risen by 42 per cent in the last year, according to a research by BonusFinder.com.
The figures showed search volumes for the largest black market site were more than three times higher than for “online casino” alone.
The research was conducted using Google Trends data from between May 2019 and May 2020.
Among the findings, it was reported that a total of 38 unlicensed sites were targeting US players, with one of the largest black market brands regularly seeing search volume more than three times higher than generic searches for “online casino”.
Since August 2018, 17 states in the US have regulated sports betting, while only five – Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – have opened up igaming.
Fintan Costello, managing director at BonusFinder.com, said: “Despite many US states and state regulators doing a great job in licensing many elements of the industry, it is clear from our research that the demand for online casino is accelerating and that players are increasingly turning to unregulated sites to play.
“The message is clear. The black market is targeting US online casino players more than ever, and players are falling prey to unlicensed activities with little or no safety measures in place. This is dangerous at the best of times, but the US, like many countries, is facing unprecedented economic challenges and many individuals have become more vulnerable to black market targeting.”
He called on states to regulate online gambling, saying: “Player safety is paramount, and regulators need to take urgent action to stem this alarming trend. The regulated online casino industry has the tools, technology and expertise to provide US players with proven products they can enjoy responsibly, safe in the knowledge that player protection is the number one priority.”