Nevada Gaming Control Board files complaint against Boomtown in Reno

A Nevada Casino Gets In Trouble For Linking To Offshore Gambling Websites

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A Northern Nevada casino drew the ire of state regulators this month for linking players to online casinos in Curacao.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a complaint against Boomtown in Reno for transgressions dating back to 2016. The complaint alleges two violations of state law, as well as a violation of the federal Wire Act. The control board seeks unspecified monetary damages, though the document makes clear Boomtown’s license could be revoked.

What Boomtown did wrong

Boomtown, which does not have a license for online gambling, sought to add free-play options to its website in 2016. After deciding it would be too expensive to add the technology itself, the company decided to look for ways to link to other websites.

The complaint alleges that Boomtown’s website linked to a total of 15 casinos sites. A total of 11 of those casino sites in Curacao allowed players the chance to wager real money. It did so through contracts with Affiliate Edge and Deck Media, affiliates that offer commissions to the casino based on the losses of referred players. Both companies are located in and regulated by Curacao, a small Caribbean island off the northern coast of Venezuela.

Three of the 11 pages featured links back to Boomtown and claimed that United States-based players are welcome. The sites went so far as to place prominently United States flags to convince players the sites were acceptable.

Boomtown ultimately earned $1,621 in commissions from referring players to the Curacao-based websites. Those commissions were paid through a company called Evo Advertising, Inc.

Nevada, of course, has legal online poker but not online slot machines and table games. The state also allows mobile sports betting.

How Boomtown got caught

In March 2017, the control board received the first of two questions from players about the legality of the Boomtown links. By August, officials contacted Boomtown to inform them they were in violation by virtue of the website setup.

Boomtown representatives told the control board that only one employee within the company managed the links. That person was a graphic and art designer who, according to the complaint, “had little, if any, understanding of gaming laws.”

The complaint says Boomtown “failed to maintain a sufficient level of supervision and control over its website and its employee.” It also says Boomtown “failed to inquire into the nature of the links on its websites when it received payment from the websites.”

- Adam Candee is a veteran of covering sports business and news in Las Vegas. Adam arrived in Las Vegas in 1989, and is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun and KLAS-TV.
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