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Update (3/12): As of this morning, only Bovada still showed up in Google Play’s search results for BetMGM. But Play Pennsylvania reported imposters appeared in SERPs for Fox Bet and FanDuel.
Americans who want to bet legally online are excited about gambling apps from major brands beginning to appear on Google Play.
To date, DraftKings remains the only legal US gambling app in the store. Others are still on their way, and in the meantime, US bettors have to be on the lookout for imposters. Several illegal betting apps from offshore companies are masquerading as these favorite brands.
Effective Mar. 1, Google announced that it will “allow real-money gambling apps, ads related to real-money gambling, and daily fantasy sports apps that meet certain requirements.”
There has been a lag between that effective date and gambling apps appearing in the Play Store, however. Offshore companies are taking advantage by attempting to fool American gamblers with fake apps.
As of Mar. 11, a search on Google Play for BetMGM yields the real MGM Resorts concierge app, but none of its gambling products. Instead, several imposters pop up. Within the first 10 results, there are several apps which indicated that they’re new and claim falsely to be from BetMGM.
The most convincing-looking of these are Live App Betmgm by Flashcom and LIVE SPORTS RESULTS & ODDS FOR BETMGM FANS by techtok. Though the names are a giveaway, both apps’ icons feature a lion’s head meant to resemble that of the real BetMGM logo. There’s also a third app with what appears to be a “verified” blue check mark on the upper left-hand corner of the thumbnail.
Further down the search results is a new app from Bovada, which uses an image of a capital “B” and an inset, circular cutout of the American flag. Bovada is the illegal, US-facing wing of the offshore operator Bodog, which recently had a Super Bowl ad rejected by CBS.
BetMGM didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment about the clones. When downloaded, most of these turn out to be from a single offshore sportsbook, MyBookie.
Spoofing BetMGM isn’t MyBookie’s only controversy, even in just the last 24 hours. On Mar. 10, the offshore entity angered some bettors by sending out emails offering prop bets on the ongoing scandal with the British royal family. The bet is on who, specifically, questioned Prince Harry prior to his son’s birth about the baby’s probable skin tone. Meghan Markle, the Prince’s wife and mother of the child, is biracial.
As of press time, MyBookie has neither defended nor apologized for its decision to offer this market.
Racism is now a sport, according to @MyBookieBet. Absolutely disgusted and hurt to receive this in my inbox. That serious accusations of racism could be turned into a game. I'm sick of it. pic.twitter.com/K4MH8LlsPY
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) March 10, 2021