New BonusFinder.com data uncovers alarming rise in searches for unlicensed sites sparking player safety concerns as country emerges from lockdown
Weekly searches for unlicensed, offshore online casino brands have risen by 42% in the last 12 months with volumes for the largest black market site more than three times higher than for ‘online casino’, new BonusFinder.com research has revealed.
Using Google Trends data between May 2019 and May 2020, BonusFinder.com found that searches for the term ‘online casino’ have climbed by 149% in the last year and 37% in the first five months of 2020.
BonusFinder.com found a total of 38 unlicensed sites operating and targeting US players, with one of the largest black-market brands regularly recording search volumes more than three times higher than generic searches for ‘online casino’ across the entire country.
At a time when the country finds itself facing record unemployment and a potential long-term recession, searches for unlicensed brands were found to have increased by 42% (excluding searches for one the largest unnamed offshore brands).
In March, BonusFinder.com uncovered a 100% rise in daily player searches for ‘online casino’ from February to the end of March this year following land-based venues switching off slot machines and sports events being rescheduled.
Since the repeal of PASPA in August 2018, 17 US states have regulated sports betting with only five, including Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania opening up igaming.
Fintan Costello, Managing Director, 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.
“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.”