With the advent of digital solutions, gambling online has become increasingly popular nowadays. Besides the fun part, it’s more convenient, inclusive, and cost-saving because there’s no need for you to travel. However, be aware that just because online gambling sites exist doesn’t mean they’re “always” legal to play with.
Every state has its own laws on gambling, so always check your area’s gambling regulations. If you witness an illegal gambling activity, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to report it online.
Step 1. Gather Evidence
Ensure to collect any copies of evidence you may have about the illegal online gambling operation. For example, around the start of the NFL season, many bettors tend to check the current NFL standings and spend a lot of money on bets for the upcoming season.
Many scam book operators take advantage of this peak season and market demand, so they tend to go the extra mile to get uninformed bettors signed up at their books.
How will you know they’re fraud? When you suddenly get harassed with unsolicited phone calls and massive emails from bookmakers you’ve never heard of, they’re scams.
Record these calls and take photos of these calls or emails, especially when they ask you to deposit. Don’t get swayed when they promise you bonuses or special treatment. They’re trying to be pushy so they can get you to deposit immediately.
Gather information as much as you can before you file an online complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The more detailed it is, the more likely they can bring the fraudsters to justice.
However, don’t delay the report even if they don’t have much evidence. Any information can already be helpful. Additionally, even if you’re not a victim of fraud, you can still file a complaint along with any evidence, if there’s any.
Prevention is better than cure. By knowing what to look out for, you’ll be able to protect yourself from fraudulent gambling scams. It’s also important to stick to tried and tested sites, such as Fanduel, to further guarantee your safety in the world of online betting.
Step 2. Visit FBI’s IC3 Site
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is the nationwide main hub for reporting cybercrime in the United States. This is where you make an online complaint and submit any evidence you’ve gathered about an illegal online gambling operation or site. Check the IC3’s website here.
It’s run by the FBI. They’ll analyze your report submitted on IC3 and disseminate it to the appropriate local, state, or federal law enforcement agency.
For example, if an illegal gambling site is operated out of a certain state, the FBI will forward your report to that state’s gaming commission. That state agency will then investigate and eventually shut down the reported illegal gambling operation.
Note that you can also use the IC3 website to report a potentially illegal gambling activity occurring in a physical location, as long as it has an online component like an online gambling platform.
Step 3. Click the “File a Complaint” Button
Once you’ve reached the IC3’s home page, you’ll see a red button that says “File a Complaint.” Click it, and you’ll be brought to an online complaint form.
It’ll ask for your personal information, such as your name, specific address, contact number, email address, basic business contact information (if you’re a company), and factual information about the illegal gambling activity you want to report.
The contact information asked will be only used by the FBI should they need more information about the illegal gambling activity described in your complaint.
However, all information you submit must be accurate and true to the best of your knowledge and belief. These include the illegal gambling operation, evidence of it, and your personal information. If you provide false information knowingly and intentionally, you may face fines or, worse, be in jail.
Step 4. Enter your information
As mentioned earlier, you have to fill out the online form and provide your personal information. Note that you can’t file a complaint on IC3 and stay anonymous. Accurate identification and contact information ensure the FBI can reach you if they need more details or have further questions about the illegal gambling activity.
It’s also to make sure that you’re not making any false claims, and if you do, they can immediately identify you.
Similar to gathering evidence, providing as many details on the online complaint form as possible is recommended. However, do so without creating any judgment about whether a certain fact is essential.
Note that although an activity may be inconsequential to you, it can already reveal patterns that connect the illegal activity to other illegal gambling operations.
Step 5. Submit Your Complaint
Review the information you provided before clicking the “submit” button. Once again, every detail must be correct and true. If you’re satisfied that the form is complete and 100% accurate, submit it for evaluation with the IC3.
They’ll then forward it to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Note that IC3 has the discretion on whether to follow up on your complaint or pursue an investigation. The online complaint can’t also be deleted or withdrawn once it’s submitted. However, you can add more information if you witness anything new about the illegal activity that was the subject of your complaint.
This online complaint is downloadable, so download or print your report as your personal copy. Right after you finish your complaint, the IC3 will email you to confirm the receipt of your complaint.
They’ll also assign you a username and password, which you can use to log in to IC3 should you want to add more information or review your complaint’s status.
Gambling can be both illegal and legal in the United States. There’s a difference between what is illegal nationwide and statewide, so it can be incredibly difficult to tell whether a gambling activity is really against the law.
Hence, be sure to know and understand state and federal gambling laws before making an online gambling complaint.