A class action lawsuit filed in the state of Kentucky could have a major financial impact on Kahnawake-based online casino company Morris Mohawk Gaming Group and its site, Bovada.
Bovada’s parent company, Morris Mohawk Gaming Group and its CEO and founder, Quebecer and Olympian Alwyn Morris have been named in the case. The lawsuit also names Calvin Ayre and the Curaçao-based Harp Media BV.
In the case, Kentucky resident Billi Jo Woods accused Bovada of illegally catering to US customers.
“Bovada has evaded the laws of Kentucky and other states. Bovada has advertised and presented itself to consumers in Kentucky as a legitimate online business. But this is false. In fact, Bovada is an illegal enterprise. Bovada’s online presence and advertising provided an aura of legitimacy and legality to Plaintiff and class members,” the complaint read.
While Bovada has ownership within the Kahnawake, it does not operate a regulated site in Ontario. It does cater to customers in other Canadian provinces as part of the grey market. It is a spin-off of the original brand, Bodog, which was seized by the US government in 2012.
The lawsuit invokes a Kentucky gambling law that has been on the books for over 200 years that allows those who have lost money gambling to recoup those losses from those operating the gambling entity.
The state of Kentucky successfully used the law to sue PokerStars, resulting in the online poker state paying the state $300 million, though it did take the better part of a decade for the suit to reach a conclusion.
The privately owned Morris Mohawk Gaming Group is headquartered on Kahnawake lands, but it relies on a Curaçao license for its operations, not the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.