The recent decision by New Jersey gambling regulators to hit selected casino operators with fines totalling more than $150,000 was great news for consumers. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) issued the penalties in accordance with its mandate of ensuring the integrity of the casino gaming industry in the state. Read on as we take a closer look at the fines issued by the DGE and their role in providing a safe and secure environment for people who gamble online. DGE flexes its regulatory muscles The DGE slapped two companies controlled by global gaming firm, SG Digital, with more than $100,000 in fines for operating unapproved software in New Jersey. NYX Digital Gaming (USA) and NYX Digital Gaming (Americas) had used versions of three different games that had not been tested or approved by the DGE. Elsewhere, William Hill were hit with a $26,500 penalty for accepting wagers from 16 people who had self-excluded themselves from gambling. iGaming Cloud, a player profile management system, were fined $11,000 for allowing self-excluded players to open accounts, operating unapproved software and losses of sensitive data. PokerStars, Caesars and Bally’s were also amongst the operators punished by the DGE for breaches of its regulations. The fines highlighted the DGE’s ongoing commitment to providing a fully licensed and regulated gambling landscape in New Jersey. What is the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement? First established in 1977 under the Casino Control Act, the DGE was created to ensure that the New Jersey’s casino gaming industry operated lawfully. The agency’s stated mission is to “protect the public interest by maintaining a legitimate and viable industry, free from the influences of organised crime”. It also aims to assure consumers of “the honesty, good character and integrity of casino owners, operators, employees and vendors”. The enforcement of the Act helps to maintain public confidence that the gambling industry within New Jersey can be trusted. The Act was originally established to entice reputable operators into upgrading existing facilities and hopefully attracting new investors to the sector. The DGE enforces the directives laid out in Act by conducting audits, inspections, investigations and regulatory prosecutions where appropriate. What are the DGE’s main functions? The DGE has three main duties in New Jersey – license applicant investigations, regulatory enforcement and monitoring casino operations. With regards to license applications, the DGE conducts an investigation into every applicant before reporting its findings to the Control Commission (CCC). The CCC will grant licenses at a public hearing to individuals or companies that have met the criteria for integrity laid down by the Act. The DGE’s Regulatory Enforcement and Regulatory Prosecutions section is responsible for enforcing the terms of the Act. These include, but are not limited to, accounting issues, software violations and matters pertaining to self-exclusion. The agency’s staff monitor the industry on a daily basis to ensure that operators follow the regulations and provide consumers with a safe environment in which to gamble. How else do the DGE maintain integrity in casinos? The DGE’s Technical Services Bureau (TSB) is responsible for ensuring the fairness of all electronic gaming equipment in New Jersey. It tests the different equipment, from prototypes through to the finished products, to ensure that they meet DGE guidelines. TSB engineers are tasked with testing every electronic game before they are able to be used within any Atlantic City casino. The bureau is also responsible for testing and approving all online software, again with a view to confirming its integrity. The TSB tests numerous aspects of each product including the random number generator, expected return to player (RTP) and general fairness. It also verifies that only approved software is installed by using the latest digital signature technology to uncover any irregularities.