Penalties for NJ Online Gaming Operators That Restrict Player Withdrawals

Stephen Abiola
By:
Stephen Abiola
01/21/2021
News

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has cast its eyes on some New Jersey online gaming operators that employ marketing schemes that prevent players from withdrawing earnings in their gaming accounts. In a bid to stop such schemes, the gaming operators involved would face some serious penalties set by the NJDGE.

David Rebuck, the director of the NJDGE said that the regularity body has received several complaints from players regarding withdrawals from their iGaming accounts.

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He stated that gaming operators must allow players to make their withdrawals without interference. Though the law does not state a certain time frame that an online gaming withdrawal must be processed and paid, the rules do not allow for unwarranted delay.

Several customers who made reports to the NJDGE claimed that online gaming operators employ various marketing tactics to prevent them from withdrawing funds, thereby encouraging them to use their earnings to game even further.

According to the reports, the gaming operator tried to make them change their mind by offering them promotional credits if they canceled the withdrawal. If a player goes ahead to cancel, the funds would still remain in their gaming accounts.

“Patrons who request withdrawals have the right to receive their funds as expeditiously as possible,” Rebuck declared. “Operators should clearly understand that the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests for the purpose of resuming gaming activity.”

Customer Complaints

While the problem persists, the online gaming operators involved were not revealed. Still, it is possible that many operators employ such forbidden practices. The state gaming official also said he understands that withdrawals can take considerable time which is in the best interest of both players and the gaming operators.

However, the recent reports which show that these gaming operators utilize some dubious practices have made the agency to put the industry on its watchlist.

In addition, the agency stated that these gaming operators could intentionally cause these delays to look into criminal activities associated with the said account. In such cases, there would be no cause for alarm.

Withholding funds to investigate possible fraud, money laundering, or identity theft is not a wrong approach by any gaming operator as long as the players are informed. However, “The volume of complaints has led the Division to undertake a review of existing regulations and industry practices regarding withdrawals,” he said.

New Jersey Sports Betting Market

The New Jersey sports betting market continues to see exponential growth since online sports betting was legalized in 2018. The Garden State ranks as the richest sports betting state in the US with revenues flowing into hundreds of millions. Its Atlantic City casino sportsbooks, horse racetrack betting locations, and mobile gaming operators collectively ranked in wagers of up to $6 billion in 2020. This massive sum is expected to be even larger in 2021 as most sports were stalled in 2020.

The Industry Continues to Expand

New Jersey is one of the three states in the US to have legalized all forms of online betting. West Virginia and Pennsylvania are the other two. In all three states, you will find a nice selection of online slots, table games, interactive poker, and online sports betting.

Currently, there are about 33 licensed online casinos in operation in New Jersey. The number of mobile sportsbooks in operation clock at 21 which is more than enough to serve the population of about 9 million people.

This number is expected to expand to 22 as newcomer PlayUP looks to start accepting wagers via the internet. The online sports betting operator received a state license through its partnership with a land-based Freehold Raceway. This is in accordance with the NJ law that requires online gaming operators to operate under land-based casinos and betting companies to get a license.