New Jersey DGE fines SG Gaming for self-exclusion errors
As part of the routine operations of the New Jersey Department of Gaming Control, SG Gaming, also known as Scientific Games, was fined $10,000 to allow self-excluded customers to sign up for gambling accounts and lose money. The news was announced as part of their bi-monthly media announcements. The fine was issued and signed on March 2, 2023.
Basic information about the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
The New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement (DGE) is primarily responsible for enforcing the Casino Control Act and all rules and regulations related to gambling in the state. The State of New Jersey also has a Casino Control Commission in addition to the Division of Gaming Control.
The Gaming Enforcement Division is responsible for the day-to-day regulatory functions and investigation of license applicants. The Casino Control Commission holds public hearings before issuing or denying licenses. He also has the power to overrule decisions taken by the DGE.
What is SG Gaming Inc?
SG Gamingalso known as Science games or SG Digital, is primarily a maker of slots and casino games. The company is responsible for creating many popular slots that you can find in a Las Vegas casino, such as Quick Hit Slots.
Scientific Games was originally founded in 1973 and at that time the brand mainly focused on lottery games. Over the years, Scientific Games has created numerous lottery games, casino games and sports betting businesses. Parts of the brand were also sold, resulting in the Scientific Gaming brand renaming the casino gaming part of the company to Light & Wonder in 2021. The SG Gaming brand seems to focus primarily on lottery games these days, perhaps signaling the split between them brands.
It seems that many of the sites offering casino games in New Jersey such as 888 casino, offer casino games designed by Scientific Gaming. If we go to the 888 Casino site, we can see a whole page dedicated to the brand and its games.
To be perfectly clear, there is no evidence that 888 Casino or any other New Jersey casino operator has committed any wrongdoing. The fine and action apply only to SG Gaming Inc. It is somewhat unclear why SG Gaming Inc is named in this complaint, as opposed to the alleged new name, Light & Wonder (LNW Gaming), or whether these two companies operate independently. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough information to know much more about this case.
Details of the $10,000 fine
The Division of Gaming Enforcement filed a complaint on October 24, 2022 against SG Gaming. The complaint alleges that 39 self-excluded customers were able to create online gambling accounts and place bets.
A self-excluded person is a person who has gambled at a casino and then decided to put their own name on an exclusion list. This is often done by people who may believe they have a gambling problem in an attempt to stop gambling. Making such a decision can potentially be a big step forward in a gambling addict’s recovery.
As you can imagine, allowing these customers to re-register against their previous written wishes is certainly not a good idea on any level. The New Jersey Division of Gambling Control imposed a fine of $10,000 in addition to another $90,718.84, the amount of money lost by self-excluded patrons.
As for what rules were violated, the complaint cites the Casino Control Act. Specifically, the complaint cites NJAC 13:69O and NJAC 13:69D. The first relates to mobile and internet gambling rules, and the second relates to accounting standards and controls.
The strange part of this complaint is that, as we discussed, SG Gaming has the primary responsibility for creating games and delivering the games to casino operators. The complaint does not make clear which casino may have harbored these self-excluded patrons or exactly how SG Gaming was found to be at fault. At a minimum, we would assume that the complaint could mention by name a casino that operates in New Jersey.
The size of this fine also seems a bit small to make much of a difference. $10,000 is a very small sum when we consider the size of the SG Gaming brand. It also seems a bit strange that DGE can just refund any funds lost from customers. None of these funds will be returned to the players who lost them, so we can’t help but wonder: Why do this at all?
All in all, perhaps the DGE feels that reimbursing the total amount of funds lost by self-excluded players is at least a more severe penalty than a $10,000 fine on its own. It might be a good idea for the NJ DGE to consider imposing more substantial fines against operators when they violate rules or regulations in the future.
Online gambling is legal and regulated in New Jersey
New Jersey and Atlantic City have been a hotbed of gambling since the 1970s, and online gambling was added to the menu in due course. Online poker has been legal in New Jersey since 2013.
The state entered into a player pool compact with Nevada and Delaware as of May 2018. In April 2022, Michigan was accepted as the fourth member of the compact.
Several of the most popular regulated poker sites have started operating in New Jersey, including PokerStars, WSOP.com and PartyPoker. Additionally, a May 2018 Supreme Court ruling in Murphy v. NCAA overturned a long-standing ban on sports betting. Soon after, sports betting parlors began popping up across the state.
Offshore gambling is still available today in New Jersey and beyond
Although Today, poker is legal in New Jersey, state-regulated, New Jersey poker sites leave a little to be desired with their small player groups and narrow selection. If you want to play at an offshore poker site that offers a lot of action and promotions, you can check out the various international online card rooms that accept New Jersey players.
To learn more about these poker sites, check out our New Jersey Internet Poker Guide.
Poker enthusiasts who live in the United States in a state other than New Jersey likely have many more excellent online poker options to choose from. To learn more about US internet poker sites, please feel free to check out this US online poker guide.