Self-Excluded Patrons Forfeit Online New Jersey Winnings
New Jersey's self-exclusion program for problem gamblers works as well online as it does for live casino play, as evidenced by two recent director's actions involving online patrons. In both instances, previously self-excluded gamblers either began or continued to play on New Jersey-regulated online sites after filing to be blocked from casino gambling, and ended up forfeiting online winnings after being discovered on existing self-exclusion lists.
It's not clear from the limited text of the actions announced this week by Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck how the post-exclusion play occurred. Multiple explanations exist, ranging from a site's or state failure to propogate exclusion information properly regarding a certain player, or for such a pre-excluded player to have opened an online ccount with slightly different identification in an event to circumvent an existing exclusion block. New Jersey's existing self-exclusion program allows for varying exclusion periods, such as one year, five years or life.
The two online casinos involved in the recent self-exclusion rulings, Resorts Casino Atlantic City and Golden Nugget Atlantic City, will forfeit to the state the "theoretical" winnings from the two individuals. In both cases, the winnings had already been confiscated from the self-excluded players and were being held by the online sites pending the director's rulings.
The much larger of the two cases involved Resorts Atlantic City and its software partner, NYX Gaming Group. On April 4th, 2017, the DGE had filed a formal complaint regarding $15,526.69 from an online patron already confiscated from a self-excluded patron's account. That patron, identified only as "ST" in the DGE's filing, did not meet a 15-day deadline for responding to the state's forfeiture action, thus admitting (in legal terms) to the gambling-while-excluded allegation. Resorts' counsel did not object to the forfeiture.
The second case, for the significantly smaller amount of $695, involved Golden Nugget AC and its software partner, Betfair at the Nugget's nj-casino.goldennuggetcasino.com site. This filing dated from early January, though it was resolved only in this week's DGE update of director's actions.
Again, the self-excluded gambler did not respond within a mandated 15-day window, thus "waiving his right to a hearing and constructively admitting the allegations... ." Golden Nugget's software partner, Betfair, had confiscated the money, which also goes to the state's coffers, to be used for its problem-gambling initiatives. Neither Golden Nugget nor Betfair protested the forfeiture.
The twin online forfeitures represent only a tiny portion of several dozen consumer-oriented decisions rendered in the most recent director's action. Several of the Atlantic City casinos forfeited funds "theoretically" won by underage gamblers who had snuck into live casino premises. Most of the more than three dozen such instances involved illicit patrons who failed to show proper identification when subsequently challenged, had small amounts of winnings seized, and failed to challenge the seizure action within the mandated window. Many of the seizures were characterized as underage-gambling incidents, though a few could have been exclusion violations as well.
One other incident made the DGE incident blotter as well. Over at the Borgata, the casino was pipped $5,000 by the DGE for failing to catch a mini-baccarat dealer repeatedly dealing hands in an incorrect manner. The unidentified dealer misdealt -- thus violating the rules and odds of the game -- in 24 of 34 hands in a single 26-minute window. That episode occured in June of 2016, and one can only wonder if that dealer is still chucking cards in the Borg's punto banco games.