New Jersey Slaps Fines on Golden Nugget, Caesars for Prohibited Contests

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA Skyline

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has levied fines against NJ-licensed casinos Golden Nugget Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City after discovering their sportsbooks had taken wagers on games involving New Jersey-based Rutgers University, a violation of the state’s gambling statutes.

Two Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos, Golden Nugget AC and Caesars AC, have been fined by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement after state investigators reviewed the accidental listing at both casinos’ sportsbooks of college football games involving an in-state school, Rutgers University.

Caesars AC’s parent company, Boardwalk Regency Corporation, was assessed a $2,000 (£1,586) fine after accidentally listing among its odds the Rutgers Scarlet Knights-Kansas Jayhawks game on September 15, 2018. Golden Nugget AC’s parent company, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, LLC, was slapped with a $390 (£309) fine, representing the sum of ten total bets taken on games involving New Jersey teams during September.

The bets at Golden Nugget AC involving New Jersey teams were voided shortly after being placed, but the original bettors could not be located to receive refunded wagers. Therefore, the $390 sum of the ten bets was ordered forfeited to the state. The brief, accidental listing of games involving NJ-based teams may have occurred more than once during September, and the DGE finding does not specify which games were accidentally listed.

New Jersey is home to three universities that play NCAA Division I Football. Besides Rutgers, which plays in the Big Ten, the Ivy League’s Princeton University and the Big South’s (football-only) Monmouth University also draw betting interest.

Process errors probably caused violations

Process errors involving Nevada-based odds likely caused the violations at both Golden Nugget AC and Caesars AC. Both casinos are brand-name sister offerings to casinos in Las Vegas that have offered single-event sports betting for decades. The Golden Nugget dominates Las Vegas’s downtown casino scene, while Caesars operates several prominent properties on or near the Vegas Strip.

In both of the regulatory matters, the simplest explanation is that the initial odds on all games being offered on a given week’s slate were probably created by the Las Vegas books, then simply forwarded to the Atlantic City casinos. New Jersey’s enactment of legalized sports betting last summer included a ban on games involving New Jersey college teams, but that ban applies only within New Jersey.

Since the Nevada-generated odds would include all games, the New Jersey offerings would then require the manual removal of games involving any of the state’s teams. Given that the accidental listings occurred within the first few weeks of such games being offered, a simple training error or process fault is the all-but-certain culprit. This also explains why the fines were minor, despite the clear violation of a rule that was important enough to draw political debate when New Jersey’s sports-betting laws were drafted.

Doubled pipping for Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget AC suffered more than one regulator rebuke during the month. The DGE also slapped a $3,862.35 (£3,062.9) fine against the casino after discovering that four self-excluded individuals had been allowed to gamble at the casino during their exclusionary periods.

The $3,862 fine represents the total amount lost by the four self-banned individuals, and it represents the forfeiture of all casino winnings from the self-excluded four to the state.