Atlantic City Casino Fined For Allowing Underage Gambling

David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, recently ordered Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 for “violation of rules regarding underage patrons.”

The division had filed a complaint on Oct. 28 about DGE “seeking a sanction for having allowed 26 underage patrons to create online accounts — six of which made deposits and three of which made wagers.”

Hard Rock agreed to a settlement that included the forfeiture of $620.11 “in gaming monies theoretically owed” to the underage gamblers.

Both the casino and the underage gamblers waived their right to a hearing. The complaint doesn’t state whether this was mobile sports betting or online casino gaming.

How common is such a penalty? That’s what NJOG decided to research in light of this fine.

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Unusual scenario

It turns out that nothing like this showed up in any of the twice-a-month “Director’s Rulings” on the DGE website dating back to March.

But in the second half of February, FanDuel was fined $2,000 for another underage gambling incident.

In that case, the incident occurred at FanDuel’s sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack on May 25, 2019.

A 19-year-old woman attempted to place a bet at the sportsbook window, but her driver’s license showed that she was underage.

The woman was seen exiting the building, but then re-entering the facility and wagering $225. When she was asked for identification, she produced a bogus Connecticut driver’s license with a different name and a birthdate indicating that she was 22, not 19.

A supervisor then recognized her, and FanDuel refunded her money instead of confiscating it and turning it over to the division. FanDuel also failed to notify its security department of the issue.

(The action is a bit murky, in that the latter attempt to bet the $225 is said to have occurred before “a simulcast teller.” That would seem to indicate betting on a horse race — and one only has to be at least 18 to bet on the ponies in New Jersey. But the woman may not have realized it, thus turning to the fake license to try to bet the race when that was unnecessary.)

Scenes at self-serve

Another incident involving an underage gambler that played into this fine took place on Aug. 18, 2019, when the patron “placed two wagers at a self-serve kiosk in the Simulcast Sportsbook.”

In this case, an employee noticed the bettor, asked for ID, and then voided the wagers and confiscated the funds.

FanDuel agreed to implement a series of changes, such as installing signs throughout the sportsbook clarifying that “Legal Sports Gambling Age is 21” and having stepped-up oversight by employees to ensure that those under 21 don’t gain access to the sportsbook.

FanDuel also was “hereby advised that continued noncompliance, no matter how de minimus, regarding underage gambling may result in more formal regulatory action.”

William Hill’s different hiccup

While not involving underage gamblers, the European bookmaker William Hill absorbed a $5,000 civil penalty in mid-January for wagers that took place during 2019 March Madness.

William Hill, which runs the sportsbook at Monmouth Park and several Atlantic City casinos as well as having a mobile app, was found to have accepted wagers on a Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Prairie View A&M “play-in” game as well as a Seton Hall vs. Wofford first-round matchup.

New Jersey’s sports betting regulations do not allow for any wagering on athletic events involving New Jersey schools, nor on any collegiate contests that take place in the state no matter the site of the home campuses of the schools that compete.

Of course, that restriction would disappear if state Sen. Paul Sarlo, a recent guest on the “Gamble On” podcast, has his way.

Sarlo, who represents the district that includes the Meadowlands Sports Complex, recently introduced a resolution asking the legislature to agree to place a statewide referendum on the November 2021 ballot that would amend state law to allow betting on New Jersey contests. If there is a vote and it is approved, the legislature may be able to pass a bill in time for March Madness in 2022.

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