The Garden State recently went after a worker in one of Atlantic City’s sportsbooks for a gaming violation.
A supervisor at the Golden Nugget’s sportsbook has agreed to pay a $1,250 civil monetary penalty for playing poker in August at the nearby Borgata casino, according to a ruling posted to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s website this week. In New Jersey, it is against the law for a person holding a casino key employee license to gamble in a Garden State casino.
The state conducted an “investigation” into the supervisor’s poker session in early August. The notice didn’t say how the state was tipped off to his poker activity.
“The gambling activity was captured on surveillance,” the DGE stated bluntly. The sportsbook supervisor could have been fined up to a whopping $20k for each violation. That could have totaled more than $100k in penalties under the gambling described in the public notice.
The DGE described his low-stakes poker session in detail:
“At 6:34 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2019, you bought $300 in chips from the poker room cage and commenced playing poker. At 7:46 p.m., you cashed out $129. At 7:50 p.m., you entered the simulcasting area and placed a $28 horse race wager, which did not win. You then returned to the poker room at 8:03 p.m., bought $700 in chips, and resumed poker play. At 12:26 a.m., you cashed out for $1,014. At 6:52 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2019, you bought $200 in chips and played poker at several tables in the main poker room. At 8:42 p.m., you cashed out $283 and proceeded to play at a different table. You continued to play poker until you cashed out for $305 at 2:14 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2019.”
According to the DGE, the $1,250 includes the $419 the Golden Nugget sportsbook supervisor won during his aforementioned gambling, in addition to an $831 penalty. The violation doesn’t prohibit the supervisor from continuing to work in the New Jersey casino gaming industry.
How does this stack up with fines against companies operating in the state?
Early this year, the New Jersey DGE issued a $2k fine against Resorts Hotel Casino for taking illegal college football bets. Resorts, along with its online gambling arm Resorts Digital, had a combined $324.9 mm in gaming revenue from January to November of this year, according to state figures. It wasn’t the only time a casino in the state was fined in 2019 for such a violation. In New Jersey, sportsbooks aren’t allowed to take bets on in-state colleges and universities.
Regulators often take violations related to problem and underage gambling more seriously, with those penalties or settlements sometimes totaling well into five figures. They have been in some instances this year. Not all underage gambling violations are severe, however. For example, Hard Rock was fined $1k back in March for failing to detect an underage gambler on its gaming floor. Under New Jersey gaming rules, the DGE is allowed to issue notices of regulatory violation (or in other words, non-compliance) which are less severe than a complaint. Civil penalties for those don’t exceed $2k.
Another regulatory violation in 2019 was related to a casino sending promotional marketing materials to self-excluded gamblers. The penalty was $1,500. Whether it’s an individual or a company, the DGE has quite a bit of discretion in determining the severity and assessing penalties.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook supervisor’s violation appears to be a rare one in New Jersey.
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