Caesars Sportsbook fined for not paying out $27k hockey bet

New Jersey gambling regulators just slapped Caesars Sportsbook with a $500 fine after they failed to pay out more than $27,000 to a customer who made a winning hockey bet.

In October, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) responded to a complaint from a New Jersey sports bettor who accused Caesars of failing to follow its betting terms and conditions.

The bet was made on an international hockey game last year, and an ensuing dispute involved whether overtime goals should be included when determining if bettors won or lost. Many soccer bettors may likely face a similar fate in the soccer World Cup tournament because bets there are mostly graded depending on what occurs in regular time.

The unidentified man has been embroiled in the dispute for almost a year. On December 22, 2021, he explained that the game he bet on featured the Kontinental Hockey League. Besides New Jersey, this international ice hockey league operates in China, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

According to the bettor, he risked the over on the total game score, which was set at 4.5 goals. A fifth goal was eventually scored after the Vityaz Podolsk, and Dinamo Riga game went into overtime at a 2-2 tie. Caesars Sportsbook insisted that he lost the bet with the claim that overtime did not count in the over/under point spread of the game.

The gambler disagreed with the sportsbook and pointed out that its terms of service state otherwise. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement agreed with the bettor and fined Caesars $500 for wrongly labeling the man’s hockey bets as a loss.

The matter was investigated by the deputy attorney general of the DGE, Chuck Kimmel, who issued a letter to Caesars on October 20.

“The patron’s interpretation is correct. Overtime is excluded unless the specific market says otherwise. This market unambiguously stated that overtime and shootout goals would count,” the letter read.

Per the investigation, the sportsbooks’ fine print was found not to include any information telling bettors that goals scored in overtime would not be included in the line’s quoted value. In the DGE order, Kimmel wrote that the sportsbooks’ published House Rules did not mention hockey overtime scoring being exempted from its over/under.

The order was approved on November 10, 2022, and signed the same day by DGE Director David Rebuck. Kimmel revealed that on October 24, 2022, Caesar’s Sportsbook accepted the $500 regulator fine for the slight and agreed to pay the bettor in full.

Under the Casino Control Act, which governs the gaming and sports activities in the state, the DGE is authorized to issue a penalty to a sportsbook licensee that violates its own house rules. The civil monetary penalty can be as high as $2,000; however, the regulator decided to go lightly on Caesars.

Caesars Sportsbook is owned by Caesars Entertainment and is licensed via the parent company’s subsidiary Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey. The sports wagering entity operates inside Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana in Atlantic City. It is also available online for bettors in the state.

In January this year, the DGE fined Caesars Entertainment $50K for more severe regulatory offenses. The company was penalized after failing to register and get key employee licenses for a minimum of 49 of its employees.

Caesars was the one that revealed the failed registration to the state and reportedly accepted the penalty “in recognition of the seriousness of its failures related to non-compliance.”

The DGE was required by the Casino Control Act to ascertain the suitability of specific staff that aid in the management of a licensed gaming property. The regulators were to make sure that the iGaming and online sports betting industries of Atlantic City and the state as a whole remained untouched by bad actors or people with lengthy criminal records.

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