DGE warns media to avoid ads for unlicensed betting operators

The main regulator for gaming and wagering in the state of New Jersey has advised news and media outlets that cover wagering on sports to steer away from advertising or referencing unlicensed online sportsbooks.

New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) director David Rebuck recently asked media networks that cover sports betting to be cautious with their communications regarding illicit offshore betting sites.

In a letter sent to various US media companies, he said, “The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is charged with protecting New Jersey’s consumers from the dangers posed by these illicit sites, which, in addition to not being authorized to accept wagers from New Jersey-based customers, lack consumer protections, integrity protocols, and money laundering controls.”

Rebuck went on to say the media should avoid displaying odds for sporting events if they are not sourced from an online bookmaker that is licensed in New Jersey or another US jurisdiction.

He added, “If an unauthorized source must be mentioned in a report, include a statement that the site is not licensed to provide sports wagering bets in New Jersey, and direct readers to the DGE website that contains the approved list of sports wagering entities and events.”


New Jersey was at the forefront of the move to overturn the nationwide ban on sports wagering. In May 2018 the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and gave each state control of its own gambling regulation. New Jersey was the second state in the US, after Nevada, to allow legal wagering on college and professional sports.

The decision by the Supreme Court dealt a big blow to online sportsbooks that operated offshore without licensing in the United States. However, those sportsbooks are still taking wagers from people in places where sports betting remains illegal.

At the time of writing, 13 states have legalized sports betting: New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, and Arkansas.

New Jersey has quickly caught up to Nevada in terms of overall sports betting activity. The two states have flip-flopped between first and second place in the national sports betting revenue rankings for the last several months. Mobile betting is vital, as 82.6% of all wagers taken by oddsmakers in New Jersey have come via the internet. From January to October 2019, New Jersey bookmakers took in excess of $2.8 billion in online bets.

Online sportsbooks are key to the success of the New Jersey gambling industry. The DGE wants that success to continue without interference from offshore online sportsbooks that are not licensed to operate in the US.

BetOnline and Bookmaker are two popular offshore sportsbooks, but they immediately ceased operations in New Jersey after the DGE made threats of legal action if those books kept accepting bets from NJ players. Both operators refunded all pending bets to New Jersey customers and also gave them a one-month grace period to withdraw funds from their accounts.


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