New Info on Caesars Illegal NJ Sports Bets
By Ken Edwards, 11 January 2019
In September 2018, two New Jersey casinos got caught up in a sports betting storm in the Garden State, and became too excited about finally having the right to legally offer sports betting to their patrons.
Unfortunately, the two casinos involved allowed a few bets on college football games, an activity that is still prohibited in the state. Once the college football bets were made known, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) swooped in to slap the casinos on the wrist with a pair of fines. However, new information has now come to hand related to the illegal college football bets.
How the Illegal Bets Unfolded
The two casinos involved were the Golden Nugget and Caesars, both of Atlantic City.
The two casinos took illegal bets on the September 10 Rutgers v Kansas college football game and other games involving New Jersey college teams.
Kansas covered as the 2½-point spread, winning the match 55-14.
However, although betting on pro and college sports is legal in New Jersey, no bets are allowed on games involving New Jersey colleges or any college events that take place in the Garden State, whether they be college or even high school sporting events.
As a result, Caesars received a mere slap on the wrist (a $2,000 fine) for the bets placed on the Rutgers-Kansas game. Caesars wittingly acknowledged the violation and agreed with the civil penalty.
For its part, the Golden Nugget was ordered to forfeit to the state authority $390 in gaming winnings owed to 10 unidentified individuals who placed wagers on the New Jersey college football games. Gambling administrators said the wagers were cancelled by the Golden Nugget, once unearthed. The funds “were unable to be refunded to the patrons due to their unknown identities.’’
The Mystery Deepens in Light of the New Information
Last week, new information came to light that was received through a Freedom of Information request to research how the bets unfolded and the breach of gaming rules eventuated. Some two months after the breach, on November 20 2018, the Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey, Jennifer Russo-Belles, sent a letter to Caesars, addressing to the company’s Vice-President and Chief Counsel N. Lynne Hughes, that “numerous instances of noncompliance” took place, rather than a sole event.
Russo-Belles letter outlines how the Caesars Group allowed wagers on the Rutgers vs Kansas game, affirming that;
“While CIE’s [Caesars Interactive Entertainment] Las Vegas Trading Team noticed the game had been incorrectly loaded and removed it from availability within an hour of its posting; CIE’s New Jersey Trading Team did not. It was not until the division notified CIE’s New Jersey Trading Team on Sept. 14, 2018, four days later, that CIE voided the bet.”
However, the trading team for CIE Las Vegas “failed to send out notifications when it discovered the illegal listing because it was unaware of New Jersey’s compliance standards.”
Only afterwards, the manager of CIE’s hub operations, Jeff Davis, sent an internal memo to CIE staff emphasizing that it is “illegal to offer New Jersey collegiate games for sports betting.”
Eight days later however, CIE erred again, allowing bets on a football game between Monmouth and Princeton – two NJ colleges! Fortunately for Caesars, no bets were accepted during the short window gambling was open.
When the NJDGE realized that Caesars had made multiple transgressions by allowing gamblers to place wagers on college games, it has since made sure the company understands the severity of their actions.
Since September, no additional penalties or fines have been reported but the letter suggests additional compliance measures are now in place.