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Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Jersey Internet Gaming Proposed Regulations

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has published the proposed regulations for Internet Gaming in the State of New Jersey.  There is now a period of public comment which is allowed before the rules will be modified and/or approved. 

I have not looked at the entire set of proposals, as quite honestly, a lot of it is technical gobblygook but once you get to page 44, you get into the meat of the regulations; how it impacts the playing of the casino games as well as the rules required to comply to the state constitutional restriction on gaming being restricted to Atlantic City.

In my review of the DGE regulations, I have come across one rule which flies directly against the state prohibition on gaming outside of Atlantic City, even if you assume a person can be sitting in their bedroom in Bedminster can be 'playing' in Atlantic City. 

13.69O-1.2.n states:

A casino operator’s primary equipment used to conduct Internet or mobile gaming shall be located, with the prior approval of the Division, in a restricted area on the premises of the casino hotel within the territorial limits of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Subject to Division approval, a casino operator may use backup equipment located outside the territorial limits of Atlantic City to conduct Internet gaming for a time period not to exceed 60 days unless otherwise authorized by the Division.
Clearly, if a casino is forced to use backup equipment outside the territorial limits of Atlantic City, it is in violation of the New Jersey constitution.  The backup equipment should be required to be located in Atlantic City as well to conform to the constitutional prohibitions regarding casino gambling outside of Atlantic City.  I understand this proposal is for unusual circumstances and has a maximum period of 60 days, unless an extension is authorized by the DGE.  But the constitutional restriction is clear; it doesn't say casino gambling is permitted solely in Atlantic City unless there is an emergency at which time for sixty days casino gaming is permitted in New Brunswick.

Another problematic, though admittedly less offensive, proposal is section  13:69O-1.3 which involves patron accounts.  While some sources are reporting you need to go to a casino to establish account, I fail to see any such wording.  Yes, there is talk about verifying documents, but how documents are verified is subject to interpretation here.  Can someone just review a copy of a driver's license without seeing the person?  More directly, the regulations allow for accounts to be funded with credit cards.  While not wagering per se when you add money to your account is a fine line being crossed when you add funds to your wagering account over the computer using your credit card?  After all, you are not in Atlantic City when you initiate the funding request.  More problematic would be if you are allowed to be more 'chips' during a game in progress.  What if the dealer is showing a six in blackjack and you have two aces?   If you are allowed to buy more chips specifically so you can split your aces, is that not part of the gaming function?

Of course, one must be realistic.  No one has launched a bid against online gaming yet, and it is doubtful someone will so with the state determined to get Internet gaming up as soon as possible, other than minor tweaking, these rules will be approved and implemented.



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