Hard Rock Casino in New Jersey fined over underage gambling

Recently, Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 for violating the rules regarding underage gambling, by David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

On October 28, the division had filed a complaint about seeking a sanction against Hard Rock for allowing 26 underage persons to create online gambling accounts, six of whom made deposits and three of which placed bets.

Hard Rock agreed to settle, including forfeiting $620.11 in gaming wins owed to the underage gamblers.

Both the underage gamblers and the Hard Rock waived their right to a hearing. The complaint by the Division of Gaming Enforcement doesn’t state indicate whether the young people signed up for online sports betting or casino gaming.

Underage Gambling is Not Common

Looking at the twice-monthly “Director’s Rulings” on the Division of Gaming Enforcement website dating back to March, 2020, there are no cases of underage gambling.

However, in late February, 2020, FanDuel was fined $2,000 for an underage gambling incident.

That incident occurred at the FanDuel sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, back in May, 2019. At that time, a 19-year-old woman tried to place a wager at the sportsbook window, but her driver’s license flagged her as underage.

The young woman then left the sportsbook, but later returned and bet $225. She did this by producing a phony Connecticut driver’s license indicating that she was 22, not 19.

A supervisor at the sportsbook recognized her, and FanDuel refunded her money, rather than confiscating it and turning it over to Gaming Enforcement. Moreover, the supervisor did not notify the FanDuel security department of the incident.

This underage gambling incident is confusing, in that the attempt to bet the $225 occurred at a “simulcast teller.” That indicates she tried to bet on a horse race, and in New Jersey, players need to be at least 18 to bet on the horses.

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FanDuel Self-Serve at Meadowlands Has Been Problematic

Another incident involving underage gambling took place in August, 2019, when the young person placed two wagers at a self-serve kiosk in the Meadowlands Simulcast Sportsbook. In that incident, an employee noticed that the bettor looked too young, asked for ID, and then voided the bets and confiscated the money.

After that, FanDuel agreed to implement several changes, including putting up signs throughout the sportsbook stating that the “Legal Sports Gambling Age is 21.” FanDuel also increased safeguards to ensure that anyone under the age of 21 did not enter the sportsbook.

Despite its best efforts, Gaming Enforcement issued the FanDuel sportsbook at Meadowlands that they were “hereby advised that continued non-compliance, no matter how de minimus, regarding underage gambling, may result in more formal regulatory action.”

William Hill Faces a Different Fine 

While not involving underage gambling, William Hill was hit with a $5,000 civil penalty in January for bets that were placed during the 2019 March Madness.

William Hill, which operates the retail sportsbooks at several Atlantic City casinos and Monmouth Park, as well as mobile sports betting through its app, accepted bets on a Prairie View A&M vs Fairleigh Dickinson “play-in” game and the Wofford vs Seton Hall first-round matchup.

Sports betting regulations in the Garden State prohibit sports betting on athletic events involving New Jersey schools, or on any collegiate sporting events that take place within the state.

That restriction would be rescinded if state Senator Paul Sarlo, who recently appeared on the “Gamble On” podcast, had his way.

Recently Sarlo, whose district includes the Meadowlands Sports Complex, introduced a resolution to the state legislature to place a statewide referendum on the November 2021 ballot that would amend the state’s law to allow betting on New Jersey collegiate sporting events. If a vote is approved, the legislature might be able to pass an amendment in time for the 2022 March Madness.

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