New Jersey Beefs Up Online Gambling Security

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Last week New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement outlined several key changes to its proposed Internet gaming regulations.

The regulations, which were originally published on June 3rd, are subject to a 60-day comment period prior to final adoption.

Key changes to Internet gaming regulations

Summarized below are some of the more interesting changes, many of which deal with security issues and cash-out policies

  • The standard authentication method for logging-in will be a combination of a username and password. However, users will also be given the option to request “strong authentication,” likely in the form of secret questions that only the user would know the answer to, but can also take the form of a physical token or biometric-based verification.
  • Users will have their accounts disabled after three consecutive failed password attempts.
  • After 15 minutes of inactivity, users will be required to re-enter their info. A necessary annoyance of sorts, it looks like users will have to become accustomed to a fair amount of security and authorization checks.
  • Users will either receive a pop-up notification for every half-hour they are logged on or have a continuous timer located over the game.
  • The Division will no longer require users to register their bank accounts in person. For all the extra security measures outlined, this is the one area where the DGE gave in. Originally, players who wanted to withdraw cash-outs directly to their preferred financial institution would be required to register their bank accounts in person – meaning at an actual Atlantic City casino.
  • Free play games must offer the same payout percentages (or lower) if there is a real-money counterpart to the game. So if a casino offers free play slots and real-money slots, the payout percentage of the free play slots must be equal to or less than the payout percentage for the real-money version.

Proposed Changes: Necessary or Annoying?

Given Internet gaming’s less than storied track record of dealing with security breaches, including the recent problems faced by Skrill, it comes as little surprise that the DGE is proposing more stringent security measures.

The good news is that the extra layers of authentication should mostly prevent accounts from being compromised. Couple this with the launch of PokerStars recent SMS validation system and other sites’ equivalents, and online poker in New Jersey is poised to be about as secure as it can be.

But while the increased security enhancements feel like a necessary change, the constant time reminders will likely prove a minor annoyance.

No one wants to be constantly reminded of how long they’ve been playing, and despite what the government might think, problem gamblers are not going to cease being problem gamblers based on a ticking clock or a pop-up notification. And those who are adamant about only playing a certain amount of hours rarely lose track of time.

On the bright side, at least we won’t be required to travel to AC to register our bank accounts. As someone who resides close to New York City, I can’t express in words how painful that would be.

- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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