Some New Jersey Casinos Dragging Their Feet on Internet Gambling

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A number of New Jersey’s casinos have failed to be prompt and complete with the regulatory filings required to seek Internet gambling approval from state officials.

That’s according to a letter from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement sent to all Atlantic City casinos and acquired by OnlinePokerReport.

The letter cites serious “omissions” in the current pool of filings related to operating online gambling sites in New Jersey.

Further, the DGE letter warns, such omissions are “affecting the Division’s ability to review and approve submissions and address licensing issues necessary for the issuance of a transactional waiver or Interim Casino Authorization.”

The letter concludes by advising casinos that they have until September 20th to provide the information required by the DGE, including details and plans regarding geolocation, KYC, payment processing and a host of other relevant functions.

Letter does not mention any casinos by name

The DGE letter does not single out any individual casino for submitting incomplete applications, nor does it give any sense of how many casinos have deficiencies in their filings with the Division. One could read the tone and tenor of the letter as suggesting that the issue is reasonably widespread.

For their part, appears publicly unconcerned.

CEO Norbert Teufelberger stressed in a recent earnings call that the company has “submitted all the relevant documentation to the regulators” and is “on track to meet the expected launch date in the final week of November.”

Impact on New Jersey’s launch date unclear

New Jersey regulators continue to hold firm on their public target of November 23rd as a launch date for real-money online gambling in the state.

The DGE letter does not mention the launch date or make any suggestion that the filing omissions could cause the launch date to be pushed back.

Observers have always assumed that only a handful of New Jersey casinos would be ready for the November launch. So it’s entirely possible that those casinos are up to par with their applications and that the DGE letter is referencing casinos that were unlikely to be ready by November in any case.

In that scenario, New Jersey’s online gambling launch date would be unaffected by these developments.

Scope of information required could present substantial hurdle

The DGE letter is dated September 11th, meaning casinos with deficient applications have a bit over a week to meet the September 20th deadline (unless otherwise indicated) for a completed filing.

Without knowing exactly what information which casinos are missing from their filings, I can’t say definitively that any one casino is going to have an issue meeting that deadline.

But, looking at the information requested by the letter, I can say that there’s certainly the possibility that a company could be missing an amount of detail that would be difficult – perhaps impossible – to rustle up in 10 days if you’re starting from scratch.

For example, here’s the filing requirement concerning collusion:

1. Provide a detailed description of your platform’s player collusion detection processes. Describe the functions automated by the platform versus those that require human interaction/decision making.

2. Specify the anticipated location of all staff that will perform player collusion detection functions on behalf of the casino licensee at “go-live”.

3. Specify in detail how the platform provider prevents anyone from having knowledge of player cards (other than the player) during live play or access to any game outcome prior to the conclusion of play.

4. Provide internal controls governing all player collusion detection processes including access control and manual functions performed by staff. Please specify controls for all functions including those that will be performed by casino staff, the platform provider or other third party. The deadline for this item is October 1,2013.

And that’s just one of nine areas.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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