DraftKings, one of the leading online sportsbooks in New Jersey, has copped a $10 000 fine from the state online sports betting regulator, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) for attempting to woo problem gamblers that have already self-excluded themselves.
DraftKings was fined the $10 000 by the NJDGE for sending “promotional mailings” to 11 self-excluded gamblers, which is prohibited. Whether it was deliberate or just a matter of its automated messages failing to keep up with the self-exclusion requests is open to interpretation.
Is the operator a serial self-exclusion rules buster?
It is also not the first time that DraftKings have received fines for these type of self-exclusion breaches, including a fine of $3000 just last month in Indiana for sending promotional materials to 15 self-excluded in the Hoosier State, with a similar $5000 fine in Iowa for breaching self-exclusion rules in 2020. Back in 2019.
DraftKings was also made to pay a $2000 fine for sending promotional emails to self-excluded customers in the Garden State. Later that same year, DraftKings also received a $5000 fine for accepting bets from 54 clients who had requested cooling off periods. It is disturbing that the operator is developing a reputation as a repeat offender in attempting to ‘re-recruit’ players back into sports betting action.
In response to media requests, DraftKings Senior Vice President of Regulatory Operations, Tim Dent released a press release addressing the most current fines;
“Nothing is more important than providing a safe experience for our customers. We remain committed to operating an industry-leading approach to customer protections,” Dent wrote.
To be fair, these transgressions are a relatively common ones and DraftKings has not been alone in attempting to re-recruit self-excluded players.
Another common transgression by the Garden State’s sportsbooks has been encouraging customers to reverse their withdrawals or cash outs and in doing so, offering incentives for the customers to keep on betting their bankroll. Whilst not naming operators on that occasion, the NJDGE reiterated the law in regards to withdrawals, reminding the Garden State’s online sportsbook operators that the current law prohibits any “unnecessary” delays. The NJDGE warned of legal action on that occasion if the activity continued, and since then, there has been relative quiet on the topic.
How serious can ignoring self-exclusion get for the sportsbooks?
Failing to acknowledge a customer’s self-exclusion request is about as serious a breach as one of the Garden State’s sportsbooks can possibly make. In the state of New Jersey, people may seek to be self-excluded from online sports betting and casino play for as little as one full year before returning to action. A lifetime option self-exclusion option is another possibility.
With those kinds of self-exclusion periods, any return to problem gambling could potentially lead to financial ruin, and that is why it is treated so harshly. It could be on this occasion that the DraftKings breach on this occasion may have been an unintentional error. Arguably, if it were a more serious or intentional breach of the self-exclusion law, the NJDGE could potentially get even more serious with its fine, if the way the problem is dealt with in the United Kingdom is anything to go by.
Back in 2018, the U.K. gaming regulator, the U.K. Gambling Commission fined a major sportsbook operator $900 000 for sending promotional emails to self-excluded customers. What’s more, the sportsbook making the breach on that occasion was forced to overhaul its terms and conditions, and limits were placed on its marketing and advertising budgets in addition to ongoing compliance audits.
Beware NJ online sportsbooks, the warning shot over your bow has been fired.