New Jersey state gaming regulator, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has decided not to go ahead and name which of the state’s online sportsbooks and online casinos have been involved with the encouragement of players to not go ahead with collecting their winnings, and continue their betting and playing on chasing a bigger pay day.
Last month, when the problem first reared its ugly head, the NJDGE proposed regulatory action and licensing suspensions for those few bad operators involved in the shady practice.
Now, as reported in other media circles, the NJDGE has decided to keep the information of who has been involved under its hat. Admittedly, the reasons for privacy are totally understood. However, on the other hand, it might be handy for consumers to know if the potential new sportsbook that are looking to sign up to has ‘form’ of denying payouts to its clients. In fact, the NJDGE wrote of their concerns that the patrons were not receiving within the spirit of timeliness anticipated;
“Accordingly, while no specific timeframe is referenced, the rules regarding withdrawals from an online account are intended to require patrons to receive their withdrawn funds without any delay longer than needed to perform an anti-fraud or anti-money laundering check. In order to ensure that withdrawals are processed with the speed intended by these rules, the Division has determined that tactics that are found to result in unnecessary delays in funds being available to patrons are inconsistent with the existing Division requirements” in the NJDGE’s own words.
NJDGE called on to reveal the Operators involved
The National Council on Problem Gambling has made its intentions known by calling on the NJDGE to allow for the identities of the operators involved in the delayed withdrawal row to become known. It has been shown by a number of studies that when sportsbooks encourage bettors to reverse their withdrawals, players can then more likely to become engaged in problem gaming activities and put themselves at risk.
Executive Director of the body, Keith Whyte, said;
“There are some serious responsible gambling concerns here. Especially around the solicitation of play during arbitrarily extended withdrawal times.”
Its worthwhile considering that the legal sports betting industry is still less than 3 years old and operators are still learning the ropes as to how long they can ethically permit a customer to wait, and if to harass that same customer to reverse their withdrawal during that same waiting period.
In more mature online sports betting markets, the lines have been more clearly drawn by regulatory and licensing authorities of online sportsbooks and casinos.
As recently as 30 September 2020, the U.K. Gambling Commission introduced a raft of changes protecting sports bettors and online casino players in that country. Among the changes was a ban on reversing withdrawals and introducing the requirement that gaming businesses must ask their customers ‘at the earliest opportunity’ if they require more information in order to process a withdrawal and that they cannot request further information from their clients before releasing their funds if they have already had ‘reasonable prior opportunity’. The Australian Government is currently considering a similar law as they look to federalize their state-based sports betting industry.
As the leader of the United States fledgling online sportsbooks industry, New Jersey must seek to show a leadership and get tough with sportsbooks that fail to live up to their duty of care to protect players. Additionally, the threat of fines or other regulatory or licensing procedures needs to be backed-up by real action to protect not only players but also the reputation of the Garden State’s sportsbooks.