NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement Reveals Proposed Amendments to Current iGaming Regulations

As the state’s online gambling industry continues to post impressive revenue growth on a monthly basis, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) is preparing to strengthen its iGaming regulations.

In a document entitled “Gaming Operation Accounting Controls and Standards; Internet Wagering” – which was authorized by NJDGE Director David Rebuck and made public last week – the agency proposes several new rules, along with amendments to current regulations.

The first rule proposal concerns the increasingly popular Live Dealer segment of the online casino sector. Popularized in Europe, a Live Dealer game is still played via computer or mobile device, but players interact with a human dealer operating genuine casino game equipment. This is achieved through live streamed video footage from dedicated Live Dealer studios.

Currently, the only New Jersey iGaming brands to offer Live Dealer games – blackjack, baccarat, and roulette in this case – are GoldenNuggetCasino.com and BetfairCasino.com, both of which operate under the land-based Golden Nugget venue’s interactive gaming license.

The addition of Live Dealer technology has propelled the Golden Nugget licensee group to the top of New Jersey’s monthly revenue reports. Competitors haven’t been willing to add Live Dealer games as of yet, given the increased overhead expenses involved with training human dealers and operating a live streaming studio.

The first rule proposal offered by the NJDGE seeks to solve that dilemma, by allowing iGaming providers to offer a “bet behind” wagering feature:

“Proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:69F-2.27 would authorize a ‘bet behind’ wager for Internet gaming when live blackjack is available.

A live dealer blackjack game has limited seats at each table. A ‘bet behind’ wager allows an unlimited number of players to wager on whether or not one of the players at the blackjack table will win against the live dealer.”

The concept of betting behind has been commonplace in European online casinos for years. When a Live Dealer table is fully occupied, other players using the online casino can elect to bet behind a seated player rather than wait for an open seat. When betting behind, the non-seated player simply wagers along with the actions of the seated player, winning or losing in kind.

If approved, the addition of bet behind functionality would immediately increase profit margins for Live Dealer studios in New Jersey, possibly leveling the playing field between Golden Nugget and its competitors.

Another NJDGE proposal would turn temporary allowances for ACH transfer into permanent regulations. Debit and credit card transactions are the most commonly used form of ACH transfer.

Under the proposed amendment, operators would be required to block a customer’s account following five failed ACH transfer attempts:

“Proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:69O-1.3 authorize ACH transfer (electronic) from a patron’s bank as a method of funding and Internet gaming account and sets the requirements for using such a method.

Casinos must block the account after 5 failed attempts to use an ACH transfer as a funding method.

Such a measure will help prevent fraud.”

Among the other rule changes put forth by the NJDGE include a physical address requirement, with P.O. boxes no longer acceptable for proof of residency, and turning temporary allowances for progressive slot machine games into permanent law.

Land-based casinos holding an interactive gaming license would also be required to employ an information technology officer.

The public has been invited to contribute input on these proposed changes, with the comment period running through November 4 of this year.

Letters can be sent to Charles F. Kimmel, who serves as deputy attorney general for the NJDGE, at 1300 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401. Emails can be sent to rulecomments@njdge.org.