Last Thursday, Mr. David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (the “Division” or “NJDGE”), gave Internet gaming affiliates 150 days to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal gambling regulations. Director Rebuck’s advisory bulletin takes particular issue with the marketing and promotion of “illegal” online gaming sites.
What do Internet gaming affiliates need to change, and when is the impending deadline?
Online Gaming in New Jersey
In November 2013, the NJDGE authorized the commencement of online gaming within the State of New Jersey, but only on websites licensed by the Division.
In April of last year, the Division delivered cease-and-desist letters to a number of Internet gaming affiliates, such as rakeback provider RakeTheRake, for allegedly sharing links to sites offering unauthorized online gaming. The NJDGE stated that these affiliates could be prosecuted for offering Internet gaming without approval and/or promoting gambling – both crimes in the State of New Jersey.
NJDGE Director’s Advisory Bulletin for Internet Gaming Affiliates
On June 4, 2015, in response to requests for clarification from concerned Internet gaming affiliates, Director Rebuck issued Advisory Bulletin 2015-01, which addresses the NJDGE’s concern for affiliates that promote or market illegal (i.e., unlicensed) online gaming sites to New Jersey residents. Specifically, the Director addresses:
(1) Whether affiliates who have promoted or marketed illegal online gaming sites since the adoption of online gaming in New Jersey would be subject to enforcement action by the Division if they cease such activity; and
(2) Whether such prior conduct would result in a finding of unsuitability if affiliates apply to the NJDGE for licensure.
According to Director Rebuck’s advisory bulletin, all Internet gaming affiliates have until November 5, 2015 (150 days from the date of the bulletin) to come into compliance with applicable New Jersey and federal regulations and, if necessary, report this change to the Division. Following the deadline, the NJDGE plans to:
(1) Review all licensed Internet gaming affiliates and take action against those that are non-compliant;
(2) Bar non-compliant affiliates – as well as their principals, officers and directors – from future licensure and registration; and
(3) Report non-compliant affiliates to other gaming regulatory agencies.
Affiliates: Save the Date (and Don’t Be Late)
Every Internet gaming affiliate that is promoting or marketing (or has promoted or marketed) unlicensed online gaming sites to New Jersey consumers should be sure to add November 5, 2015 to its calendar. Those who disregard Director Rebuck’s recent advisory bulletin could face criminal prosecution and fines of up to $100,000.