Sports betting in New Jersey is not exactly off to a smooth start for Caesars Entertainment and its Atlantic City casinos.

Documents acquired via a public records request shed some light on exactly what unfolded behind the scenes at Caesars and the illegal sports bets it accepted in September.

NJ Deputy Attorney General Jennifer K. Russo-Belles sent a letter to Caesars Entertainment dated Nov. 20, 2018.

It reveals details behind last month’s $2,000 fine handed out by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

A big no-no: NJ sports betting on Rutgers

According to the letter, the Sept. 10, 2018, football game between Rutgers and Kansas triggered the illegal sports betting alarms. The DGE interviewed Vicki Guveiyian, Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s (CIE) director of gaming technology and innovation, on Sept. 18.

Here is a snippet of the details from the letter:

“While CIE’s Las Vegas Trading Team noticed the game had been incorrectly loaded and removed it from availability within an hour of its posting; CIE’s New Jersey Trading Team did not.

“It was not until the division notified CIE’s New Jersey Trading Team on Sept. 14, 2018, four days later, that CIE voided the bet.”

The patron who placed the $10 wager was refunded the wager amount and credited an additional $10 as a “goodwill gesture,” according to the document.

A second illegal listing on Monmouth-Princeton game

But that’s not all.

It seems, according to Guveiyian, that CIE’s Las Vegas Trading Team “had failed to send out notifications when it discovered the illegal listing because it was unaware of New Jersey’s compliance standards.”

On Sept. 14, according to the letter, Jeff Davis, CIE’s manager of hub operations, sent out an internal memorandum to his staff reiterating “it was illegal to offer New Jersey collegiate games for sports betting.”

But another incident followed eight days later

Caesars offered wagering on the Monmouth-Princeton football game on its SG OpenBet Platform, aka the Caesars Sportsbook app.

Within that one game were two separate prohibited events: The game involved two New Jersey colleges and it was played inside New Jersey.

The wager window was open for 90 minutes before it was disabled. But in this instance, Caesars did not accept any wagers, according to the report. Additionally, Guveiyian notified the DGE.

A rare illegal bet in a young sports betting market

For the most part, despite a few hiccups, it’s smooth sailing with sports betting in New Jersey. This includes NJ online gambling sites such as DraftKings Sportsbook.

While FanDuel Sportsbook had a few growing pains in the early days of its sportsbook, the overall feeling is that things are working as they should.

To date, seven out of the nine Atlantic City casinos have operational retail sportsbooks. Caesars is one of the two properties without one (Hard Rock Atlantic City, for now, is the other).

Caesars customers use the sportsbook at the connected Bally’s Wild Wild West casino, its sister property. Meanwhile, Caesars also accepts bets at its sportsbook app. And it has an online partnership with 888 Sport NJ, too.

The bigger picture is that to date, only one other casino has been hit with a NJ sports betting fine. Golden Nugget was the other.

The Marina District property was flagged by the DGE around the same time for accepting 10 illegal bets from unknown individuals on “various New Jersey college football games in September.”

Golden Nugget was slapped with a $390 fine.

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DGE keeping an eye on Caesars

Caesars sports betting continues under the watchful eye of the DGE.

No additional penalties or fines outside of the two incidents have come to light. But at the same time, additional compliance measures are now in place.

More details from the letter:

“Caesars shall immediately ensure that proper training and procedural controls are implemented to prevent any further prohibited events from being displayed, especially those involving New Jersey college teams or any NCAA events played in New Jersey.”

And at this point, there is no room for error. The DGE is watching.

“… permitted wagering on prohibited sports events may result in more formal regulatory action.”

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.