Borgata (And GVC) Find Themselves In Hot Water With NJ Regulators Again

Borgata and GVC Holdings will pay more than $120,000 in fines for accepting almost $42K in NJ online gambling wagers from 12 self-excluded persons.

GVC and its land-based partner, Borgata, will pay more than $120,000 in fines for violations regarding self-excluded persons.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) fined the operators in two orders dated March 8.

Both orders emerged from the same collective incident.

Bwin.party, which was acquired by GVC, and Borgata accepted $41,759.49 in online wagers from 12 individuals who had placed themselves on the voluntary self-exclusion list.

More on the self-exclusion rule and Borgata’s missteps

A self-excluded person is a person who, for whatever reason (though it’s usually addiction), chooses to impose a permanent self-ban from casino facilities. That ban includes NJ online gambling.

Since these are the most vulnerable, state agencies recognize that they have a duty to protect these people from themselves. As such, the incident with Borgata did not go unnoticed.

The DGE filed a complaint on Dec. 20, 2018. Neither the self-excluded players nor Borgata objected to the DGE’s ruling.

In accordance with DGE rules (N.J.S.A. 5:12-71.3), the DGE ordered Borgata to forfeit the money back to the division.

In the second order, the DGE fined bwin.party $81,000.

The second strike of the month for Borgata

The forfeiture and fine come on the heels of another incident involving Borgata and its online casinos in New Jersey.

This month, the DGE finally settled a case of out-of-state play dating back to 2014.

Regulators had discovered that a player named Vinh Dao had managed to place wagers from a location in California. Since accessing online casinos across state lines is prohibited, Dao agreed to forfeit the balances of his New Jersey accounts.

Most of those funds resided with Borgata Online Casino. As part of the settlement, Borgata must return $2,000 to Dao and forfeit the remaining $79,539.24.

Caesars agreed to similar terms, although Dao had less money on the WSOP NJ site. Altogether, Dao lost over $92,000 in the settlement.

Needless to say, he also now enjoys prohibited status in the DGE’s books.

Breaking the gambling rules

While these two incidents are somewhat larger than normal, the Atlantic City-based Borgata is not alone in its breaking of DGE rules.

The DGE has well-documented its intent to keep online gambling in New Jersey as safe and secure as possible.

As such, incidents like these have happened before.

Here are three examples from the same week:

  • Hard Rock fined $1,000 for failing to detect that an underage patron had entered the premises.
  • GiG fined $2,000 because the company didn’t get social security numbers of registering players.
  • SG Digital fined $1,000 for not recognizing a person on the self-exclusion list.

Casino operators are big companies with lots of moving parts, and perfect compliance is often a high hurdle.

The DGE, as the regulatory arm of casino gambling in the state, keeps a close eye on all the operators.

For the above sites, these kinds of situations are more like speeding tickets. Unfortunately for Borgata, it seems they were exceeding the limit by quite a bit when the DGE pulled them over.

BetStars Links Up With The NBA In Latest Sports Betting Partnership

The NBA links up with The Stars Group to create an official data and marketing partnership. The deal is the first for BetStars NJ online sports betting.

The NBA has struck a deal with the Stars Group to create the latest partnership between a pro sports league and a gaming company.

The deal is the first of its kind to involve the Stars Group, the parent company of two NJ gambling sites.

As with the other sports betting partnerships that have come about, the Stars Group deal includes official data and marketing.

What’s in the NBA and BetStars deal

The Stars Group will gain the ability to use NBA logos and branding throughout its suite of digital offerings.

The NBA will promote the Stars Group on all of its relevant media. In turn, both PokerStars NJ and BetStars NJ will promote the NBA.

Matt Primeaux, the Stars Group senior vice president, said in the press release:

“We are excited to partner with the NBA as we continue to execute on our US strategy. This agreement enables us to use official NBA data and league marks, providing a better experience to our customers, while working with the NBA to protect the integrity of games.”

Both of the Stars Group’s brands conduct operations in New Jersey, and BetStars is in the process of licensing for Pennsylvania.

From Scott Kaufman-Ross, NBA’s head of fantasy and gaming:

“The Stars Group is an accomplished global online gaming leader and we are excited to work with them on their first U.S. sports league partnership. This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience.”

Strategic partnerships continue to be a corporate fad

The deal is the second gaming partnership for the NBA.

Earlier this year, the basketball league partnered with casino giant MGM Resorts in an arrangement similar to the Stars deal.

However, the drive to find strategic partnerships is by no means limited to the NBA, Stars or MGM. In fact, according to Legal Sports Report, there have been 13 such sports betting deals struck since May 2018.

MGM, for its part, has been the most active gaming company regarding finding hands to shake.

The casino titan needs only to partner with the NFL to count all four major sports leagues as allies, and the company already has one NFL team (the New York Jets) as an individual partner.

NBA and NJ sports betting

However, the NBA’s collaboration with these companies is particularly interesting given the leagues’ history with NJ sports betting.

Up until the PASPA decision in May, the pro basketball league was a staunch opponent of allowing sports betting to proceed. The NBA was one of the leagues that specifically fought New Jersey’s push to legalize sports wagering.

A recent study by the American Gaming Association (AGA) reported that the NBA and other sports leagues are likely to get a little revenue boost of $4.2 billion from legal sports betting as it expands in the U.S.

At BetStars NJ, It’s The Redskins (Not The Eagles) Getting All The Action

The Eagles will clash with the Redskins on Monday. For those who are planning to watch and bet on the game, BetStars NJ has a couple of special offers.

The Philadelphia Eagles are set to clash with the Washington Redskins on Monday.

For those who are planning to watch the NFL game, BetStars NJ has a couple of special offers.

These two promos are both parlay bets that rely, in part, on which team wins. The other part of the bet has to do with players’ performances.

Stars Stack at BetStars NJ

The two Stars Stack promotions are as follows:

  • Zach Ertz and Josh Adams both to score a TD/Eagles to win
  • Jordan Reed and Adrian Peterson both to score a TD/Redskins to win

So, it depends on how players see the game turning out. ESPN’s Football Power Index favors an Eagles win by a 2 to 1 margin. BetStars has the Eagles favored by 6.5 points, despite their inferior record.

All the NJ betting action on … the Redskins?

BetStars is also reporting 82 percent of its action on the game so far has been on the Redskins at +6.5. The rest is on Philly at -6.5.

The smart money says that even if the Eagles win, it probably won’t be by more than a touchdown.

Other betting options at BetStars

NFL 2 Minute Drill

Since these two teams are forecast to end the game within 7 points of each other, either one could come out on top. It’s possible that the victor’s identity won’t be revealed until the final 2 minutes of the game.

Thankfully, BetStars NJ has a promotion to ensure against a last-minute gut punch.

With the NFL 2 Minute Drill, BetStars will refund your bet up to $20 if your team is leading when the clock strikes 2 minutes to go but then loses.

The refund will come in the form of a free bet. It sucks to lose like that, but at least you won’t be lighter in the wallet.

TD Scorer

However, if the prospect of a nailbiter game raises the blood pressure too high, then perhaps a bet on certain individuals reaching paydirt would seem more appealing.

BetStars has that exact option with its TD Scorer bets.

These are wagers about which player will score the first touchdown, the last touchdown or a touchdown at any time.

For this game, the most popular players on each team to receive TD Scorer bets are the Eagles’ Ertz (31 percent) and the Redskins’ Peterson (42 percent).

So, even if the game itself might be too close to call, the playmakers themselves are probably easier to spot. Peterson and Ertz each have six touchdowns to their name this season and look poised to take their main yardage statistic above 1,000.

The main thing to remember, though, is that these wagers should make watching the game even more fun.

Remember to bet with fun in mind, and head on over to BetStars NJ Sportsbook before Monday to check it out.

Image credit: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

Monmouth ‘Takes An L’ In NJ Sports Betting Lawsuit Against Leagues, But Plans To Appeal

On Nov. 16, a US District Court ruled against Monmouth in its NJ sports betting suit against the major sports leagues. But the racetrack plans to appeal.

After months of unabated success and expansion, an NJ sports betting advocate has finally hit a roadblock.

On Nov. 16, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp ruled against Monmouth Park and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, in its suit against the major sports leagues.

The lawsuit stemmed from a 2014 injunction issued by the very same judge. The racetrack says it will appeal the judge’s ruling.

How the latest lawsuit came to be

New Jersey technically legalized sports betting in 2012.

Then-Gov. Chris Chris Christie authorized a bill that would allow sports betting at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks.

Two years later, Monmouth Park was ready to open a sportsbook with partner William Hill.

However, the sports leagues sued for injunctive relief under PASPA, and Shipp issued a restraining order for the racetrack until the suit’s resolution.

That resolution only came with PASPA’s dismissal in May 2018. Monmouth Park made the argument that it had lost revenue during that period unnecessarily, and demanded that the leagues compensate it for the loss.

How much was Monmouth Park seeking?

The amount in question was no mere pittance either.

Extrapolating from the bond figure that the judge required from the leagues in the initial hearing period for the suit, the track figured its losses to be about $850,000 per week.

Applying that estimate to the number of weeks between the restraining order and PASPA’s dismissal causes the resulting damages to exceed $150 million.

So, understandably, the leagues chose to contest the suit. What followed was a war of words between the two sides during the initial few weeks.

But last week, the judge agreed with the leagues.

In his ruling, obtained by ESPN, the court ruled:

“The Court … finds NJTHA was not wrongfully enjoined. The Court, accordingly, finds good cause exists to deny NJTHA damages under the injunction bond.”

How NJ sports betting looks at Monmouth now

Since Monmouth opened its sportsbook in June, its land-based and online sports betting revenues have combined to earn about $7.46 million. While not the highest in the market, it is no small bit of change.

The online wagering revenue comes from Monmouth’s partnership with William Hill NJ. That online sportsbook opened in September.

So the state’s revenue numbers from the first four months of NJ sports betting tell a different story about the track’s revenues.

On a weekly basis, Monmouth is earning just under $373,000 per week on sports betting. Unfortunately, that figure is less than half Monmouth’s alleged weekly losses.

It remains to be seen what will happen as Monmouth appeal’s the court’s decision.

Chiefs May Be The Best Bet, But NJ Sports Betting Favors NY Giants At BetStars

According to Betstars NJ, the Kansas City Chiefs have covered the point spread 80% of the time this season. But still, NJ bettors favor the NY Giants.

For fans of NJ sports betting, there has been no better NFL team to choose this season than the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to data received from BetStars NJ, the Chiefs have covered the point spread 80 percent of the time this season.

The data tells a lot of interesting tales about betting on specific football teams. And even more so, it shows that at the end of the day, NJ bettors bet with their heart.

Let’s take a closer look at the BetStars NJ sports betting data.

The Chiefs are the prize in NJ sports betting

Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs currently tie for the best record in the entire league.

Kansas City shares a 9-1 record with the Los Angeles Rams, and the Chiefs’ only loss so far was a 3-point defeat against the New England Patriots.

Interestingly, the Rams are nowhere near the top of the list for covering the spread. The LA team is a woeful 4-6 against the predicted line.

The determining factor for a team’s performance against the spread is its overall margin of victory. Both the Chiefs and Rams have been winning, but the Rams’ victories have been much tighter affairs.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, also have the highest margin of victory against the spread. They are generally scoring 7.3 points more than the margin predicts.

A side note on the Saints and division leaders

The New Orleans Saints are the only other team with the same margin against the spread. The Saints are also the second-place team to cover, having played (and won) one fewer game than the Chiefs.

Four other teams are performing quite well against the spread and sport 6-3 records for covering. They are:

  • Tennessee Titans
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Washington Redskins

The ability to cover shares at least some correlation with overall success, and all but one of the teams mentioned sits atop its division. The exception is the 5-4 Tennessee Titans, who are 2nd in the AFC South behind the red-hot Houston Texans.

NFL ATS Records 2018 via BetStars NJ

Check out the complete list of NFL team data from BetStars NJ below:

TeamATS RecordCover %Margin of VictoryATS +/-% of total bets
Kansas City8-2-280%11.37.34.8%
New Orleans7-2-077.8%10.97.34.1%
Tennessee6-3-066.7%1.95.13.0%
Pittsburgh6-3-066.7%7.85.25.0%
Chicago6-3-066.7%10.46.11.4%
Washington6-3-066.7%0.10.92.5%
Arizona5-3-162.5%-11.2-5.32.4%
Minnesota5-3-162.5%1.9-1.33.5%
Seattle5-3-162.5%35.23.0%
Cleveland6-4-060%-4.5-0.52.7%
New England6-4-060%4.4-1.83.9%
Detroit5-4-055.6%-4.7-3.22.0%
LA Chargers5-4-055.6%62.22.3%
Carolina5-4-055.6%10.72.7%
Miami5-5-050%-5.7-1.72.1%
Indianapolis4-4-150%2.33.92.0%
Green Bay4-5-044.4%0.8-1.74.0%
Baltimore4-5-044.4%5.93.62.2%
Cincinnati4-5-044.4%-5.9-5.31.8%
Houston4-5-044.4%3.61.22.4%
Dallas4-5-044.4%1.11.84.6%
NY Giants4-5-044.4%-5.7-2.19.8%
Buffalo4-6-040%-11.4-22.6%
LA Rams4-6-040%10.42.82.1%
Jacksonville3-5-137.5%-4.3-62.3%
Denver3-5-137.5%-0.90.83.9%
Tampa Bay3-6-033.3%-6.6-4.32.4%
Philadelphia3-6-033.3%1.7-2.23.3%
Atlanta3-6-033.3%-1.1-3.12.1%
San Francisco3-7-030%-3.6-0.93.2%
NY Jets3-7-030%-4.6-2.63.9%
Oakland2-7-022.2%-13.9-10.22.2%

NJ bettors really like the NY Giants

One interesting quirk of the BetStars data is the discrepancy between the teams that have most often covered the spread and the teams that have received the most wagers.

If performance predicted the receipt of wagers, one might expect the Chiefs to be the most likely target of sports bettors.

However, at least in New Jersey, the biggest bloc of sports bets has been on the New York Giants.

Despite a 4-5 record against the spread and a woeful 2-7 win-loss record, New Jersey wagerers simply can’t avoid betting for the team from East Rutherford.

The men in blue and red have garnered 9.8 percent of all BetStars’ NFL bets. Most other teams receive less than half as many wagers, including the Chiefs, who’ve only commanded 4.8 percent.

The other local team, the New York Jets, whose 3-7 record against the spread is even worse than the Giants’ performance, still rank in the top 10 for betting activity, too.

So, in summary, New Jersey bettors are gravitating toward the hometown heroes more than any other. There’s something sweet about that, even if they’re losing money in the process.

US Congressman Turns To DOJ For Guidance On Sports Betting, Wire Act

US Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for clarity not only on legal sports betting but on revisiting the Wire Act.

On Thursday, the chairman of a House committee, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, sent a letter to the US Department of Justice to request guidance about federal oversight of sports betting.

If you recall, way back in September, the US Congress held its first hearing regarding legal sports betting after PASPA’s demise.

Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, sent the letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. More or less, the letter’s purpose is to determine what effects existing laws have on the practice of sports betting.

You can read the letter in full here.

The letter was sent on the same day that Pennsylvania started accepting wagers at one of its casinos. So as of today, there are six states who started taking legal wagers in the last six months. NJ sports betting, for its part, is in its fourth month and hit $260 million in handle in October.

What Sensenbrenner’s letter on sports betting asks

In the letter, Sensenbrenner asks Rosenstein for his opinions about the practice of sports betting in the US without the PASPA framework.

As befitting the chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, Sensenbrenner repeatedly mentions the dangers of criminal influence and exploitation in sports betting.

At heart, Sensenbrenner believes that Congress’ list of options regarding sports betting are as follows:

  1. Issue a new ban on sports betting.
  2. Create uniform federal standards on sports betting.
  3. Let each state decide its own standards.

Of course, Sensenbrenner undercuts one of those options in his very next sentence. He says:

“The worst option for Congress is to do nothing.”

Coincidentally, he used this same sentiment to conclude the hearing in September.

Ultimately, the questions for which Sensenbrenner wants answers are as follows:

  • Do you support the 2011 Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion that reinterpreted the Wire Act to permit online gambling?
  • What guidance, if any, is the Department of Justice currently providing to states that are entering the sports betting realm?
  • What issues do you foresee in sports betting (both legal and illegal) if Congress does not act in response to the Supreme Court’s PASPA decision?

Sensenbrenner asking the wrong questions

One of the most troubling aspects of Sensenbrenner’s investigation into sports betting is the congressman’s interpretation of the current status of things.

Many of his statements, both during the hearing and in this letter, suggest that he believes the demise of PASPA created a legal vacuum.

For instance, his invocation of the Wire Act of 1961 poses an interesting legal question. All federal laws must pertain to interstate activities, and sports betting, in its current form, has been strictly intrastate.

The Wire Act is also troubling because of its antiquated 1961 language. Sensenbrenner appears to be concerned about an interpretative question of law.

Thirdly, if Sensenbrenner’s chief concern is the prevention of criminal influence, he should be asking the DOJ about the existing enforcement measures being taken against illegal forms of gambling.

The seven states (which includes Nevada) that legalized sports betting already have regulations in place that could provide those answers.

Finally, he should be asking about how much uniformity there exists in the states’ regulatory schemes. For instance, most states prohibit wagering on high school athletics of any kind. So, a federal prohibition of same would be redundant.

Here are some questions that Sensenbrenner should be asking

With all that said, here is a list of potential questions that Sensenbrenner should be asking:

  1. Does the Wire Act have any kind of jurisdiction over sports betting in its current form?
  2. Should the Wire Act be amended to reflect modern advances and technology? Alternatively, should Congress draft a law as a wireless corollary to it?
  3. What is the status of each sports betting state’s safeguards regarding criminal activity and exploitation?
  4. What legal areas are remaining uncovered by the state laws and regulations on sports betting as they are currently written?

The main thing that Sensenbrenner should do is keep talking with experts on both sides of the issue. If he is bound and determined to do something about sports betting, it should, at least, be an informed decision.