Las Vegas Sun

August 25, 2019

Currently: 92° — Complete forecast

PokerStars fined $10K for taking bets on NJ college teams

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — New Jersey gambling regulators have fined PokerStars $10,000 for taking bets on New Jersey college basketball teams in violation of the state's sports betting law.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement issued the fine on April 12, and posted it on its website last week.

Documents filed by the state indicate that PokerStars accepted 216 wagers on a game involving Rutgers and Eastern Michigan University totaling more than $2,700.

The company also took a single bet on a game involving Monmouth University and the University of Pennsylvania, whose value was not disclosed on the division's website.

PokerStars did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Monday, but the state noted the company voided all the wagers and returned the money to bettors before the games began. It also indicated the company acknowledged the bets violated the law, and that PokerStars had agreed to the fine as part of a settlement with the state.

The fine comes as New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would set fines starting at $20,000 and ranging up to $100,000 for companies that take prohibited bets on New Jersey college teams.

The bill, introduced earlier this year by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, a northern New Jersey Democrat and former casino executive, was released by a state Assembly committee but has not come up for a vote by the full Assembly. The affected companies also would have to pay an additional fine equal to the total amount of prohibited bets they accepted and could have their sports betting license suspended for 10 days.

Caputo introduced the bill out of frustration with what he considered inadequate fines handed out to two gambling companies who took similar prohibited college bets last fall.

The Golden Nugget casino and Caesars Entertainment were penalized for taking such bets, with Caesars fined $2,000 for taking bets on a Rutgers-Kansas football game in September, and Golden Nugget forfeiting $390 in bets that it took on numerous college games involving New Jersey teams. Caesars Entertainment operates two Atlantic City casinos that have sports books: Bally's and Harrah's.

State law prohibits wagers on college teams from New Jersey, regardless of where the game is played, or on college games that take place within the state.