PokerStars which is considered to be the world’s largest poker site has recently been slapped with a fine by New Jersey gambling regulators. The $10,000 fine that the company’s sportsbook operation was slapped with is by far the largest sports betting fine ever issued in the state. While $10,000 is definitely a large amount of money, PokerStars’ very deep pockets might not have suffered as much but the fine definitely gave the company the warning about how serious the New Jersey Gambling Department of Gaming Enforcement is about the state’s gaming laws.
As it turns outs, the violations were committed by TSG Interactive US Service Limited, a company that is currently operating under PokerStars’ brand name. According to documents filed by the state, the violations date back to the end of 2018 where the company reportedly accepted 216 wagers on a game that involved Eastern Michigan University and Rutgers totaling to over $2,700. This goes against the New Jersey sports betting laws which specify that the licensed sports betting operators are not allowed to accept wagers on collegiate games either involving schools from the state or taking place within the state’s borders – Rutgers is in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The second time that the company violated the state’s gaming regulations was on New Year’s Eve – this was when it accepted a bet on a game between Penn and Monmouth. Even though this game was contested at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Monmouth is a school that is located West Long Branch, New Jersey.
The Stars Group’s Response
While PokerStars did not immediately provide any clarification on the matter, the state of New Jersey, fortunately, noted that the company voided all of the wagers and refunded the money to the gamblers even before the games in question begun. The state also stated that that wagers violated the law and that the company had agreed to the fine as part of a settlement with the state. Rules are rules.
“We generally don’t comment on regulatory matters like these, but we had a manual gating error from our international games into New Jersey. We cooperated with the DGE as we always do, have learned from the problem, and are confident it won’t reoccur,” Matt Primeaux, senior vice president for Strategy & Operations, USA at The Stars Group, explained in a recent email.
This fine comes in the wake of a recent push by the New Jersey lawmakers to pass a bill that seeks to set the fines to start at $20,000 and go all the way up to $100,000 for violating companies. The offending companies will also have to pay an additional fine that is equal to the total amount of prohibited bets they accepted. Moreover, if passed the bill, the offenders will also have their sports betting licenses suspended for no less than 10 days.