New Jersey Sportsbooks Cross Responsible Gaming Lines By Delaying Withdrawals

Posted on January 19, 2021

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is cracking down on the state’s sportsbooks.

Companies in the state have been encouraging players to cancel their withdrawals to keep gambling. The DGE investigated the situation after receiving a large number of complaints.

Delayed sportsbook withdrawals are responsible gaming stumble

The problem isn’t players canceling withdrawals, it’s the fact that sportsbooks are asking them to. Gamblers have always been able to reverse a withdrawal, so long as the company they’re betting with isn’t pushing them to do so.

Some New Jersey sportsbooks offered bonuses to gamblers in exchange for canceling their withdrawal. That went hand-in-hand with the sportsbooks also delaying the withdrawals themselves.

Both prongs of that strategy go against the state’s gaming laws.

When a gambler decides they’ve had enough and cashes out, that has to be the end of it. Anything less is a grave failure of responsible gambling practices.

Obviously, the DGE is less than thrilled with the situation.

“Operators should clearly understand the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests to resume gaming activity.”

The DGE’s report did not mention any operators individually. However, it’s safe to say that there will be consequences if things carry on.

New Jersey is hitting all-time highs as a sports betting market. Responsible gaming slips like this display the predatory side of that growth.

New Jersey betting handle nears $1 billion

The Garden State released its sports betting numbers for December on the same day that the DGE’s report came out.

The state handled over $996 million worth of wagers throughout the month.

For the sake of comparison, that number more than triples Indiana’s December handle. Football betting alone racked up $323 million in wagers in New Jersey, out-performing all of Indiana’s handle last month.

Those numbers are huge, but they’re hardly a surprise.

New Jersey is the biggest sports betting market in the country. The state handled over $6 billion worth of wagers in 2020 alone.

Business is booming, but it could be coming at too high of a cost if predatory practices are what’s driving it.

Since the level of competition is so high in New Jersey, sportsbooks may have been using the push to cancel withdrawals as a way to get a leg up. At the very least, the strategy was designed to keep people playing and increase business.

So far, other states that have legal sports gambling haven’t reported similar issues.

However, just know that if a sportsbook ever asks you to cancel a withdrawal, this is not normal practice and should be reported to your state’s gaming authorities.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for PlayIndiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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