DGE continued to provide a regulatory framework for both Internet Gaming and Sports Wagering oversight for casino gaming and sports book operations. In 2020, DGE oversaw the opening of six new Internet-based casino gaming providers (which includes two mobile sportsbooks) and two brick and mortar sports books. During the first eleven months of 2020 DGE posted $872 million in Internet-based gross gaming revenue and $332 million in Sports Wagering revenue, both increases from the same period last year. This past year, the number of Internet gaming and sports wagering submissions to the Division increased by over 60%.
In 2020, DGE provided the regulatory and legal framework to the Casinos, Sportsbooks, and the Casino Association of New Jersey. To ensure compliance with the Executive and Administrative Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the various bureaus in the Division handled matters including the review of casino reopening plans and the creation of an online Self-Exclusion system to allow individuals to self-exclude without having to physically enter a DGE office during the pandemic.
In 2020, DGE oversaw the Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado merger acquisition in an effort to ensure financial stability. This transaction also involved the sale of the Caesars’ Bally’s Atlantic City property to Twin River (now known as Bally’s Corporation), and an interim casino authorization. The merger required the infusion of approximately $500 million dollars for the purposes of capital improvements to the properties. Of that amount, $400 million is held in a trust account to ensure improvements at the Caesars’ properties.
In June 2018, DGE assumed responsibility for overseeing and regulating sports wagering in New Jersey. During the first six months of this new industry, DGE promulgated regulations governing the new industry and oversaw the opening of eighteen sports books – seven at retail casinos, two at retail horse tracks, and nine Internet-based operations.
Also in June 2018, DGE oversaw the opening of two new casinos in Atlantic City: the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Ocean Resort Casino. In the months before opening, DGE conducted complex licensing investigations and handled the licensing and registration of thousands of new casino employees. DGE also was called upon to inspect and approve all critical aspects of casino operations including floor plans, table game layouts, security and surveillance protocols, slot operations, gaming equipment, IT operations and internal controls.