DGE continued to provide a regulatory framework for both Internet Gaming and Sports Wagering with respect to oversight of casino gaming and sports book operations while continuing to monitor the rapid growth in both areas. Through September 2021, the ten licensed sports wagering operators posted $557 million in total sports wagering revenue, which was a 150% increase from last year. During this same time frame, the eight licensed Internet Gaming operators posted $988 million in total Internet Gaming Revenue, which is a 44% increase from the prior year. DGE worked with the providers to create best practices in the areas of Responsible Gaming and Cyber Security to protect the interest of the consumers and the public.
In November 2021, DGE adopted regulations to implement fixed odds wagering on horseraces – helping to make New Jersey the first state in the country to legalize these wagers after overnor Murphy signed A4909 in August 2021. And through its existing regulatory functions, DGE continued to mitigate illegal, unregulated, untaxed, online casinos, and sports wagering sites, which compete directly with licensed casino operators and present a growing threat to New Jersey’s legal, regulated, licensed gaming industry.
DGE adopted amendments to its equal employment opportunity regulations to enhance the provisions relating to harassment, including sexual harassment. With the promulgation of those rules, New Jersey continues to ensure strong protections in this area and leads the nation in terms of progressive equal opportunity requirements in its regulation of the gaming industry. And through Acting Attorney General Bruck’s racial justice initiative, DGE will use its authority in this area to address racial inequities, including as it relates to pay equity, hiring, and promotional opportunities, and institute racial justice and implicit bias training.
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.
DGE continued to provide a regulatory framework for both Internet Gaming and Sports Wagering oversight for casino gaming and sports book operations. In 2019, the DGE oversaw the opening of five new online sports books, one brick and mortar sports book, and four new Internet-based casino gaming platforms. During the first 10 months of 2019, DGE posted $385 million in Internet-based gross gaming revenue.
In 2019, DGE continued it efforts to stem the tide of illegal online casinos and sports wagering websites. These sites, which are unregulated and untaxed, compete directly with licensed casino operators and present a growing threat to New Jersey’s legal gaming industry. To address the issue, DGE used its licensing process to prevent New Jersey vendors from doing business with illegal operators.
As part of New Jersey’s all-hands-on-deck response to the opioid crisis, DGE worked with the State’s casinos to ensure that they have the resources necessary to address an opioid overdose at their facilities. In 2019, Director Rebuck worked closely with each Atlantic City casino to ensure that they have a supply of the life-saving Narcan opioid antidote, along with at least one person on staff who is trained to administer the drug.
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.