Unregulated Sites Expose Patrons to Greater Risk of Identity Theft, Fraud, and Other Crimes
TRENTON – With the kickoff to the football season upon us, the Office of the Attorney General, the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), and the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) are reminding New Jerseyans to steer clear of illegal sites when betting on professional and college football or engaging in fantasy sports activities related to those sports.
Using licensed sports wagering sites—also known as “sportsbooks”—and authorized fantasy sports sites is the only way to ensure operators are doing business under regulatory oversight and abiding by the laws that protect consumers against fraud, deceit, and other illegal conduct.
“We know that the start of football season brings with it an uptick in sports betting and fantasy sports participation, and we want everyone to enjoy these activities safely and securely,” said First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo. “Sportsbooks and daily fantasy sites licensed and authorized to operate in New Jersey are subject to nation-leading consumer safeguards against fraud, identity theft, and unscrupulous actors; however, illegal sites have none of these protections. This season, we urge fans to stick with regulated websites to avoid scams and bogus offers. And for those who may need help with a gambling problem, know that help is available.”
“The problems with illegal sportsbooks are numerous,” said DGE Director David Rebuck. “They lack oversight to ensure customers are actually paid what they won as well as security protocols to safeguard sensitive personal and financial information, like Social Security numbers and bank data.”
“For many fantasy sports participants, the start of the football season is an especially exciting opportunity to test their knowledge of the players and the game by drafting and managing their own virtual team in fantasy football contests,” said Cari Fais, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Today we’re reminding these armchair managers that the most important pick of a winning season is selecting a fantasy sports operator that is properly permitted and doing business legally in New Jersey to ensure the game is fair and everyone is playing by the rules.”
Betting on certain professional and collegiate sports at casinos and racetracks was legalized in New Jersey in 2018 under the regulatory authority of DGE. It is not legal to bet on New Jersey college teams or on college games that take place in the state. All sportsbook operators doing business in New Jersey must hold a valid sports wagering license.
Participating in permitted fantasy sports activities, commonly called “daily fantasy sports,” was legalized under a separate law in 2017 and is under the regulatory authority of DCA. Any fantasy sports operator that is collecting an entry fee and offering prizes to participants must obtain a permit to do so from DCA. Operators of websites that host fantasy games to assist groups of friends or co-workers keep score and make trades in a fantasy league do not need to obtain permits from the state, as long as the operator is not collecting an entry fee or paying prizes.
Consumers are urged to avoid unregulated, illegal sportsbooks and fantasy sports sites which may be operated offshore and may lack:
- Operational and financial controls;
- Proper and timely payment processing;
- Dispute resolution processes;
- Transparent ownership; and
- Anti-money laundering controls.
Signs you may be interacting with an illegal site include a website or sportsbook:
- Accepting deposits or making payments in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.
- Offering bets on political contests, which are not approved by DGE as events for sports wagering.
- Charging fees for processing deposits or withdrawals.
- Advertising bonuses and promotions that seem too good to be true.
- Operating without a “.com” or using a domain from outside the United States.
Tips to Keep in Mind This Football Season
- If you are placing a sports bet online or playing fantasy sports through a website offering prizes and charging an entry fee, verify the operator is legally permitted to do so.
- To view a list of legally permitted sportsbooks and fantasy sports operators authorized to operate in New Jersey, click the links below:
- To view a list of leagues and events approved for sports betting, click the link below:
- For questions or concerns about sports wagering, patrons can email DGE or call (609) 984-0909. Questions about DGE’s process for individuals to self-exclude form casinos or sports wagering, including ways to sign up, can be directed to 1-833-788-4DGE.
- To learn more about responsible gaming practices that promote safe and enjoyable gambling experiences while minimizing the risk of harm, click the link below:
- For questions or concerns about fantasy sports authorized by DCA or about self-exclusion from fantasy sports, players can email DCA or call (973) 273-8077.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, call or text 1-800-GAMBLER. This free hotline is open for support, treatment, and hope 24/7.