Hard Rock Atlantic City Online Gaming Partner Fined $25K Over Illegal $29 Wager

Posted on: May 9, 2019, 12:22h. 

Last updated on: May 9, 2019, 12:22h.

The online gaming provider to Hard Rock Atlantic City mistakenly allowed a bettor located outside New Jersey to make a $29 wager. The incident led to a $25,000 fine.

Hard Rock Atlantic City online casino
The online casino associated with Hard Rock Atlantic City has been fined for accepting prohibited bets. (Image: Hard Rock Atlantic City)

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) levied the penalty against Gaming Innovation Group, an internet gaming business-to-business compay that provides brick-and-mortar casinos with online products in jurisdictions where the activity is legal. The Malta-based company is licensed in its home country as well as the UK, New Jersey, Germany, and Sweden.

DGE officials say a vulnerability was detected last summer that allowed an individual in Nevada to trick the online Hard Rock casino site into thinking the person was located within New Jersey.

This one-off single incidence of out-of-state gambling was due to a technical vulnerability which was quickly discovered and reported to the regulator in New Jersey in the first week the company went live in New Jersey,” Gaming Innovation said in a statement to the Associated Press. “An end-user from outside the state of New Jersey with technical knowledge managed to access the front-end debugger to change the location and pretend to be from New Jersey.”

The illicit user accessed the internet casino, and lost $29 gambling online. The software provider, however, lost much more.

Geolocation Technology

Opponents to legalizing online gambling have long claimed that websites cannot adequately protect against players accessing the sites outside of the legalized territory. Proponents and geolocation experts say those concerns are largely unfounded in today’s technological world.

Geolocation works by computers and mobile devices sending electronic signals to host servers that ping the location of the person trying to access the casino site. GeoComply, a global leader in geolocation compliance technology, says its products have pinpoint accuracy that locate the person to within a few feet.

That’s not to say it’s a full-proof industry. New Jersey’s DGE seized $90,000 in March from an online gaming account belonging to a man playing from California.

Regulatory Crackdown

The DGE isn’t only going after online gaming operators failing to keep out-of-state players off their platforms. The gaming regulatory agency is also closely monitoring sportsbooks to make sure they’re playing by the rules.

In recent months, several operators haven’t.

Last month, the DGE fined PokerStars $10,000 for accepting sports bets on collegiate events involving New Jersey universities. The sportsbook took $2,756 in wagers on a Rutgers University men’s basketball game being played inside the Garden State.

New Jersey’s sports betting law prohibits oddsmakers from issuing lines on college events involving state-based teams, regardless of whether they’re playing at home or away in another state. Caesars Entertainment was fined $2,000 last fall for taking bets on a Rutgers football game played in Kansas.

Tougher penalties could be coming.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) has introduced legislation that would increase penalties on sportsbooks that take unlawful bets to $20,000 to $100,000 per violation.We want New Jersey’s sports gaming industry to succeed, and in order for us to do this, we must guarantee that everyone plays fairly by the rules, and that if people break those rules, they are punished accordingly,” Caputo said.