It’s no secret to the outside world that Atlantic City is having a hard time bringing in the revenues that they once did. New establishments that have been built near the state’s borders have allured some of New Jersey’s much-needed business away. Others say that economic downtimes are responsible for the poor revenues. There has been major casinos closing left and right, so have some local establishments got creative to keep their numbers up?
Some say that the concern for revenues could have led to three of the local establishments relaxing their standards and allow underage players to participate in their gaming. Either they allowed it willingly, or they have become lax on security features and didn’t have the appropriate people checking identification. Either way, it resulted in some massive fines for three of the larger casinos in the area.
The fines were more than $14,000 and the total number of underage gamblers caught was 117. So it’s safe to say that this is not just a fluke that happened one or two times, it is apparent that these establishments have been allowing numerous underage people to gamble without fear. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement made the announcement last week that they would be cracking down on such activities. While there are probably more casinos participating in the same behaviors, it was the Resorts Casino, Borgata and the Tropicana that felt the wrath of the state on the matter.
One thing that has never changed and probably never will is the legal age for gambling in New Jersey. A player must be 21 years of age. Even though an 18-year old may be legally able to get into many places as an acting adult, gambling limits are enforced. Part of this is due to the fact that the maturity levels at 21 are better than they are at 18. And another part of the issue is that these casinos serve free alcohol to all their players. It could be a real sticky situation if an underage person was to be served alcohol. It could result in being shut down or fined much heavier than the small $14,000 fine for underage gambling.
The state has some programs in place to help by allowing people to ban themselves from either internet gambling or land-based casinos. By signing up to be a part of a self-exclusion list, these people will not be admitted to any casino or allowed to play online. Also, the casinos are prohibited from sending out any sort of solicitations to these people to gamble. The state makes a serious effort to ensure the safety of their players and casino establishments. It seems that a few are not taking what the government has to say very seriously, which in return cost them dearly.
The $14,000 was a fine of a whopping $6,000 and they had to forfeit the money that the casino profited from the people that were on the self-exclusion list. This was only during the months of February through April of 2015. Had the state went further back and did more investigations, it could have resulted in bigger fines and possibly a more drastic measure of punishment. This was a warning sign to those who are not playing by the rules. If they continue to do things underhanded, the state is going to step in and make an example out of them. There were ten people that were on this list that created internet accounts without issue. And of these ten people, nine of them used their accounts to gamble.
The violations were said to be from a computer error, according to the gambling enforcement division. However, this was one costly computer error. The Borgata has to turn over nearly $5,000 that it won. The money was confiscated due to the more than 66 underage gamblers that were on their books from 2011-2015. This accounts for winnings at both the slot machines and their gaming tables. The Tropicana wasn’t hit nearly as hard. However, they had to turn over $2,200 for their underage gambling woes. Their offenses were found between 2013-2015.
Any money that had been profited by the underage gamblers was withdrawn from the casinos and turned over to authorities. Forfeiture proceedings are in progress. The money was earned in unscrupulous manners from the underage gambler. The state has found a good way to use the money for good. They will use it to help the disabled and seniors around the state. A fund has been set up and will keep the money to fund various projects. It was a tough lesson to learn for any establishment, but even a computer error can be costly when it involves allowing minors access to systems that are mandated against state policy.
Surprisingly, the casinos did not contest any of the fines and were compliant with all the mandates handed down to them. Certainly now they are under the watchful eye of the gaming authority. It will be important to make sure that they have everything in order to prevent fines of this capacity again. The revenues in this area have already showed a steady loss. For the month of August 2015, the gaming authority showed a loss of five percent of revenues for the Atlantic City area.
While some say it is just a computer error, others think that perhaps some are being more liberal and allowing things to slide to make up for the revenues they’ve lost. Regardless of what happened, the watchful eye of the gaming authority is not going to pay special attention to these matters and ensure everyone is operating according to the law.