Online Gambler Must Forfeit $90K for Playing Outside NJ

Summary: An online gambler from California must pay over $90,000 due to gambling online in New Jersey while not being located in the state.

In the United States, online gambling is alive and well. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have offered online gambling options for many years now, since 2013. Players must be physically located in the state to do so and geo-location services are used to determine a player’s location.

If the player is found to be located outside the state, then they are not given access to services. One player recently was court ordered to pay over $90,000 after being found to have gambled online in New Jersey while not located within state borders.

Gambling Outside State Lines

Vinh Dao is a gambler from California who was recently ordered by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to pay close to $93,000 from money he earned while playing online. Dao reportedly played at sites connected to the Caesars and Borgata Casinos in Atlantic City. Dao was found to have been in violation of the gambling laws in New Jersey were it is required that players be located physically in the state to play games.

Dao was open to working with the Division and negotiated to reach an end in his case. It was agreed that Dao would be allowed to keep $2,500 and the remaining $93,000 was to be paid back to the state. The case first began back in early 2014, when geolocation technology was still being worked on. The casinos were Dao was able to wager from may also face fines in the future for not adhering to geolocation regulations.

Geolocation Technology

In New Jersey, there are strict rules regarding geolocation technology and how it is used to determine the location of players in the state. Reportedly, there are attempts daily from players located outside the state who try to take part in online gaming.

With geolocation, a digital fence so to speak is created around the state. Wireless carrier data along with other information is used to detect the location of players trying to access gaming. Geolocation technology will rely heavily on connections that smartphones make to cell phone towers nearby. The cellphone tower data help to configure a location. If players are found to be in the state physically, they are given access.

Paying the Price

The money that is forfeited by Dao will be split to go towards programs that help compulsive gambling treatment and prevention as well as helping the disabled and senior citizens. It is unclear as to if Caesars Interactive and the Borgata will have to pay any money due to the breach.

There have been several cases as of late involving casino companies accepting wagers from players who are ineligible to play at the sites. In some cases, the players were younger than the 21 and over age limit. In other instances, the players were on a self-exclusion list and were allowed to play anyway. In Dao’s case of course, he was not in the state when he accessed gaming.

While most gaming companies do not mean to give players access, instances such as this fall through the cracks. Such operators seemingly try to stick to the rules and regulations in their region. When an issue arises, every operator has adhered to the ruling of their gaming regulator, paying fines or making changes to ensure that players are protected.

It will be interesting to see if the operators in this case are affected, be it a fine or other form of penalty. It seems they too will most likely have to pay the price for the player gaining access to the gaming sites while not being located in the state physically.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.