To operate online gambling services in the state of New Jersey, operators must obtain licensing and be connected to a land-based venue. Two operators who have been operating in the state without meeting these conditions have now decided to remove their services. Both Bookmaker.eu and BetOnline.ag have stopped offering services, providing players with details on how to cashout, but not revealing why they are shutting down.
Several reports have surfaced detailing the information regarding the shutdown. According to SportsBook Advisor, customers in New Jersey received an email from BetOnline that stated players will not be accepted from the state based on the site’s terms and conditions. Accounts of players in the Garden State have been closed. Any pending wagers will be cancelled and refunded.
Players have until September 30th to withdraw funds from BetOnline. A similar email was reportedly sent to players from the state by Bookmaker revealing the closure.
These sites have been operating in the state for years and continue to do so in other states across the US. So, why the shutdown? It seems that the operators may be getting worried about prosecution from local officials if they continue to offer services.
Last year, Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck stated that the group would be coming down hard on the unlicensed sites as well as those who promote the services provided by the brands.
Rebuck specifically was targeting sports betting operations. At the time of his comments, the sports betting market of the state had just kicked off. Rebuck pointed out that while the new regulated operations would cannibalize the black markets, there are still thousands of websites that accept US wagers illegally. Bookmaker and BetOnline fit into these categories.
It is interesting to note that the time of the shutdown is quite odd. Both Bookmaker and BetOnline have operated for years in the state, having defied various legislation to do so. They even continued to offer services after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act was introduced in 2006, unlike most other operators who got out while they could.
Prosecuting offshore online gambling is quite difficult or should we say, time consuming. Federal prosecutors seem to show little interest in taking the time as well as providing the resources to prosecute the black market when there are other crimes that are more important.
The last time major steps were taken against illegal online gambling operations was back in 2011 when Black Friday took place and online poker indictments were made. Such brands as PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet and Full Tile saw major issues due to the push by the government.
For now, players will be left without these options in New Jersey. However, the state has no shortage of online gambling sites to choose from, by operators who are held accountable by the regulators who have strict guidelines as to how services are to be offered.
We shall see in the coming weeks if BetOnline or Bookmaker provide more details as to why they decided to shut down services in the state or perhaps a reason may never be given.