2014 Case Of Illegal Online Gambling Outside NJ Ends With $90K Forfeiture

Posted By Bill Gelman on March 7, 2019

The largest reported forfeiture case in NJ online casino history is finally settled, five years later.

Vinh Dao, a California man, agreed to forfeit more than $90,000 from online gambling accounts in New Jersey that he funded and gambled with while outside of state lines.

The ongoing case dates back to February 2014, according to an Associated Press story. Legal NJ online casinos launched in November 2013.

The accounts were located at WSOP.com NJ, which falls under the Caesars Interactive license. BorgataCasino.com and NJpartypoker.com (both under the Borgata license) were the others.

More from the DGE complaint

NJ online casino regulations require gamblers to be in New Jersey. Creating accounts and wagering from California is a big no-no. It is entirely possible that Caesars and Borgata will be handed fines related to this case.

Play NJ received a copy of the complaint from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. It includes details of Dao’s illegal internet gambling accounts. To read the complete report, click here.

From the DGE complaint:

“By depositing and wagering from online accounts from outside of New Jersey, Respondent Dao is a prohibited person pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12.-71.3 and 5:12-95.23.

“Because he is a prohibited person, the funds in Respondent Dao’s online gaming accounts are subject to forfeiture pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-71.3. The funds in such accounts are to be considered as completed gaming transactions because they are ‘owed’ by New Jersey casino licensees to a prohibited person.”

The total amount under review was $92,613.94.

Dao through his attorney Guy S. MichaelEsq., cooperated in reaching a settlement.

Money trail from New Jersey to California

The DGE report provides a breakdown of exactly how much money was in each of Dao’s accounts:

  • WSOP: $11,o74.70
  • Borgata Casino: $81,539.23
  • Party Poker: $0.01

Additionally, his accounts with bwin.party (Borgata) and 888 (Caesars Interactive) were frozen.

Because Dao was prohibited from engaging in NJ online gambling, Caesars’ and Borgata’s assets tied to Dao’s accounts were subject to forfeiture by order of the DGE under NJ law, according to the complaint.

As part of the settlement, both Borgata ($79,539.24) and Caesars ($10,574.70) agreed to forfeit the remaining funds.

Borgata and CIE returned $2,000 and $500, respectively, to Dao. Neither Caesars Interactive or Borgata commented on the case.

According to the AP, the forfeited money will be split between a fund for senior citizens and the disabled, and programs to prevent or treat problem gambling.

Bypassing the NJ online gambling geofence

The question on everyone’s minds, however, is how was Dao able to crack the system, at least temporarily.

New Jersey online gambling operators are required to have an approved system of geolocation that ensures all wagers being made via their online gaming platforms occur in New Jersey. And only in New Jersey.

This includes online casinos as well as NJ online poker and NJ online sports betting operators. Geolocation technology, or digital fencing, is built into the platforms. Usually players have to download the geolocation software or accept the geolocation terms of service.

GeoComply is currently one of the providers of this cutting-edge technology that monitors intrastate online gambling in New Jersey.

The technology not only keeps NJ online gambling within the state’s borders, but it ensures the state complies with the federal Wire Act.

Companies like GeoComply have the ability to use some 350 data points to locate players.

While the company is not at liberty to discuss specific cases, GeoComply did provide Play NJ with a statement:

“We can say that an important component of any effective geolocation system, including ours, is the active monitoring for any indication of behavior that detects potentially suspicious behavior. Such behavior is actively reported to regulators and operators in order to allow for appropriate action to be taken.”

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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