Football Is Back, And State Regulators Are Reminding You To ‘Steer Clear’ Of Illegal Sportsbooks

Written By Grant Lucas on September 6, 2023
new york giants coach brian daboll during game

College football is underway. The NFL kicks off its regular season on Thursday. And New Jersey officials are taking this time to remind bettors to avoid illegal and offshore sports betting platforms when they place wagers this season.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement, the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Consumer Affairs released a joint press release last week to urge bettors to “steer clear” of those illegal sites.

They also reminded users that using licensed NJ sportsbooks “is the only way to ensure operators are doing business under regulatory oversight and abiding by the laws that protect consumers against fraud, deceit, and other illegal conduct.”

Illegal NJ sportsbooks provide ‘numerous’ problems

Legal sports betting in New Jersey launched in 2018, allowing individuals within state lines to bet on professional and college sports. However, state law prohibits NJ sportsbooks from accepting wagers on college events that take place in the Garden State or involve teams from New Jersey.

That last restriction can sometimes drive bettors to offshore sportsbooks. But David Rebuck, director of the DGE, emphasized the issue with those illegal platforms.

“The problems with illegal sportsbooks are numerous,” Rebuck said in a press release.

“They lack oversight to ensure customers are actually paid what they won as well as security protocols to safeguard sensitive personal and financial information, like Social Security numbers and bank data.”

Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, first assistant to the Attorney General, echoed that legal sportsbooks in NJ ensure that customers can enjoy regulated sports betting “safely and securely.”

“Sportsbooks and daily fantasy sites licensed and authorized to operate in New Jersey are subject to nation-leading consumer safeguards against fraud, identity theft, and unscrupulous actors; however, illegal sites have none of these protections,” Ruotolo said. “This season, we urge fans to stick with regulated websites to avoid scams and bogus offers.”

Things to look for to spot illegal sportsbooks

Along with their comments, officials also provided some tips to identify if your sportsbook operates illegally in New Jersey.

Some signs include sportsbooks:

  • Accepting deposits or making payments in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.
  • Offering bets on political contests, which are not approved by DGE as events for sports wagering.
  • Charging fees for processing deposits or withdrawals.
  • Advertising bonuses and promotions that seem too good to be true.
  • Operating without a “.com” or using a domain from outside the United States.

These sites, officials said, lack operational and financial controls as well as proper and timely payment processing. In addition, customers with these platforms, which may lack anti-money laundering controls, could also have difficulty resolving disputes.

Football season gets underway for NJ sportsbooks

Unsurprisingly, September is a time when New Jersey sports betting really picks up, thanks to the return of football.

Over the past five years, NJ sports betting has seen handle and revenue spike this time of year. The average month-to-month growth from August to September clocks in around 43.5%.

In the past two years, month-over-month handle jumped an average $333.2 million in handle and $63.1 million in revenue – significant increases over one month.

No doubt, NJ sportsbooks will see similar spikes this year with college football and the NFL getting into full swing.

Photo by Abbie Parr / AP Photo
Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant now focuses his attention on the growing NJ online gambling and sports betting scene.

View all posts by Grant Lucas
Privacy Policy