New Jersey Clarifies Casino Bonus Rules

Those operators who will be offering their services in New Jersey towards the end of November have been asking questions regarding bonusing their players, and David Rebuck, Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement has answered their calls. Player bonuses is one area of the business where there is potential for operators and players to fall into disagreements regarding playthrough amounts and withdrawal restrictions. If there are lessons to be learned from existing operators then those lessons are that bonuses need clear terms and conditions, and just as importantly, players need to know that those terms and conditions actually exist. Mr Rebuck pointed out that....

  • Operators can offer bonuses with a cash-out restriction, commonly in the form of a wagerthrough requirement. However, players must always be allowed to withdraw an amount equal to their original deposit where their accounts have a credit balance.
  • Once a player’s account balance reaches zero, any bonus promo ends; in other words, operators may not carry forward the wager requirements to the next deposit by the player.
  • The operator may require that a customer’s first bets come from his or her deposit before the casino’s matching funds are wagered.
  • Players can abandon a promotional offer partway through, and cash out any initial deposit that remains in the player account.
  • Full operator disclosure on the terms and conditions of any promo or bonus must be made, including details of wagering and cash-out restrictions.
  • Operators may not impose a cap on winnings resulting from a bonus.
  • In the case of the New Jersey market opening, there will initially be a 30-day moratorium on wager based promotions, counted from the first day on which online gambling is available generally to punters within New Jersey’s borders.
  • Operators who intend to offer such promotions must be able to demonstrate to the regulator that it has the administrative capability to generate accurate revenue reports.
  • None of these online gambling restrictions will apply where the operator has associated the promo with its land gambling promotional offerings.

Operators need to be aware that they will be bombarded with questions regarding bonuses and cashing out, as existing operations elsewhere in the world will tell them, these contribute to a huge amount of customer support inquiries. An interesting point is that there may be no cap on winnings generated from a bonus, this means free chip offers and the likes could be a source of much controversy when huge wins are hit when the player is basically playing for free. Also the fact that players may abandon a promotion part way through may cause some issues. Let's imagine that a player has made a deposit, and after some time believes that they cannot make the wagering requirements. So, they just say.."No, I don't want that promotion anymore," that could lead to problems. These rules may be changed over time as New Jersey learns the big difference in online and land based casino play, and in the short term it is important that players are made aware of all bonus rules.