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PokerStars Fined $10,000 for Taking Collegiate Sports Bets

Date Posted: April 24, 2019

On April 22, the largest poker site in the world was slapped with the highest sports betting fine ever sanctioned by New Jersey.

PokerStars, the operator of the sportsbook BetStars NJ, was asked to pay $10,000 — an amount way higher than what used to be the biggest sports betting fine in NJ which was $2,000. The sanction was given after the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement found out that the bookmaker accepted over 200 wagers on sports which the state law prohibits from being included in the events that sportsbooks offer to punters for betting.

The betting company took 216 wagers totaling to $2,756.89 on a men’s basketball game between Rutgers University and Eastern Michigan University in November 2018, the Press of Atlantic City reported. Similarly, BetStars accepted more bets on another basketball game, this time played between Monmouth University and the University of Pennsylvania.

While sports betting is legal in New Jersey, the state law provides that it is illegal for sportsbooks to open betting lines for collegiate sporting events involving colleges or universities from NJ. When asked why they accepted bets on collegiate sports, Pokerstars said it was all a tech mishap.


Matt Primeaux, Senior Vice President for Strategy & Operations of The Stars Group in USA, told the Press of Atlantic City:

“We generally don’t comment on regulatory matters like these, but we had a manual gating error from our international games into New Jersey. We cooperated with the DGE as we always do, have learnt from the problem, and are confident it won’t reoccur.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Ray Lesniak, the main proponent of the legalization of sports betting in the Garden State, argues still that making illegal the wagering on collegiate sporting events in the state should be lifted. He said:

“If it’s not going to affect the integrity of the pros, it’s not going to affect the college kids.”