NJ to fine sports books asking players to cancel withdrawals

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Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE In this Sept. 9, 2018 file photo, customers watch an NFL game in a sports betting lounge, in Atlantic City, N.J. New Jersey's top gambling regulator is threatening to fine sports books operating in his state that ask customers to cancel requests to cash out money from their accounts, saying the practice is ongoing and "unacceptable."(AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – New Jersey's top gambling regulator is threatening to fine sports books operating in his state that ask customers to cancel requests to cash out money from their accounts, saying the practice is ongoing and “unacceptable.”

In some cases, sports books have offered to give players cash bonuses if they cancel withdrawal requests, according to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

In a letter posted Wednesday to the division's website, Rebuck did not name the sports books who have engaged in this practice, nor did he say how many complaints the division has received of such activity.

But he wrote that trying to talk customers out of withdrawing funds from their accounts violates numerous state rules.

“Patrons who request withdrawals have the right to receive their funds as expeditiously as possible," he wrote. "Operators should clearly understand that the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests for the purpose of resuming gaming activity.”

New Jersey has become the national leader in sports betting in the U.S., taking more than $6 billion worth of such wagers last year. In December, its casinos and horse tracks took nearly $1 billion in sports bets, setting the latest in a string of national records for the most money wagered on sports in a single month.

Its regulatory structure is considered to be among the most stringent in the nation, and has served as a model for numerous other states as they adopted their own sports betting legislation over the past three years.

Still, the head of the Stop Predatory Gambling organization on Friday accused the New Jersey attorney general's office, which oversees the DGE, of “moral hypocrisy” for launching high-profile litigation against the opioid industry, while treating sports books with much more leniency.