New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has released Regulations for Skill-Based Gaming
By Lisa Robertson-Dziedzic
The odds of the Garden State soon allowing skill-based gaming have just gone up. On February 23, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that they have issued temporary guidelines for their usage, unveiling the rules that will dictate how companies could run these types of games, games where the outcome is influenced by the player’s abilities. This is in sharp contracts to slot machines and other traditional gambling games based largely on chance.
Officials say that skill games, including video games or sports competitions, could be a viable way to boost Atlantic City revenues, which has seen four casinos close in the last two years amid increasing competition from legalized gambling in neighboring states.
“This is another important step towards implementing skill-based gaming in the Atlantic City gaming market. Although the Division has had the authority to authorize these games for some time and announced in October 2014 an initiative for manufacturers to bring their skill-based games to New Jersey, the industry requested specific regulations to guide their efforts to create innovative skill-based products,” stated Division Director David Rebuck.
The Division’s regulations mirror the Nevada skill-based regulations published in September 2015, so that any product approved in New Jersey would also be eligible for approval in Las Vegas and vice versa. “While the Division does not currently have any skill-based products in its Technical Services Lab, we are in discussions regarding several products and hope the clarity provided by these regulations will bring even more submissions in this cutting edge area that converges traditional casino gaming with the skill-based gaming so popular with millennials,” stated Director Rebuck.
State Sen. Jim Whelan, a former Atlantic City mayor, said skill games could attract millennials to the Jersey Shore resort town. “Video games are something they grew up with,” Whelan said. “They may not want to play a traditional slot machine.”
The recently released guidelines include requirements that the games pay out a certain percentage of bets made. They also prohibit casinos from making the games harder or easier to win while a game is already in progress, based on a player’s skill. And they create monitoring programs to guard against collusion and money laundering.
The temporary regulations for skill based gaming can be found on http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/docs/TempRegs/skilledbasedgaming.