April 23, 2019 3 min read


Why Did PokerStars Get Fined in New Jersey?

  • PokerStars is fined $10,000 for accepting wagers on college contests
  • Illegal college betting continues offshore, experts say
  • Banning betting odds at licensed operator not a solution

PokerStars gets fined for college sports betting in New Jersey. The state’s regulator has slapped The Stars Group-owned company with $10,000 for taking bets on college basketball games.

PokerStars’ Sports Betting Operations Fined in New Jersey

The Stars Group is mostly known for its card room, PokerStars, but in the face of tough legislation, the online poker operator has been adapting quickly. One of its latest incarnations is a sportsbook which just got fined in New Jersey.

According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) the state’s watchdog, PokerStars has accepted wagers on basketball games between college teams.

PokerStars accepted 216 bets featuring various outcomes on the gam between NJ’s Rutgers University Scarlett Knights and the Eastern Michigan University Eagles that took place in November, 2018.

Later in January, 2019, PokerStars also accepted a single wager on NJ’s Monmouth University Hawks vs the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. While the regulator was tacit about the value of the bet, accepting wagers on competitions featuring state universities is prohibited.

Acknowledging that the company had breached the stature, PokerStars agreed to refund all bets and conceded to the regulator’s fine. This is what The Stars Group VP for Strategy & Operations USA Matt Primeaux had to tell The Press of Atlantic City via e-mail:

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.

An Honest Debate About College Betting

The argument against seems understandable. Lawmakers and coaches fear that the integrity of the contest can be undermined should betting be invited openly. However, offshore betting continues to fetch a juicy chunk of the industry.

Estimated $150 billion go down into illegal or offshore sportsbooks every year, the American Gaming Authority (AGA) estimates.  There is nothing really curbing those offshore operators from accepting bets on contests in New Jersey.

In essence, the competition can still be stilted if athletes wanted to participate in any form of match-fixing. By turning a blind eye to what goes offshore, the state’s a regulator is inadvertently inviting trouble. Sports betting is much bigger than the betting that is licensed and in the state.

According to Dustin Gourke, a respected iGaming journalist and industry analyst, this is precisely where the issues lies.

Having betting out in the open where it can be monitored and seen is a lot more effective in discovering unusual betting patterns and thereby preserving the integrity of the game

PokerStars is not the only operator to be fined in New Jersey. Bwin.party suffered $81,000 for having allowed problem gamblers place bets and Rush Street Interactive fetched a $30,000-penalty for failing to prevent underage gamblers from access its platform.


As an avid follower of sports and the newly recognized industry of esports, Heidi uses her expertise to help the team push out the best sports content. She is also continually learning more about the gambling industry in general and pushes out a variety of content.

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