Summary: The SugarHouse online casino in New Jersey, PlaySugarHouse, was recently fined for underage gambling. Will the fine cause issue in Pennsylvania as the brand looks to operate in another state?
The state of Pennsylvania is said to be starting their online gambling industry this year. The option was legally approved in late 2017 and last year, lawmakers began setting up regulations and operators obtained licensing and created partnerships to get started. One such operating entity in the region is to be Rush Street Interactive. The company operates the SugarHouse Casino, a land-based venue in the state. They are already operating online gaming in another state, New Jersey, with their PlaySugarHouse site. The online gaming site was recently fined for underage gaming and many are wondering if the brand might have trouble in Pennsylvania due to the incident.
In the US, states that offer online gaming has an age limit restriction of 21. Players must verify their age and be 21 or over to take part. This month, it was made public that Rush Street Interactive was fined by the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey for an underage gambling incident that took place back in June of last year.
The company was fined $30,000 for allowing underage users to access the online casino from November 2016 until January 2018. In a report by the DGE, thirteen individuals aged 18 to 20 were able to create accounts at the online gambling site and place wagers. Three of the individuals made deposits while the remaining 10 used bonus cash for wagering.
In total, just under $5,000 was spent by the players in wagers. It was reported that the individuals were able to open accounts due to a software defect in the RSI code. The problem started with the Know Your Customer age verification system of the SugarHouse. A birthdate must be provided to verify age. When operating correctly, the program stops underage players from creating an account.
The problem was that the software was using a three year variation of the birthdate entered. This allowed the younger players to be considered of age and granted an account.
Rush Street Interactive has taken measures to fix the problem and do not anticipate any issues going forward. However, it now begs the question as to if the company will be affected in the future with operations in Pennsylvania as they plan to provide online gaming here as well.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has to be aware of the issue ad spokesman for the group, Doug Harbach, commented recently via email as reported by PlayPennsylvania that the group would not comment on a violation outside their jurisdiction and its effect on a gaming license in their state, particularly since Pennsylvania has yet to launch online games.
In response to the issue coming to light, Rush Street Interactive has commented on the fine. In a statement, the company stated that they take the matter very seriously and as soon as the team found the misconfiguration, it was self-reported to the Gaming Commission and immediate action was taken to correct the issue as well as stop any recurrence.
The company pointed out that responsible gaming is a top priority for them. It seems for now, the operator will still be able to function in Pennsylvania once online gaming comes to pass, but it would not be surprising to see the DGE keeping a close eye on the operator once gaming is live online.