New Jersey regulator publishes temporary skill games regulations

New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has published temporary regulations for skill-based gaming as the state looks to attract a new demographic to Atlantic City casinos.

It will allow the DGE to legalise casino games in which the outcome is dependent in whole or in part on a player’s physical dexterity or mental ability.

The regulations state that these games must pay out 83 per cent, although games that rely entirely on skill or do not use a random number generator are not required to achieve a minimum theoretical hold percentage.

They can contain a feature allowing players to gain an advantage over others, provided all players are made aware of this mechanic. Such features may include enhancements that can be purchased or randomly awarded.

Skill-based games can be contested between a player and a computerised or house-sponsored opponent, provided the licensee discloses when such an opponent is playing. The participant should also have the option to refuse to compete against this opponent.

Peer-to-peer skill-based gaming may also come with an adaptive feature to increase the payback percentage in order to improve the return to player, with the DGE monitoring games for collusion and money laundering activity.

“This is another important step towards implementing skill-based gaming in the Atlantic City gaming market,” DGE director Dave Rebuck commented.

“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,” he explained.

The regulations mirror Nevada’s skill-based regulations, published in September 2015, so that any product approved in New Jersey will be eligible for approval in Las Vegas and vice versa.

However, the New Jersey First provision gives companies that bring their skill-based products to the state before any other jurisdiction an additional advantage. Gaming products that are submitted to New Jersey prior to, or simultaneously with, any other jurisdiction or testing lab for approval may be put on the casino floor within 14 days.

Rebuck added that while no skill-based products were currently being tested, he believes that the new regulations will attract operators.

“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,” he said.


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