Sportsbooks throughout the Garden State received state guidance this weekend on how to handle outstanding NJ sports betting tickets.
After initially stating that New Jersey sports betting operators should act accordingly with their house rules, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement laid out additional guidelines for settling wagers.
The guidance deals with wagers that could be considered outstanding, as well as those on canceled events. All major professional and collegiate sporting events in the United States have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus concerns.
What does NJ sports betting guidance say?
The New Jersey DGE sent out the following information to sportsbook operators in the state:
“… the Division is also cognizant that there is significant ambiguity with the sports calendar as well as unclear house rules and wants to provide the following guidance:
1. If a wager has mathematically won or lost but the season/event has not been completed, you should grade the bet. For instance, if you have Team X to win over 35 games and it has already done so, you can pay out those bets. If a Team has already clinched a division title, you can pay out that bet and grade all the rest as losers.
2. All single game wagers on events that have been cancelled can be voided pursuant to your house rules or N.J.A.C. 13:69N-1.11. For instance, all wagers on the 2020 NCAA Basketball tournament should be voided.
3. For single game wagers on events that have been postponed or futures bets on leagues that have temporarily suspended their season, a sportsbook can choose to void the wager(s) if house rules permit it. If house rules do not permit voiding wagers on postponed events, operators shall wait 30 days to ascertain whether the event will be rescheduled and the Division will provide further guidance at the expiration of the 30 days.
4. For all parlays, if an open leg is cancelled and your house rules are silent on treatment of this situation, you should pay out the parlay at the adjusted odds when the open event(s) are removed. Nothing in the above guidance precludes sports book operators from comping affected players.
Coronavirus affecting sportsbooks nationwide
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy recommended earlier this week that all gatherings larger than 250 people should be canceled or postponed. By Sunday afternoon, the federal Centers for Disease Control tightened guidance to recommend any gathering of 50 or more people be delayed or eliminated.
Whether that guidance ultimately leads to the shutdown of casinos in New Jersey or elsewhere remains to be seen. Casinos in multiple states have closed either voluntarily or under a government mandate.
Wynn Las Vegas announced the closure of its sportsbook and poker room Friday, then the shuttering of the resort and sister property Encore for two weeks starting Sunday.
MGM Resorts quickly followed suit, announcing an indefinite closure and no reservations accepted before May 1.