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Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert >> Gambling with New Jersey’s Casino Advertising Rules: A Bad Bet

March 11, 2014

In late 2013, New Jersey saw the launch of its first licensed internet gambling services. It should be no surprise that an industry as heavily regulated as gambling would introduce detailed regulations regarding advertising for these new wagering methods. The rules both restrict what can be said and where it can be said, as well as mandate what must be said.

What is an “Advertisement”?
New Jersey’s casino advertising regulations begin with a broad definition of the term “advertisement,” explaining that it means “any notice or communication” by an applicant for a casino license or a licensee to the public of “any information” concerning the gaming-related business of an applicant or licensee through broadcasting, publication, or “any other means of dissemination.” The rules also provide that an applicant or licensee is responsible for all advertisements that are made by its agents, regardless of whether the applicant or licensee participated directly in the preparation, placement, or dissemination of those ads.

Despite the inclusive nature of the term “advertisement,” the regulations provide that certain notices and communications are not advertisements; nevertheless, they are subject to review and approval as required under the New Jersey Casino Control Act (the Act). The items excluded from the term “advertisement” are:

1. Any sign, notice, or other information required to be provided by the Act, including:

  • notices regarding the rules of the games;
  • information about rules of the games and payoffs of winning wagers and odds;
  • gaming guides;
  • information imprinted on gaming table layouts;
  • information imprinted, impressed, affixed, or engraved on slot machines or bill changers.

2. Any signs or other directional devices contained in a casino or casino simulcasting facility for the purpose of identifying the location of authorized games or the locations from which simulcast wagers may be made.

3. The distribution of a prepared statement containing information or news of general interest to persons employed in the reporting of this information or news to the public, such as newspapers, periodicals, radio, or television stations.

Criteria Governing Advertisements
The rules state that advertising “shall be based upon fact, and shall not be false, deceptive or misleading.” With that said, the rules also specifically provide that no advertising shall:

1. Use any type, size, location, lighting, illustration, graphic depiction, or color resulting in the obscuring of any material fact; or

2. Fail to specifically designate any material conditions or limiting factors.

Mandatory Language
Under the rules, any on-site advertising of casino or casino simulcasting facility operations must contain the phrase “Bet With Your Head, Not Over It,” or some comparable language approved by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Similarly, all advertising that appears in print or on a billboard or sign must contain the words “If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER” or some comparable language approved by the Division. The advertising must contain, legibly, the words “gambling problem” and “call 1-800-GAMBLER.”

A key requirement of the law is that the gambler be physically located in New Jersey.  Therefore, advertising campaigns will seek to target these in-state residents.  Any direct response online campaigns may need to consider geo-fencing.  

Division Approval
New Jersey requires that casino licensees or applicants maintain all advertising, or a sample of standard or recurring advertising, that is directly related to casino gaming or casino gaming activity for one year from its placement. These ads must be made available or produced for inspection on the request of the Division.

In addition, each casino licensee or applicant must maintain a file containing samples of the types and forms of advertising and promotional materials not directly related to casino gaming or casino gaming activity for a period of six months from the date of placement; these samples also must be made available or produced for inspection on the request of the Division.


The Bottom Line

New Jersey casino licensees or applicants who seek to advertise should be familiar with the rules and regulations governing their ads. Avoiding potential legal issues with their advertising can allow licensees and applicants to focus on their own businesses and their customers.