Player Protection Symposium: New Jersey gaming enforcement director says agency must keep track of new trends, problem gaming

July 13, 2022 4:07 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
July 13, 2022 4:07 PM

When David Rebuck was appointed New Jersey’s deputy attorney general in 1988, issues with the gaming industry were constantly brought to the attention of the state’s top legal agency. Those issues continued through the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the “industry was feeling the angst of overregulation,” according to Rebuck.

“Since I was low man on the totem pole, I got to go to Atlantic City,” says Rebuck, now the Director of the”¯New Jersey”¯Division of Gaming Enforcement. “I did some research and preparation, and the meeting was a disaster. The industry hated the regulators. The regulators hated each other. The debates were overwhelmingly oppressive and nothing was accomplished.

“I remember going back to the attorney general and saying, ‘These people are crazy. They can’t get along on anything.'”

Rebcuck spoke Tuesday during Martin Lycka’s “Safe Bet Show” at the Player Protection Symposium at the Midtown Loft and Terrace in Manhattan. The discussion was part of the kickoff of this year’s SBC Summit North America. Lycka, who hosted the one-on-one discussion with Rebuck, is Entain’s SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling

More than 20 years after first getting involved in the gaming industry, Rebuck noted that relations between his agency and operators have improved. But the advent of new forms of gambling, especially igaming and sports betting, requires constant vigilance. Rebuck said the NJDGE monitors all facets of gaming, including keeping track of marketing campaigns – “The running joke with my staff is that I get very upset at times with marketing people,” he said – in order to ensure the best interests of consumers are met.

“We want a better sense of what’s going on with advertising, content, volume, targeting,” he said. “We also want a better sense of the promotions to make sure that they’re not deceptive.”

Rebuck insisted that keeping abreast of problem gaming is paramount for New Jersey. The emergence of online gaming in 2013 was an “eye opener” in terms of how the NJDGE needed to constantly evolve its approach.

“When I look at New Jersey, we have to act now,” Rebuck said. “That’s always been my message to my staff. I have a great staff, but they know we have to act now. If we’re holding ourselves up to be the pinnacle of regulation for retail, sports, and online (gambling) and you put yourself at the pinnacle, you better do everything that’s possible to stay there.”

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.