New Jersey Lacks Jurisdiction

Sportingbet.com says the State of New Jersey has no jurisdiction to sue the company. Sportingbet.com is one of eight gaming sites sued by the state last week in civil, not criminal, actions.

New Jersey alleges that the sites violate New Jersey law by accepting wagers from individuals who reside in the state.

Sportingbet.com, based in Alderney – one of the Channel Islands, near England — is one of the defendants. So is Sportsbook.com, which is based in Costa Rica and was acquired by Sportingbet.com in July.

In a statement Monday, Sportingbet.com said it has not been served with court papers from New Jersey.

“Sportingbet has no U.S. subsidiaries or physical operations, personnel or other assets within the United States,” the statement continued. “Accordingly, the Company does not believe that the State of New Jersey has jurisdiction to bring any such actions against Sportingbet or its subsidiaries.

“Sportingbet’s policy is to conduct its business throughout the world within an appropriate licensed framework and with the highest standards of scrutiny and integrity.”

The company has an online gaming license from Alderney. No U.S. state licenses online gaming and Nevada is the only state that permits real-world sports betting.

NASA Sports International, another of the major sports betting sites that were sued, had no comment. The company said in a statement that “we have received no notification of any proceedings or actions in New Jersey and have no knowledge of the subject. We therefore can not make any comments at this time.”

One of the defendants is listed as Laythepoints.com. That’s a URL used by SBG Global Sportsbook, which operates from Costa Rica. Kerry Hand, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said Laythepoints.com formerly had a billboard on the Atlantic City Expressway, facing traffic leaving Atlantic City.

The owner of SBG Global, who requested that his name not be used, said the billboard had been placed by a marketing firm retained by SBG Global.

“We’re not endorsing anybody to break any laws,” he said, adding, “I can open up an account with the OTB (Off-Track Betting) in New York and bet from any state. What’s the difference?”

He said that when he receives notification of the suit, he’ll discuss it with his lawyers and perhaps consider changing SBG Global’s policy of accepting wagers from New Jersey. “We’d be foolish to disregard it,” he said. “We want to be able to stay in business. We don’t want to create any more difficulties than already exist.”

Another defendant is listed as 2betdsi.com, which is a URL for Diamond Sporstbook International. Robert Williams, marketing director of Diamond, told RGT Online that his company makes no effort to target New Jersey for advertising.

“We advertise all over North America,” Williams said. “We’re in every publication, like everybody else — the sports annuals, the betting guides, as well as customers that we would mail to.”

Asked if Diamond has customers in New Jersey, he said, “Every sports book has customers in New Jersey.”

Hand said that Diamond had run a full-page ad in Atlantic City Tourist magazine. Another defendant – she didn’t know which one – had advertised on radio in New Jersey and another had sent a direct mail piece to the post office box of the state’s Attorney General.