Why Do NJ Casinos Require Social Security Number?

Added on May 13, 2019, in Gambling Articles by Gambling Gurus

In order to prevent underage gambling, protect the integrity of the games, and prevent money laundering, licensed NJ sports betting sites and NJ casinos operated by Atlantic City casinos have imposed a verification check on all players who register on the site.

The procedure requires that the registrant provides the name, address, social security number, and other personal information. Unfortunately, this requirement has proven problematic for the New Jersey gaming establishments.

Why Do These Sites Require Your SSN?

Since the passing of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in 1970, casinos have been treated as financial institutions. As such, they must abide by the same laws as financial institutions, especially ones that pertain to money laundering. According to the BSA, each casino is obligated to secure and maintain a record of the name, permanent address, and social security number of the person who makes a casino deposit.

While some people have not expressed concerns about sharing their social security number, a large percentage of people is still unwilling to reveal it as they believe their privacy will be compromised. Casino operators in New Jersey have come across some very enthusiastic reactions when it comes to giving up those nine secret digits.

The online horse racing industry has been fighting this battle from the beginning, also having experienced similar reactions from potential players, but the IRS and FinCEN are relentless when it comes to the requirements they impose on gambling operators.  

The legislation states that during the player’s registration process, a casino operator must create an electronic patron file that must include the entire or, in some cases, the last four digits of the patron’s social security number.

If a foreign player wishes to open an account, he/she is obligated to provide identification papers such as a taxpayer identification number or a passport. This is a strict law that the government takes very seriously. After September 11, 2001, the US government has imposed this law with great rigor. Although that has been a major disincentive for many potential players, we have no other choice but to accept it and move on.

Today, the regulations specifically say that operators must keep track of either all nine or the last four digits of players’ social security numbers. Furthermore, the casino is obligated to “secure and maintain” all nine digits of the social security number when a player makes a deposit.

All casinos but three have opted to request all nine digits from players.  Virgin and Tropicana have chosen to demand only the last four digits while they would obtain the remaining five from one of their service providers. That is most certainly one of the reasons why Tropicana has been one of the premier casinos in the business for some time now.

It’s no secret that players have been hesitant about giving up all nine digits. That is particularly the case when the operator asks them to download software onto their computer to track them while rejecting their credit cards and asking for their bank account details.  

Recently, some rumors have been circling throughout the burgeoning industry. According to the industry sources, the IRS has recently been questioning the practice of obtaining “only” the last four digits. We’ve been hearing some rumors that claim that casinos requiring four digits may have to revert to asking for all nine. That could potentially massively disrupt the industry. Apart from affecting the state of New Jersey, this law will have an impact on every state that chooses to embrace online gaming.

According to some of the leading experts on BSA, the argument for demanding only four digits is more than sound, as long as the casino “secures and maintains” the entire nine-digit number from another source at the time funds are deposited. After all, it should not matter where the social security number came from.

Is Your Information Safe?

Most people feel very protective of their social security number. They are under the impression that casinos may somehow misuse this information and jeopardize their privacy. But the truth of the matter is that they have nothing to worry about as casinos are highly regulated, just like any other financial institution.

Moreover, both the companies that perform ID checks and the casinos that provide online gaming services are licensed and regulated. Also, third-party companies that are hired to inspect player verification checks must be licensed and vetted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Why Do Some Online Casinos Ask for the Last Four Digits Only?

As we mentioned earlier, some casino operators ask for all nine digits of your social security number, while others ask for the last four digits only. Although it might seem that there is a significant difference between the two, the truth is that both lead to the same information, only the method by which the information is obtained differs. The final four numbers of your SSN combined with the other information you provided during the registration process are sufficient to confirm your full number.

The IRS and FinCEN allow online casino sites to ask only for four digits if they can later obtain your complete number by using other sources. If they aren’t able to get your full SSN, you are not eligible to register on the casino site. Therefore, if you are allowed to play casino games on a certain gaming site, that only means that your complete SSN has been obtained and confirmed.

Do Offshore Online Gaming Sites Ask for This Information?

Offshore sites also require this piece of information, just not during the registration process. Instead, unlicensed, offshore sites require this information when you win and want to withdraw your winnings. Basically, as long as you’re losing, they don’t really care who you are. However, in case you make some cash, that’s when they suddenly become interested in your identity.

The reason behind that is obvious. These sites don’t care who you are, or whether you’re underage, pretending to be someone else, etc. until you start winning. When that happens, they suddenly start imposing rigorous withdrawal policies, demanding that you provide countless proofs of identity, all for the benefit of the player, of course.