While online gambling in New Jersey continues to evolve, state officials announced steps to control problem gambling.
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck joined forces to set new standards for gambling ads. They announced several new initiatives to strengthen the office’s existing responsible gambling efforts.
These will include:
- Establishing a new position dedicated to responsible gambling
- Setting new advertising standards for operators
- Enabling a more simplified self-exclusion method for players struggling with a gambling disorder.
Initiatives to further strengthen responsible gambling protections
Platkin announced the new efforts at the East Coast Gaming Congress held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. He said in a press release:
“As New Jersey’s gaming and sports wagering industries continue to grow and mature, so do our obligations to assist patrons who are at risk for problem gambling.”
Platkin also emphasized that such initiatives “will help protect consumers.” They will make it easier for individuals to “access the help they need” when their gaming actions become problematic.
These latest works build on DGE’s Responsible Gaming Initiative announced in February. It utilizes data on players’ gaming activity to determine if they might be suffering from a gambling disorder and offers them help.
DGE Director David Rebuck added: “We have seen tremendous growth in sports wagering and online gaming in New Jersey. In the face of that boom, we have a duty to protect the public from advertising that could be misleading or harmful.
And for those in the grip of gambling addiction, we need to offer as many exit ramps from their condition as possible.”
Establishing a responsible gambling coordinator role
The DGE will create a new position, the Responsible Gaming Coordinator, who will handle all issues impacting responsible gambling and ensure progress on existing initiatives. DGE will appoint an experienced attorney to report directly to the DGE Director.
The coordinator will identify problems before engaging with stakeholders to develop suggestions to advance the state’s responsible gambling work.
Platkin said: “By establishing a dedicated, senior-level position within the Division of Gaming Enforcement to focus on responsible gaming, we are sending a clear message that we take this work seriously – and so should the industry.”
What will the new online and sports gambling advertising standards include?
DGE’s March 2023 gaming revenue results showed that online gaming reported by casinos was $165.7 million. A 17.8% increase compared to the $140.7 million generated in March 2022.
Meanwhile, New Jersey sports betting operators reported gross revenue of $93 million for March 2023, over a 40% yearly increase. According to DGE data, more than 95% of the total amount gambled in March was done through online platforms.
These initiatives will, therefore, include new online gambling advertising standards. Operators will be required to make responsible gaming a priority through:
- Clearly displaying New Jersey’s 1-800-GAMBLER hotline in their ads
- Ending dubious promises of “guaranteed wins” or “risk-free” bets if players will not be fully compensated for their money loss
- Making gambling requirements clear in their terms and conditions
- Limiting advertising in locations where it would entice those under 21 years of age to play
- Providing the public with the ability to quickly opt out of direct advertising
DGE will also ease the process for players with problem gaming behaviors to exclude themselves from gaming.
Platkin also announced that DGE would create a video conference option. Making it easier for players to escape problem gambling without leaving their homes.
Moreover, DGE will establish a 24/7 hotline dedicated to assisting people with questions about the self-exclusion program and the process for signing up.
Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said:
“We congratulate Attorney General Platkin and DGE Director David Rebuck for their continued leadership in responsible gambling. The initiatives announced today further bolster responsible gambling protections and reduce barriers for people seeking help.
We hope regulators across the country will emulate New Jersey, including by working with the National Council on Problem Gambling and our state affiliate chapters, such as the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.”