New Jersey state Sen. Joseph P. Cryan, D-Union, has introduced a bill aimed at increasing the regulatory enforcement of advertising rules for gaming operators. That includes retail and online casinos and sportsbooks. S2156, which was introduced on Jan. 9, aims to protect players by prohibiting operators from advertising to underage individuals and those who have self-excluded from gambling. The bill also adds additional language to ensure advertisements are not deceptive and misleading.
Advertisements and messaging in the gambling industry have faced a lot of scrutiny over the past year. Ohio set the tone when it ordered operators to stop using words like “free” and “risk-free.”
That led many operators to make proactive changes to similar language in other states. Ultimately, the American Gaming Association (AGA) changed its marketing guidelines to match Ohio’s policy. The AGA is a trade organization representing commercial and tribal casinos in the US. Most online operators are AGA members and adhere to its policies.
The proposals by Sen. Cryan fit in with New Jersey’s recent efforts to improve its responsible gaming policies. Last year, for instance, the state created a new position for a Responsible Gaming Coordinator at the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). It also introduced new tools for players to manage their gambling.
What Changes Is the Bill Proposing?
The amendment would add two significant clauses to the state’s gambling laws. They are similar in substance but detail the DGE’s responsibilities toward casinos and sportsbooks, respectively.
Each of these requires the DGE to monitor the advertising practices of licensees and their contracted operators to ensure that the ads:
- Are not deceptive or fraudulent, and
- Do not target individuals who are self-excluded or underaged
Cryan is Involved With Two Other Online Gambling Bills
Sen. Cryan also sponsors SB 4231, a senate companion bill to the state Assembly’s A5498, which aims to address any partnerships between universities and gambling operators. Under the bill’s provisions, universities that partner with sports betting operators or vendors must provide students with gambling education and other responsible gaming tools.
That bill is speculative, as no such partnerships currently exist in New Jersey. However, precedent can be found in other states, like Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, and Michigan. The measure passed through the Assembly and sits in the Senate Higher Education Committee.
Another bill that Cryan sponsors might not make many lottery players happy. The state Senator sponsored SB 1450, a bill to ban the online sale of lottery tickets. Cryan introduced the proposal a few months after the New Jersey Lottery Commission (NJLC) approved selling draw tickets online. NJLC planned to start online sales in the fall of 2024.
However, Cryan and other senators feel online sales will hurt small retailers like gas stations and convenience stores. The bill does make one exception: it would allow lottery courier services like Jackpocket to continue to operate. Couriers like Jackpocket purchase tickets from retailers on behalf of the user. SB 1450 currently sits in the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.