New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) Director David Rebuck introduced two new tools to support individuals with gambling problems in the state. These tools include a dedicated hotline and a virtual self-exclusion option from gambling activities.
Those who want to exclude themselves from gambling can contact the DGE through a toll-free phone number (1-833-788-4DGE) to learn more and initiate the self-exclusion process. They can schedule an in-person appointment with trained DGE staff or a video conference with responsible gaming personnel. The virtual option makes it easier for individuals to seek help for problem gambling from the comfort of their own homes.
The DGE also introduced an online app where individuals can exclude themselves from online gambling after identity verification. Self-exclusion from brick-and-mortar casinos requires a meeting.
The initiatives aim to make New Jersey a leader in responsible gaming practices and provide assistance to problem gamblers. The DGE is also launching an updated responsible gaming landing page on its website that will centralize responsible gaming information, including:
- Self-exclusion details
- Annual reports on online gambling impact and patterns
- Best practices for operators
- Responsible gaming regulations
Platkin and Rebuck also announced the appointment of a Responsible Gaming Coordinator.
Responsible Gaming Coordinator Appointed
In April, Attorney General Platkin announced the creation of a Responsible Gaming Coordinator (RGC) position. The role would evaluate New Jersey’s responsible gaming initiatives and determine if adjustments are needed. Duties of the RGC include:
- Dedication to responsible gaming
- Setting advertising standards for gaming operators
- Easing access to self-exclusion
The announcement of the new tools also revealed that Deputy Attorney General Jamie McKelvey was appointed as RGC in May.
McKelvey will work with New Jersey operators to ensure their commitment to the state’s responsible gaming objectives. She will also partner with various state, national, and international government agencies to research or implement programs designed to prevent and treat problem gambling behaviors.
McKelvey will also work with problem gambling organizations to identify the most effective strategies for raising awareness, educating individuals at risk, and reaching out to them.
The RGC will also work on advertising standards that will restrict ad placement in areas that could tempt individuals under 21 to gamble. The new ad standards will also allow the public to opt out of direct gambling advertising.
Advertising Standards Could Help With Underage Gambling
Underage and young adult gambling is increasing in New Jersey and the U.S. The National Council on Problem Gambling says up to 80% of high school students have gambled for money.
The ramifications of underage gambling pose significant risks to the well-being of these young players. U.K. researchers found a connection between young adults (ages 16-24) with gambling problems and suicide. According to the study, those with gambling problems are 2.74 times more likely to attempt suicide than young players without such issues. Where young players gamble could also be a factor. Researchers in Korea discovered that online gambling is riskier than retail casinos for underage gamblers.
New Jersey’s introduction of an RGC and possible advertising standards could help address underage gambling. Reducing the exposure to gambling ads could help lessen the number of underage gamblers.
More initiatives could be on the way. A recently-proposed bill calls for mandatory compulsive gambling treatment for underage gamblers. Another proposed bill would require some colleges to provide gambling education for their students. If these bills become law, they could provide additional resources to reduce underage gambling in New Jersey.
NJ Gambling Revenue and Addiction Both Increasing
Online gambling has been very successful in New Jersey. According to the DGE’s annual report, online casinos made $1.66 billion in gross revenue, while sportsbooks generated $763 million in 2022. Total gaming revenue in New Jersey for 2022 was $5.21 billion, up 10% from 2021. Bonus projects that online casino revenue in New Jersey will continue to grow by about 14% to $1.9 billion in 2023.
But higher revenue means more people are gambling. That leads to an increased number of players showing signs of gambling problems. According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, problem gambling has increased five times in the past three decades. A survey conducted three decades ago found that 2.8% of respondents had gambling problems, including 1.4% with a severe gambling disorder. Those numbers have risen to 15% and 6.3%, respectively.