It comes as no surprise that there is an increase in the number of people who engage in online gambling in the state of New Jersey. This is one of the leading states in the country that provide legal access to online casinos and sportsbooks. While online betting has provided many benefits financially for the state, it has created serious concerns regarding gambling addictions and underage gambling.
In September 2022 alone, over one third of gaming profits were generated through online gaming. Onne sportsbooks attract even more customers, with 93% of all money spent on sports bets was done online. The accessibility of online betting sites has caused an increase in gambling addictions throughout the state and also poses a risk to underage gamblers.
A survey was conducted in 2016 by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism. This study showed that over 35% of middle and high school students had already engaged in gambling. Of these, 14% reported that gambling has caused anxiety and stress. Today, these numbers have increased and include many adults that have developed gambling problems from easy access to online casinos and sportsbooks.
Problem gambling can quickly escalate to a gambling addiction. This can bring about many problems, including increased depression and anxiety, financial struggles, loss of jobs, problems with family and friends, and social isolation. On average, calls placed to 800-GAMBLER for assistance with problem gamblinghave risen around 200% since 2018. The New Jersey Health Department states that there are approximately 150 calls placed each month. Based on this data, mobile and online betting is the source of the increase. During the 2022 fiscal year, 639 calls placed were regarding online wagering. Those that are battling addiction and problem gambling say that the convenience of online casinos is one reason for increased betting. Casinos advertise to players with bonus deals and special NJ casino offers, often luring them in. Even players who have managed to step away for a few days are drawn back by promotional deals.
The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement recognizes the current problem and knows that the number of those struggling with gambling problems will increase. All operating websites are required to provide a self-exclusion option for players. In addition to this, every operator that is licensed in the state of New Jersey must also provide players with features that include:
- Setting deposit limits
- Creating spending limits
- Setting time limits
- Having a cooling-off period
Added protocols are expected to be effective in 2023. All operators will have to implement a program that is approved by the state to address the increase in gambling problems. There may be two different things that change. One is that each operator will have a dedicated staff that provides all players with information on resources available and features to prevent gambling problems. The second option uses technology that can help identify problem gamblers. This is based on player activity online.