New Jersey acts to help problem gamblers, sets ad standards

April 20, 2023 4:26 PM
  • Wayne Parry, Associated Press
April 20, 2023 4:26 PM

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is changing its gambling regulations to set advertising standards, making it easier for people with gambling problems to exclude themselves from casinos and marketing from the gambling houses and creating a position to monitor how well the state’s problem gambling outreach efforts are working.

Story continues below

Speaking Thursday at the East Coast Gaming Congress, state Attorney General Matthew Platkin unveiled a set of new responsible gambling regulations and initiatives.

They include setting standards for casino and sports betting advertising, requiring that New Jersey’s 1-800-GAMBLER hotline be prominently displayed in their ads; prohibiting promises of “guaranteed wins” or “risk-free” bets if the patron will not be fully compensated for the loss of their funds; and making wagering requirements clear in their terms and conditions.

It also limits advertising in locations where that would entice those under 21 years of age to gamble; and requires gambling operators to provide the public with the ability to swiftly opt out of direct advertising.

“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 said.

He said the measures “will help protect consumers and make it easier for individuals to access the help they need when their gaming behavior becomes problematic.”

Just days before February’s Super Bowl, New Jersey gambling regulators unveiled new requirements for sports books to analyze the data they collect about their customers to look for evidence of problem gambling, and to take various steps to intervene with these customers when warranted.

On Thursday, the attorney general’s office created a new position within its Division of Gaming Enforcement to monitor how well that and other responsible gambling initiatives are working.

The agency will also make it easier for people with a gambling problem to add their names to New Jersey’s voluntary self-exclusion lists. The lists are circulated to casinos and gambling-related affiliates, requiring them not to let people on the list gamble in person or online, and prohibiting sending gambling marketing materials to them.

Instead of meeting in person with a state official or applying online, people can now have a video conference to add themselves to the list. A round-the-clock telephone help line also will be established to answer questions about self-exclusion and to help people sign up.

Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, praised the moves and said he hopes they will be copied by states across the country.