New Jersey DGE declares drop in
high-risk problem gambling rate

New Jersey
Image: Shutterstock

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has announced a drop in high-risk problem gambling rate, but its figures are still above the national average in the US.

The figures come from a survey, entitledThe Prevalence of Online and Land-Based Gambling in New Jersey,” funded by the DGE which is a follow-up study to a 2017 report released after the legalisation of sports wagering in the state.

“As New Jersey’s gaming industry continues to grow, we have an obligation to help those suffering from problem gaming and gambling addiction issues,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

“Through the release of this report, we are taking a comprehensive look at the pervasiveness of gambling across the state, and with it, are able to better identify challenges for our most vulnerable populations and design programs and initiatives to assist them.”

Prepared by a team of researchers led by Dr Lia Nower, JD, PhD from the Rutgers University School of Social Work, Center for Gambling Studies, the report has been released during Responsible Gaming Education Month as part of the month’s final week theme – Advancing responsible gaming with research.

The report surveyed 3,512 state residents aged 18 and over between December 9, 2020 and April 30, 2021, via telephone and online questionnaires, analysing their self-reported patterns of play. 

Questions on the survey covered participation in activities involving consideration, chance, and a prize, as well as questions about 15 activities: lottery, instant scratch-off tickets, high-risk stocks, gaming machines, games of skill, live casino table games, sports wagering, season fantasy sports, bingo, cryptocurrency trading, live poker or poker tournaments, daily fantasy sports, horse race track or off track, esports wagering and keno.

“We encourage both players and operators to maintain a balanced perspective on gambling”

David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, added: “We are dedicated to helping players play responsibly.

“For some people, this means setting limits to keep the experience enjoyable and social. For others who are struggling with problem gambling, it may mean signing up for self-exclusion or seeking out additional resources. We encourage both players and operators to maintain a balanced perspective on gambling.”

The report is also one of several initiatives made by Platkin to boost responsible gaming in the state, including easier access to self-exclusion, a responsible gaming coordinator, advertising standards and using technology with operators to identify and assist at-risk players.

“New Jersey has led the nation in evaluating every bet placed online and addressing the impact of wagering on its residents,” noted Nower.

“This report provides evidence to guide prevention and education efforts for those at highest risk for gambling problems: Younger adults, members of ethnic and racial minority groups, and those who gamble on multiple activities and bet both online and in land-based venues.”

Some of the findings of the report include that the overall rate of high-risk problem gambling decreased to 5.6 per cent (2017: 6.3 per cent), while low/moderate-risk gambling has fallen to about 13 per cent (2017: 15 per cent).

However, similar to the 2017 report, the report found that New Jersey’s rate of problem gambling is about three times the national average in the US.

Taking a look at vertical findings, sports betting participation has grown to 19 per cent (2017: 15 per cent), online-only gambling participation has tripled to nearly 15 per cent (2017: 5 per cent), retail and online bettors have almost doubled to 36 per cent (2017: 19 per cent), while brick-and-mortar casino gambling has fallen to 49 per cent (2017: 76 per cent).

“We work hard to ensure a fair and safe gaming experience that protects players from adverse gambling consequences2

James Carey, NJ Lottery Executive Director

61 per cent of survey participants took part in one or more of the 15 listed forms of gambling in the prior year (2017: 70 per cent), with those identifying themselves as ‘gamblers’ taking part on average in 3.5 activities (2017: 3 activities).

Using data from the survey, the DGE will be working with partner agencies to review responsible gaming policies, including those that manage other forms of gambling listed in the report including the New Jersey Lottery Commission, the New Jersey Racing Commission, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

“The New Jersey Lottery is invested in responsible gaming principles, and committed to the prevention of underage and problem gambling,” stated James Carey, NJ Lottery Executive Director.

“We work hard to ensure a fair and safe gaming experience that protects players from adverse gambling consequences. Our responsible gaming program is strengthened by our partnership with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.

“Additionally, we receive a third-party review by the World Lottery Association, requiring continuous improvement of our day-to-day responsible gaming operations and programs.”