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New Jersey Pays the Price with Sky-High Problem Gambling Rates

Over the course of the past decade, New Jersey has moved from regulated gambling backwater to truly leading the push for regulated sports betting and igaming. But being an innovator frequently comes with a price and, in New Jersey’s case, that price is a problem gambling rate that’s triple the national average. That’s the conclusion of a recent study on problem gambling titled, The Prevalence of Online and Land-Based Gambling in New Jersey that was commissioned by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

The study, which was conducted by Dr. Lia Nower from the Rutgers University School of Social Work, Center for Gambling Studies and surveyed 3,500 New Jersey residents on their gambling habits. Surveyors inquired on 15 different forms of gambling as the basis for the study. What they found is that Jersey residents really like to gamble.

Around 60 percent of respondents had engaged in some form gambling over the past year. The study found that 15 percent of those folks are gambling exclusively online, an increase from just five percent in 2017. The number of players who play exclusively at land-based casinos dropped from 76 percent in 2017 to just 49 percent this year.

Though problem gambling rates are actually decreasing for high- and low-risk gambling actually dropped over the past five years, New Jersey’s problem gambling rates are still, generally, three times the national average.

DGE Director David Redbuck addressed the findings of the study in a press release saying, “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.”

With the results of this survey in hand, the NJ DGE has an opportunity to become both a leader in igaming and the fight against problem gambling.