New Jersey recently announced its new Responsible Gaming initiative to identify potential problem gamblers. The new initiative is achievable by collecting data from online gaming operators about their customer’s gaming habits.
NJ launched its new plan on January 1, 2023, and no other state has seen anything like it. The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) will work alongside gaming operators to help recognize who is potentially at risk of a gambling problem. Operators are now required to monitor player data to decide if a player is showing signs of problem gambling.
“Under the Murphy Administration, New Jersey has become a national leader in online casino games and sports wagering, and with that growth comes a responsibility to ensure that individuals at risk for compulsive gambling have access to the resources they need to get help,” said Attorney General Platkin.
When players create an account with operators, they agree to terms and conditions before using the platform. By signing the conditions players authorize having their play monitored and data tracked. This has primarily been used for security purposes and to protect players from theft. Now player data is being used to identify patterns of problem gambling.
Signs of Problem Gambling Behavior
Operators are training their staff to identify any “red-flag” behavior. If problem behavior presents itself, authorized responsible gaming personnel will contact the player.
“The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is encouraged by the DGE’s efforts to identify online betting behavior in an effort to assist at-risk gamblers. Given the increasing popularity of online gambling, initiatives such as this are more important than ever,” said CCGNJ Executive Director Felicia Grondin. “This effort, in conjunction with our virtual and in-person problem gambling trainings for industry employees, makes for a more thorough approach to identify and assist those who may be suffering.”
Some examples of a player showing signs of problem gambling behavior that the DGE will be looking for
- Players who frequently take “cool-off” periods from gaming
- When Gambling increases from week to week
- Wagering until there is no money in their account
- Large deposits in a short amount of time
“We are using data to identify at-risk players, alert them to their suspected disordered gambling, and inform them about available responsible gambling features in online platforms and corrective actions they can take,” said DGE Director David Rebuck. “This new approach will enable dedicated responsible gaming experts employed by the platforms and us to see the early warning signs and reach at-risk patrons before they find themselves in a financial catastrophe.”
Is This Initiative an Overstep?
While many are supportive of the state’s effort to help players and advocate for responsible gambling, some are also wondering if this new initiative is too much. When players sign up for a sportsbooks account, they are signing away their data rights, and now the state has mandated that the data is closely monitored.
While no one is against responsible gambling, some feel the initiative is too much.
If gambling is legal, why does the state get to impose on players’ personal decisions? Some even argue that alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes are not monitored this closely but often present a huge problem in today’s world.
What Could This Mean for Michigan?
As New Jersey is the first state to launch an initiative like this, it begs the question, will other states also begin to take these measures?
As sports betting and online casino gaming have gained momentum over the years, we have also seen an increase in gambling addictions. We can’t help but wonder, is this really the best way to combat gambling addictions?
Using player data to observe and identify patterns of a potential gambling issue could be a very effective means of stopping a gambling problem. However, it could also be a tactic that is too invasive for some players. Time will tell whether the MGCB will take up this initiative or let it fall by the wayside.
Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com