Opening up to online gambling has given many states an additional source of tax revenue, both from casino operators and players. That said, gambling-friendly states must also commit to implementing proven measures that protect tax-paying patrons from the perils of gambling addiction.
As one of the first states to allow internet casinos and sportsbooks, New Jersey has helped set the standard for responsible gambling policies. Casino players from the Garden State have a number of options to limit their gambling activities and seek help, starting with the use of voluntary self-exclusion plans to consulting a number of professional clinics and helplines.
Here at NJ Casino Apps, we stress the importance of responsible gambling every chance we get. This page is dedicated to the topic and will offer detailed information on responsible gambling in New Jersey, along with advice on preventing, identifying, and dealing with compulsive gambling behavior.
Responsible gambling in New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is the agency that oversees all gambling operations in the state. Aside from licensing the casinos and auditing their operations, the DGE is also in charge of setting up policies that help establish and maintain a responsible gambling environment.
All DGE-licensed casino apps are required to have dedicated pages that, among other things, teach players the basics of casino games, share tips on how to approach playing at online casinos, track the players’ gambling patterns, list warning signs of problem gambling, give clear instructions for self-exclusion, and link to responsible gambling organizations and helplines.
When you sign up for a casino app in New Jersey, there are several ways to manage your account:
- Limits — You can set caps on your daily, weekly, or monthly deposits, place a limit on how much you can bet, and restrict access to your account.
- Timeouts — You can opt for a cool-off period ranging from three days to four weeks, during which you are barred from logging in.
- Self-exclusion — This is the extended version of a timeout where you can completely exclude yourself from all casino apps in New Jersey for a period of one to five years, during which you cannot re-open your account under any circumstances. For this option, you must submit an online application from one of your existing online casino accounts and complete registration by visiting a DGE office in New Jersey.
Detecting gambling patterns is a new way casinos are trying to combat gambling addiction. Namely, each NJ casino app features automated responsible gaming software that notifies players when they start showing signs of problem gambling (e.g., when their gambling sessions lengthen over time or they play until they are down to a few dollars).
The DGE also implements policies to prevent underage gambling. Persons under the age of 21 are forbidden from creating online casino accounts. When signing up, you must provide your personal information, such as full name, date of birth, and social security number. The casino will then run your info through a third-party data reference provider to validate your identity. Mind that underage gambling is considered a criminal offense in New Jersey.
New Jersey standards for responsible online gambling
If you want to operate an online casino app in New Jersey, you are required to advocate responsible gambling. Each NJ casino app has a dedicated gambling safety page where you can find some of the following info:
- Advice on how to gamble responsibly
- Self-assessment questions
- Instructions for setting deposit limits, gaming session limits, and spending limits
- Guidelines to signing up for a self-exclusion program
- Links to problem gambling helplines and organizations like 800-GAMBLER, ICRG, and Gamblers Anonymous
Furthermore, the DGE regularly adds new standards to govern the advertising practices of casinos and sportsbooks. For instance, 1-800-GAMBLER must be clearly displayed in each ad, while the operators have been barred from using certain terms when promoting their bonuses.
Identifying problem gambling
Behaviors that lead to problem gambling can increase gradually and may be hard to pinpoint at first, especially if you’re experiencing them yourself. That’s why catching problem gambling patterns early on is important before things spiral out of control.
A simple way to accomplish this is to answer self-assessment questions such as:
- Are you using gambling as a way to escape real-life problems and responsibilities?
- Are you starting to lose interest in spending time with your friends and family due to gambling?
- Is using gambling apps starting to cut into your working hours?
- Do you often gamble until you spend all of your money?
- Do you often try to make up for losses by betting more?
- Have you ever lied to a close person about how much money you spent gambling?
- Have people around you made serious remarks about your gambling habits?
- Is your gambling making you feel depressed?
- Do you have unpaid bills or debt so that you have extra money for gambling?
Even if you answered affirmatively to one or two questions on this list, you should consider yourself a problem gambler and premeditate the worst outcome.
Another way to identify problem gambling is by examining your motivation to gamble excessively. Sometimes it can be a simple desire to win a lot of money, but other times it can be the sign of an underlying psychological issue.
To many, gambling can be a coping mechanism to deal with real-life frustrations and problems. Maybe arguing with a loved one is what drives you to a casino app, or perhaps all the pressure that you’re experiencing at work is the trigger. In any case, finding out the root of your gambling problem is a huge step toward more responsible behavior.
How to help individuals experiencing problem gambling
Individuals who experience problem gambling are not very likely to act alone to address it. Even when someone knows they’re a gambling addict, the compulsion is too strong to resist. All the self-limiting tools the casino apps offer work on a voluntary basis, so they’re not much help to someone who simply refuses to quit.
This is where friends and family play a crucial role. If someone you love is a gambling addict, you should let them know that they are not alone. Separate the behavior from the person and avoid criticisms, as this may make them cause to be overly defensive. It’s important to offer support instead of judgment. Avoid confrontation, but also let the person understand the consequences, both in terms of money and the strain their gambling habits are putting on your relationship.
Of course, how you approach a gambling addict will depend on your relationship with them, as you should have different strategies for a friend, spouse, child, parent, or another family member. But whoever it is, patience is the key. Nobody can change their behavior overnight, and if gambling addiction indicates some underlying problem (it often is), it will take time for them to come to terms with that issue.
Having a conversation is only step one, however. After the person has realized how gambling is affecting both them and their loved ones and has expressed desire and willingness to change, it’s time to take action.
Self-exclusion from NJ casino apps is a step in the right direction, but it just limits the person from using the apps for a given period. To truly recover from gambling addiction, it’s best to turn to professional help organizations like Gamblers Anonymous or the National Center for Problem Gambling. These offer help and treatment in multiple ways, from online meetings and talking groups to full-service treatment facilities.
Problem gambling resources in New Jersey
Here are a few words on each of the main organizations that deal with the prevention of problem gambling in New Jersey.
Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (800-GAMBLER)
The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), also known as 800-GAMBLER, is a non-profit organization and one of the programs of the National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCPG). The organization is most famous for running the 1-800-GAMBLER, a free and confidential 24/7 hotline that provides support and treatment to everyone affected by problem gambling.
National Center for Responsible Gambling (NCPG)
The NCPG is the main body governing the development and implementation of policies and programs that help those struggling with gambling addiction. Aside from operating the state-wide helpline network 1-800-GAMBLER, the NCPG organizes annual problem gambling conferences, sponsors Gambling Awareness Month throughout March, and provides and delivers educational programs to state governments and agencies.
GA is a community of people with shared experiences, and interests focused on overcoming problems caused by gambling. It, too, offers a 24/7 hotline and can help you locate and sign up for a meeting. There are three types of meetings offered by GA, including closed meetings (problem gamblers only), modified meetings (the presence of health professionals and other guests), and open meetings (the inclusion of friends and family members).
Problem gambling hotline NJ
New Jersey features two fully confidential helplines that you can call at any time. The helplines provide much necessary compassion and understanding to anyone in distress and welcome both problem gamblers and friends and family members affected.
Responsible gambling tips
Even if you are currently not experiencing any signs of gambling addiction, you should still play responsibly. Here are a few tips on how to reduce your risk of becoming a problem gambler:
- Stick to your limits: Determine your gambling budget and make sure it doesn’t cut into your rent, bills, grocery shopping, and other regular expenses.
- Know when to stop: Take a break if you have exhausted your bankroll for the day and return only when you have enough to gamble with again.
- Realize that gambling is not a way to make income: People are quick to think that they can make a living by gambling, but this often backfires and leaves many of them bankrupt or in debt. Look at gambling as something fun to do.
- Never gamble while high or drunk: Only gamble when you’re sober. Otherwise, you can make mistakes and ill-considered decisions that will lead to losing more money than usual.
- Understand the odds of games: Be aware of your chances of beating a casino game. Games like slots and roulette are mathematically designed so that the house always comes out on top, and are entirely based on luck. On the other hand, poker and blackjack are partially skill-based, and you can win by using strategy.
- Stop chasing after losses: If you hit a losing streak, it’s often better to cool off and come back at a later time. Progressively betting more so you can make up for losses usually leaves you in even bigger trouble.
- Learn about problem gambling: Educate yourself about the issues of problem gambling and question your gambling behavior constantly. Only this way can you avoid becoming a gambling addict before it’s too late.
Identifying responsible gambling in online casinos
All NJ casino apps are required to implement certain responsible gambling policies. Here’s how to spot a casino that abides by the state’s guidelines:
- Shows payout percentage of games
- Explains bonus terms and conditions clearly
- Does not over-promote gambling
- Allows you to self-exclude or set limits to your account easily
- Tracks your gambling behavior and warns you of any troubling patterns
- Offers easy access to various helplines and organizations that assist problem gamblers