Just days before bettors put their wagers in for the Super Bowl, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) announced Feb. 7 a new Responsible Gaming Initiative to identify and help gamblers at risk of addiction by using data collected by gaming operators about players’ online betting behavior.
As part of the program – the first-of-its-kind in the country to be implemented – the DGE will work with online wagering companies, using technology to identify and work to address at-risk patrons. Operators will now be required to analyze data to determine whether a player is showing signs of problem gambling behavior.
The state says that these new requirements, which apply to online wagering, will supplement existing responsible gaming safeguards.
Platkin said that the Garden State has become a national leader in online wagering, and with that growth comes responsibility to provide these individuals with access to resources.
“It is no coincidence that our announcement comes just a week ahead of one of the biggest days in sports wagering, serving as a reminder of how devastating a gambling addiction can be,” said Platkin. “This new initiative will allow the Division of Gaming Enforcement to work with the gaming industry to identify problematic patterns in player wagering behavior and intervene before they escalate.”
Officials note that this player data is already collected by operators from its players, who consent to having their play monitored and recorded to prevent issues such as fraud, identify theft, theft, and cheating, as part of the terms and conditions in user agreements they sign. That data, they say, will now be used in this new way, to uncover potential problem gambling patterns.
The DGE has set up parameters of warning signs for operators to look for and platforms will also monitor for account activity that could indicate problem gambling.
“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.”
Felicia Grondin, Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), said she is encouraged by the efforts to assist at-risk gamblers.
“Given the increasing popularity of online gambling, initiatives such as this are more important than ever,” said 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.”