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NJ Council on Compulsive Gambling: Online Gambling Will Make Things Worse

8 December 2013 by Devon Chappell

Well, here’s a shocker. In a report placing internet gaming at its center, a NJ Council on Compulsive Gambling has stated that the new launch of online casino activity in the state will only create more addictions.

Industry insiders are warning that after the fun and games surrounding the launch of online casinos in New Jersey wears off and the losses come in, money may not be the only thing at stake. Officials charged with preventing gambling addictions say that there are 350,000 compulsive gamblers in New Jersey already.

Now that online gambling is in effect, these same officials believe that compulsive gambling will likely spread throughout the state. But can we simply blame the fact that the internet creates a further outlet for the real culprit here?

New Jersey is now the 3rd state to have launched real money online casinos, with a dozen sites taking bets on a full suite of casino games. But are we to blame the casinos or society for not supporting addiction better?

It is no surprise that New Jersey has been in need of a serious cash injection, regulating online wagering to help stop the state from bleeding further cash; But, we still cannot blame the casino industry for creating online gambling any more than we can blame a retail outlet for providing sales that prey upon consumers online.

The current state budget in New Jersey  states that online gambling will be responsible for creating about $1 billion in revenue by July 1, 2014. $160 million of this revenue will go toward taxes.

But another aspect of the casino expansion has received much less attention.

The Council for Compulsive Gambling in New Jersey has been getting ready for the start of internet casinos by communicating with substance abuse, mental health, and various addiction preventative programs, gathering feedback and information about local needs related to prevention or treatment of gambling addiction, and thus creating awareness within communities.

The Council is especially concerned about underage gambling online. The online casino industry prides itself on the fact that it has cutting edge technology in place to prevent both underage gambling as well as geo-location technology that will prevent gambling from any unlawful area. If an underage gambler is to take to the internet and succeed in doing so, it is more likely that it is a home–based situation that would allow an underage gambler to get online and create an account, not necessarily the casino itself. What’s more, anyone living in an outlying area that may be recovering from a gambling addiction will simply have to deal with the fact that online gambling now exists and work on personal issues at hand. Casinos have been online long before they were legal in some areas. People were gambling online unlawfully long before these newly, better reformed and regulated casinos have come online. Lastly, online casinos now have much more to offer as far as security measures are concerned; far more than ever before, making online gambling safer than ever for all parties involved.

One of the main problems being considered with internet gambling is the speed of play. There are limits on deposits that can be implemented, but the speed in which a player can win or lose money is quite fast. Even though gamblers can have their name excluded from online betting and place their names on a list of those not allowed to enter any of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos, including the casino websites, software is fast and players can easily lose track of time. Let’s not forget that brick and mortar casinos have been helping players lose track of time since day one, hence no windows and clocks.

To help promote healthy gambling online, the state now requires each New Jersey casino licensed online to pay a $250,000 “responsible gaming fee” that will be funneled through several programs to prevent problem gambling, including the Council.

While online gambling adds to the temptation of problem gamblers, there are also additional steps in place to help combat addictive gambling such as the responsible gaming fee in place. The bottom line is, in this day and age, it’s even more important for all parties involved to concentrate on prevention and early intervention. It is more than the casinos that must be responsible here.

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