New Jersey warns New York about risks of online gambling

New Jersey gambling treatment experts have warned New York that legalized sports betting will increase the risk of gambling addiction in the state. According to a recent report from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), the number of people that have called the NJ gambling hotline to report problem gambling has doubled since the state legalized online sports wagering in June 2018.

People in New Jersey can make bets at land-based casino sportsbooks as well as through mobile betting apps. Official statistics show that 84% of bets taken in New Jersey are made over the internet.

New York only has sports betting at retail locations as of December 2019 and the state is looking into legalizing online wagering. Neva Pryor, director of the CCGNJ, is against that.

“I think it’s better if a person has to physically go somewhere to bet,” she said. Pryor added that having an online betting app is like “having a casino in your back pocket”.

New Jersey’s gambling helpline averages 96 calls per month about various addictions. Calls relating to sports betting have jumped from just a few to more than 10 per month. Last February, which is when the Super Bowl takes place, the hotline took 16 calls regarding betting addiction.

There are many gambling advocates and lawmakers in New York that want mobile sports betting to be legal, but Governor Andrew Cuomo is not among them. However, with New York expected to be in the red $6 billion in 2020, state politicians may reconsider their stance.

The CCGNJ spends around a third of its $2 million budget on radio ads, videos, and billboards to promote the 800-Gambler hotline. However, that outlay of around $650,000 is just a fraction of what New Jersey sportsbooks and casinos spend on advertising.

It was reported by that 24% of NJ gambling revenue is used for advertising. According to Pryor and her assistant director at the CCGNJ, Dan Trolaro, that equates to about $79.4 million for New Jersey.

The council said in a recent press release, “Additional funds are desperately needed to heighten awareness of problem and disordered gambling.”

The CCGNJ has no stance when it comes to legalized gambling, but Pryor and Trolaro have both come out and said they are troubled by “the availability and accessibility of sports wagering”. Before sports betting was legal in New Jersey, a study by Rutgers University that found that 6.3% of the state’s residents had a gambling problem, which is three times the national average of 2.1%.

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