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Second Gambling Prevalence Report by Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies Released by AG Platkin and Division of Gaming Enforcement

Rutgers School of Social Work

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that results from a second study examining the prevalence of gambling in New Jersey are now available. The report, funded by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), was prepared by a team of researchers led by Dr. Lia Nower, J.D., Ph.D. from the Rutgers University School of Social Work, Center for Gambling Studies. The report is entitled “The Prevalence of Online and Land-Based Gambling in New Jersey,” and it is a follow-up study to the first report issued in 2017.

“As New Jersey’s gaming industry continues to grow, we have an obligation to help those suffering from problem gaming and gambling addiction issues,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Through the release of this report, we are taking a comprehensive look at the pervasiveness of gambling across the state, and with it, able to better identify challenges for our most vulnerable populations and design programs and initiatives to assist them.”

The report, the first released after the legalization of sports wagering in the state, was released during Responsible Gaming Education Month, which is concluding with a focus on supporting research efforts that can help inform policies, procedures, and best practices for minimizing problem gambling risks.

“We are dedicated to helping players play responsibly,” said David Rebuck, Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). “For some people, this means setting limits to keep the experience enjoyable and social. For others who are struggling with problem gambling, it may mean signing up for self-exclusion or seeking out additional resources. We encourage both players and operators to maintain a balanced perspective on gambling.”

As an example, earlier this year Attorney General Platkin announced several steps to boost responsible gaming efforts, including making it easier for people to self-exclude themselves from gambling; naming a coordinator in charge of all responsible gaming efforts; setting advertising standards; and working with online wagering companies to use technology to identify and assist at-risk patrons.

“New Jersey has led the nation in evaluating every bet placed online and addressing the impact of wagering on its residents,” said Dr. Nower. “This report provides evidence to guide prevention and education efforts for those at highest risk for gambling problems: Younger adults, members of ethnic and racial minority groups, and those who gamble on multiple activities and bet both online and in land-based venues.”

The researchers surveyed 3,512 New Jersey residents (aged 18 and over) between December 9, 2020 and April 30, 2021 via telephone and through online questionnaires, and analyzed their self-reported patterns of play. The survey questions asked about participation in activities involving consideration, chance, and a prize. Respondents were also asked about the following 15 activities: lottery, instant scratch-off tickets, high-risk stocks, gaming machines such as slots or video poker, games of skill, live casino table games, sports wagering, season fantasy sports, bingo, cryptocurrency trading, live poker or poker tournaments, daily fantasy sports, horse race track or off track, esports wagering, and keno.

Some of the findings of the report include:

  • The overall rate of high-risk problem gambling decreased from 6.3% to 5.6%. Low/moderate-risk gambling also decreased from about 15% to about 13%.
  • New Jersey’s rate of problem gambling is about three times the national average, similar to the findings from the 2017 report.
  • Participation in sports wagering increased from about 15% to a little more than 19%.
  • The proportion of online-only gamblers nearly tripled from about 5% in 2017 to nearly 15%, while the proportion of individuals who gambled at mixed venues (both brick-and-mortar locations and online) nearly doubled from 19% to 36%.
  • The proportion of those gambling only at brick-and-mortar casinos dropped from nearly 76% to 49%.
  • About 61 percent of residents participated in one or more of the 15 activities in the prior year.
  • Individuals identified as “gamblers” participated in an average of 3.5 activities, which is an increase from the 3.0 average reported in the 2017 report.

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