By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
New Jersey’s new internet gambling law received widespread support in the legislature. And while supporters tout the revenue it will bring the state and Atlantic City’s struggling casinos, there’s a concern how online gambling will impact people are who battling gambling addiction.
“The new law legalizes online betting on any casino game,” said Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey Donald Weinbaum. “You couldn’t have better access than online. People can gamble at work, at home, in the middle of the night … so it will become a more broad based problem.”
The easy access the internet brings also brings concerns internet gambling will encourage more people to gamble and for some this could turn into a gambling problem. Gov. Chris Christie shares this concern. That’s why he conditionally vetoed the bill and called for increased funding for programs that help people fight gambling addiction. The legislation, which the governor signed into law, also requires casinos to fund an annual study that will examine the potential impacts of online gambling.
Director of Clinical Services for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey Jeff Beck, applauds the governor’s call for increased funding for programs and for the study. And he believes it will be easier to get the data for these studies via the internet. “We can for the first time monitor someone’s play,” said Beck. “When we look at online betting we have a record of everything done … so hopefully we can locate a problem and intervene.”
Through its nine providers, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey offers treatment to hundreds of people who are at-risk or are problem gamblers. Officials believe the increased funding called for in the new law will help the Council better prevent and treat the estimated 350,000 residents who are considered pathological, problem or at-risk gamblers in the state.
Anyone in need of help is urged to call this 24 hour hotline — 1-800-GAMBLER.