With New Jersey starting online gambling, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey Executive Director Donald Weinbaum told NJTV News Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that he is concerned about the new gambling option pushing people who already have gambling addictions over the edge.
He said that people who already have gambling addictions may get into trouble with the addition of online gambling.
Gambling has recently been recognized as an addiction by the American Psychiatric Association, so that is the council’s concern, Weinbaum said.
“Our concern is that it is so easy that anybody can gamble any time of any day, any place, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day. So for somebody who is prone to a gambling addiction, that might be a risk factor. That might be the thing that pushes them over the edge,” Weinbaum said.
The New Jersey rules allow people to set up their own limits, such as how long they play and how much they spend, Weinbaum said. There are also built in safeguards, but Weinbaum questions if they are being looked at closely enough. He said it’s too hard to tell at this point.
There is a new self exclusion list for online gambling, plus the list that existed for the casinos has been extended for online gambling, he said.
“This is something that we urge people to consider and take advantage of. It’s not fail safe. We usually recommend that be combined with some kind of additional recovery program for someone who thinks that they have a problem,” Weinbaum said about the exclusion list.
Right now in New Jersey there are nine treatment providers that specialize in compulsive and problem gambling and the council’s hope is they extend those across the entire state because some counties do not have services, Weinbaum said.
States such as Nevada and Delaware have online gambling but the numbers are lower, according to Weinbaum.
“In New Jersey there has been a great deal of interest in online gambling. Just in the last week, by what I see in the news reports, 37,000 people have signed up. It might be even higher,” he said.