The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement recently announced the implementation of two new, multi-faceted, regulations aimed at strengthening the already robust responsible gambling safeguards in place at New Jersey legal online gambling sites.
Among the responsible gambling safeguards online gaming sites in New Jersey were already required to abide by are:
- Displaying problem gambling hotline numbers on all advertisements.
- Self-exclusion options for all players.
- Setting of deposit and loss limits.
- Setting “cooling off” periods.
- Requiring all online gaming operators to contribute $150,000 annually to fund problem gambling studies and initiatives.
The new regulations the DGE has added are two-fold and focus on accessibility of problem gambling information and employee training in recognizing problem gambling behaviors.
Before the new regulations go into effect, the DGE has also provided a 60-day comment period for this proposal.
New Regulation #1: Patron protection page
Responsible gambling information must now be displayed on a patron protection page that is accessible during a gaming session. The DGE is now requiring online operators provide:
- A direct link to the Council on Compulsive Gambling New Jersey, Inc. and one other organization based in the United States dedicated to helping people with potential gambling problems.
- A clear statement of the Internet gaming operator’s policy and commitment to responsible gaming.
The information the DGE is requiring operators to provide to their customers in regards to the second point includes:
- Practical tips to stay within safe limits.
- Myths associated with gambling.
- Information regarding the risks associated with gambling.
- The potential signs of a gambling problem.
New Regulation #2: Employee training
The second regulation the DGE added is a mandatory and ongoing training program for any online gaming site employee who may have customer interaction.
“All Internet gaming operators with employees who have direct contact with patrons via phone, e-mail, electronic chat, or other means, shall implement training for those employees, at the start of their employment and at regular intervals thereafter,” the DGE letter states.
Among the protocols these employees must learn are:
- Recognizing the nature and symptoms of problem gambling behavior and how to assist players in obtaining information regarding help for a gambling problem and self-exclusion programs;
- Responding to patrons who may disclose that they have a gambling problem; and
- Responding to reports from third parties, such as family members, about patrons who may have a gambling problem.
Patron protection page rooted in Rutgers report
The new regulations appear based on several recommendations made by the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University.
The recommendations were included in a report Rutgers submitted earlier this year. This report is part of a multi-year research project commissioned by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement as part of the state’s problem gambling initiative funded by online gaming operators.
In its report Rutgers made six recommendations to strengthen responsible gambling controls:
- Incorporate RG [Responsible Gambling] sign-up and education into account sign-up.
- Increase branding for RG features.
- Require players who increase a limit or discontinue a feature and those who exceed their $2,500 lifetime deposit limit to be redirected to the RG education link.
- Provide a standardized format for accessing player protection features.
- Label all the required features the same.
- Create a standardized clock that is clearly visible and place it in a standardized location on each page.
It appears these reports are already paying dividends, as Rutgers fourth recommendation seems to be the basis for the DGE’s new patron protection page.