Source: USA Today.com
…According to Executive Director Donald Weinbaum, the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling has seen an increased number of calls to its toll-free help line since the state’s online gambling law took effect in November.
“We have gotten a mix of calls from people who have relapsed and gotten in trouble by the easy access, and calls from people who are new to gambling and the speed of play,” Weinbaum says. “The round-the-clock access has gotten them into trouble in a rather short period of time.” According to Weinbaum,
70 percent to 80 percent of people in New Jersey gamble, and 2 percent to 5 percent of them — or about 350,000 people — develop addiction problems. The rate is twice as high for young adults, with 4 percent to 8 percent of them showing signs of compulsive gambling.
Organizations such as the Council on Compulsive Gambling, the state lottery and the Department of Human Services are spreading the word that help is available. “Compulsive gambling, like drug and alcohol addiction, can be successfully treated,” said Lynn Kovich, state assistant commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
New Jersey is the third state — after Delaware and Nevada — to authorize Internet gambling. California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas hope to follow suit.
About 2.5 percent of New Jersey gamblers have played online at Atlantic City casino websites since the law took effect Nov. 26, according to the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton College. The institute predicted those numbers could triple in 2014, according to a poll released Jan. 30.
The 16 online sites had total earnings of $10.3 million in February, up slightly from $9.5 million in January. At that rate, Internet gambling would bring in more than $120 million for the year — far less than the $200 million to $300 million many analysts predicted.
Officials from Tropicana said players have the ability to limit deposits, spending and session times. Players also can suspend or close their accounts or voluntarily exclude themselves from the site. Gamblers also can visit the state Division of Gaming Enforcement to enter the self-exclusion program. According to Weinbaum, a one- to five-year exclusion can be submitted online, but a lifetime ban must be done in person.
New Jersey Council On Compulsive Gambling:
http://800Gambler.org; 1-800-GAMBLER (426-2537)