The bill from State Senator Joseph Cryan of Union County states:
“Gambling on casino games or sporting events is a potentially addictive behavior that can result in mental, social, and financial stresses to an individual, their family, and their community. While gambling in various forms and through various mediums is legal in this State, it is necessary to take steps to protect vulnerable populations in this State from the adverse effects associated with gambling.”
“This bill narrowly targets gambling advertisements that are fraudulent, or designed to entice individuals on the self-exclusion list, or who are under the legal age to gamble, while leaving available all other means and methods of advertising.”
“This bill requires the Division of Gaming Enforcement to promulgate rules to restrict advertisements made by casino licensees and sports wagering licensees, and their contracted operators, that relate to casino games or sports wagering, only if those advertisements (1) are fraudulent or deceptive, (2) are directed at individuals on the lawfully established self-exclusion list, or (3) directly appeal to individuals under the legal age to
gamble or wager.”
State law already requires all sportsbook billboards to include the language ‘Bet with your head, not over it’ or some comparable language approved by the division.
It also requires that gambling advertising not be “deceptive,” but this bill would add “fraudulent” ads to the prohibited list.
The bill was introduced in the state Senate, Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee, but it came too late for a full vote of the state Senate and Assembly as the mid-year session came to a close on June 30.
That means that the bill is unlikely to be addressed until the legislature resumes its regular schedule in early September. The next step is to request a fiscal note from the state Office of Legislative Services, although in this case, any estimated change in revenue by the sportsbooks presumably would be very limited at best.
While Cryan is a veteran lawmaker with two decades in the legislature and is a former chairman of the Democratic State Committee, he does not hold a formal leadership role. The bill could benefit, however, from the fact that the Democratic Party has a firm hold on power in the state.
Other New Gambling Bills
The bill defines a sports wagering partnership as:
“a partnership or a contractual agreement between a sports wagering operator or intermediary and an institution of higher education, including an athletic department or booster club of the institution, for access to advertise in the institution’s stadiums and other facilities, in digital and broadcast sports content, and through other means. Pursuant to the bill, a public institution of higher education is prohibited from participating in a sports wagering partnership.”
This bill is further along in the process because it is identical to an Assembly version that was introduced in February and then the following month was unanimously advanced out of the Assembly Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee.
The chairman of that committee had been Ralph Caputo, whose three decades of service as an Atlantic City casino executive made him a leading figure in all gambling-related bills in Trenton. However, Caputo resigned from office in March to join the board of insurance giant Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Finally, Cryan introduced a non-binding resolution that “condemns the overproliferation of pro-gambling ads in New Jersey and urges sports betting companies and casinos to exercise restraint and good judgment when engaging in advertisements in the State.” The Assembly committee also advanced this resolution in March – but by a 4-3 vote along partisan lines.
All three measures are in sync with state gambling regulators, who in April introduced their own new plans to address excess in gambling advertising.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the establishment of a new position dedicated to responsible gaming called the Responsible Gaming Coordinator, setting new advertising standards for operators, and simplifying access to self-exclusion for players struggling with a gambling disorder.
“We are sending a clear message that we take this work seriously – and so should the industry,” Platkin said in a statement.
Sportsbooks in the state can no longer promote misleading “risk-free” bets – a ban also enacted earlier this year in several other states.
Player data is now being utilized by operators to detect potential problem gambling patterns, such as an individual’s gambling time increasing from week to week or a player wagering until they have less than a single dollar in their accounts.
Gamblers exhibiting warning signs at first will receive an automated outreach regarding responsible gaming resources. If the warning signals continue, the gambler is shown a video tutorial explaining responsible gaming and a list of available resources. At the next level, the operator’s responsible gaming lead will directly contact the consumer to discuss the escalation in gambling patterns.
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