This new approach will enable dedicated, responsible gaming experts employed by the platforms and us to see the early warning signs and reach at-risk patrons before they find themselves in a financial catastrophe. Regulators in New Jersey announced that they have started requiring operators to analyze data collected from their customers to help identify individuals at risk of developing a gambling problem.
Under the initiative, the first of its kind in the US, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) said it would work with operators on the use of technology to identify and address patrons perceived to be at risk.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said that under Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, the state “has become a national leader in online casino games and sports wagering, and with that growth comes a responsibility to ensure that individuals at risk for compulsive gambling have access to the resources they need to get help.”
Platkin said the initiative had been in the planning stages since March 2022 and officially launched on January 1, 2023. The new requirements apply only to online wagering and supplement the state’s efforts to promote responsible gaming.
“This new initiative will allow the NJDGE to work with the gaming industry to identify problematic patterns in player wagering behavior and intervene before they escalate,” the AG said.
Problem Signs to Look For
The “problematic patterns” that regulators want operators to be on the lookout for are enclosed in player data that they have been capturing for years. User agreements include verbiage that stipulates that before an individual is granted access to online gambling platforms, they agree to have their play monitored and recorded.
Until now, operators have used that data to prevent cheating, fraud, identity theft, and theft. The AG’s office said that “Operators of online wagering platforms also train their staff members who interact with players to identify red flags indicative of a gambling disorder”.
“But this new effort ensures that data, not just observation by platform personnel, will be used to pinpoint players who might need help, and dedicated responsible gaming personnel will reach out to them.”
Warning signs that NJDGE wants operators to look for include the following:
- Customers who spend an increasing amount of time gambling every week
- Bettors who repeatedly self-impose cool-off periods
- Players who wager until they have less than one dollar in their accounts
- Individuals who access the self-exclusion page on an operator’s website but don’t sign up
- Large deposits (specifically, in the thousands of dollars) made within a short period
- Multiple requests from a player to increase the limits on deposits or losses within 24 hours
The Garden State currently runs a self-exclusion system and requires operators to include specific responsible gambling language in their advertising. Patrons must also be allowed to monitor and control the time and money they spend on gambling — through the use of time and deposit limits, respectively.
Intervention Now Required
Operators will now be required to intervene — to where their customers know that they are exhibiting warning signs that they have a gambling problem. NJDGE also wants operators to provide guidance and information for their customers.
The regulator said its initiative calls for “various circumstance-dependent interventions, including progressive responses if the indications of a potential gambling disorder keep recurring after attempts are made to assist and address the problem.”
A three-level system for intervention has been set up. Customers will receive automated messaging on responsible gaming and available resources at the first level. If the warning signs continue, a second level will require that a customer watch a video on responsible gaming before being allowed to continue gambling.
The third level of intervention requires an operator’s responsible gaming department to meet with the customer directly and address any problem gambling issues.
“We are using data to identify at-risk players, alert them to their suspected disordered gambling, and inform them about available responsible gambling features in online platforms and corrective actions they can take,” NJDGE Director David Rebuck said.
“This new approach will enable dedicated responsible gaming experts employed by the platforms and us to see the early warning signs and reach at-risk patrons before they find themselves in a financial catastrophe.”