Rutgers “Internet Gaming in New Jersey” Study Highlights Responsible Gambling

Posted on: August 28, 2016, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2016, 09:47h.

Internet Gaming in New Jersey responsible gaming
The iGambling responsible gaming safeguards implemented by state officials and Gov. Chris Christie in the Garden State are working according to a new report titled “Internet Gaming in New Jersey.” (Image: Tyson Trish/The Record)

The “Internet Gaming in New Jersey” research study performed by Rutgers University shows that problem gambling safeguards implemented by the state are being utilized at higher-than-expected rates.

According to the university’s Center for Gambling Studies, 94,255 people gambled online at some point in 2014, with men (72,366) representing the vast majority of that figure. Of the total iGaming demographic, 14.23 percent took advantage of responsible gaming (RG) measures.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) mandates that Internet casino platforms provide RG options.

Perhaps most surprising is that the 25-34 demographic utilized RG tools most frequently. The study found that 31.15 percent of all 25 to 34-year-olds incorporated RG features.

RG options include cool-off intervals, time limits, and self-exclusion periods.

“The most encouraging findings from this analysis is the apparent efficacy of the limit-setting tools,” the Center for Gambling Studies stated.

However, the research team says there’s plenty of more work to be done.

“RG lacks uniform branding, outreach and marketing to ensure all players are aware of the array of features available,” the paper concludes. “We would . . . recommend that RG be included as part of registration for a player account and for continued usage for existing players.”

Money No Longer Expendable

For decades, retailers and marketers have largely geared their campaigns to the 18 to 34-year-old demographic. The all-important notion of “disposable income” is what the companies are after, and the age range is also still malleable in choosing product preferences and brands.

Today, that 16-year age range is often split in two for more precise analytics.

And as it relates to gambling, the older half is more concerned with budgeting and not losing more than they can afford. With student loan debt nearly an epidemic in the US and higher education continuing to rise, young professionals have less spending money after paying their bills and interest.

As a result, many have seemingly become more financially conscious.

For the younger half, those fresh out of high school and predominantly still living at home or at college, money remains disposable.

The Rutgers study reveals that only 9.2 percent of 21 to 24-year-olds signed up for RG protections. It’s the smallest percentage of any age category other than the 65+ group.

The minimum age to gamble online in New Jersey is 21.

Online and Upwards

The New Jersey online gambling market is enjoying its best year-to-date.

Through July, the state’s five Internet casino operators took in $112.18 million. The state’s best iGaming year in its short three years was 2015 when it grossed $148.88 million.

With five months remaining and just $36.5 million to go, 2016 should break that mark considerably. Revenues often pick up as the days become shorter and the weather colder, bringing even more optimism to the already strong performance.

But for continued long-term growth, operators will need to entice new online gamblers.

According to the US Census Bureau, there’s roughly seven million residents aged 18 and older in New Jersey. Though the government doesn’t break down the population by those 21 and over, it’s clear there are several million adults of legal age not participating.