New Jersey Regulator Calls Out Lotteries, Racing, On Responsible Gambling

July 19, 2022
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New Jersey’s top gambling regulator is challenging state lotteries, racing commissions and other agencies to join casinos and sports-betting operators in developing responsible gambling programs to avoid a devastating addiction crisis in the gaming industry.

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New Jersey’s top gambling regulator is challenging state lotteries, racing commissions and other agencies to join casinos and sports-betting operators in developing responsible gambling programs to avoid a devastating addiction crisis in the gaming industry.

“State lotteries, what is your commitment to responsible gaming?” David Rebuck asked rhetorically during the SBC Summit North America at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey just outside New York City.

“Racing commissions, racetracks, horseracing, what is your commitment to responsible gaming?” Rebuck asked again.

He also said states must begin earmarking funds in their budgets to treat problem gambling.

“This needs to be done to keep this industry viable, and prevent a catastrophe,” Rebuck warned.

Rebuck, 69, has served as director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) since April 2011 after being appointed by Republican Governor Chris Christie.

Last month, the DGE shared stricter new guidelines that will require New Jersey's online casinos and sports-betting operators to establish specific responsible gaming teams and deploy automated tracking systems to raise alerts in various instances of potentially problematic play.

Rebuck said he is confident a majority of online gaming licensees in New Jersey will comply with the new best practices within six months.

Licensees who do not meet the deadline will not be punished, but Rebuck said his agency will continue to monitor their operations to make sure they are still trying.

“All aspects of data can be tracked forever,” Rebuck said.

The DGE director also noted that the federal excise tax on sports betting is 0.25 percent of total handle, or about 5 percent of gross revenue.

Although that may not be much money for the federal government, Rebuck suggested the tax could be used to help fill “a big hole” in the budgets of non-profit groups treating gambling addiction.

“Any state that looks to expand gambling — internet gambling or sports wagering — if you don’t have a commitment [to treat gambling addiction] in your budget, then you need to take a second look at how you’re going to provide those services,” he said.

Rebuck also urged states to partner with their academic institutions to conduct research on gambling.

For example, Entain has partnered with Harvard University on gambling research, while Mohegan Sun is partnered with Yale Medical School.

New Jersey’s academic partner in gambling research is Rutgers University, which receives anonymized transaction data on internet gaming each year.

The research is funded by the gaming industry and provides information used to create programs to combat problem gambling.

“It’s critical, and it should continue and other states should engage in that kind of research,” Rebuck said.

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