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AG Platkin announces launch of responsible gaming public awareness campaign

Messaging Will Encourage Self-Awareness of Gambling Habits and Responsible Gaming Tools and Resources

NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin Tuesday announced the launch of a nearly year-long public awareness campaign centered on preventing problem gambling and providing resources and support for responsible gaming.

The announcement comes during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, which is aimed at increasing public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

The campaign will seek to raise messaging about responsible gaming, which refers to a set of policies and practices that aim to promote gambling experiences while minimizing the risk of harm to individuals and society as a whole. These resources help individuals identify when gambling activities become compulsory despite an increasing toll on finances, health, employment, and personal and familial relationships.

“As we learn more and more about the effects of problem gambling, especially following the legalization of sports wagering, we have an obligation to provide resources and support to the public on responsible gaming,” Platkin said. “This work starts with ensuring awareness of the many tools available to assist individuals who struggle with gambling, including comprehensive prevention strategies and treatment and recovery services. Our campaign will highlight the responsible gaming measures put in place within our office and available through our partners and stakeholders to assist those in need of help.”

“Legalization has moved gambling out of the shadows, and for most people, legalized gaming does not create a health issue,” Platkin said. “However, it is incumbent upon us to provide stronger solutions for those who do struggle with gambling, whether that means through comprehensive prevention and support strategies, such as our responsible gaming initiatives, or stronger treatment and recovery services for problem gamblers.”

The campaign, most of which will be geared towards online advertisements, arrives during this year’s NCAA Basketball March Madness, and it will continue through Super Bowl LIX in 2025. Media placements will be strategically timed around these and other major sporting events, including the NBA Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals, the Summer Olympics, the MLB postseason, and the Triple Crown races (the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes).

The campaign’s messages will offer reminders about betting responsibly, particularly when betting in-game while judgment may be impaired due to alcohol consumption or emotional responses to the ongoing contest.

In addition, the campaign will encourage patrons to utilize some of the responsible gaming limits and controls that all online operators are required to offer to patrons. This contrasts to illegal gambling websites, which by their very nature do not have the same responsible gaming obligations and safeguards as legal websites. The campaign’s messages also will encourage members of the public to “vet before they bet” by checking the list of licensed operators on DGE’s website.

Marketsmith, a marketing agency based in Whippany is creating and managing the $300,000 campaign, with input, guidance, and oversight from the Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). The goal of the campaign is to motivate behavior change by encouraging calls to DGE’s self-exclusion toll-free hotline (1-833-788-4DGE), among other actions.

“The Division of Gaming Enforcement enhanced and improved our responsible gaming resources in 2023, and we are excited for the increased awareness that this initiative will bring to the public,” said Mary Jo Flaherty, Interim Director of DGE. “We are eager to share more information about how individuals can empower themselves with responsible gaming tools, whether that means becoming more self-aware of their behavior, taking more breaks from gaming, or deciding to stay away from a game for a longer period.”

In 2023, DGE began requiring online wagering companies to use technology to identify and work to address at-risk patrons. In addition to the dedicated self-exclusion hotline, DGE also instituted video conferences so that patrons can enroll without having to travel and leave their homes.

The campaign comes approximately six months after a 2023 Rutgers University prevalence report, commissioned by DGE, found that the overall rate of high-risk problem gambling in New Jersey is currently estimated to be almost 6%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 1% to 2%. In addition, the proportion of gamblers who gambled both online and in-person has nearly doubled from 19% to 36% since 2017, and the proportion of gamblers who are gambling exclusively online has nearly tripled from 5% to nearly 15%.

The campaign will also have a special focus on the populations found in the Rutgers University report to be most at risk of developing a disorder – young men and gamblers who identified as Black/African American or Hispanic. The study also found that highest rates of problem gambling were reported by gamblers who identified as Black/African American or Hispanic and that gamblers ages 18 to 44 were most likely to be high-risk problem gamblers, with about 19% of high-risk gamblers being between the ages of 18 and 24.

Anyone who is struggling with a gambling problem who is looking for confidential support and resources is encouraged to call or text New Jersey’s free helpline (1-800-GAMBLER). This number is run by the nonprofit Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, which has helped countless individuals recover from disordered gambling since its inception by facilitating access to various programs, services, and other resources.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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