It’s fairly common knowledge that gambling can be addictive, but addiction rates seem to be soaring at an all-time high nowadays. Gambling has become incredibly easy to take part in, with new apps, platforms and sites popping up to encourage more people to part with their money.
And with new technology like contactless payments or Apple Pay, is it any wonder that people are finding it easier to slip into habits of over-spending on their games? Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it can enable difficult habits and rituals for people who really need some outside help in their lives.
It’s important to bear in mind that gambling on it’s own is not a bad thing, but compulsive gambling is where help is needed. If you’ve been following the news as of late, you’re bound to have heard about the debates between New Jersey and New York in regards to sports betting and online gaming platforms.
New Jersey addiction treatment experts have been warning New York officials about the staggering number of gambling addicts in recent years, and the debate of whether online gaming should be allowed or not has been bought up too. This is a discussion that occurs with almost every new introduction of gambling technology or gaming development.
According to NJ Gambling Fun, New Jersey legalized sports betting back in 2018, much to the dismay of addiction treatment centers. Ever since then, the number of individuals phoning the Garden State’s gambling hotline to ask for help with a sports betting problem has doubled. This is according to a report by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, as reported by the New York Post.
New Jersey appears to have fairly lax laws on gambling, as it permits people to gamble both in-person at casinos, and online through mobile applications and websites. Reports on the frequency of online gambling in New Jersey vary, putting the number anywhere from 50% of gamers to over 80% of gamers.
In contrast to this, New York only allows sports betting and gaming to occur in person. At the time of writing, this is only relevant to four popular casinos in the state. The debate of whether mobile applications, games and websites should be accessible to New York-based gamblers is still raging on, with fierce opinions from both sides.
The executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Ms. Neva Pryor, declared that she thinks ‘it’s better if a person has to physically go somewhere to bet’. Ms. Pryor then went on to warn that online applications and games lead to a gambling experience that is the same as having a casino in your back pocket.
The report by the Council notes that before the legalization of this form of gambling in 2018, the percentage of calls that they received relating to sports betting were roughly 1 to 5 percent of the total. After legalization, the percentage went up to just over 10% of the total calls which is an immense increase in sports betting related issues.
On average, this hotline receives just under 100 calls per month. Therefore, this increase in sports betting related calls shows a significant amount of people in the area have started to face problems with their sports betting habits.
This number seems to skyrocket around sporting events, like the Superbowl. This is fairly normal. Sporting events and games can be big triggers for people who deal with sports betting addictions, as this touching article about a New Jersey parent suffering with addiction notes.
The debate amongst New York officials has reached a fever pitch. Some politicians and local experts are calling for mobile and online gaming to be legalized, even though the first attempt at this was halted in early 2019. Regardless, the push for legalization is still ongoing, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo was against it.
Some are calling into question whether the state may reconsider bringing in online gambling, as they are predicted to be facing a whopping 6 billion dollar shortfall this coming year.
Regardless of what occurs, it’s important that the right support systems are put in place. Gambling providers must make provisions for the members of their audience who are struggling with addiction or compulsive gaming.
If you are, or someone you know is, struggling with a gambling addiction, please know that there are always local support systems and helplines in place. Don’t feel bad or ashamed about reaching out for help with your gambling when you need it.