When online gambling became regulated in New Jersey, part of the deal was that four annual reports would be produced with the goal of “examining the overall impact of Internet gaming and problematic patterns of play and the relationship to the state‐wide prevalence of problem gambling.”
The second of the four studies, conducted by the Rutgers University Center for Gambling Studies, was recently released and contains pages upon pages of statistics, breaking down the demographics and online gambling habits of the state’s gaming customers every which way. It would be silly to discuss all of them here when you can just read the study for yourself (and I’m not getting paid by the word), but we’ll hit on a couple of the points we found the most interesting.
Here’s one: online gamblers in New Jersey actually use the responsible gaming features the sites are required to provide! When arguing for the legalization and regulations of internet gambling, proponents usually point to problem gambling prevention measures as one reason why online gambling should be allowed. Opponents scoff at these, typically saying nobody will use them. Oh, but they do.
Now, it’s not like there is an overwhelming majority of people using responsible gaming features and nobody should have expected that, as most people aren’t problem gamblers. For instance, I am not a problem gambler and while I very much appreciate responsible gaming features of sites should I ever need them, I have never used them because I have never required them (NO HONEY, I REALLY DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM. DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO NAG?).
According to the study, 14.23 percent of New Jersey’s online gamblers took advantage of responsible gaming measures in 2014. Their mean age was 41, with the youngest being 21-years old and the oldest topping the charts at 95-years old.
Interestingly, women were “significantly overrepresented” in that just 23 percent of all online gamblers were women, yet 40 percent of the people who used responsible gaming features were women.
Most of the people who chose responsible gaming features, as those familiar with gambling might have expected, were casino games players, as opposed to poker players. A total of 10,421 responsible gaming users were casino players, which amounts to 78 percent of the total.
Responsible gaming feature users who played casinos games:
• Bet on an average of two sites, compared to one site for non-RG gamblers
• Gambled on 55 days of the year, compared to just 13 days for non-RG gamblers
• Had a mean maximum wager of $143.61 compared to $50.50 for non-RG gamblers, though their minimum bet was smaller
• Placed 36,000 bets compared to 5,142 bets for non-RG gamblers
The most frequently used single responsible gaming feature, by far, was self-exclusion, used by 58 percent of RG gamblers. After that it was deposit limit only (16 percent), time limit only (6 percent), cool off only (6 percent), and loss limit only (2 percent). People also used multiple methods.
Again, there is a lot of information in the report, so we’re going to stop right here, but we’ll leave you with one more tidbit. One player in New Jersey bet more than $78.7 million online in 2014. And I get nervous when I play in a $50 max buy-in cash game.