As gambling revenue has dramatically increased in New Jersey, legislators decided to pass a series of measures to tackle problem gambling this Monday. If approved, companies will be prohibited from advertising their services at public colleges and universities, a gambling treatment diversion court program will be created, and schools will be required to explain the health risks of compulsive gambling to their students.
Proposed Bill Seeks to Prevent Teenage Gambling Problems
The proposed legislation is sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), who chairs the tourism, gaming, and arts committee, which unanimously voted in favor of the bill this Monday. Caputo explained that his latest proposal focuses on fighting gambling addiction and preventing people from “unintended consequences” of excessive gambling.
In an interview with the New Jersey Monitor, Caputo revealed that all legislators voted in favor of the gambling expansion back in the day, and now they should do something to combat the adverse effects of this pastime. The committee urged the Assembly to criticize the excessive number of gambling advertisements in the Empire State and ask betting companies and casinos to promote their services in a socially responsible manner.
Assemblyman Don Guardian (R-Atlantic) admitted that he did not support the proposed measures because gambling companies attract customers by advertising their services. He added that the state collects over $200 million in revenues from gambling and sports betting and such restrictions will result in a revenue decline.
The Establishment of A Diversionary Court For Problem Gamblers is On the Table
Experts claim that a growing number of people under the age of 21 participate in gambling activities. The National Center on Problem Gambling revealed some shocking figures. Up to 6% of the kids aged 12 to 17 have a gambling problem, while 14% are at-risk gamblers. According to the Responsible Gambling Council, youths are more susceptible to gambling problems because they make spontaneous decisions. And that is the reason why the new bill focuses on discouraging adolescents from gambling.
Many people who experienced the negative effects of gambling supported the proposed bill. Dan Trolaro of Morris County told lawmakers that he spent eight months in jail after embezzling $2 million from his customers to gamble. He added that prison is not the place that will help people recover from their gambling addiction. Trolaro urged legislators to pass the bill that would create a diversionary court for people who break the law to fund their gambling addiction.
Andrea Johnson of the state Administrative Office of the Courts told lawmakers that the court system is not against the proposal but explained that judicial vacancies are currently on the rise, and it would be better if such offenders are diverted to existing diversionary programs.