Gambling is a Growth Industry in New Jersey

By Rutgers University, Special for  USDR

New Jersey continues to double-down on gambling — revenues are up, sports-betting is likely and nearly 70 percent of adults gambled last year. But a Rutgers University study suggests the betting boom has a price: the rate of gambling disorder in New Jersey is four times the national average, with one out of every 16 adults reporting symptoms of a serious gambling  problem.

The study by Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Center for Gambling Studies at the School of Social Work included 3,634 adults reached by phone and online. It was the first representative look at gambling behavior in New Jersey since the  1980s.

“For most people, gambling is recreation,” says Lia Nower, the center’s director, who led the study.  “But the more games you play, the more often you gamble and the more venues you frequent, the more likely you are to develop a  problem.”

Rates of gambling disorder in the general population hover below 2 percent, but are more than 6 percent in New Jersey. Neighboring states offer many gambling venues to New  Jerseyans.

Only 5 percent of gamblers in the study reported gambling online, while 75 percent stuck to casinos and other land-based venues. Nineteen percent of gamblers said they gambled both online and at land-based venues. The most popular games were lottery tickets and instant scratch-offs, gaming machines and live casino table games. Nower says online gambling doesn’t seem responsible for higher rates of problem  gambling.

“The people with the most severe problems are typically those who gamble on activities like slot machines and video poker at casinos and also played casino games online,” she  says.

Nower and her colleagues were surprised to find that Hispanic adults reported the highest rates of problem gambling of any ethnic group, 16 percent. That was more than eight times the rate in the general population and three times the rate of white  adults.

The study also examined the relationship of gambling to daily fantasy sports play, which federal law excludes from gambling prohibitions. Both frequency and severity of gambling in this group were significantly higher than among gamblers in general, the study  found.

SOURCE Rutgers  University

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