Responsible Gaming Task Force Will Ensure New Jersey Has ‘Tools Needed’ To Address Problem Gambling

Written By Grant Lucas on June 21, 2024
Image of Gov. Phil Murphy for a story on his executive order to create the Responsible Gaming Task Force.

When it comes to legal gambling in New Jersey, responsible gambling is no joke for lawmakers and regulators.

That became more clear last week when Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 360 to create the Responsible Gaming Task Force.

Citing a variety of factors leading to his decision, including a 2023 study from Rutgers University examining the prevalence of problem gaming and responsible gambling in New Jersey, Murphy ordered the creation of the task force, “which shall be responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the Governor’s Office and to the Attorney General regarding reforms to support responsible gaming and to address problem gambling in New Jersey.”

“New Jersey is known to be a gaming destination with historic locations like Atlantic City, amusement gaming at the Jersey Shore, notable horse racing venues, and more,” Murphy said in a statement.

“This Task Force will see to it that we maintain our global leadership in gaming by ensuring that we have the tools needed to address problem gaming for our residents.”

What is the Responsible Gaming Task Force?

According to a press release announcing its creation, the task force will consist of seven government representatives or their designees.

  • Attorney General (serving as Chair)
  • Chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission
  • Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
  • Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
  • Director of the Division of State Lottery
  • Executive Director of the New Jersey Racing Commission
  • Commissioner of the Department of Human Services

The Responsible Gaming Task Force can consult with industry experts as well as representatives of “regulated entities” or “other knowledgeable individuals” who can speak to responsible and problem gambling. The task force’s first report will hit Murphy’s desk on March 31, 2025.

“I applaud Governor Murphy for his leadership in elevating responsible gaming initiatives through the establishment of a statewide task force,” Matthew Platkin, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement. “New Jersey has been a national leader in casino and sports wagering for many years, and we owe it to our residents to review and expand our existing efforts on problem gambling.

“This task force demonstrates that ‘responsible gaming’ is not merely a buzzword in New Jersey, but a critical issue that demands the attention of government entities, industry, and stakeholders. As Chair of the task force, I’m eager to get underway in examining ways to help bring attention to and support the prevention and treatment of gambling disorder.”

NJ continues to emphasize importance of responsible gambling

Over the past few years, legal gambling has thrived in New Jersey. Not only is the NJ sports betting scene among the nation’s leaders, online casinos in New Jersey have also continued to grow 10 years into the industry’s existence.

Along with that growth, however, problem gambling has also expanded. Last year, Rutgers released a study estimating that around 6% of NJ residents are at high risk for problem gambling, a rate that sits up to 2% higher than the national average.

At the time, Platkin emphasized that lawmakers and regulators in New Jersey “have an obligation to help those suffering from problem gaming and gambling addiction issues” as legal gambling continues to grow. The Rutgers report, he said, allows decision-makers to gain a strong grasp on the issue “and with it, able to better identify challenges for our most vulnerable populations and design programs and initiatives to assist them.”

This study came a few months after the state creating the position of responsible gaming coordinator, who ensures that online casinos and sportsbooks in New Jersey comply with industry regulations regarding advertising and marketing, among other responsibilities.

“As New Jersey’s gaming and sports wagering industries continue to grow and mature, so do our obligations to assist patrons who are at risk for problem gambling,” Platkin said at the time.

“By establishing a dedicated, senior level position within the (NJ) Division of Gaming Enforcement to focus on responsible gaming, we are sending a clear message that we take this work seriously — and so should the industry.”

Photo by Matt Rourke / AP Photo
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant now focuses his attention on the growing NJ online gambling and sports betting scene.

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