Online gambling in New Jersey appears to be a young man’s game, according to a report released this week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The study, conducted by the Center for Gambling Studies at the Rutgers University, School of Social Work, reported on a full year of data from the online gambling websites. Of more than 79,000 players who wagered online, nearly 77% were men.
“Unlike casinos, which attract older players, the average online gambler is a young man, between the ages of 25 and 34,” said Professor Lia Nower, who directs the Center and led the study. “Less than one percent of gamblers were 65 or older and only 11% were 55 to 64.”
The study reported that the average player also gambles occasionally on one or two sites. But 10% of the players gambled nearly every day, placing an average of 440 bets per day on multiple sites and spending big. More than half of those players were women. “We definitely want to know more about this group,” Nower said. “They gambled on an average of three different casino sites, some up to six, and spent an average of a half-million in a year. We were surprised that 53% were women.”
Another key finding in the report was that the responsible gambling features required by the Division appear to have a positive effect on those who choose to use them. Each site in New Jersey is required to provide gamblers with the ability to limit deposits, losses and time spend gambling, to “cool-off” for a minimum of 72 hours, and to self-exclude from gaming websites. The study found that about 14% of gamblers chose to use one or more of the features.
“The good news is that players who set limits for themselves spent less than those who didn’t use the features,” Nower said. “Next to self-excluding, setting deposit limits was the most popular feature followed by limiting the amount of time spent gambling.”
Men tended to choose a combination of features, while women were more likely to self-exclude, she added. The average gambler who self-excluded, according to the study, bet nearly $45,000 in one year, although one player bet over $11.5 million.
“We compared gambling habits of players who set limits before gambling to those who gambled before and after or quit gambling after setting limits,” Nower said. “Overall, gamblers who set limits before playing bet far fewer days, placed fewer bets and bet less in a year than the other groups.”
These findings seem to suggest that limit setting tools encourage responsible play. “The key to improving their effectiveness is to make sure the features are visible and accessible, to provide education on how to use the features, and to encourage players opt-in at sign-up when they can make objective choices about their play,” she said.
The full Internet gaming report is available on the Division’s website.
The Center has also completed a statewide prevalence survey in New Jersey of online and land-based gaming and daily fantasy sports play. That report will be published in September.