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New Jersey’s DGE Implements Innovative Measures for Responsible Gambling

Wednesday 10 July 2024 / 12:00

SoloAzar Exclusive

2 minutos de lectura

(New York, SoloAzar Exclusive).- The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey takes its role seriously as the principal gaming authority and investigative arm of the state’s casino gaming regulatory system. To ensure compliance with the Casino Control Act and promote responsible gambling, the DGE has introduced several initiatives, which are explained to SoloAzar by Mary Jo Flaherty, Interim Director Division of Gaming Enforcement, New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

New Jersey’s DGE Implements Innovative Measures for Responsible Gambling

How does the DGE ensure compliance with the Casino Control Act?

The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is a law enforcement agency within the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, and operating under the authority of the New Jersey Attorney General. DGE is the principal gaming authority and investigative arm of the New Jersey casino gaming regulatory system responsible for enforcing the Casino Control Act, Sports Wagering Act, and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

DGE’s workforce consists of attorneys, investigators, and accountants, and it is supported by New Jersey State Police troopers and Division of Criminal Justice prosecutors assigned to it. DGE investigates, issues reports and, when necessary, challenges the qualifications of individual and corporate applicants for casino and casino-related licenses; reviews and audits casino-hotel operations; investigates and prosecutes all casino-related crimes; and tests all casino slot machines, casino floor systems, and Internet gaming and online sports wagering platform systems prior to use.

What recent initiatives has the DGE implemented to promote responsible gambling in New Jersey?

Under the leadership of Attorney General Platkin, over the past several years, DGE has implemented several innovative initiatives to promote responsible gaming (RG) in New Jersey:

1)    In January 2023, DGE launched a groundbreaking Responsible Gaming Initiative which requires online gaming operators to identify and help problem gamblers by utilizing information they already collect regarding their patrons’ playing habits. Online wagering companies use technology to identify and work to address at-risk patrons. Operators of gambling platforms now are required to analyze electronically maintained player data to determine whether a patron is showing signs of problem gambling behavior.

2)    In April 2023, OAG and DGE announced three more advancements: the establishment of a new DGE position dedicated to RG, new advertising standards for operators, and enhanced access to the self-exclusion process for players struggling with a gambling disorder.

Are there any specific protocols or early warning systems in place to identify potential problem gamblers?

Yes. As required under DGE’s Responsible Gaming Initiative, New Jersey online gaming operators use  data-driven approaches to analyze and identify patterns of behavior that may indicate problematic gambling. Operators use this information to help tailor interventions and refine RG strategies to be more effective. Also, DGE requires operators to leverage technology to aid in identifying potential problem gamblers. 

New Jersey has implemented regulations and issued best practices for Internet gaming and online sports wagering. These regulations and best practices cover a range of areas including age verification, self-exclusion programs, responsible advertising practices, and others.

The DGE Best Practices call for:

  1. Operators to implement an RG Lead and dedicated RG Staff who are responsible for ensuring that at-risk patrons are provided with RG information, such as available resources and RG features.
  2. Operators to implement automated triggers when certain events occur, such as reaching specific deposit thresholds, accessing the self-exclusion page but not completing the process, requesting repeated cool-off periods within a short timeframe, and a series of changes to deposit or loss limits. The triggers also include certain player behavior such as an increased amount of time spent on the gaming platform, multiple gaming sessions ending with the patron having less than $1 in their account, and an increase in the number of wagers placed.
  3. Once any of these triggers are met, there is a phased approach aimed at intervention:

             i.     Phase 1: the operator corresponds with the patron to let them know of the availability of various RG tools and resources.

             ii.     Phase 2: a video tutorial to educate the patron on the availability of RG features.

             iii.     Phase 3:  a more direct intervention by an RG professional to advise the patron on corrective actions to address the at-risk behavior.

This approach ensures that data, not just observation by platform personnel, is used to pinpoint players who might need help and that RG personnel are assigned to provide the outreach to those players.

Moreover, on June 14, 2024, New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy signed an Executive Order which establishes a Responsible Gaming Task Force in New Jersey that has the missions of providing advice and recommendations to OAG and to the Governor’s Office about RG reforms to address problem gambling in New Jersey. DGE is a member of the task force, which itself is chaired by the Attorney General.

Can you explain the DGE’s role in testing casino slots, casino floor systems, and Internet gaming platform systems?

DGE’s Technical Services Bureau (TSB) ensures not only the integrity of electronic gaming equipment, but also the integrity of Internet gaming systems used in the State of New Jersey.  The Bureau consists of an Engineering Unit, Cyber Security and Analytics Unit, Information Technology Investigations Unit, and Quality Assurance Unit.  These units work together to ensure gaming products are fair and compliant with regulatory requirements.  To ensure the integrity of these products, each offering must be approved by DGE’s slot lab and then must undergo verification prior to its use.

What recent technological advancements have impacted the DGE’s work?

Regarding game play, one technological advancement is the ability to implement social integration within game play. Whether it is a leaderboard functionality or the ability for patrons to participate in level achievement games, social integration has become a critical aspect for player enhancement. In scenarios like these, DGE focuses on player protection, as well as ensuring that appropriate disclosures of the features are provided to the patrons.

How does the DGE stay ahead of emerging trends in the gaming industry?
Apart from the internal educational aspect of researching emerging trends and their impact upon the gaming industry, the DGE also constantly collaborates with the industry regarding their products and the way technological advancements will be incorporated by industry stakeholders. This approach positions DGE to anticipate and better understand upcoming submissions and to determine not only the appropriate testing scope, but also to address any regulatory considerations prior to the official filing with DGE.

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Region: Europa

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