Out of control gambling is ruining lives

With betting advertisements popping up everywhere you look these days, New Jersey is now facing a sports and casino gambling epidemic, with disastrous results for some. This is the warning from the Executive Director of the New Jersey Problem Gambling Council.

Appearing before the New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee on Monday, Felicia Grondin told panel members that advertising for lottery games, physical casinos, internet gambling and sports betting had exploded in the Garden State, with $725 million spent last year. alone on television commercials.

She said these messages increase the likelihood “of state residents potentially developing a gambling problem, and for those who have recognized they have a gambling problem, the incessant publicity can be an accelerator for individuals relapse and break their game sobriety”.

She pointed out that gambling in Jersey has increased, the 1-800-GAMBLER helpline has received more calls, which translates to more people needing help.

She said there were so many advertisements on the airwaves encouraging people to gamble that it was called predatory.

Online gambling sites

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“An ad of this nature can be likened to a liquor store offering free booze, or a drug dealer offering a free bag of heroin to people with a drug addiction problem,” she said. .

Grondin noted that gambling is a hidden addiction because you can’t see or feel it, and many compulsive gamblers are too embarrassed to ask for help until they suffer financial disaster.

“Disorderly gambling ruins families, careers and credit ratings. It ruins the life of the player and his loved ones,” she said.

She told panel members that gambling out of control also takes lives.

“There is almost a 20% suicide rate among people exposed to this disorder, which is the highest suicide rate of any addiction,” she said.

What should be done?

Grondin said that to combat this growing social epidemic, a number of measures can be taken, including:

• Develop public service announcements to inform the public about gambling risks and available services

• Set ad limits and settings for gambling similar to those for alcohol ads

• Require warning labels on gambling sites and land-based casinos regarding the potentially addictive nature of gambling

• Continue to provide education and awareness

She also urged the committee to increase funding for the council.

Deputy Ralph Caputo, D-Essex, chairman of the committee, called the amount of sports betting ads “obscene” and the indicted points raised by Grondin need to be investigated and taken into account.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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