TRENTON — There's never been more options for legal gambling in New Jersey. And that could be a problem.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order to create the Responsible Gaming Task Force.

“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,” Gov. Murphy said in a prepared 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.”

Gamblers play slot machines at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. New Jersey gambling regulators released figures Wednesday, May 22, 2024, showing the gross operating profit of Atlantic City's nine casinos declined by nearly 10% in the first quarter of this year. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
AP Photo/Wayne Parry

What is problem gambling?

The National Council on Problem Gambling refers to “problem gambling” as actions that impact for the worst one’s career and home life. Signs of having this life-altering issue include constant thoughts of gambling, loss of control, suicidal thoughts and more.

The Responsible Gaming Task Force will have to lead conversations on policy changes, strategies for responsible practices and dive into how gambling impacts any vulnerable population.

Attorney General Matthew Platkin is chairman of the new task force, joined by six other government representatives.

Growing concerns with gambling in NJ

The potential for addiction has evolved over the years.

Online gaming became readily available for residents in 2014 and then sports entered the conversation in 2018, according to Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies. The same group recorded roughly 32% of “mixed-venue gamblers” would qualify as having some type of problem, but under 15% of “land-based venue” users had a similar problem.

Travel back in time to a colorized Atlantic City circa 1919

Atlantic City was once considered 'America's Playground,' one of the most popular destinations along the eastern seaboard. This video shows what the boardwalk looked like during its peak. These are some standout screengrabs.

Gallery Credit: Joe Votruba

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