A little known rule went into effect January first and affects every one of you who ever do any wagering online in New Jersey. The State of New Jersey now requires all online gaming operators to monitor your every move and flag you if it looks like you may be on your way to having a gambling problem.

Then steps are taken.

One is to send information on your screen about the dangers of gambling addiction. A next step is locking you out of playing until you watch a video on compulsive gambling. The third step is directly contacting you like an intervention to "discuss" your potential problem.

Here is a list of some of what online operators are mandated to flag you for.

Players whose gambling time increases from week to week.

Bettors who repeatedly self-impose cool-off periods from gambling.

Players who regularly access the self-exclusion page of an operator's website without putting their name on the list.

Players who make multiple requests in a 24-hour span to increase limits on deposits or losses.


These are just some of what they're looking for. Let's take these in order.

If you have only a mild interest at first but then enjoy online gaming more as you go, even if you're betting responsibly and within your limits, should this truly be a problem?

If you're sufficiently self-aware to impose your own cool-off period isn't that what you want in a responsible player?

Just merely looking at a self-exclusion page will get you flagged? Perhaps you're not even looking at it for you but for a family member who you're concerned about?

Asking for deposit or losses increases might be a problem if you earn $38,000 a year but what if you earn $380,000 a year? Isn't everything relative?

Look, gambling addiction is a problem, sure. But so is alcohol addiction, sex addiction, nicotine addiction, etc..

If it's okay to cyber snoop on an online gambler's behaviors will it be okay for the government to mandate liquor stores must flag a person whose debit card is used too often indicating a possible problem? Should your credit card use on porn sites be monitored for excess? Should stores electronically track your purchasing habits regarding cigarettes? Or fast food leading to obesity for that matter?

This is such a nanny state move it's shocking. The State of New Jersey should have either not allowed online gaming or, when it did, stay the hell out of people's lives. If someone has a problem with any type of addiction it's up to them to take responsibility and fix it, not government mandates. Period. Full stop.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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