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Expert Warns Coming N.J. Online Gambling Opens Doors To Addicts

State To Allow People To Voluntarily Ban Themselves From Online Betting
Online Gambling (file / credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Online Gambling (file/credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)Internet gambling in New Jersey goes online this month, but some addiction experts say the idea makes them anxious.

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, placing a bet will be as easy as a click of the mouse.

“You don’t have to go no place. You wake up in the middle of the night, you have an urge to gamble, you’re in your birthday suit and you get on the Internet and you gamble,” Arnie Wexler, former head of New Jersey’s Council on Compulsive Gambling, told Miller.

New Jersey is extending its self-exclusion list to allow people to ban themselves from online betting.

But Wexler said it’s not a safe bet to stop an addicted gambler.

“I know many people that were in recovery or put their name on the exclusion list that are in casinos gambling today,” he told Miller.

New Jersey, like many other states, allows people who feel they have a gambling problem to place their names on a list of those who are not allowed to enter any of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos.

The state Gaming Enforcement Division is automatically extending the list to cover Internet gambling, as well. People already on the exclusion list for casinos do not have to do anything to be included in the online self-exclusion list.

But people can also sign up for an online-only ban.

“Expanding the division’s self-exclusion program to include Internet gaming and making the application process available to the public prior to Internet gaming’s go-live date of November 26, 2013, represents a commitment I made following the signing of the Internet gaming bill,” said David Rebuck, the gaming enforcement division’s director. “The division is committed to promoting responsible gaming not only in Atlantic City’s casinos, but also on the Internet.”

People can ban themselves for one-year or five-year terms. During that time, they are not permitted to enter casinos, or, in the case of online betting, engage in Internet gambling. Gamblers on the list who find a loophole in the system will have to forfeit their winnings.

People can sign up in person at various offices located across the state, including the division’s offices in Atlantic City or Trenton, and the offices of the New Jersey Racing Commission in Trenton, East Rutherford, Oceanport and Freehold. They can also sign up online.

Anyone signing up for the self-exclusion program can get a free consultation with a compulsive gambling counselor by calling 1-800-GAMBLER, or using the http://www.800gambler.org web site.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)