Rutgers center to study impacts of Internet gambling in New Jersey

Industries Associated Press

A Rutgers University Center will study the impact of Internet gambling in New Jersey.

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The Center for Gambling Studies at the Rutgers University School of Social Work has been awarded nearly $1.3 million to study online betting in New Jersey, which began 11 months ago.

The survey will begin in January. Funding comes from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement and the state health department.

"New Jersey is one of only three states where Internet gambling is legal," said Dr. Lia Nower, professor and director of the Center who also serves as the principal investigator on the grant. "But iGaming is a new frontier and no one knows quite what to expect. It's a real testament to the governor and the division that they're taking such a responsible approach to evaluating potential negative impacts, and we are really honored to be a part of it."

The survey will start with 1,500 adult New Jersey residents interviewed by phone and 2,000 residents surveyed over the Internet about their gambling behavior and Internet gambling. A follow-up survey will be done 18 months later.

The center also will provide four yearly reports to Gov. Chris Christie, based on statistical analyses of the betting behavior of gamblers across Internet gambling sites.

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Internet gambling began Nov. 25, 2013, as a way to help Atlantic City's struggling casinos.

But so far, revenue from the online bets has been about a tenth of the $1 billion the state anticipated to take in during its first year of operation.

Four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos have gone out of business this year, including one where Internet gambling never really caught on, Trump Plaza.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC