While offshore, unlicensed iGaming sites operate virtually in the dark, New Jersey online gamblers can enjoy Internet casino and poker games will full confidence that their money is safe and that the games are fair. The industry transparency demanded by NJ gambling regulators also allows us to get an overall picture of the demographics and gaming habits of those who are playing at New Jersey casinos through regular reports commissioned by the agency.
Rutgers Center for Gambling Studies has conducted several such studies. In 2016, it released a report titled Internet Gaming in New Jersey, which studied a variety of aspects of iGaming patrons for the year 2015. Earlier this week, Rutgers released another study, The Prevalence of Online and Land-Based Gambling in New Jersey, which asked a sampling of NJ gamblers about their gaming behavior during the previous year.
Through these two studies, we are given an unprecedented glimpse into the state’s online gamblers, and can better understand their preferences, motivations and more as a result. Here are 31 of the most interesting facts we found in the reports.
By law, gamblers must be 21 years of age to play at NJ online casinos.
- The average age of a New Jersey online gambler is 38 (37 years for men and 41 years for women). This is lower than the average age of traditional land-based casino gamblers.
- In 2015, 378,103 people (267,469 men, 97,348 women and 13,286 unknown) signed up for accounts on New Jersey online gaming sites, with 79,682 of those going on to place real money wagers.
- 69% of those gamblers were registered with only one gaming site, while 19% were registered with two. Just 3% of players had accounts on five or more sites.
- Nearly 70% of New Jersey residents reported gambling, either online or live, in the previous year.
- 3% of those included in the Prevalence study gambled exclusively online, while 19.2% gambled at both online and brick-and-mortar casinos.
- Men (72.8%) were more likely to have gambled online in the past year than women (66.9%).
- Players with a high school diploma or GED were the most likely to gamble in live casinos, while gamblers with Masters and doctorate degrees were more likely to gamble online.
- Retirees, students and the unemployed reported the lowest rates of gambling, live or online.
The stats below show that a large proportion of online gamblers have played at unregulated sites in the past, further illustrating the need for other US states to adopt a legal solution for iGaming.
- Two thirds of NJ online gamblers reported having gambled at unlicensed, offshore websites, while one third began after the industry was legalized in the state.
- The main factors cited in choosing online play over brick-and-mortar were convenience, 24/7 access, comfort of gambling from home, and prevalence of prizes and bonuses which are not usually offered at land-based casinos.
- As for disadvantages, players were most concerned with the ease of spending money online, having their personal and financial information compromised, and game fairness.
Patrons must be physically present in the state of New Jersey in order to gamble at regulated gaming sites, but do not need to be residents in order to play. Casinos verify player location through sophisticated geolocation software which must be run when players access NJ casino sites. The Rutgers studies show that thousands of people who live outside the state borders have created accounts and gambled while visiting New Jersey.
- In the 2015 Internet Gaming study, the vast majority of NJ online gamblers listed their residence as being inside the New Jersey, while 5,238 others came from outside of the state to play.
- About 42% of all NJ online gamblers live in the Gateway region, while the Shore and Delaware River regions contribute 18.59% and 18.65% of all players respectively. The Southern Shore saw the lowest numbers of gamblers at 2.85%.
Unlike Nevada, which has legalized only online poker, New Jersey gamblers can play both online poker and casino games on state regulated sites.
- Casino games were significantly more popular than online poker, with more than half of NJ online gamblers choosing to play casino-only games. 16% chose to play online poker only.
- The majority of women prefer casino-only gambling, while men are equally represented across both casino and poker games.
- In general, women offline gamblers preferred playing scratch off tickets and the lottery, along with bingo. Male offline gamblers were more likely to favor sports betting, live poker, casino table games, and horse betting.
The patrons included in this part of the study were considered to be in the top 10% of NJ gamblers in terms of number of bets placed, number of days gambled and total amount of money wagered.
- Players in the group gambled for an average of 158 betting days throughout the year, with some gambling every single day.
- Top 10% players placed an average of 160,658 bets per year, each.
- The average daily bet for users in this group was just $4.
- The largest amount bet in a single day was $36,750.
- The average yearly betting for the top 10% percent was nearly $500,000, with one player wagering upwards of $78.76 million.
- In the overall Internet Gaming study sample, men outnumbered women 2.5 to 1. However, in the top 10% group, women outnumbered men by a proportion of 53% to 46%. The likely reason for this is that a majority of women prefer casino-only machines, which are associated with higher levels of play.
Time of Day
NJ gamers can access the state’s iGaming sites 24 hours a day.
- Online gamblers are most likely to play between 9 PM-3 AM, though the average maximum wager is highest between 9 AM-12 PM.
- The largest total yearly sum of wagers in a time slot in 2015 was between 9 PM-12 AM, with a total of $603 million wagered. The 12 AM-3 AM slot saw the second-highest total, with $501 million.
- About one third of all bets made during the year were placed during traditional work hours, with women gambling more than men.
Online casinos are required by the DGE to offer a variety of features which can help curb problem gambling. These include self-exclusion from play, account cool off, deposit and wager limits, session time limits and total loss limits.
- A total of 13,422 gamblers used responsible gaming (RG) options across both casino and online poker in 2015.
- By far the most popular RG feature was the self-exclusion option, which was chosen by 58% of RG patrons.
- Gambling disorders were seen in 6.3% of players in the 2016 Prevalence study, a rate three times higher than the average.
Daily Fantasy Sports
In May 2017, the New Jersey assembly passed a bill which would legalize fantasy sports, including DFS. The bill is currently up for consideration in the Senate. Before the attempt to legalize the industry was made, however, New Jersey bettors already had access to DFS sites like FanDuel and DraftKings.
- In the Prevalence report, 336 respondents stated that they had played DFS in the past year, and all but seven of them had also gambled at casinos.
- Male DFS players outnumbered women 4 to 1.
- DFS players were, on average, 25-44 years old, white or Hispanic, married or living with a partner, college-educated, middle income earners, and employed.
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