Council on Compulsive Gambling Offers Strategies

3 December 1998

Kevin O'Neill, Deputy Director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling, has been working hard to adapt the proven strategies used for working with compulsive gamblers to those who may have problems with the internet.

IGN shares his thoughts on how this adaptation might work.

Internet Gambling and Compulsive Gamblers: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for the Internet Gambling Industry

The Council of Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, Inc. (Council) is offering the following recommendations to Internet gambling organizations. The Council is a private, non-profit corporation which, as part of its mission, attempts to increase public awareness of compulsive gambling and provide information, referral and Helpline services to persons affected by this disorder. The Council is an affiliate of the National Council on Problem Gambling, Inc. and takes no position either for or against gambling.

The Council's Deputy Director, Kevin O'Neill, has developed these recommendations over a three -(3) year period. They represent his experiences as a consultant to both Internet gambling organizations and online horse racing entities, as Chair of the National Council on Problem Gambling's Internet Committee and in consultation with numerous compulsive and problem gambling prevention and treatment professionals. They are by no means an exhaustive list and, like the technology that drives the Internet, are constantly evolving. Internet gambling organizations that are serious about addressing the issue of compulsive gambling may want to consider implementing these recommendations:

  1. Develop written policies outlining your organization's commitment to addressing the issue of compulsive gambling;
  2. provide links to compulsive gambling informational, referral and help sites;
  3. Participate in industry sponsored Responsible Gaming programs like the Interactive Gaming Council's Helping Hand Program;
  4. Post national and international compulsive gambling Helpline phone numbers;
  5. Initiate "loss limits" and cool-down periods for customers;
  6. Allow customers who are compulsive gamblers to "self-exclude" themselves;
  7. Promote corporate responsibility through financial and programmatic support of both national and international Councils on Compulsive & Problem Gambling;
  8. Develop strict policies on the use of credit for gambling purposes;
  9. Provide ongoing education for all personnel on compulsive gambling;
  10. Encourage all operators to educate the public regarding available software filtering products that can deter underage gambling;
  11. Develop strong, highly visible warnings pronouncing "no underage gambling";
  12. Support regulations of Internet gambling that clearly address prohibitions of underage gambling and funding for compulsive gambling awareness programs.

Organizations interested in implementing the above policies may contact Kevin O'Neill at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (USA), Inc. at (609)599-3299 ext. 16 or e-mail him at ccgnj@800gambler.org. Compulsive gambling is treatable and it is both good business and good public policy for the Internet gaming industry and regulatory agencies to adequately address this issue.