A flurry of legislative action is taking place in the state capital of New Jersey as the new year begins, notably in the area of responsible gaming. In light of the state’s leading role in regulating both online and land-based gaming, lawmakers have renewed the push for some laws to strengthen initiatives to combat gambling addiction and raise public awareness.

Unsurprisingly, because online gambling options and platforms are becoming more popular and accessible, legislators are struggling with the dilemma of protecting vulnerable people without restricting the business that is regulated and taxed. Because of its pioneering role in the gambling industry, New Jersey is rightfully at the center of these debates, and there are several issues that recent legislation has highlighted.

Here is a detailed overview of the most notable bills:

Establishment of Gambling Treatment Diversion Court (S2272)

Taking a page out of the state’s drug courts’ playbook, Senate President Nicholas Scutari’s measure calls for the establishment of a trans-state gambling treatment diversion court. Given the hazards linked to increased gaming possibilities, the court would provide diversionary programs to those convicted of gambling-related offenses to prioritize addiction treatment over jail.

Court-Ordered Responsible Gambling Programs for Underage Offenders (S1242)

The goal of the law is to encourage responsible conduct among young people by reducing the hazards associated with underage gaming and tackling its underlying causes. Instead of fining juvenile offenders, this measure gives courts in New Jersey the option to send them to programs that teach healthy gambling habits and discourage future offenses, run by groups like the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.

Integration of Gambling Addiction Education in High School Health Classes (A1711)

The bill proposed by Assemblywoman Garnet Hall requires that high school health programs include lessons on how to avoid developing a gambling addiction. Among other things, students would have an understanding of the difference between predictability and probability as well as the perils of gambling addiction and financial risk-taking.

Establishment of Gambling Addiction Prevention Programs in Public Colleges (A1715)

To combat gambling addiction, Assemblywoman Hall has also proposed that public universities, especially those involved in sports betting agreements, establish specific programs. Despite the bill’s focus on a hypothetical situation, it highlights the need for preemptive steps to tackle possible gambling-related problems at educational institutions.

It will certainly be a while before any feedback on these developments come to light but it could be exciting to see how they turn out.