(TRENTON) – In New Jersey, 6.3% of bettors develop gambling addictions. To ensure that people who need help to overcome their addiction are receiving the necessary treatment, Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Dan Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), and Anthony Verrelli (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) introduced legislation Wednesday to create a Gambling Treatment Diversion Court Pilot Program.
The measure would create the program to treat those identified to be affected by an addictive disorder related to gambling. The Court and associated health professionals would determine if the person convicted is eligible to join the program, or if the severity of their crimes would require more extreme consequences. There would be three gambling courts established. One will be located in the northern region of the State, another in the central region, and a final location in the southern region of New Jersey.
Upon introducing the measure, Caputo, Benson and Verrelli issued the following joint statement:
“We should be helping those with gambling addictions who have committed minor offenses, not imprisoning them. With the three locations throughout the State, we will be able to provide services for everyone referred to the Gambling Treatment Diversion Court Pilot Program.
“Often, gambling addictions cause emotional and financial strain on families who simply want to help. These personal issues are often difficult for many to discuss with loved ones and can go ignored. This bill will give those in need an important resource to help overcome their tribulations.
“Other state’s such as Nevada have used similar programs and have seen great success. It is time New Jersey adopted similar established practices to help residents and families dealing with a gambling addiction.”