NJ Proposes Help to Problem Gamblers Who Turned to Crime

A new bill introduced by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo in New Jersey proposes non-violent lawbreakers who committed a crime due to gambling disorder to receive treatment, rather than a prison sentence.

Bill in New Jersey Proposes to Help Lawbreakers with Gambling Disorders

Lawmakers in New Jersey introduced a new bill, which aims at helping people who commit crimes because of gambling addiction. The new bill seeks to conduct treatment for non-violent lawbreakers instead of sending them to jail. The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo and it aims to establish court diversion when it comes to crimes committed due to gambling addiction.

The bill proposes three locations in New Jersey to provide services for everyone who is referred to the new gambling treatment diversion court program. Under the bill, one location would be in the northern region, one in the southern region, and one in the central region of New Jersey. Mental health experts and courts are going to collaborate in those locations and identify people who committed a crime due to gambling disorders.

New Jersey Follows the Steps of Nevada

According to Caputo, who is a main sponsor of the bill, gambling addictions bring economic and financial hardships to families. Often those families need help, which is precisely what this bill aims to provide. The new bill follows a similar methodology to a bill that was introduced in Nevada, fighting against the same issue. Caputo revealed that Nevada’s program proved to be successful, which is why New Jersey adopted a similar program.

We should be helping those with gambling addictions who have committed minor offenses, not imprisoning them,

reads a joint statement by Ralph Caputo, Dan Benson and Anthony Verrelli

Besides Caputo, other supporters of the bill include Dan Benson, and Anthony Verrelli. The new bill is now seeking approval from the Assembly Judiciary Committee in New Jersey.

Currently, 6.3% of the gamblers in New Jersey develop a gambling addiction. With that in mind, in light of the pandemic that is ongoing, undoubtedly many New Jersians have tried online gambling, and some may already be at risk. Another factor that impacts the rate of problem gambling is sports wagering, which is an activity, primarily done online.