PGCB's Self-exclusion List Helping Many In PA With Gambling Problems
HARRISBURG: More than 50 persons have requested to take advantage of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's new Self-Exclusion Program.
Since the introduction of the Self-Exclusion Program late last year, 52 people with gambling problems have voluntarily requested to be excluded from all gaming activities at all licensed facilities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for one year, five years or a lifetime. Once a person is placed on the list, licensed Pennsylvania gaming facilities must:
- Refuse wagers from and deny any gaming privileges to any self-excluded person.
- Deny check cashing privileges, player club membership, complimentary goods and services, junket participation and other similar privileges and benefits to any self-excluded person.
- Ensure that self-excluded persons do not receive junket solicitations, targeted mailings, telemarketing promotions, player club materials or other promotional materials relating to gaming activities at its licensed facility.
- Notify the Pennsylvania State Police in instances of violations of the ban. A self-excluded individual who violates the ban will be charged with trespass.
Word of mouth and media coverage have heightened awareness of the program and as a result the numbers of those desiring to utilize this tool are steadily climbing. D.W., a self-excluded individual said, "I tell people I know about the Self-Exclusion Program and am thrilled about it" while another self-excluded person explained the Self-Exclusion Program as "a great program for people who know they need help."
Nanette Horner, Director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling said that the Gaming Control Board is committed to the research and development of programs that raise awareness of problem gambling and that assist problem gamblers and their families.
"The Self-Exclusion Program is an effective and proven tool to assist a problem gambler in removing himself or herself from the temptation of gambling," Horner said.
J.D., a self-excluded individual, echoes those thoughts. "Since the day I signed up, I haven't really thought about gambling," J.D. said. "I sleep better at night. I feel better when I'm at home."
Horner added that 42% of the 52 individuals in Pennsylvania have chosen the lifetime ban, which is slightly less than other states that provide this option in their Self-Exclusion Program.
"New Jersey started its Self-Exclusion Program in 2001 and, as of April 30, 2007, about half of that state's 580 self-excluded individuals have chosen the option of a lifetime ban," Horner explained.
- Additional data from Pennsylvania's program, which is based upon responses from individuals during the self-exclusion intake interview, shows that:
- there are 26 males and 26 females on the Self-Exclusion List.
- individuals on this list range between 27 and 78 years of age.
- approximately 52% of the self-excluded individuals are currently involved in a treatment program (including Gamblers Anonymous) or have sought treatment in the past.
- nearly 35% have been self-excluded in other jurisdictions such as New Jersey and Delaware.
- 50 of the 52 self-excluded persons participated in gambling in a PA casino prior to signing up for the Board's Self-Exclusion Program.
Horner adds that the types of gambling these individuals engaged in includes slot machines, table games, card games, video poker, keno, horse racing, lottery and sports betting.
An individual who wishes to be placed on the Self-Exclusion List can obtain the application and instructions by visiting the Gaming Control Board web site, www.pgcb.state.pa.us, and choosing the Compulsive and Problem Gambling link located at the bottom of the home page. The individual should then contact the Board to schedule an intake interview at which time they must acknowledge personal responsibility to refrain from gambling. They are also given materials and information regarding assistance and treatment options that are available. Additional information and links are also available on the website to assist a person in better understanding Compulsive and Problem Gambling and determining whether a problem exists.