Self-exclusion Program Highlighted During "problem Gambling Awareness Week"
HARRISBURG: During "Problem Gambling Awareness Week" March 9th through 15th, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board encourages anyone who thinks they may have a gambling problem to seek help and consider taking advantage of the voluntary Self-Exclusion Program. This program permits an individual to voluntarily request to be excluded from all gaming activities at all licensed slot machine facilities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for one year, five years or a lifetime.
"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," Nanette Horner, Director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling (OCPG), said. “The goal of Problem Gambling Awareness Week is to educate the general public and health care professionals about the warning signs of problem gambling as well as raise awareness about programs, like the Self-Exclusion Program, that are available both locally and nationally."
Since the introduction of the Self-Exclusion Program in late 2006, 237 people with gambling problems have signed up and been accepted. Once a person is placed on the list, licensed Pennsylvania gaming facilities must:
• Refuse wagers from and deny any gaming privileges to a self-excluded person.
• Deny check cashing privileges, player club membership, complimentary goods and services, junket participation and other similar privileges and benefits to a 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 of violations of the ban. A self-excluded individual who violates the ban will be subject to arrest and charged with trespass.
Additional data from Pennsylvania's program, which is based upon responses from individuals during the self-exclusion intake interview, shows that:
• 32% of the 237 individuals in Pennsylvania have chosen the lifetime ban
• there are 126 males and 111 females on the Self-Exclusion List
• individuals on this list range between 22 and 78 years of age
• approximately 40% of the self-excluded individuals are currently involved in a treatment program (including Gamblers Anonymous) or have sought treatment in the past
• nearly 20% have been self-excluded in other jurisdictions such as New Jersey and Delaware
• 174 of the 237 self-excluded persons participated in gambling in a PA casino prior to signing up for the Board's Self-Exclusion Program
Horner adds that individuals on the Self-Exclusion list not only engaged in slot machines gambling, but other types of gambling activities such as table games, card games, keno, horse racing, lottery, internet gambling 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 under the Gaming menu.
The individual should then contact the OCPG at (717) 214-7370 to schedule an intake interview. During the interview, the individual must acknowledge personal responsibility to refrain from gambling. They will be given materials and information regarding available assistance and treatment options.
Additional information and links for self-help tools, self-exclusion and compulsive and problem gambling are also available on Board’s website.