Self-exclusion Program Highlighted During "problem Gambling Awareness Week"
HARRISBURG: During "Problem Gambling Awareness Week" March 1-7 2009, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is encouraging anyone who thinks they may have a gambling problem to seek help. This includes taking advantage of the voluntary Self-Exclusion Program that permits an individual to voluntarily request to be excluded from all gaming activities at all licensed slot machine facilities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board understands that while all types of legalized gambling are meant to be a source of entertainment and enjoyment, we need to be aware of individuals who may experience gambling problems," said Nanette Horner, Director of the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling (OCPG).
Horner explains that the voluntary Self-Exclusion Program helps problem gamblers help themselves by limiting their access and the temptation to gamble at Pennsylvania Casinos while providing them education information and treatment options.
She adds that since the introduction of the Self-Exclusion Program in late 2006, 581 people with acknowledged gambling problems have requested to be placed on the list. 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. To date, there have been 43 known violations of the terms of self-exclusion.
Additional data from Pennsylvania's program, which is based upon responses from individuals during the self-exclusion intake interview, shows that:
• 30% of the 581 individuals in Pennsylvania have chosen the lifetime ban
• there are 284 males and 297 females on the Self-Exclusion List
• individuals on this list range between 21 and 81 years of age
• approximately 39% of the self-excluded individuals who provided a response to a question regarding treatment are currently involved in a treatment program (including Gamblers Anonymous) or have sought treatment in the past
• nearly 15% of the individuals who provided a response have been self-excluded in other jurisdictions such as New Jersey and Delaware
• 398 of the 532 who provided a response indicated that they had participated in gambling in a PA casino prior to signing up for the Board's Self-Exclusion Program
Horner says that individuals helped by the Self-Exclusion Program not only engaged in slot machine 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 Information block on the home page. Additional information and helpful links are also available on the PGCB web site.
After fully reading the available information, the individual should contact OCPG at (717) 214-7370 to schedule an intake interview where the individual must acknowledge personal responsibility to refrain from gambling. They will also be given additional materials and information regarding available assistance and treatment options.
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