Thursday, January 22, 2015

Group Self-Exclusion in Singapore?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just join with everyone in your place of employment or place of worship to simultaneously self-exclude from gambling as a great big wagering-abstinent group? Singapore is open to introducing that option, and not just for foreign workers. The Parliamentary debate also broached the idea that Singapore should shift to an opt-in system, where every resident is excluded from the two casinos unless they jump through some hoop -- some other hoop than the current hefty entry fee. The details are here.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Illinois Update

Video gambling in non-casino locations came to Illinois in September, 2012. Eligible bars, truck stops, and other locales can host up to five video gambling terminals in an adults-only portion of their establishments. There are now more than 16,000 video gambling terminals operating in Illinois at a total of more than 4,000 establishments. There is no self-exclusion system in place for gamblers on these machines. These thousands of locations and small-scale operations are cited as reasons that a self-exclusion program would not be implementable, but the fact that the locations are adult-only means that there must already be in place a system capable of checking IDs.

The article linked above (and here) offers a few statistics on Illinois's statewide casino self-exclusion plan. In mid-April, 2014, there were more than 10,600 people on the self-exclusion list. Since the initiation of the program in 2002, "there have been 3,477 instances where self-excluded gamblers had been caught [in violation of their exclusion orders], with 3,399 of the incidents resulting in arrests." Many of these violators are caught when they win a jackpot exceeding $1,200, as the collection of such winnings requires identification. When a "winner" is found to be on the self-excluded list, he or she is not allowed to keep the jackpot. So far, casinos have "confiscated $1.5 million of winnings from self-excluded gamblers, who then get to decide which of three addiction centers their money goes to."

[The headline and the early part of the linked article might be confusing to the Self-Exclusion reader, as these refer to excluding some undesirable people from operating on the supply side of video gambling. The material on voluntary exclusions for gamblers comes later in the article.]

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Jersey Adds Internet Exclusion

In November, 2013, New Jersey became the third US state to permit gambling over the internet, following Nevada and Delaware, and the state expanded its self-exclusion program with options involving internet gambling. People on New Jersey's casino self-exclusion list automatically had their exclusion extended to internet gambling. This is in keeping with the fact that New Jersey's exclusion program does not currently allow, it seems, someone to exclude from casinos while maintaining the option to bet on the internet. The opposite configuration, where a person can exclude from the internet but not from the bricks-and-mortar casinos, is available in New Jersey, however.

New Jersey appears poised to alter its self-exclusion rules, which currently require self-excluders to confess to being a "problem gambler." There can be many motives to self-exclude, and not everyone who wants to self-exclude is a problem gambler. [I haven't checked, but my suspicion is that many jurisdictions have a similar admission required for their self-exclusion agreements. While I am engaging in uninformed speculation, I think that this language might have been thought important to provide legal protection for casinos attempting to enforce exclusion agreements. And if I can continue speculating wildly, the change in New Jersey law may have been sparked by some old fashioned journalism.]

Currently, only adults located within the state borders can engage in internet gambling. (This is true for all three of the states that currently offer legal internet gambling.) Some lawmakers in New Jersey are looking to alter that situation.

Comparative Exclusions

Population of Illinois: 12,882,135 (estimated, 2013).
Number of people in Illinois Casino Self-Exclusion Program: 9,637 (end of 2012; the Self-Exclusion Program was founded in 2002).

Population of Singapore: 5,399,200 (estimated, mid-2013).
Number of people in Singapore's Casino Self-Exclusion Program: 175,680 (late 2013; the Self-Exclusion Program -- including Family Exclusions and Third-Party Exclusions -- was begun in 2009. Some 90% of those on the excluded list are foreigners who live or work in Singapore).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Internet Gambling Self-Exclusion in the EU...and Australia?

Last week the European Parliament passed a resolution concerning the regulation of online gambling. According to this article at, the Parliament recommends that the EU adopt an internet gambling self-exclusion system through which a gambler could exclude from all EU-state-licensed sites with one application. Further, each gambler could establish system-wide money and time limits, so that reaching the self-imposed money limit on one site could not be avoided just by going to a competing EU internet gambling provider.

Incidentally, Australia is contemplating legalizing internet gambling, and in establishing a national web gambling self-exclusion system. A second proposal is to require internet gambling sites to notify gamblers when their betting behavior is suggestive of problem gambling. Australia's new prime minister, Tony Abbott, has indicated that he does not support the previous government's efforts to make self-limitation mandatory for Electronic Gaming Machine play.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A New Low in Self-Exclusion Enforcement?

Many people who place themselves on self-exclusion lists attempt to return to casinos and gamble, in violation of their exclusion agreements, and often in the face of a potential arrest for trespassing. In the absence of regulatory oversight (or the potential for litigation), casinos would seem to have a profit incentive to turn a blind eye to these transgressions by some of their best, albeit excluded, customers. But there generally is such regulatory oversight, as Philadelphia's SugerHouse Casino found out in December, 2012, when it agreed to a $10,000 fine, in part for allowing a self-excluded gambler to gamble in its casino -- twice, with the second occasion involving a nearly four-day marathon session. The same fellow came back in February, 2013, and was uncovered by the casino as being on the excluded list as he was approaching three full days (including a nap in his car) of another protracted betting fest. Apparently he never gambled in one spot for very long, but still.... More details here and here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Iowa Self-Exclusion is for Life

Back in April, the Iowa legislature passed an amendment to the statewide self-exclusion program that would have established the option of a five-year duration, along with the existing lifetime ban. Further, the legislation would have allowed the thousands of people who already have agreed to a lifetime exclusion to apply for revocation of their self-imposed ban once five years of ban time have elapsed. Governor Branstad was having none of it, however. In a letter accompanying his veto (pdf here), he explains that "the voluntary lifetime ban serves a valuable public purpose." The proposed rule change would still have allowed for lifetime bans going forward, so apparently the governor was objecting to the retroactive alteration of lifetime bans to five-year bans with the opportunity for gambling reinstatement. Missouri adopted an analogous rule change, complete with retroactive shortening of lifetime bans, a couple years ago. As of last month, almost 3,900 people rescinded their formerly-lifetime Missouri casino gambling bans.

Incidentally, the Iowa Lottery has a separate self-exclusion system (which prevents the collection of winnings of $600 or more), which also comes in only one duration style, that of a lifetime. I think there is something to be said to offering one and five-year exclusion options, so that self-exclusion can be more enticing for people who are not quite ready to forever renounce their in-state gambling options.