Monday, July 14, 2008

Self-Exclusion Litigants

Having self-excluded from blogging while abroad, Vice Squad is behind in all our standard obsessions, including self-exclusion. People who joined self-exclusion lists for casinos in Ontario have filed a class action suit. Their gripe is that the casino regulators were not assiduous in keeping the excluded gamblers away. If the authorities in Ontario catch a self-excluded individual trying to sneak into a casino, that person can be charged with trespassing.

Compulsive gambling experts tend to emphasize the personal responsibility of the gamblers themselves to overcome their addiction, and many self-exclusion programs declare that ultimately, it is the bettor's responsibility to keep away. Nevertheless, successful self-exclusion programs do require a credible threat of enforcement, and casinos may well have to be monitored to ensure that they put some effort into erecting and maintaining entry barriers aimed at those on the excluded list. Self-excluded individuals tend to be heavy gamblers, of course, and hence a very profitable clientèle for the casinos. So gambling establishments might have a financial interest in looking the other way when a self-excluded (former) patron walks in the door.

In other self-exclusion news, remember that fellow who wanted a self-exclusion litigant's name revealed? The court had only released the litigant's initials, and this other guy had the same initials, so people too lazy to look deeply into the matter kept thinking that the other dude was the self-exclusion litigant. (I can sympathize, being frequently confused by the unwashed masses with Japan Airlines.) The court rendered a Solomonic decision: the name of the original litigant would not be revealed (in keeping with the anonymity promised to those who place themselves on New Jersey's self-exclusion list), but the court officially affirmed that the "initial" gambler was someone other than the later complainant.