European casinos generally require that patrons provide identification upon entering, and this measure aids enforcement of exclusion orders. (The news is filled with a continuing series of reports of excluded gamblers in other jurisdictions managing to evade, at least for a time, their exclusion orders.) A new article by Tobias Hayer and Gerhard Meyer uses a series of questionnaires to learn about the effectiveness of casino self-exclusion programs in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The results comport well with the findings from prior studies undertaken at other locales: gamblers who choose to self-exclude typically experience significant declines in gambling-related problems, and they tend to view the self-exclusion quite positively. These general findings are complemented by a slew of interesting details, including the importance of other gamblers, family members, and friends in informing people about the existence of self-exclusion programs. Only a relatively small number of gamblers learn of self-exclusion through information displays inside the casinos, suggesting that there is room for improved publicity measures. Casino staff, in these European locations, are nearly twice as likely as passive information displays to be a source of knowledge of the self-exclusion option.
The ID controls in European casinos, and the accompanying increase in the enforceability of an exclusion order, might make self-exclusion more popular as a preventative measure in Europe than elsewhere. About one-quarter of the participants in the study would not be classified as problem or pathological gamblers, by the usual metrics, at the time they chose to exclude.
Hayer and Meyer also indicate that my longstanding belief that formal casino self-exclusion programs originated in Canada in 1989 is terribly misguided. They report that self-exclusion programs existed decades earlier in both Germany and Austria. I will have to do some revising!
Previous (misguided?) posts in this series:
Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (IV)
Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (III)
Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (II)
Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (I)