Thursday, September 8, 2011

Avoiding and Evading Exclusion Orders

The British Columbia report we lately have been drawing upon (71-page pdf here) indicates that most people who chose to self-exclude from BC casinos nevertheless continued to gamble, and on a somewhat regular (though not daily) basis, during their exclusion. Most of those who gambled during their exclusion did so at casinos, too, although some stuck to lottery games or keno. Many casino visits were made outside of BC, so these trips avoided but did not evade exclusion orders. Most self-exclusion clients did not evade their commitment. Nonetheless, most casino gambling that did take place during exclusion apparently occurred in BC casinos, in violation of exclusion agreements.

The self-exclusion clients generally -- and correctly -- believed that they could sneak back into BC casinos, even if most did not try. Further, those who were caught trying to gamble at a BC casino were escorted out, but generally no further sanction was applied; for the most part, even wins were paid out to excluded gamblers. Attempts to evade exclusion orders were highly skewed, with about ten percent of excluded gamblers persistently (at least weekly) trying to enter BC casinos, and much time of casino security personnel was devoted to trying to track these persistent violators. The BC report, not surprisingly, calls for improved detection and more sanctions for breaking an exclusion order. The additional sanctions should be of the helping, not the punishing variety, in keeping with the "behavioral triage" approach.

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