Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aussie Pokies Controversy Boosts Self-Limitation and Self-Exclusion

We noted last month how the push for mandatory betting limits in Australia was, perhaps inadvertently, promoting enhanced self-exclusion as a sort of compromise from opponents of the mandatory limits. Voluntary self-limitation is another policy that is garnering support:
Australia's biggest pokies operator Woolworths has lobbied the federal opposition to tackle problem gambling with voluntary pre-commitment measures, despite the limited success of its own trial of optional bet limit cards....At last year's Woolworths annual general meeting, it was revealed only 11 per cent of registered players had taken up an offer of voluntary cards under the ALH trial, which started in 2009.
Eleven percent seems fairly significant to me. Meanwhile, in New South Wales, the potential to self-exclude from multiple venues, and to do so over the internet, also is being introduced:
WITH just the click of a button, problem gamblers living anywhere in NSW will be able to use a secure website to ban themselves from their local clubs....The technology allows problem gamblers to complete a legally binding self exclusion document in the presence of a gambling counsellor or a trained facilitator at their local club. Previously the individual had to visit each club individually.
Additionally, the problem gambler can now choose to ban themselves from multiple clubs rather than the time consuming process of visiting each venue and repeating the process time and again. Problem gamblers are provided with the following self-exclusion options: banning from the club, banning from any area of the club with poker machines and banning from any area of the club where gambling takes place such as poker machines, Keno and ClubTAB.
The internet sign-up is probably an upgrade over an earlier, unfortunate suggestion from Victoria, Australia, that those seeking to self-exclude call a hotline that, uh, promotes betting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Don't Use a Fake ID to Gamble in Singapore... least if you are on the exclusion list. Two gamblers have been arrested for using someone else's ID, allegedly without the permission of the relevant someone elses. "If convicted, they face a fine of up to $10,000, or a jail term of up to 10 years, or both." 

Wow, these sound like cases for a little behavioral triage for problem gambling treatment; these people need help, not prison.

Missouri Backs Off Lifetime Bans

Missouri offered the first state-wide self-exclusion system in the US, and the only bans available have been permanent, for life. Some of the more than 16,000 people who have signed up for the lifetime bans apparently would like to have their bans lifted, and have let the gambling commission know of their preference. Missouri has complied, converting the lifetime bans into five-year bans. I am all for offering a new set of bans of varying lengths, but the retroactive changes I am less sure about. Further, it looks as if all future bans will be for five years -- though if a person signs up for a second ban, then it would be of lifetime duration. (Unless Missouri does some more retroactive tinkering...)

I learned about the changes here. The article doesn't state what steps an excluded gambler has to take to be reinstated. Some states require a certification from a problem gambling professional indicating that the applicant is capable of controlled gambling.

Most of the people on Missouri's self-exclusion list will be eligible for reinstatement shortly: "The gaming commission said there are 16,148 people on the self-exclusion list, and 11,427 of them could be eligible to remove themselves starting March 31."