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What Is Self-Exclusion and How Can It Help People With Gambling Problems?

Sports gambling has been legal in Freehold, NJ, and throughout the rest of the state for quite some time. Now, more states have legalized placing wagers on sporting events, with additional jurisdictions prepared to follow. As this trend continues, issues with problem gambling are certain to rise, making self-exclusion lists an essential tool in helping individuals fight the urge to place a bet.

For people who consider gambling to be a fun, once-in-a-while activity, this legalization means sports gambling is more accessible. But for people struggling with a gambling problem, finding ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle as gambling becomes more and more mainstream is a challenge. It can seem insurmountable without the right resources and support system.

Fortunately, anyone who needs help in New Jersey doesn’t have to look far to find it; the 800-GAMBLER helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have partnered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to offer a Self-Exclusion Program for residents seeking assistance in keeping their gambling under control.

What does self-exclusion mean, and how can it help?

What Is Self-Exclusion in Gambling?

As the name suggests, self-exclusion allows people who wish to control their gambling problem to voluntarily “exclude” themselves from places — both physical and virtual — where gambling is prevalent. This includes Atlantic City casinos and internet-based gaming applications. Self-exclusion programs for physical casinos often require an individual to submit a request, along with a photo that will be used to identify them. When a self-excluded gambler attempts to enter the casino, they will be denied entry to the establishment, preventing them from participating in gambling activities.

You can choose to exclude yourself from both casinos and online gambling or just online gambling. All it takes is placing your name on the self-exclusion list, and you will no longer be able to place bets or collect any winnings in those venues. Self-exclusion applies for a minimum of one year, but participants can opt for a period of five years or a lifetime, allowing them to choose the timeframe that best helps them manage their gambling.

For many problem gamblers, placing themselves on a self-exclusion list is an effective way to reduce incidents of gambling. By self-imposing a restriction on gambling activities, a problem gambler is also exhibiting empowerment over their behavior, in effect, taking charge of the actions that are negatively impacting their life. Yet, it is important to remember that self-enforcement is a key component of gambling self-exclusion. Suppose an individual attempts to gamble at a physical location or internet-based casino and is successful in circumventing the controls set forth by the self-exclusion list. In that case, the problem gambler must take ownership of their actions and not place blame on the casino for faltering. In other words, banning yourself from gambling places the responsibility on you, not the casino, to abstain from placing bets at a physical or online venue.

Are Self-Exclusion Lists Effective at Preventing Problem Gambling?

Research is still being conducted on the effectiveness of self-exclusion lists. Although the widespread implementation of self-exclusion gambling policies now exists, the lack of uniformity between states and countries makes an accurate assessment of self-exclusion policies extremely difficult. Despite the challenges in measuring self-exclusion effectiveness, data shows that when a problem gambler is committed to changing their behavior, positive outcomes can be sustained to reduce incidents of gambling. Here are important factors a problem gambler should consider when applying for self-exclusion:

  • Self-exclusion lists are not considered contracts and are not enforceable under current law.
  • It is the gambler’s personal responsibility to avoid contact with venues and online platforms that offer gambling services.
  • Recognizing that casinos and their employees are not legally responsible if an individual is able to circumvent the self-exclusion procedures set in place to prevent them from gambling.
  • Through their participation in a self-exclusion list, an individual allows staff and management to physically remove them from the venue and retain personal information for further enforcement.

For a closer look at how self-exclusion works, check out this quick video:

How Can You Participate in New Jersey’s Self-Exclusion Program?

You can enroll in person at offices of either the DGE or New Jersey Racing Commission. Alternatively, you can enroll online, either through an Online Player Account or the DGE website. You can find more information on the program and instructions on how to register here.

How Is 800-GAMBLER Involved?

As part of our role as a strong support system for problem gamblers, we are proud to partner with the DGE to help people struggling to control their sports betting in Monmouth, NJ, and throughout our great state. Enrollment in the Self-Exclusion program includes consultations with our trained, compassionate professionals through our confidential helpline and our website.

Please feel free to call, text, or chat us online to learn more. With the right help, living in a world where legalized gambling is a way of life doesn’t have to be insurmountable.

Sources:

(1) https://www.legalsportsreport.com/sportsbetting-bill-tracker/

(2) https://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/selfexclusion.html

(3) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/self-exclusion-program-failing-addicts-1.4438251

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016676/

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