Ohio’s casino commission has recently enacted change to bring about casino bans on particular members, both in an effort to help casinos remove troublemakers as well as help with problem gamblers facing addiction. At current, the system allows the problem gamblers to take the initiative themselves and to ask the commission to ban them from any of the four available casinos located in the state of Ohio, which are yet to open.
The current exclusion system would allow for persons to be excluded from the casino for a year, five years or a lifetime.
The new state program takes on a similar approach to 15 other states to help problem gamblers, which makes it a criminal offence if members on the volunteer list enter a casino establishment. As further enforcement, those who are recorded and caught inside a casino whilst on the volunteer list will be charged with trespassing. If the patron manages to gamble on any of the games, they will also be forced to hand over any of their winnings.
Currently only one person has managed to place their name on the list, with at least 10 others waiting on approval, reported the Akron Beach Journal on Sunday. It is estimated by the casino commission that this list of banned patrons will expand to between 5,000 and 10,000 people.
“It's a wonderful thing knowing that it's illegal to step foot in a casino,” said Justin Gale, a Mayfield Heights resident. She quit gambling last year and was also the first Ohioan approved for the “Voluntary Exclusion” program.
Currently the list requires persons to register at the casino commission before they can be placed. Once approved, the commission spreads the details of the person to all the affiliated casinos. It is also illegal to register another person.
Caesars Entertainment, a casino that operates in both Cleveland and Cincinnati, as well as Penn National Gaming Inc, which is set to run in Toledo and Columbus both have their own voluntary exclusion programs.
Experts did however state in an interview with the Beacon Journal that whilst the programs do help some with their issues of addiction, it should not be considered a real treatment nor a substitute.
“Unless it's coupled with prevention and treatment, it can't be effective and adequate,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling in Washington, D.C. “Unless you can do something to actually help them address their problem, you're trying to bring an enforcement solution to a health issue.”
Senior vice president and executive director of the American Gaming Association Judy Patterson did state that they provide a step forward.
“The purpose is to help or encourage someone with a gambling problem to take personal responsibility for their own problem,” she said.
“Clearly the program discourages gambling, essentially problem gambling, which is the effect you're hoping to have.”
Source: Marietta Times