Despite complex and ever-changing online gambling laws, mobile casinos have taken a foothold in the United States. Michigan recently legalized online casino betting, joining the ranks of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, which means even more people wagering. But while most people can gamble responsibly, there are measures in place to prevent problem gambling or addiction.
There are statewide self-exclusion programs in addition to casino-specific policies. We will cover everything you need to know about online casino self-exclusion in the states where online gambling is legal.
Please keep in mind that self-exclusion from promotional sweepstakes casinos, like Chumba Casino, is a little different from state legalized online casinos. We have dedicated a section talking about self-exclusion from sweepstakes casinos.
Self-exclusion means asking your gambling provider or regulating agency to ban you from participating in an online casino, sportsbook, or another betting. Usually, this ban is effected for a predetermined period.
In this case, a person may submit a formal application to the gaming provider or relevant state agency to be legally banned from participating in online gambling.
Consequences for breaching the program’s terms may include forfeiting all winnings during the self-exclusion period.
Self-exclusion programs have traditionally had a low uptake among problem gamblers. Part of the reason has been the program’s non-negotiable terms. To combat this problem, many casinos and state regulators offer several self-exclusion options.
While not technically a self-exclusion option, self-imposed betting limits are an ideal alternative for some. Here, the bettor asks the online casino to place a hard betting limit on their gaming account.
For example, the casino may limit how much you can bet or how much you can deposit to your account. Most internet casinos that offer this option offer individualized betting limits, which you can negotiate with the gaming provider.
Cooling off periods work just like self-exclusion but are temporary and negotiable. Here, you may ask your gambling provider to ban you from gambling at their casino. However, you may request to end the exclusion at any time. More and more online casinos are offering this option.
Many online casinos have a time limit on their self-exclusion programs. You can choose a voluntary ban for a specified period, usually six months, one year, three years, or five years. You can typically negotiate a period you are comfortable with.
Unlike the cooling-off period, you cannot end the self-exclusion until the period expires. The gaming provider will refund any money you may have in your gaming account before signing up for the program. Additionally, the casino may not send you any gambling-related mail or promotional material for the period of your self-exclusion.
For people with a severe gambling addiction, a lifetime ban may be the only option. Again, this ban isn’t negotiable and you cannot be reinstated for any reason. Online casinos and sportsbooks that don’t offer this option are usually willing to make it available on request.
The options we have looked at so far apply to specific casinos and their affiliates. If you choose to exclude from BetMGM, for example, you may still be able to gamble at a different casino, online or offline, as long as it is not affiliated with the BetMGM brand.
With statewide self-exclusion, you are voluntarily banned from all casinos in the state. Your name and details are put in a private database shared with all casinos in the state.
These casinos are legally mandated to take ‘reasonable’ measures to prevent all persons on self-exclusion lists from gambling in their facilities.
With this option, you can choose to self exclude from land-based casinos only, online casinos only, or both. Self-exclusion periods can last from one year, five years, or a lifetime. State gambling regulators oversee statewide self-exclusion. This option will be the focus of the rest of this post.
Responsible gambling isn’t just about the individual. Gambling operators, software suppliers, and associated providers are held to gaming codes of conduct. These codes of conduct typically come from non-profit organizations, regulators, and trade associations.
While these standards can often overlap, they provide a structured framework to prevent and even stop problem gambling.
Most people gamble for fun or entertainment, but gambling addiction is an ever-present danger of this pastime. Gambling addiction is classified as an impulse-control disorder and can have many negative social, physical, and social consequences.
Typical effects of problem gambling include migraines, depression, anxiety-related issues, financial ruin, and even attempted suicide.
There are only a handful of comprehensive studies about the effectiveness of self-exclusion in the real world. According to one study, self-exclusion programs can be linked to reduced gambling-related problems, including pathological gambling.
According to the same survey, 80% of participants reported being satisfied with the programs. However, the study also cites that 70% of self-excluders reported having gambled at least once during their ban.
It is challenging to conclude whether or not self-exclusion is effective. However, these programs aren’t designed to stop people with gambling problems from gambling. Instead, self-exclusion is a supportive tool meant to complement an individual’s commitment to stop gambling.
There is certainly a lot more that could be done to improve the self-exclusion programs. Ultimately, the question of whether or not these programs work mostly boils down to the individual’s commitment and motivation to beat their addiction more than the tools these programs offer.
While the clinical and scientific literature on the effectiveness of self-exclusion is sparse at best, it is hard to deny its positive aspects.
Some of the positive aspects of self-exclusion include:
Even the best meaning policies can have their downsides. There are a few negative aspects of self-exclusion worth noting:
Currently, self-exclusion from United States casinos is primarily regulated at the state level. There are a few nation-wide oversight agencies, but these tend to be non-governmental entities with little or no enforcement capacity.
Additionally, most online casinos have their specific self-exclusion policies in addition to complying with the statewide responsible gambling regulations.
Please familiarize yourself with the casino’s specific self-exclusion policies before signing up for statewide programs. Some casinos may ban you from all their gambling offerings, online and offline, even if you only requested self-exclusion from one or the other.
While most casinos have their self-exclusion programs, we will focus on state-wide programs in this section.
You can choose to exclude yourself from all gambling in New Jersey, online or offline, or choose to exclude yourself from internet gambling only. To opt-into the New Jersey Casino Gambling Self-Exclusion Program:
Sign up for the program through your online player account. New Jersey mandates that all online casinos have a self-exclusion opt-in form in the player’s account. By filling out and submitting this form, you will be excluded from ALL internet gambling activities and not just your casino of choice. You can choose between a one-year and five-year exclusion.
To self-exclude from online casinos in Pennsylvania:
Visit a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board office near you. You can schedule an appointment by emailing [email protected] or calling the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling at 717-346-8300.
To get on the self-exclusion list in West Virginia:
Send a written request to the director of the West Virginia Lottery asking to be excluded from all gambling in the state.
Michigan only recently legalized online gambling, with casinos such as BetMGM and BetRivers already accepting customer signups. Being still very new to online gambling, self-exclusion procedures from online casinos are still a little unclear.
However, we expect that the process will be the same as that of land-based casinos.
To get on the Disassociated person list (which is Michigan’s version of the self-exclusion list), please call (888) 223-3044 or (313) 456-4100 to schedule an appointment with a disassociated person representative.
Self-exclusion needs not be a lifetime affair. You can apply to the relevant authorities to have your name removed from the self-exclusion list. However, in every case, your application is only considered after the self-exclusion period has expired.
In New Jersey, you can submit a formal request to have your betting privileges reinstated after you complete your exclusion period. You can submit your application to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement here. Be sure to read the terms before starting your application.
In Pennsylvania, use your Keystone account to apply for removal from the self-exclusion list. You can start the removal process here. Submitting your application is only the first step. You will get an email from the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling with further instructions on how to complete the process.
You can also email [email protected] if you have any questions about the process.
The process of removing yourself from the self-exclusion list in West Virginia involves sending a written application to the director of the West Virginia Lottery. It is up to the director’s discretion whether or not your gambling privileges are reinstated. You can also get self-exclusion by going through the online casino.
We expect that the removal process from online casino self-exclusion will be much the same as that of land-based casinos. You can send a formal request to the Michigan Gaming Control Board to remove your name from the Disassociated Persons List. You can also apply to be removed from the lifetime self-exclusion list after at least five years.
No, you may not place a family member on the self-exclusion list, even with their consent. Getting on the self-exclusion list is voluntary, and only the person with the gambling problem can apply to get on the list.
You can typically choose how long you want to be on the self-exclusion list. Options vary between one year, three years, five years, or a lifetime. Please make sure that you agree with the self-exclusion period before you decide to get on the program.
Most statewide self-exclusion programs include all forms of gambling. However, some programs only apply to specific forms of gambling. These may consist of land-based, online, interactive gambling, fantasy contests, video gaming terminals, and so on.
Please make sure you understand what forms of gambling are included in the self-exclusion program before you opt-in.