Coming up soon:
Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking
25 – 29 May 2009
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Stateline
Antipodean gamblers lead the world
report into online gambling has found that players in Australia and New Zealand bet more money over
the Internet than those from any other nation in the world.
Professors Robert Wood
and Robert Williams
from the University of Lethbridge in Canada
surveyed more than 20,000 adults from 105 nations for their study and found
that antipodean players wagered an average of
$306 online every month.
'Australian Internet gamblers do report higher average monthly gambling
spending than the overall average we observed among our sample,' said Wood.
'This would suggest that Australian Internet gamblers do indeed spend more
on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries.'
According to a report from The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the results are
five times what punters in Australia and New Zealand put through land-based
poker machines and has prompted renewed calls for a ban on online gambling
because its allows players to bet using credit.
The study from the Alberta-based researchers also found that the prevalence
of problem gambling was four times higher for Internet gamblers than those
who play by more traditional methods.
Gerard Byrne, Problem Gambling
Service Coordinator for The Salvation Army, told the
newspaper that he was not surprised by the figures and called on the
Federal Government to ban credit-based betting.
'People are certainly reporting more and more usage of online gambling,'
'I'm not surprised New South
Wales is near the top in problem online gambling.
We've got a culture where gambling is the state pastime. We would encourage
bans on any capability to gamble on credit and believe the Federal
Government should take a lead on this.'
iGaming Business, 8 April 2009
develops new problem gambling measures
The government for
the Australian state of Tasmania
has announced a range of measures designed to further address problem
gambling after taking into account the findings of the recent Social And
Economic Impact Study.
The Treasurer for Tasmania, Michael Aird, said the new measures were prepared following
consultation with community and industry groups and included amendments to
the Gaming Control Act of 1993.
measures will ensure Tasmania has the best
harm minimisation practices in Australia,” said Aird.
protection measures are aimed at protecting all gamblers not just problem
gamblers. The current voluntary code of practice for gambling will be
replaced by a mandatory code.”
revealed that the new measures would enhance restrictions on access to
gambling by minors, place further restrictions on access to cash in gaming
venues and impose mandatory codes to improve gaming environments.
In addition, there
will be enhanced training requirements for gaming staff in identifying
problem gamblers, improvements in making game information available to
players and restrictions placed on inducements such as free food, drinks
The new measures
will also align penalties for gaming with those for the licensing of
alcohol, strengthen the exclusions regime for self-excluded gamblers,
enhance education for at-risk groups, review the effectiveness of the
support helpline, tighten bet limitations from ten
dollars to five dollars for gaming machines, impose a maximum cash payout
amount of $1,000 for all Keno and EGM winnings and reduce the current cash
input limit on EGMs to $500
Aird reported that the state government had been
mindful of areas needing national attention in developing the new measures
and revealed that a Productivity Commission report into problem gambling
was due at the end of the year.
“We support the principles behind smart
technology and machine intervention strategies,” said Aird.
iGaming Business, 9 April 2009
A quarter of Belgian youngsters gamble
A study by the
Consumer Associations Research and Information Centre has revealed that a
quarter of all minors in Belgium
buy lottery tickets or purchase National Lottery scratch cards. According
to the study, the young gamblers spend an average of 33 euros a month on
OIVO has called on Belgiuns National Lottery to take extra measures to
prevent minors from purchasing its products illegally.
In a reaction to OIVO's comments, the National Lottery issued a
statement outlining the measures already in place to prevent children from
purchasing its products.
The National Lottery
stresses that it is in regular contact with its points of sale to discuss
Points of sale are
required to display notices stating that minors are not allowed to buy
Failure to display
the notices can result in a shop losing the commission it has earned from
selling lottery tickets and scratch cards.
Newscan, 20 March 2009
Man sues Quebec
lottery for letting him gamble
An Ottawa man is suing Loto-Québec, alleging its Lac Leamy Casino let him keep gambling and plied him with
free alcohol even after he put himself on a list of problem gamblers who
were supposed to be barred from the casino.
Kent Glowinski says the Quebec
lottery society, which owns and operates Quebec casinos, should be held liable
for continuing to let him into the casino.
Glowinski says he spent $80,000 playing blackjack at the casino until
he stopped gambling last year.
acknowledge compulsive gambling and pathological gambling exists, but then
(people argue) ‘well, it’s all about personal responsibility.
You chose to come in here’,” he said.
it goes right down to: What is pathological gambling? It is an
uncontrollable urge to bet. Uncontrollable.”
60-page claim filed with Quebec Superior Court, Glowinski
says he first registered for the casino’s self-exclusion list in
2004, a free program that allows people to ask to be denied access to the
province’s casinos for anywhere from three months to five years.
alleges the casino kept letting him play, even when he was drunk, and that
casino employees gave him coupons for free drinks.
Glowinski says he wrote several letters, sent them by
registered mail, and phoned the casino twice to ask them to enforce their
policy. He says nobody returned his phone calls.
says while Glowinski was on the self-exclusion list,
he won $5,000 and had to present photo identification to collect the prize.
Glowinski joined Gamblers Anonymous in 2004, but the
problem continued through 2008. He has since gone through a three-week
treatment program for gamblers at a Windsor
Glowinski is also suing National Bank for allowing him to
withdraw more than his daily ATM limit and for allowing him cash advances
even when he was drunk. The bank has a branch at the casino that
is staffed between 9 a.m. and 4 a.m. every day.
Glowinski, who is representing himself, was in court with
the lawyers for both defendants Monday to deal with a motion to secure
common practice in Quebec
civil cases to require a deposit from out-of-province plaintiffs in the
event costs are awarded to the defendants.
ruled that Glowinski should deposit $5,000 with
the court to guarantee some of Loto-Québec’s
costs, and $2,000 to guarantee some of National Bank’s costs, half of
what the organizations had asked for.
lawyers from Loto-Québec and National Bank
argued Glowinski’s job as a federal
government lawyer means he has the ability to pay more, the court
downgraded the amounts and granted Glowinski six
months to file the deposits, known as security for costs.
won’t go any further until the plaintiff has deposited the money,
putting it on hold for at least six months.
was reasonable,” Glowinski said about the
decision. “It was a compromise. Six months gives me time.”
lawyers for Loto-Québec and National Bank
both declined to comment on the case. A spokesman for Loto-Québec
couldn’t be reached late Monday.
Loto-Québec’s website says the
self-exclusion process was upgraded in 2007 to include optional
counselling. It also says the organization provided $135 million to provincial
compulsive gambling assistance programs between 2002 and 2008.
Ottawa Citizen, 28 April 2009
Legal or illegal, betting is still big business
lottery could topple those of the United
States and become the world's first hundred billion
dollar lottery, according to China
for Lottery Studies
at Peking University.
the potential to grow more than tenfold from its current level of $15
billion sales with more than 100 million players to one worth $150 billion.
Wang Xuehong, executive director of the China Center for Lottery Studies and
a senior research fellow, Ministry of Finance, said the China Lottery has
huge potential for growth, if it could capture some of the illicit gaming
challenge has to be to win back the 300 billion yuan
spent on illegal lottery games and that is where a lot of China's immediate lottery
growth could come from, " she said.
can be achieved by making a lot of the China lottery games more
exciting and interesting to play. I think if this can be done then China's
lottery could easily grow to a thousand billion yuan
in a relatively short time frame."
If China's lottery was to grow to $150 billion,
it would be almost three times the size of that of the combined state
lotteries of the United
States, the world's largest lottery
market, which generated sales of $53.7 billion in 2007, according to US
lottery games giant Scientific Games.
dwarf those of Italy
with annual sales of $21.1 billion, Spain
with $14.7 billion, France
with $13.7 billion and the United
Kingdom with $9.6 billion.
also be of equivalent size to the entire economic output of countries such
as Egypt and New Zealand.
been speculation within the global lottery industry that the Chinese government
could be set to issue a third major lottery license, its first in 15 years,
to raise revenue for cultural and educational projects.
license would coincide with the drafting of China's first Lottery Act,
which received the backing of the State Council last week.
Gary Newman, chairman and chief executive officer of Global
Lottery Corporation (GLC), based in Las Vegas,
Nevada, one of the world's leading lottery
technology providers, said talk of a new license in China is currently the major
talking point in the world's lottery industry.
will be dramatic. Rumors are all out there to lottery service providers
that a third license has been issued and it is a national license, " he said.
have heard they (the Chinese government) want to go the cellular route. It
would mean a person's cell phone would be a retail lottery terminal and it
would open up big revenue streams for the government."
government source, however, told China Daily there was no plans for a third
license to be issued.
towards being able to play the lottery on mobile phones would be a logical
move for the Chinese government, however.
the big problems for the existing lottery, which has been running for 22
years, is the relatively small number of participants.
lottery amassed revenues of just $15.6 billion (105.1 billion yuan), compared to an estimated $45 billion (300
billion yuan) spent on illegal lotteries and
around $150 billion (1.03 trillion yuan) spent in
total on illegal forms of betting.
estimated that only 18 percent of China's
1.3 billion people have ever played the lottery and the fact that there are
500 million mobile phone users in China would considerably widen
GLC, which has offices in San Diego, Vancouver, London and Hong Kong, said
he believes cellular is a potential way forward for China.
key advantage would be speed, ease and the fact that almost everyone has
got a cellphone. There are real problems in such
a vast country of doing it through retail outlets since it is immensely
expensive," he said.
Tang Namei, a 25-year-old financial manager who lives in
Shenzhen and is a regular lottery player, said she would welcome other
distribution channels to play the lottery.
would play the lottery on my mobile phone if I was too busy to go and buy a
ticket because it would be more convenient," she said.
as Huang Yi, 27, a bank accountant from Luxian
county in Sichuan
province, would still prefer the security of a paper ticket.
don't like the idea of playing the lottery on my mobile phone because I
like the security and certainty of being able to hold onto a ticket,"
China issued the first license for a welfare lottery in
1987 and a second one for sports in 1994.
studied gaming management at the University
of Nevada in Reno
and is involved in drafting China's
Lottery Act, said she believes that if China's lottery is to grow and
develop it needs the right regulatory framework in place.
the lottery is to grow, much depends on the policy of the government.
Sometimes decisions can be taken overnight which are not based on either
the industry's or the market's needs and there is a need for a much more longer term approach," she said.
there are the right laws in place, people feel confident playing the
lottery and this leads to greater consumer confidence among players,"
lottery has been a consistent revenue earner for the government. The sports
lottery, which celebrated its 15th anniversary this month, provided $400m
(2.75 billion yuan) toward last year's Beijing
Olympics. It has also funded 8,728 park-based fitness areas, 132 fitness centers and 12 sports parks under China's national fitness
deputy director of the China
General Administration of Sport, said it had made a major contribution to
the public welfare fund from the sports lottery, we won't be having such
excellent fitness facilities for the ordinary citizens in such a short
time," he said.
"It serves as a strong
impetus in our effort to let ordinary Chinese do exercise and keep
Wang at the China
for Lottery Studies
insisted this sort of funding would massively increase if the lottery was
made more exciting for players.
it doesn't come up with interesting games then people will graduate to the
illegal lottery and other forms of gambling," she said.
needs to be more products provided to the market. There always needs to be
more advertising and promoting of the lottery."
key change, however, needs to be in the distribution network. It needs to
be enhanced and made better and become much more market-orientated."
Chinese lottery players, however, winning is everything. Tang, the
financial manager from Shenzhen, said she still hopes to win the jackpot
have been buying welfare tickets for a year and got several 10 yuan prizes, although a colleague of mine won a big
prize a couple of weeks ago. I'll keep buying until some day I win the
jackpot," she said.
China Daily, 27 April 2009
Macau gaming boom at a cost
Beijing’s decade-old flirt with
lucrative gambling in the booming casino town of Macau has gone decidedly sour.
Portuguese enclave may have surpassed Beijing
mandarins’ wildest dreams by becoming one of the fastest growing
economies globally, clocking annual growth of 30 percent in 2007 and
overtaking the world’s gambling capital Las Vegas in earnings, but the boom has
come at a cost.
A string of
corruption and money laundering scandals involving Chinese communist party
officials and managers of state firms have filtered through the press,
creating a wave of resentment on the mainland where the leadership is
attempting to reinstate Confucian virtues of plain living and honest public service as
the mantras of the day.
enclave’s freewheeling dash for growth has alienated chunks of Macau population that have been left out of the
development loop and are unable to share in the gambling bounty.
China’s state press have described an "epidemic of
gambling," afflicting large groups of mainland population and leading
to countless losses of family savings as well as huge amounts of public
money gambled away at Macau’s casino tables. While the amount of lost
public money has not been reported, the Beijing Youth Daily went as far as
saying earlier this year that reckless gambling by officials was a
"threat to the national treasury".
What is more,
commentators have warned that the survival of China’s
entrepreneurial culture is in danger after a series of gambling-caused
bankruptcies hit the province of Zhejiang – China’s export powerhouse
for everything from socks and buttons to toys and artificial flowers.
Famous for private initiative and hard-working businessmen, Zhejiang has been at the forefront of China’s
transformation as an economic tiger.
News, 17 April 2009
Government to break up state gaming monopoly
is expected to enter a new era shortly as deregulation opens up gambling
market to international companies
60-year gaming monopoly operated by state-owned Danske
Spil is set to be terminated when the government
announces its plans for deregulation on Tuesday.
current European Commission lawsuit alleging the monopoly violates free
market regulations was a major factor in pressuring the government into the
would mean that foreign gaming companies could begin advertising in Denmark and
their gambling contests would be legally available for purchase. According
to Jyllands-Posten newspaper’s information,
only the Lotto and scratch-off ticket games will continue to be under the
sole jurisdiction of Danske Spil.
entry into the Danish gaming market would not be free, as companies would
have to pay a licensing fee to the state to be allowed access. The
government will include the fee - along with measures to prevent gambling
addiction - into its proposal, which would still ensure that a tidy sum
goes into the state’s coffers.
year nearly 11 billion kroner was spent on gaming nationwide, with state
profits of 2.8 billion kroner. Around 1.6 billion of that went toward
charitable and youth organisations.
Danske Spil indicated it welcomed the move
because the amount it has to pay back to the state - currently 30 percent
of its intake - will be considerably reduced as a result of the
will be nice to get some clarity on the issue after so many years of
uncertainty,’ said H.C. Madsen, Danske Spil’s managing director. ‘We’ll also
be able to offer casino
gambling and poker now, which we couldn’t do
gaming laws began being challenged in the European Courts a couple of years
ago, when online companies such as Ladbrokes were hindered in their
attempts to gain access to the market.
News, 21 April 2009
To licence online betting
Budget Minister Eric Woerth has announced that
the nation is on a path to opening up its gambling market to foreign
competition and will begin granting online betting licenses in 2010.
The move is an attempt to stem illegal gambling in the nation and safeguard
the billions in tax revenues that are currently being lost overseas.
Woerth stated that the gambling market in France
would be expanded to adapt ‘to Internet reality’ and help
France ‘get out of an unsustainable situation in which the State is
losing a growing part of the betting market’. His plans are a
response to a 2007 European Union demand to end state gambling monopolies
in order to comply with the bloc’s competition rules, which carried with
it the threat of a lawsuit.
According to a report from The New York Times, France takes in around $6.3
billion a year in tax from the gambling industry, which includes online
gambling, casinos, horseracing and lotteries. Woerth’s
draft plan is set to be presented to the Cabinet at the end of the month
and includes a levy of about 7.5 percent on online sportsbetting
and horseracing wagers alongside a two percent tariff Internet poker
The European Gaming And Betting Association, an industry group for online
bookmakers and casinos, has pushed the European Union’s executive
arm, the European Commission, to pressure France to open its market. Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU) currently holds the monopoly on
horseracing wagers in France
and reported annual revenue of $11.77 billion last year, the same as the
State-owned lotteries and sportsbetting monopoly La Francaise
Des Jeux. Woerth
revealed that 25,000 unlawful websites in France representing 75 percent
of the market take in around $8.85 billion a year.
'Rather than banning 25,000 websites, we'd rather give licenses to those
who will respect public and social order,' said Woerth.
iGaming Business, 16 March 2009
Jackpot falls in bankrupt city
Italian from the Sicilian city Catania
has broken the record by winning 100 million euro’s in the lottery.
identity of the winner is still unknown but the winning form was handed in
at a tobacco shop. The jackpot was in total 100.756.197,30
enough, the jackpot fell in one of the poorest cities in Italy that recently had been
saved from bankruptcy by the government with 140 million euro’s. So,
it was a big celebration.
begging for part of the winnings has already started.
of Catania expects the winner to do his moral duty and give the community
part of the winnings.
Telegraaf, 13 February 2009
Considering online gambling prohibition
In the Philippines,
a lawmaker has filed legislation that would prohibit online gambling and
impose a maximum penalty of four years in prison alongside a fine of just
over $4,000 for anyone found to be breaking the law.
Representative Narciso Santiago from the Alliance
For Rural Concerns party filed House Bill 5613, also known as the Internet Gambling
Prohibition Act, stating that ‘at present, there are no regulations
on the Internet concerning gambling’.
'As minors traverse the sites of the web, the possibility of kids being
enticed to gamble is high because of the tempting prizes that are awarded
like vacation trips, computers, cars and even cash,' said Santiago.
”One can never know if the gambling site is just a scam to milk money
out of the victim.”
The proposed legislation would make it illegal for citizens engaged in a
gambling business to use the Internet or any other interactive computer
service to place or receive a bet. In addition, the prohibition would make
it illegal to send, receive or invite information assisting in the placing
of a wager.
However, the Internet
Gambling Prohibition Act does not apply to any lawful bet
placed, received or made wholly intrastate for the Philippine Charity
Sweepstakes Office lottery as
long as it is authorised, licensed or regulated and
placed by a person located at a facility open to the public using a private
network. In addition, the proposed legislation would not apply to lawful
wagers placed on live horseracing as long as these were authorised, licensed or
regulated alongside wagers made for a fantasy sports league games.
iGaming Business, 19 March 2009
SA authorities set to regulate online gambling
casino Silversands’ days may be numbered
with the introduction of SA’s online
gambling regulations coming a step closer to
proposed regulations, which were published in the Government Gazette for public
comment in February, any operator that works illegally will not be allowed
to apply for a licence. Neither would it be permitted to advertise its
Silversands has until now taken advantage of a regulatory
void and continues to operate illegally, raising the ire of both the
Board (NGB) and the industry.
Thebi Moja, acting CEO of the
NGB, says the board and various law enforcement bodies are trying to put a
stop to Silversands’ operations.
“They know very well that they operating illegally and we have for a
number of years attempted to put a stop to their activities,” he
we are able to prevent them from operating in SA that would be a big
is taking a hard line against illegal online gaming. Moja
cities the example of a South African who won R8m on an offshore online
gaming site but was prevented by the South African authorities from
bringing the funds into the country.
online gaming is notoriously difficult to control and while SA has grappled
over the past few years with the thorny issue of how to regulate the online
environment, many of SA’s gambling
operators have had to look on as operators such as Silversands
have forged ahead with their internet gaming business, unable to compete.
the Casino Association of SA (Casa) lodged a compliant with the Advertising
Standards Authority (ASA) regarding the Silversands
television and print adverts. However, they were forced to withdraw their
have let it ride for now. There was no point in pursuing Silversands as there is no regulation yet to hold them
to,” says Casa CEO Derek Auret. Silversands cleverly repositioned their adverts as an
educational campaign, claiming to teach people how to play poker rather
than as an online gaming site.
is hopeful that the regulations will finally be approved by the various
authorities in a few months — “provided that public comments do
not result in significant changes to regulations. If there are major
changes, it will have to be republished for public comment”.
proposed regulations South Africans wanting to play online will have to
open a nominated account with any South African bank which will be used
solely for online gaming.
credit cards can be used to make payments and the accounts will have to
adhere to normal banking and Financial Intelligence Centre Act
will work together with the banks and Reserve Bank to monitor the accounts
and players will not be permitted to have more than R20000 in their
accounts at any point,” says Moja.
regulations are in place, the NGB envisages issuing 10 online licences to
South African operators — those who have their servers based in SA.
Auret says online gambling is by its nature difficult
to control and the regulation of the industry has until now been
even if the regulations may not be perfect, they go a long way to bringing
some control to the industry,” says Auret.
local gaming operators are keen to get involved in online gaming. Horsing
racing and betting group Phumelela CEO Rian du Plessis has confirmed that the group will seek a
licence once the regulations are in place.
Anthony Puttergill, CEO of casino group Peermont,
says they too will apply when the licences become available. But Puttergill points out that there are gaps in the
regulations. “We are still examining the regulation and have yet to
submit our comments but we are concerned about the fact that it does not
mention how many URLs each operator may have, how the licence will be
enforced as well as where the gaming will take place.”
many website are based offshore but available to South Africans, the NGB
faces the challenge of how regulate foreign operators and how to make local
operation competitive with those in less regulated and lower taxed regions.
year the Treasury published the Interactive Gambling Tax Bill for comment.
The bill provides for a tax on operators of 6% of gross gambling revenue. Auret questions whether South African operators will be
able to compete with lower-taxed regions.
Puttergill believes there is huge growth in the
online environment, particularly as internet penetration in SA increases.
He estimates the market at between R400m and R1bn at present.
Day, 14 April 2009
Plans to block online gambling sites
Sweden is considering
plans that would limit its citizen’s access to foreign gambling sites
in order to ensure the primacy of its own monopoly, Svenska
According to a story
from Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, the plans are
part of the recent Government-commissioned Nyren
Report investigating proposals that could lead to a new controlling
If passed as
written, the proposals would prevent Sweden-based players from accessing
and playing on foreign gambling and poker websites. The Government stated
this week that it would continue its efforts at strengthening the
nation’s regulations in order to prevent an increase in gambling
It warned against
liberalising the market but its plans have come under fire from both home
and abroad with Internet service providers and domestic
authorities largely condemning any legislation that would place limits on
online freedoms. Many feel that it could lead to wider censorship and
unfairly limit an individual's right to use the Internet.
The State-owned Svenska Spel monopoly is the
world’s twelfth largest online poker room and it is not currently
illegal to visit or place bets using a foreign site.
iGaming Business, 9 April 2009
Set to legalise online gambling
become the latest nation to begin implementing plans for the legalisation
of online gambling by introducing a regulated framework to ensure betting
sites are being operated securely and fairly.
Online gambling is
still unregulated in many countries across Europe
and the rest of the world, which opens the door for illegal betting sites
to operate undetected and leaves their customers vulnerable to fraud and
other potential risks.
Currently only Lotto
games and sports betting products are regulated and can be played online in
but the new changes to the law will ensure that casino clients, bingo
operators and poker rooms will now also be allowed to legally operate.
The new online
gambling regulations seek to emulate those used in the UK, where strict laws on
advertising, finances and marketing have been put in place to allow online
casinos and card rooms to operate safely and legally. Despite the tight
regulation of the online gambling industry in the UK, companies have thrived and
the market has recorded impressive growth over the past five years.
the signs are encouraging for Swiss online gaming, some industry experts
believe that the new legislation already needs to be changed as operators
outside of Switzerland
will not be able to process payments at Swiss banks.
George Haeberling, a betting and gaming lawyer in Switzerland
said, “Practically, you can prohibit them from doing lots of advertising,
but preventing the Swiss banks from processing payments from operators
outside of the country is not going to be accepted. They may have to allow
Swiss sites to operate abroad.”
Online Magazine, 24 April 2009
Gambling with lives
Lords will debate a doubling in "one-armed bandits" and their
jackpot prizes in seaside arcades and pubs - not as a result of public
pressure but because, in the government's words,"many
operators across the gambling industry are finding trading conditions very
difficult in the present economic climate".
the passage of the gambling bill, the government gave two important
undertakings, viz: "In future we will
continue to put the interests of children and vulnerable players first,
second and third"; and "there will be not one but two further gambling studies
before we even consider any calls for further relaxation of the new
barely 18 months since the full implementation of the Gambling Act, and
there has been only one gambling prevalence survey. Yet gambling promoters
are to join investment bankers in not being allowed to go to the wall as a
result of the recession. Punters and their families will pay a heavy price
Guardian, 21 April 2009
Casino responsible gaming decision challenged by gambler
A woman on a
gambling binge at an Indiana
casino was asked to leave after her behavior
forced casino management to address her apparent gaming problem. But she
refused, remaining inside until officials, concerned over her irresponsible
gambling, were forced to call police.
Alexis Robinson was
playing at the Majestic Star Casino, on the shore
of Lake Michigan, not far from Chicago. She had been
gambling continuously for almost three days when casino personnel, having
repeatedly advised her to stop, finally told her she had to leave and could
no longer gamble at their establishment.
informed by a security guard that she would have to exit, and could return
if she desired later that evening. But the Chicago woman "just stared at
him," standing motionless, according to court documents.
Robinson on charges of criminal trespass. When she told the judge she had
been playing for over forty-eight hours, the judge said, "You have a
Legal cases have
been brought against casinos for allowing problem gamblers to binge play,
but the Robinson case illustrates the difficult position gaming management
is put in. Self-excluded gamblers reconsider and try to force or sneak
their way back inside casinos, and problem gamblers insist on their right
to play, until after the fact.
Robinson's bail was
set by Gary City Court Judge Rivera at $300. She then asked the judge if
she could leave and return with the bail money, saying she had to go check
on her ill child. The judge reacted skeptically,
noting Robinson had had no sick baby with her.
Casino Advisory, 16 April 2009
Casinos’ self-exclusion lists helping gamblers stay away
gambler can’t stay away from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. In a
year’s time, he loses more than $26,000, almost half his annual
Then a friend tells him about the self-exclusion list, where problem
gamblers can bar themselves from the casinos.
He signs onto the list at both locations and is told he won’t be able
to get a cash advance, cash a check or use a player’s card in either
casino. If he is recognized, security will escort him off the premises, or
worse, charge him with trespassing.
The roadblocks are enough to keep his temptations in check.
Many gamblers have succeeded in maintaining control on the exclusion list
at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, although it doesn’t work for everyone.
The genesis for the self-exclusion list began with a partnership between
the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Connecticut
Council on Problem Gambling to create a responsible
gambling program after the casino opened in 1992.
CCPG executive director, Marvin Steinberg, learned of a self-exclusion
list in Canada.
In consultation with the tribe, Foxwoods launched such a list in 1994,
believed to be the first in the country. Missouri followed suit two years later
as did Mohegan Sun. Atlantic City got on board in 2001.
“While our stated purpose is entertainment, we are concerned if a
player becomes involved in gaming to the extent that it becomes a
problem,” Mashantucket tribal spokesman Lori Potter said. “When
gamblers place themselves on an exclusion list, basically they’re
saying ‘I don’t belong here’ and if caught trespassing on
property, are subject to arrest.”
Both casinos maintain a photographic database to identify violators.
“Check-cashing is denied,” Mohegan chief operating officer Jeff
Hartmann said. “We prohibit them from obtaining any funds.”
Foxwoods does not disclose the number on the self-exclusion list, but more
than 1,700 people have signed up at Mohegan Sun. Unlike Foxwoods, where
gamblers can choose to place themselves on the exclusion list for two
years, five years or for life, Mohegan Sun offers no way out.
And so far, the lifetime ban has yet to trigger a lawsuit, Hartmann said.
Neither casino has an appeals process to permit those excluded from being
taken off the list.
Atlantic City, N.J., recently signed up its 1,000th
person. Only 179 signed on for less than a lifetime ban, said Dan Heneghan, a spokesman for the Casino Control
Commission, which oversees the self-exclusion program. In Connecticut, the casino security
each casino administers it.
While the program has succeeded, the results are less than perfect, said
Steinberg, who initiated a study on the impact at Mohegan Sun five years
ago. Last year he reported follow-up findings at a conference in California.
The study encompassed from Jan. 1, 2000, through Jan. 1, 2008. It found
self-excluders are a diverse group and demographically similar to problem
gamblers who call the CCPG Helpline.
Of the 1,782 patrons on the list, 411 — almost a quarter — voluntarily
filled out the survey.
Almost 65 percent of those surveyed took responsibility for putting
themselves on the list. Only 1 percent credited the decision to Mohegan Sun
alone. Only 19 percent of self-excluders learned about the program from the
casino and only 18 percent believe the gaming halls advertised it enough.
Based on the South Oaks Gambling Screen, more than 95 percent of the
self-excluders are probable pathological gamblers. Self-exclusion was
related to a reduction in six areas of psychological symptoms associated
with problem gambling and did not lead to an increase in any area, the
The study also discovered:
16 percent had difficulty deciding to self-exclude because the points they
accumulated would be lost.
16 percent returned to the casino. Of those, two-thirds couldn’t
control their impulses. Half wanted to be in the casino environment and 42
percent thought they’d win money.
72 percent credited fear of arrest for keeping them away. Another 70
percent were determined to maintain abstinence.
82 percent said it was unlikely they would ever return to Mohegan Sun.
Another four percent said they’d probably come back.
Only 69 percent felt satisfied with the self-exclusion policy.
34 percent sought help from a problem gambling clinician, 42 percent from
another counselor and 53 percent from Gamblers
“You can see from the evaluation, it’s
working for a significant number who use it,” Steinberg said.
Still, flaws exist, he said. “A lot of participants change their mind
and attempt to get on premises and are successful. Detection is a problem.”
A recent story in the Philadelphia Inquirer spoke about a self-excluder in Atlantic City who
repeatedly gambled in casinos. The Casino Control Commission says the
situation was not the norm. The state statute talks about denying credit,
comps and check cashing. Membership in the players clubs is rejected.
Failure to maintain these restrictions can result in a fine for the casino.
“This is a program we know helped a number of people with gambling
problems,” Heneghan said. “But
it’s not designed to be the be-all and end-all. It’s just one
tool for problem gamblers to use to help them deal with gambling
Said Steinberg, “There’s no question a red flag is supposed to
be raised if someone uses a card with a self-excluded name on it, cashes a
check or wins a jackpot. It’s not uncommon for people to sneak in
multiple times, but it is uncommon in Connecticut to have red flags out there
and not be identified.”
Detection deters people concerned with the possibility of arrest and being
“Women in particular seem more compliant,” he said. “To
say that the way it’s working is as much of
a deterrent as we like is not accurate, but I’m glad it’s in
22 March 2009