N.J. gamblers ban selves from casinos

March 3, 2009 10:44:00 AM PST
More New Jerseyans don't trust themselves to deal with their gambling problems and are asking casinos to keep them out.

The state recently added the 1,000th name to a list of gamblers who, feeling their problems are too severe to control, have asked to be barred from entering the city's 11 casinos.

The list has doubled in size in just three years.

New Jersey, like several other states that permit gambling, maintains a self-exclusion list. Gamblers can sign up for bans of one year, five years or life.

During that time, casinos are supposed to prevent them from entering and are required to stop sending them advertisements and other enticements.

If those on the list sneak in and gamble, anything they win could be seized by the state. Likewise, anything they lose to the casino would go to the state as well.

"The program is designed to eliminate any financial incentive for the self-excluded gambler to come back into a casino, or for the casino to try to lure someone on this list back to the tables or slot machines," said Linda Kassekert, chairwoman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.

There are currently 828 people on New Jersey's list; some who were previously on it for less than a lifetime ban have taken their names off it.

The list was at the center of a lawsuit brought by a New Jersey man who signed up for it in 2004, only to change his mind soon afterward. State regulators refused to take his name off the list, and the courts upheld their position.

Other states have far more names on their self-exclusion lists, mainly because they allow gamblers to sign up at individual casinos. New Jersey restricts sign-ups to the commission office in Atlantic City, or at the state Division of Gaming Enforcement headquarters in Trenton.

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