In every state that offers gambling in the US, there are ways to seek help for gambling addiction. One option is to join a self-exclusion list. When placing your name on the list, you are banning yourself from taking part in casino gaming at the facilities located in a given state. In Michigan, the Gaming Control Board has had the same ban policy in place for almost two decades. They have now decided to ease restrictions and has made changes to the lifetime ban rules.
Reinterpreting the Lifetime Ban
For almost two decades, players who add their name to the self-exclusion list are banned for life. Now, the state has decided to loosen such restrictions and will be allowing players to return to gambling, if they meet certain requirements.
The move comes at a time when the commercial casinos located in Detroit have been struggling to earn revenues. MotorCity Casino, Greektown and MGM Grand Detroit can only offer services at 15% capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Players are not coming back like they normally would, and this has caused a significant decrease in earnings.
When October began, the lifetime ban list has just over 4,800 names. The Disassociated Persons List applies to commercial casinos and tribal venues are not included. The Board has recently decided that it was time to change the ban policy due to the strict guidelines.
According to Board President and President of the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling, Michael Burke, the board felt that the Disassociated Persons List lifetime ban was too harsh and might have deterred players from adding their name to the list due to the longevity of the ban. Players would rather have a shorter-term ban, such as two to five-year options.
The changes to the list will not apply to every player. Anyone who has signed up for the list from five years ago or longer can be removed. Each petition to remove a name will be reviewed by the board individually. The board has reportedly already begun to receive applications from players who wish to be removed.
Richard S. Kalm, the executive director of the board, said that in the past, the state would apply criminal law to deal with a gambling problem. This is an expensive and harsh way to tackle addiction. Kalm also pointed out how the lifetime ban might stop players from signing up for the list. For those who have been on the list for many years, their life circumstances may have changed for the better and they would like to be removed from the list.
Each player who wishes to be removed from the list must be given permission to start gambling again without any issues. The Detroit casinos can choose to keep players from playing at their site, even if the board removes that person’s name from the list. If this happens, the individual must contact the property via telephone or mail to discuss being allowed inside.
Any names that are submitted to be removed from the list are not public knowledge. The names of the individuals are protected from disclosure due to the Freedom of Information Act.