Self Exclusion Lists

Now that online gambling is legal in some form in more than two dozen states, it’s harder to resist the temptation to bet if you suffer from compulsive gambling. 

As state legislatures loosen betting laws, states are preparing to deal with an increase of cases of problem gambling and gambling addiction; states that have legalized online gambling or loosened land-based casino, sportsbook, and lottery laws have also earmarked funds for compulsive gambling support.

Because it’s easier to gamble online than in person, even more support needs to be available to those who may need it.

One tool to mitigate the risk of compulsive betting is self-exclusion lists. These lists make it illegal for casinos and sportsbooks to pay out winnings to anyone on such a list. It’s also illegal to send promotional information to anyone on self-exclusion lists.

Find out how to use self-exclusion lists to make it easier to avoid problem betting.

What Is Self-Exclusion?

Self-exclusion is a term that refers to the process of requesting oneself be legally excluded from an activity. Gambling self-exclusion is removing oneself from being eligible to gamble in a certain state.

Self-exclusion lists are maintained by state gaming enforcement to ensure operators don’t accept bets from gamblers who would otherwise be eligible.

Gamblers may enroll themselves in self-exclusion programs to prevent betting at an online or land-based casino or sportsbook.

Self-Exclusion VS Gambling Board Exclusion Lists

Those who place their names on a self-exclusion list do so to prevent problem gambling or gambling addiction.

Gambling board exclusion lists include those who may not legally place bets because of possible conflicts of interest or past fraud.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, the Board has the power to, “eject or exclude any person from Illinois casinos where such person is in violation of the Act, rules, regulations or a final order of the Board; or where the person's conduct or reputation is such that his/her presence within the casino may call into question the honesty and integrity of the gambling operations or interfere with the orderly conduct of gaming. Such exclusion is conducted pursuant to the Board's rules.”

Self-Exclusion Gambling

If you want to stop gambling, there are several tools to help you do so. Self-exclusion gambling lists are just one tool. As with many tools on this list, self-exclusion has its benefits and downfalls.

How do I stop gambling?

Just a few of the tools to help you stop gambling include self-exclusion lists, therapy, medications, support groups, and more.

Self-Exclusion Lists

Self-exclusion may not be a panacea for problem gambling, but it may act as a barrier for those who feel out of control — especially in the age of online gambling.

In addition to self-exclusion lists, you can set betting and deposit maximums in your online betting accounts, use online tools (such as PlayPause) to add yourself to exclusion lists across state lines, and state-provided problem gambling resources

Therapy

Mental health counseling and therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven effective at treating addictions, such as gambling addiction. 

Talk therapy may help you get to the bottom of your gambling addiction and why you want to gamble in the first place, while cognitive behavioral therapy may help you work through alternative behaviors for gambling. 

If your relationships are suffering as the result of your gambling, you may want to consider relationship therapy.

Medication

Medications, such as antidepressants, antianxiety treatments, and mood stabilizers, may help treat the causes of compulsive gambling. 

Talk to your doctor or mental health professional to find out if you’re eligible for medications to treat compulsive gambling.

Support Groups

Support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, may help you understand gambling compulsions, work through the root causes of gambling, and avoid gambling triggers.

Does stopping gambling cold turkey work?

There’s some debate about whether stopping gambling “cold turkey” is effective. On one hand,  you can draw a line in the sand: all gambling is off the table; on the other hand, we make bets on everyday decisions all the time, so it’s not easy to just stop without a plan.

Some research even shows that pathological gambling recovery in the absence of abstinence may be more effective than the cold-turkey approach.

Since we know that those who suffer from gambling addiction and problem gambling may experience more success in recovery when working with mental health or gambling addiction professionals, we would suggest you lean on their advice before deciding which method is best for you.

What is responsible gambling?

Though we hate the term “responsible” gambling (gambling addiction is classified as an impulse-control disorder, not a lack of willpower or responsibility), this term is used for both players and operators.

For players, “responsible” gambling means betting ethically and within the best interests of yourself, family, and friends. If you find your relationships, job, or responsibilities suffering because of your gambling practices, it’s your responsibility to seek help or treatment.

Let’s face it: the gambling industry is well aware its practices may lead to problem gambling. Yet, state gambling laws can only protect players so much. Slot machines are designed to keep you playing, as are other casino games and sports betting practices.

That’s why operators are legally and ethically obligated to follow state laws to ensure they don’t accept bets from underage gamblers or those on self-exclusionary lists. When states legalize gambling, they build such regulatory practices and safeguards into regulation budgets.  

Does gambling self-exclusion work?

Yes! Studies show that gambling self-exclusion works — but self-exclusion is, “not completely effective in preventing individuals from gambling in venues from which they have excluded, or on other forms.”

Removing the temptation to place bets is one tool that many who suffer from gambling addiction find helpful. Some of the behavioral practices recommended include removing oneself from activities near or in casinos or sportsbooks.

Gambling self-exclusion prevents anyone on such an exclusion list from placing bets at an online or land-based casino (within a specific state). 

Yet, with the legalization of online betting, such lists are a necessity. Since those suffering from gambling addiction can’t so easily remove themselves from their internet devices, it may not be as easy to avoid gambling platforms as it is land-based sites.

Benefits of Self-Exclusion

Self-exclusion can be a helpful resource to remove the temptation to gamble. 

If you find yourself obsessing over visiting land-based casinos or sportsbooks or online gambling platforms, you may want to sign up for a self-exclusion list.

While self-exclusion doesn’t remove the risk from any gambling-adjacent activity, it may help to take gambling at casinos or sportsbooks off the table. Since it’s impossible to “control” gambling if you suffer from an addiction or compulsion, removing the temptation altogether may be one step to recovery.

Doing so may help reduce financial, relationship, and job-related burdens. 

Yet removing the temptation to gamble at casinos or sportsbooks doesn’t address the cause of compulsive gambling altogether. 

Self-Exclusion Downfalls

Not every process and procedure is perfect to prevent problem gambling. Self-exclusion deals with the symptom of gambling addiction, not the cause. 

Studies show that self-exclusion may not be the panacea for problem gambling we want it to be. Because self-exclusion doesn’t apply to other forms of gambling, such as bingo or private games, it may not be enough.

Yet, just because self-exclusion isn’t the cure-all for problem gambling, doesn’t mean it isn’t a helpful tool.

Experts advise working with a licensed therapist or counselor that uses cognitive behavior therapy or other methods to treat the root cause of problem gambling. 

Self-exclusion lists may help to prevent the temptation of gambling while undergoing these treatments. Support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous, may also be helpful tools in living with problem gambling.

How is self-exclusion enforced?

Both state regulators and gambling operators enforce self-exclusion lists.

When states legalize online or in-person gambling, they often earmark a certain amount of gambling tax revenue for problem gambling services. 

The government usually controls self-exclusion lists at a state level, while casinos and sportsbooks also maintain their own self-exclusion lists.

There are also services, such as PlayPause that can help you get on exclusion lists — no matter what state you’re in. Operators must use preventative measures to ensure gamblers do not place bets on their sites, though many will simply not pay out any winnings to a person on an exclusion list.

Operators must also refrain from advertising to anyone on self-exclusion lists. They are penalized if they don’t follow state gambling laws.

What happens when self-exclusion gambling?

Casinos and sportsbooks must abide by state self-exclusion laws. While they may not prevent you from gambling altogether, they are legally not allowed to pay out any winnings to those on self-exclusion or exclusion lists.

If you gamble while actively on a list, you won’t be paid any winnings. If a casino or sportsbook pays out winnings to you, it may be fined for doing so.

Can you reverse self-exclusion from a casino?

Yes, you may request to be removed from a self-exclusion list.

You’ll need to head to the site where you were added to an exclusion list and follow the instructions to remove yourself from it. You may need to include a copy of a valid ID before you can reverse the process.

Most states allow you to self-exclude for either one year or five; yet, the exact term will vary from state to state. You may also be able to get a lifetime ban.

Some states don’t make it easy to get on a self-exclusion list, but you can still contact individual casinos and sportsbooks in these cases.

Self-Exclusion Enrollment & Removal: New Jersey

Want to get on the self-exclusion list in New Jersey? Simply head over to the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s (DGE) Self-Exclusion Registration & Removal site. 

  1. Click the “Register for NJ Self Exclusion Program” button.

  2. Accept the terms and conditions of the list.

  3. Fill out the form with your name, email, and social security number.

  4. Choose the time frame for your exclusion.

  5. Your name should be added.

New Jersey allows you to self-exclude yourself for one or five years. If you’re unsure if a self-exclusion list is right for you, choose the one-year option and reassess with your mental health professional after a year.

Or, opt out of online betting altogether (without opting out of land-based gambling) at the New Jersey Department of Gambling.

New Jersey Self-Exclusion Removal

Not worried anymore about problem gambling? Simply head to the Division of Gaming Enforcement Self-Exclusion Registration & Removal site.

  1. Click the “Removal From NJ Self-Exclusion Program” tab.

  2. Fill out the form (similar to the one you filled out at sign-up), and you’ll be removed from the list as long as the one or five years are over.

Self-Exclusion Enrollment & Removal: Pennsylvania

Want to get on the self-exclusion list in Pennsylvania? Simply head over to the Responsible Play PA site. 

  1. Register for a Keystone login to create an account.

  2. Accept the terms and conditions of the list.

  3. Fill out the form with your name, email, and social security number.

  4. Log back into your account.

  5. Upload a current photo ID.

  1. Your name should be added.

Pennsylvania allows you to self-exclude yourself for one or five years. If you’re unsure if a self-exclusion list is right for you, choose the one-year option and reassess with your mental health professional after a year.

Pennsylvania Self-Exclusion Removal

Ready to start placing bets again in Pennsylvania?

  1. Head back over to the Responsible Play PA site.

  2. Click the “Self-Exclusion Removal Sign-In” tab.

  3. Log into your account.

  4. Enter your email when prompted.

  5. Choose “Request Removal”.

Self-Exclusion Enrollment & Removal: West Virginia

Want to get on the self-exclusion list in West Virginia?

  1. Head down to the  West Virginia Lottery Security Table Games offices.

  2. Or, submit a notarized form to the above office.

  3. Or, contact individual gambling platforms to get on self-exclusion lists.

West Virginia Self-Exclusion Removal

Ready to start placing bets again in West Virginia?

  1. Download the self-exclusion removal form.

  2. Fill out the form.

  3. Mail it to the West Virginia Lottery offices.

Self-Exclusion Enrollment & Removal: Michigan

Want to get on the self-exclusion list in Michigan? Simply head over to the Michigan Gaming Control Board website.

  1. Click on the “ Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Responsible Gaming Database Application” link.

  2. Fill out the form.

  3. Make a photocopy of your ID.

  4. Mail or email the form and the copy of your ID to the office of the Gaming Control Board.

Michigan Self-Exclusion Removal

Ready to start placing bets again in Michigan?

  1. Head back over to the Michigan Gaming Control Board website.

  2. Download the self-exclusion removal form.

  3. Email or mail the complete form to the Michigan Gaming Control Board website.

  4. Or, hand-deliver the form to the office.

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