The UK betting shops’ self-exclusion scheme came in for criticism in December 2017 after a BBC reporter managed to place bets in 16 out of 21 betting shops despite signing up to be excluded. The UK Gambling Commission professed itself concerned at the results of the experiment and promised further inquiries.
The reporter involved stated “It begs the question – is a piece of paper with a name and a photograph on it, enough of a solution to help those who want to stop gambling when the fun stops?”
Indeed, other gambling jurisdictions are also looking at the issue of self-exclusion and trying to protect problem gamblers.
The government of Trinidad and Tobago, for example, is drafting regulations which place as much of the onus of responsibility on the individual who decides to self-exclude as on the licensed gambling operator:
“This rule creates the framework for a voluntary self-exclusion program for problem gamblers, providing them with a formal process for acknowledging that they have, or believe they may soon have, a gambling problem and agreeing to take personal responsibility for it.” [GBGC emphasis]
“While gambling facility operators and their employees are not responsible for preventing self-excluders from entering a gambling facility, they do have an obligation to eject any person they identify as a self-excluder as soon as they become aware that the person is on the List of Self-Excluded Persons.”
Against this background of personal responsibility, the draft regulation stipulates the requirements on individuals:
• “Each person seeking placement on the Self-Exclusion List acknowledges that it is his or her responsibility to refrain from visiting Gambling Facilities in Trinidad and Tobago”.
• “…by being placed on the list they shall have a criminal complaint filed against them for trespassing if they are discovered in a Gambling Facility by agents or employees of the Commission or any Gambling facility licensee.” [GBGC emphasis]
Upon signing up to the self-exclusion list a problem gambler must acknowledge:
• “that the individual will not enter the Gambling area of a Gambling facility or any area in which Gambling is conducted for the duration of the exclusion period.”
• “that the individual shall not collect any winnings or recover any losses resulting from any Gambling activity at a Gambling establishment for the duration of the exclusion period.”
• “that if they violate their agreement to refrain from entering a Gambling area of a gambling facility during the exclusion period, the applicant shall notify the Commission of such violation within 24 hours of their presence within the Gambling area of the gambling facility.”
Trinidad’s proposals in the area of problem gambling recognise that “self-exclusion” is a decision taken by an individual who should then take personal responsibility for that decision.