The Reno-based casino giant, Caesars Entertainment, announced its intentions to enhance its responsible gaming policies during Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The operator will raise the age restriction for Caesars Rewards and launch its self-exclusion program to promote responsible gambling practices still this month.
The operator of some iconic properties in the Las Vegas Strip said last week that it will have its self-exclusion program implemented across all gaming operations by the end of March. Further, the company will restrict access to Caesars Rewards accounts to customers aged over 21. It will also follow the respective law to apply the same age restrictions to all domestic gaming, parimutuel, sports, and iGaming features.
According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, self-exclusion programs are designed to help treat gambling addictions by raising awareness of gamblers to the level where they can recognize the problem and request a casino to bar them from further gambling. The bar may include their removal from loyalty programs and alike for periods generally ranging from one to five years but available to transform into lifetime exclusions through some programs.
Self-exclusion from gambling is sponsored by the state, and Caesars said it will add the respective individuals to its universal list for all gaming facilities and platforms where the casino operates and exclude them from mobile and in-person wagering. Individuals may also request their addition to the list.
“It’s been something we’ve been working on for some time, and we wanted to launch our universal self-exclusion program as soon as it was ready,” stated Caesars spokeswoman Kate Whiteley. “It’s serendipitous that it happened to align with the end of Problem Gambling Awareness Month, but we are glad to have the opportunity to talk about it as the industry focuses on the crucial topic of Responsible Gaming.”
The step is welcomed by Brett Abarbanel, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute. She said: “This is something that responsible gambling/public health advocates have been suggesting for a long time, and it’s an incredibly helpful change to the self-exclusion tool, which is often a big asset in problem gambling treatment settings, too.”
However, the method involves certain challenges. For example, self-exclusion is voluntary and the person to sign up may be only the subject individual and not a loved one. Also, most casinos do not have controlled access to the gaming floor which, according to Whyte, may affect enforcement. He also said that excluded gamblers are usually caught upon identification following their jackpot wins.
Helping address the gambling problem:
Although the number of people participating in the program in the United States is not known, Whyte considers self-exclusion an important step in addressing the gambling problem. He said: “But the most important lesson is that self-exclusion is just one tool to help an
individual address their gambling problem — ultimately the goal is to help them get help for their gambling problem through a therapist and/or a self-help group. Self-exclusion is a means to that end, not a substitute for help.”