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Massachusetts Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program Participants On The Rise

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on July 6, 2023
Man stands at Risk of Problem Gambling with Massachusetts Gaming Commission logo

According to data presented to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), the number of people who have voluntarily joined the self-exclusion program has reached new heights. That number has gradually increased since Massachusetts casinos reopened in 2020 after the pandemic shutdowns began.

New state data also show sports bettors in Massachusetts are enrolling in a voluntary program to control problem gambling habits at a younger age than casino gamblers.

The voluntary self–exclusion program (VSE) covers online casino and sports betting. It allows Massachusetts bettors to opt themselves out of one or both for a set amount of time.

Sports betting has quickly spread after the 2018 US Supreme Court decided to allow states to legalize betting on sports. Massachusetts sports betting became legal in the state in January 2023.

Only during May, MA casinos and sportsbooks generated $159.9 million in gross gaming revenue, collecting $33.57 million in taxes since the first bets were placed.

Massachusetts casino gambling and sports betting VSE breakdown

The research involved a period between January and May of this year. VSE enrollments reached their highest levels around February but reduced in April, with 493 people returning to the program.

The data reveals that:

  • 1,430 residents are currently enrolled in the voluntary self-exclusion program
  • 1,328 have opted out of traditional gambling at casinos
  • 102 have opted out of sports betting

The results also show:

  • 80% of individuals on the state’s VSE list for sports betting were between 25 and 44. The same age group made up 63% of VSE casino and sports betting
  • Only 46% of the state’s VSE list for casino gambling included players in the 25-44 age group
  • 100% of the ten individuals enrolled in VSE for sports betting between January and May 2023 were white. Out of those, 90% were male
  • 67% of those on the VSE list for casino gambling and sports betting in the same period were white. By gender, 83% were male, and 17% were female

Number of people enrolled in voluntary self-exclusion could increase

Chelsea Turner, chief operations officer with the MA Council on Gaming and Health, said they expect to finish the fiscal year with 50 or 60 more people enrolled in the VSE program than last year.

According to an article by WWLP, Turner said:

“I would estimate that we’re going to go up around that number, it’s not surprising to me, it’s the trend that we’re seeing, again I think because of the proliferation of gambling, I think that people that are struggling are starting to learn about the VSE program and it might be something that feels right for that person.”

How to enroll in Massachusetts’ self-exclusion program

Voluntary self-exclusion is part of responsible gambling programs and initiatives in legal sports betting and online casino states across the US.

Enrollment in the Massachusetts VSE program can be completed by:

  • Phone, calling the MGC Safer Gaming Education Line at 1-800-426-1234
  • Online chat with an advisor on the GameSense website
  • In-person, by scheduling an appointment with the Massachusetts VSE Program by emailing [email protected]

There is also a remote option for in-person enrollment that doesn’t involve an appointment. The individuals can visit the GameSense center at any of Massachusetts’ three casinos during casino working hours.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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