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More People Are Self-Excluding From Gambling, Here’s A Look At The Numbers

PlayUSA contacted state regulators to compare the information on the number of US players who voluntarily banned themselves from gambling.

Notebook Reads It’s OK To Say No
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Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
8 mins read

Because of the US online gambling industry’s rapid expansion, problem gambling has become a matter of increasing concern.

In the US, there are currently 29 states that offer legal online sports betting and six states where online casinos are legal. This year, an additional four US states launched online sports betting:

  • Ohio launched online sportsbooks on Jan. 1
  • Massachusetts went live with online sportsbooks in March
  • Kentucky launched its online sports betting market in September
  • Maine went live in November

Vermont could be the next market to go live with a possible launch before the end of 2023.

Most of these states have less than 3,000 players wanting to self-exclude for potential problem gambling. While that number is still high, veteran iGaming states like Pennsylvania recorded more than 20,000 requests from more than 6,000 individuals who wanted to be excluded from gambling, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).

To get the bigger picture, PlayUSA contacted other regulators to see and compare the numbers of people who decided to ban themselves from gambling voluntarily.

What is a self-exclusion program, and how does it work?

Before we disclose self-exclusion numbers from various US states, let us first answer what self-exclusion programs are about.

A self-exclusion program uses a common problem gambling tool that works voluntarily. The program is designed to offer an option for those who have gambling problems to avoid further risks. It is the foundation for most responsible gambling initiatives.

It requires a commitment, as an individual has to choose to enter an agreement with an online casino, sportsbook, or land-based gaming venue and ban themselves from gambling for a predetermined period.

The individual also agrees that the venue and (or) state regulators authorize the operator in question to deny them access to gambling, online or in-person. The self-exclusion period can range from six months to permanent lifetime bans, which may require additional penalties if violated.

Types of self-exclusion include casinos, interactive gambling, video gaming terminals and fantasy contests.

PA and NJ self-exclusion numbers are the highest

Pennsylvania was among the most-prepared states to launch online sports betting, with the first online gambling sites going live in 2019. The ban on online sports betting, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), was struck down by the US Supreme Court in May 2018.

In June 2023, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced it had crossed 20,000 voluntary requests to be self-excluded for potential problem gambling in the state.

Seventeen years after it was established, the regulator said its self-exclusion list reached 20,000 requests coming from 6,042 individuals who requested to be banned from the following games:

  • iGaming: 3,778 individuals
  • VGTs: 1,467 individuals
  • Fantasy Sports: 797 individuals

Additional data from the PGCB shows:

  • 4,335 (21%) of the 20,000 individuals chose the lifetime ban
  • Of 20,000 requests, 12,811 were males and 7,189 females
  • Individuals’ ages range between 21 and 102
  • 1,026 individuals chose to re-enroll in the program, including 307 who selected a lifetime re-enrollment ban

Like Pennsylvania, New Jersey was one of the first states to launch online sports betting in late 2018 and the self-exclusion program tool.

New Jersey changed its gambling regulations and set advertising standards in April to make it easier for people with gambling problems to exclude themselves.

According to a LSR article from June, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported:

  • 19,304 people excluded themselves from online gaming
  • 2,099 excluded themselves from both online gaming and in-person betting at casinos

Roughly 45% requested a one-year exclusion from gaming, while 49% opted for a 5-year ban and 5% self-imposed lifetime bans.

Nearly 15,000 enrolled in SE Program in Illinois and Missouri

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) implemented a voluntary Self-Exclusion (SE) Program for problem gamblers in 2002. The program was created to help compulsive gamblers regain control of their lives by giving them the ability to ban themselves from Illinois casinos.

Therefore, state casinos are prohibited from sending marketing material to persons on the Self-Exclusion List.

At the time of enrollment in the program, a self-excluded person agrees not to enter or gamble in any casino in Illinois. If they are caught returning to an Illinois casino, self-excluded persons also agree to donate all chips, tokens and vouchers in their possession to the Department of Human Services (DHS) designated agencies, including the Illinois Council on Problem Gambling and the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery.

By the end of 2022, persons who joined the program and returned to Illinois casinos had donated about $2,587,101 in gambling proceeds to the DHS-chosen organizations.

According to the IGB, there has been a steady increase in the number of enrollees since the program was implemented. During last year, 350 persons enrolled in the Self-Exclusion Program, bringing the total enrollment to 15,022 to date, within the following age ranges:

  • Age 21-30: 397
  • Age 31-44: 3,082
  • Age 45-65: 6,876
  • Age over 65: 4,667

Of the total number, 8,862 are male and 6,160 are female gamblers.

According to the Missouri Gaming Commission, there are currently 14,402 people on the Disassociated Persons List. The regulators also emphasized that 9,188 individuals opted to remove themselves from the list.

Iowa saw over 10,000 individuals participating in the SE program

Since the creation of the self-exclusion program in 2004, more than 10,000 individuals have enrolled. A person can exclude themselves from gambling with or entering state-licensed gaming areas.

The statewide self-exclusion program has undergone several changes since its launch. At its inception, a person could self-exclude for life. As of Jul. 1, 2017, a person could self-exclude for either five years or life.

At the same time, a person who enrolled before Jul. 1, 2017, could cancel their enrollment if they had been self-excluded for at least five years.

According to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the total number of enrollments in the Hawkeye State currently stands at 8,917, out of which:

  • 2,639 individuals chose a 5-year ban
  • 6,278 players requested a lifetime ban

In 2022, the number of enrolments totaled 156, where 483 people wished to be self-excluded for five years, and 156 chose a lifetime ban.

Ohio has nearly 5,000 SE applications from 8,000 individuals

As of Nov. 3, Ohio has accepted self-exclusion applications from just over 8,000 individuals. According to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, there are approximately 4,962 active program participants in the Buckeye State, which ranks seventh in population.

The Ohio’s exclusion program, which began in 2012, includes the following details:

  • Before 2019, Ohio’s statewide exclusion program did not include Ohio’s seven racino facilities – individuals could exclude themselves from these facilities individually, so the overall figures could be higher if those individuals are included.
  • Time Out Ohio Program launched in 2022 and includes casino and racino facilities, as well as sports gaming. Individuals who wish to exclude themselves from fantasy contests can do so by contacting the operators.
  • Participants have the option to exclude for one year or five years or select a lifetime ban

Indiana has more than 6,000 self-exclusion active members

The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) has maintained the Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) since Jul. 1, 2004, allowing individuals to self-exclude from all Indiana casinos.

By completing one form, individuals can exclude themselves from Indiana’s casinos for one year, five years, or life.

The IGC’s statistical report on the VEP program currently shows:

  • 6,267 active members
  • 4,314 inactive members

Michigan regulators reported over 4,000 applications processed

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), the total number of Disassociated Persons List (DPL) Statistics has been 4,129 applications since 2001.  Of that number, 2,724 are male and 1,405 are female applicants.

During this year, the MGCB has received 187 requests; in 2022, there were 214 DPL program applicants.

Michigan regulators also reported that 285 applications were removed from the program last year, while in 2023, the number reached 166.

Over 2,000 active self-exclusions in MD, MA, AZ, MS and Kansas

Maryland: 2,926

The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency controls gambling and operates voluntary exclusion programs. People can ban themselves from casinos, the Maryland Lottery, electronic instant bingo halls, sports betting, or daily fantasy sports.

From 41 voluntary exclusion applicants enrolled in the program in November last year when online sports betting arrived in Maryland, the number went up to 2,926 as of Oct. 31, 2023. These are VEP enrollees by age:

  • Age 21-25: 47
  • Age 26-34: 420
  • Age 35-44: 853
  • Age 45-54: 727
  • Age 55-64: 560
  • Age over 65: 319

So far, 1,178 people have chosen to be banned for a lifetime, while 1,748 have opted for two years. Of 2,926 players, 2,027 were male and 899 were female.

Kansas: 2,796

Kansas launched sports betting in September 2022. To separate online self-exclusion requests from the ones coming from retail locations, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission administers:

  • Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP)
  • Sports Wagering Exclusion Program (SWEP)

The Voluntary Exclusion Program began enrollment in 2010. A new program, SWEP, was created to allow sports wagering exclusion enrollment through sports betting apps/websites or the KRGC website.

The regulators also publish separate VEP numbers coming before and after the September 2022 launch date, as follows:

  • VEP beginning before 9/1/2022: 2302
  • VEP beginning post 9/1/2022: 240

The total requests from the sports wagering exclusion program reached 211. From Jan. 2010 to Oct. 2023, active voluntary exclusions totaled 2,796 with:

  • Sports betting exclusions: 198
  • Facility betting exclusions: 2,304
  • Universal betting exclusions: 234

About 67.3% of participants chose a lifetime ban, while 32.7% chose a 2-year ban. Around 62.8% of the applicants are male and 37.2% are female. Most of the applicants were within the 35-44 age range.

The KRGC also reports on SWE enrollment by platform, revealing the number of voluntary exclusions:

  • 462 from DraftKings
  • 32 from PointsBet
  • 5 from Barstool
  • 1 through KRGC
  • None from BetMGM, Caesars and FanDuel

Massachusetts: 2,203

Massachusetts launched online sports betting in March 2023, but the state first introduced the Voluntary Self Exclusion program in June 2015.

Over the past eight years, the program has evolved from a paper-based enrollment system to a system enabling digital registrations. The new system allows players to enroll remotely or in person.

During the Commission’s Jun. 29, 2023 meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission members were updated on the VSE program with the following VSE program highlights:

  • Total number of signups for the VSE since 2015: 2,203
  • Total currently signed up: 1619
  • Casino only: 1378
  • Sports wagering: 39
  • Both sports wagering and casino: 202

Massachusetts players have an option to exclude themselves for one year, three years, five years or a lifetime.

Arizona: 2,153

Arizona legalized online sports betting in April 2021. The state also allows other forms of online gambling, like daily fantasy sports and online lottery draw games. To offer these gambling activities, Arizona sportsbook operators partnered with federally recognized tribes and the state’s sports teams.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) regulates the market, and apart from publishing monthly and yearly financial reports, the ADG publishes self-exclusion figures every year in its Department’s Annual Report.

The Department of Gaming (DPG) worked with new Arizona stakeholders to implement a new self-exclusion program for event wagering and fantasy sports.

According to the Fiscal Year 2023 report, from a total of 2,153 active self-exclusions in Arizona, there were:

  • 58 event wagering (sports betting) and fantasy sports exclusions
  • 2,095 casino exclusions

Mississippi: 2,046 individuals

Although internet gambling remains illegal in Mississippi, the state does offer a self-exclusion program to players.

According to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, as of Nov. 1, there have been 2,046 individuals who requested to be banned from gaming in the state. Of that total:

  • 1190 (58%) chose the lifetime ban
  • 1098 were male and 948 were female
  • The age range is between 23-98

Colorado has less than 600 SE enrollees

In Colorado, there are currently 590 individuals on the Division of Gaming’s self-exclusion list as of Nov. 14.

Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
Written by

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.

View all posts by 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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