City Cast

How to 'Self-Exclude' in a Las Vegas Casino

Dayvid Figler
Dayvid Figler
Posted on August 9
Photo of man feeling remorse at slot machines

Casinos have programs to help you curb problem gambling. (Emili Vision/Getty)

City Cast Las Vegas co-host Dayvid Figler highlights a way problem gamblers can help casinos help them:

If you’ve been in a casino, or any place where the ding-ding sirens of slot machines fill the air, you’ve probably seen the (mandatory) brochures (“When the Fun Stops”) that contain information about gambling addiction, including a help line.

For good reason. Just-released findings by the UNLV International Gaming Institute suggest that a whopping 19.7% of Nevadans who have gambled in the past year have a high risk of developing gambling problems.

Under Nevada law, every gaming licensee that “engages in the issuance of credit, check cashing, or the direct mail marketing of gaming opportunities” must have a “self-exclusion” program. Experts suggest it’s the most powerful tool the state has to help at-risk people.

How Do You Self-Exclude?

Every casino has to be ready when a person feels they need something extra to help them stop gambling. Generally, the casino cage or security desk is where to ask for a “self-exclusion” contract: an agreement that outlines what behaviors will stop and how long it will last. It can vary widely between properties but includes things like stopping direct advertisements, ending incentives, canceling loyalty cards, precluding cash-checking, cash-advance, and marker privileges — and more severe measures. Some casinos will still allow a self-excluded person to gamble, but presumably this will slow the gambler’s roll.

More Severe Measures?

Some casino groups go as far as allowing a person to deem themselves “trespassers” if they show up in the casino — even for non-gaming purposes like dining or seeing a show. Under these hard-to-revoke agreements, the patron literally bans themselves from either the individual property or, sometimes, any property owned by the group. If spotted by security or facial-recognition, the self-excluded person could face misdemeanor charges.

One Extra Exclusion

Some ATM companies allow patrons to render their credit or debit cards inoperable in that company’s cash machines in casinos. While the casino itself may be none the wiser, this prevents frequent trips to the ATM on a bender, and may be just enough to control the behaviors that make spiraling or chasing loses an all-too-familiar reality.

  • Additional context: We talk to Brett Abarbanel of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute about whether high-tech gambling is too fun — and whether AI is part of the solution. [City Cast Las Vegas 🎧]
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