Vice Squad
Monday, May 21, 2007
Self-Exclusion and Licensing

An effective tool for helping some problem gamblers is self-exclusion, whereby an individual registers to be prevented from entering commercial gambling establishments, and to be free of targeted inducements from casino marketers. Pennsylvania set up its self-exclusion program last year, and announced today that so far 52 people have placed themselves on the excluded list. Pennsylvania allows self-excluders to choose among a one-year ban, a five-year ban, and a lifetime ban, and 42% (22 individuals, presumably) have chosen the lifetime ban.

Last Monday (May 14, 2007 -- problem with internal links solved!), Vice Squad noted (in the case of an addiction to internet Scrabble) how a credible 'lack of access' might reduce or eliminate withdrawal and cravings. In the case of the gambling exclusion, here's the experience of one Keystone State participant:
J.D., a self-excluded individual, echoes those thoughts [of the effectiveness of exclusion]. "Since the day I signed up, I haven't really thought about gambling," J.D. said. "I sleep better at night. I feel better when I'm at home."
Requiring licenses for vice consumption would automatically set-up an exclusion system -- those who want to be excluded could refuse to acquire or renew their license, or even precommit to not acquiring a license. Or perhaps they would acquire a license, but voluntarily impose a ceiling on the extent to which the license allows participation. When currently illegal drugs such as heroin or cocaine are legalized, I suspect that such a licensing system -- and the accompanying self-exclusion possibilities -- will commonly form part of the control regimes.

I first learned of Pennsylvania's press release from

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