Vice Squad
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Self-Exclusion, Unabridged

Vice Squad has something of a fixation with self-exclusion, those programs whereby problem gamblers (or people who fear that they might become problem gamblers) can volunteer to be barred from access to casinos. I have a short article in the Winter, 2008 Milken Institute Review on self-exclusion, arguing that parallel programs should be part of the mix when the currently illegal drugs are legalised. That article was a by-product of a longer paper that I let languish in an unfinished state. But now I have finished it, after a fashion, and posted it on SSRN, free for the downloading. The longer version isn't really all that much longer -- it's 20 pages. If that is too daunting, here's the rather tepid abstract:
Gambling jurisdictions around the world have adopted self-exclusion programs in which gamblers can voluntarily agree to be barred from further gambling. The popularity of self-exclusion stems from its aid in combating problem or pathological gambling, along with its non-coercive nature. To bolster the self-control of problem gamblers, exclusion programs combine physical inaccessibility and reward diminution: bettors are supposed to remain (or be kept) away from gambling sites, and the gambling winnings of excluded bettors can be confiscated. Other elements of program design that can affect the workings of a self-exclusion program include the duration of an exclusion, its revocability, and the breadth of gambling activities to which the prohibition applies. Self-exclusion or broader user licensing programs can be helpful for control of vices other than gambling. I argue that self-exclusion should form an integral component of drug regulatory frameworks that offer substantial improvements over drug prohibition.
The title of the paper is tepid too: "Self-Exclusion". But the ideas, well, they are revolutionary (in a tepid sort of way).

Update: There were some annoying ersatz characters at the beginning of the abstract on the SSRN page, so I just made a bid to remove them. We'll see if this works...

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