Summary: The self-exclusion program for Louisiana casinos is being discussed after a lawmaker admitted a gambling addiction and using the program.
In states where gambling is legalized, programs have been created where casinos can choose to exclude players from gambling or players can choose to self-exclude. The programs are available to help those who are addicted to gambling. In Louisiana, a self-exclusion program has been available for over ten years but is not well-known among residents of the state. A lawmaker recently admitted being addicted to gambling and using the program, which has now brought the program to life.
Senator Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans recently disclosed that she has a gambling problem. This information came to light in an email from March. Peterson was outed by a television station in New Orleans, stating that the senator had violated her casino ban. The senator placed herself on the list and went to a casino, which she was not supposed to do. She was called out by the news station which now has proponents of the program worried that players will not be as willing to sign up as they will be afraid of keeping their identity private.
State Police are in charge of the self-exclusion program and keep the information private, for the most part. Lt. Nick Manale stated after the news broke that the Louisiana State Police will not comment on the process of the program out of respect to those who use it for personal challenges.
The police were contacted by the media and refused to provide information about the program including how many people are self-banned. Some members of the agency are worried that the news of the senator being on the list and being called out will keep addicts from placing their name on the list.
In February, Peterson went to the L’Auberge Casino which is located in Baton Rouge. She received a misdemeanor summons after gambling at the casino since she is on the self-ban list. A recent post on Facebook by the senator revealed that she has been an addict of gambling for many years, calling the condition a disease.
According to the senator, she was in the program and consented the officials to escort her out if she was spotted in a gambling facility. Her actions resulted in the court summons. She violated the voluntary ban due to what she called challenging times. The senator admitted that the program works as it should and she regrets failing to uphold her end of the self-ban agreement.
Gambling Addiction in Louisiana
In the United States, program gambling affects around 1% of the adult population. In Louisiana, the state has a gambling hot line that receives around 700 calls a year. The calls are completed by individuals who feel they have a gambling problem.
According to experts, the self-exclusion option to ban oneself from a casino establishment is an effective way to deal with problem gambling. However, there are doubters who feel that the program is hard to enforce and question if the program is even effective.
In Louisiana, to self-exclude, players have to schedule a formal meeting with a state police gaming operations field office. During the meeting, the individual has their picture taken and the photo is given to gaming officials at the casino facilities across the state. Facial recognition software is often used to find individuals who are not supposed to be on site.
Hopefully the recent introduction of the self-exclusion program in the news involving the senator will be a way to positively highlight the program and show others how it can be used as a beneficial tool.