Over the years, through research and several studies on addiction, it has been determined that addiction and compulsive gambling are linked to psychological factors within the individual. It made sense then that Missouri casinos created a self exclusion list in 1996 known as the “disassociated persons program.”
The intent of the program was to ensure that any individual who signed up to the program was two state’s away from any of the state’s casinos or face charges of trespassing. Thousands of people signed up, perhaps not realizing one key part of the program, that being, once you’re on the exclusion list, there’s no coming back, it’s irreversible, you’re banned for life.
If the color of one’s skin and even one’s gender is no longer irreversible these days, why should a self exclusion list be?
That might be changing.
The thousands of compulsive gamblers who have permanently banned themselves from Missouri’s casinos could soon have a chance to return to the betting floors.The Missouri Gaming Commission gave initial approval Wednesday to a change that would allow gamblers to remove themselves from the ban list after five years.
The commission is expected to seek public comment on the proposal and a final vote is expected in December. If approved, the new rule will take effect in March.
Undoubtedly, there will be those who will oppose this change. There are those that will believe that the state might be trying to lure back some compulsive customers in an effort to make a little extra revenue during a tough economic time.
But to me, this is really about second chances. It’s about giving people who have sought help and have made a full recovery a second chance to enjoy gaming entertainment the responsible way.