The Missouri Gaming Commission has chosen to overturn a permanent blacklist, which will soon see over 16,000 self-described problem gamblers able to return to the state’s 12 riverboat casinos.
Approved unanimously by the commission, the revised blacklist policy will now give people who chose to put themselves on the registry a chance to come off it again after five years, and will come into effect in March.
The commission’s Chair, Jim Mathewson, said in a report by Ozark’s First, that the need for a change of rules became clear when self-blacklisted gamblers sent the commission letters asking that they be given a route off the list – i.e. when they feel they haven’t got a gambling problem anymore.
Denying allegations that the rule change was inspired by a plan to create more tax revenue, he said: “I think what’s important about this whole thing, is that nobody was forced to do anything.” He added that it seemed unreasonable to have a permanent rule in existence in cases where people are voluntarily submitting themselves to its authority.
This is the first time the rules of the state registry, formally known as the Disassociated Persons Program, have been changed since it was the first to be introduced in the country in 1996. Ever since then, problem gamblers in Missouri have been able to voluntarily place themselves on the blacklist, meaning it would forever ban them from entering a casino under threat of trespassing charges. However, the rules also do not affect the casino’s ability to bar certain individuals.
What do you think about the rule change’s? Is it to give gamblers freedom? Have they realised gambling isn’t addictive? Or is it simply in the name of higher tax revenues?