I was reading the Globe and Mail on the train the other day and there was an article about the Ontario Lottery & Gaming casinos, and their voluntary exclusion program (which they admit is relatively toothless and ineffective).
The Self-Exclusion program (http://www.knowyourlimit.ca/self-exclusion.html) is a program where people who see themselves as having a problem can put themselves on a list which will let the Casino exclude them from the premises (to the point that if found on the premises could be arrested for trespassing).
The article focused on one problem gambler who has lost Sixty Thousand Dollars at OLG Casinos since putting himself on the Self-Exclusion List, not once having been asked to leave the premises.
The article quotes the OLG spokesman as saying they are petitioning the government to allow them to withhold winnings from people on the list. They claim it would be a good disincentive to problem gamblers who come to the Casino despite their voluntary exclusion.
I understand their thinking, but truly believe that if the government gives them that right, they should also force them to return any monies lost by the same problem gamblers. Only then would I believe that they have any legitimate claims, and are not simply trying to get MORE money (they made $1.9 Billion last year).
Despite their protestations to the contrary, it is not in the OLG’s best interests to stop problem gamblers from gambling, and as a government agency there is no incentive to the government to enact legislation with teeth. If there is going to be any chance of helping problem gamblers it has to be at the hands of an independent organization, funded by the government but at arm’s length, who can not only help problem gamblers but who can also post agents at the door of every Casino in the province and having anyone on the Self-Exclusion List arrested upon entry.
The OLG is investing in a facial recognition system for their Casinos. Only if that system were to be manned and enforced by a 3rd party could we expect that there is any intent of keeping problem gamblers away.