How to Self-Exclude if You Have a Gambling Problem

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A woman holds her head in her hands while aces fly onto a gambling game table.
BetMGM Dec 01, 2022, 4:44 AM

Recreational gambling is meant to be a fun activity. Whether you’re into sports betting or online casino games, the idea is to have a good time without harboring unrealistic expectations of making big money. The key is to play responsibly and maintain a healthy balance between gambling and the rest of your life, with all the responsibilities that entail. When balance is lacking, gambling ceases to be fun and develops into a problem. This includes what is often called compulsive gambling and pathological gambling, where people are addicted to gambling to some degree. Fortunately, it’s possible to restore the balance with tools such as self-exclusion from gambling. Basically, it’s a means to put some distance between the gambler and the problem so that they can get the help they need. Let’s take a sober look at what it means to self-exclude, when it’s a good idea and how to go about doing it.

What is self-exclusion from gambling?

Self-exclusion from gambling entails voluntarily applying to be excluded from gambling establishments such as land-based casinos, online casinos and sports betting sites. Essentially, you’re asking these venues to refuse to serve you for a specific period. Minimum self-exclusion periods in the US are typically one year, five years or a lifetime. During this period, you will be refused entry to gambling venues and sites, you won’t be contacted by any gambling service providers and you’ll be removed from all marketing databases. What’s more, the self-exclusion is fixed; you can’t cancel it once it’s in place. This gives you the chance to remove yourself completely from environments that may trigger the negative behaviors associated with problem gambling. Be aware that if you attempt to gamble during your self-exclusion period, casinos and gaming sites will refuse to accept your wagers. If you persist in gambling nonetheless and are caught, any winnings you have made will be forfeited and you will be removed from the gaming floor or site.

Gambling problem warning signs

Self-awareness plays a vital role when it comes to maintaining a healthy balance between gambling and life. It’s important to check in on yourself from time to time and ask yourself whether you’re really having a fun gambling experience or not. Beyond that, is gambling causing problems with your health, finances or relationships? Is it stressing you, and the people around you, out? When you gamble, are you focused entirely on winning back losses instead of having a good time? 

It may be that you’re unable to control the urge to gamble. You may even feel as though gambling has taken over your life and is harming you emotionally and psychologically. If any of these symptoms ring a bell and you want to make a change, self-exclusion may be the way to go. Cutting yourself off from gambling entirely for up to five years may seem extreme, but the bright side is that in the end you may be able to play your favorite online slots and casino games responsibly again.

How to self-exclude from gambling

The first step is to admit to having a gambling problem. This takes courage, so congratulations to all gamblers who have made the call. The next step is to follow the appropriate self-exclusion procedure for your state. In New Jersey, for example, you have to file a form in person at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement office in Atlantic City or visit the offices of the New Jersey Racing Commission during business hours. You will also need to provide identification and have your photo taken. Once this is done, you’ll be placed on a self-exclusion list distributed to all land-based and online casinos in the state. You can find out what the self-exclusion procedure in your state is by clicking on the “State Resources” tab on BetMGM’s responsible gaming page.


Self-exclusion on its own isn’t enough to conquer an online gambling addiction. After all, the mere fact of being blocked doesn’t remove the basic desire for online gambling. Online gambling self-exclusion has to be complemented with self-care. This begins by seeking practical help. Counseling is available nationwide from organizations such as 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Gamblers Anonymous and the National Council on Problem Gambling, and every state has its own additional helpline and online forums. Again, the contact details are on BetMGM’s responsible gaming page. After reaching out, it’s a good idea to look for other rewarding activities that can substitute for gambling. Be sure to let family and friends know what you’re going through, too. That way they can provide the positive support a recovering gambling addict needs to restore the missing balance in their life.

Gamble responsibly at BetMGM

Looking for an online casino that puts responsible gaming first? Register at BetMGM for a fun gambling experience in a safe, secure environment that prioritizes your well-being. Enjoy a broad range of online slots and casino table games knowing that our responsible gaming program provides all the tools you need to take responsibility and maintain a healthy balance. These include time-outs, time management, deposit limits and spending and loss limits. You take care of yourself and BetMGM will take care of the fun! 

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.