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 Jun 19, 2024, 4:43 PM

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 going overboard or 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 compulsive and pathological gambling, where people are addicted to gambling to some degree. It’s easier to take a step back from gambling for some than it is for others. Some players may need a bit more guidance than a list of tips for responsible gambling to learn how to control their compulsions. Instances like this have given rise to the question, “Can you ban yourself from a casino?”

Fortunately, it’s possible to restore the balance between your gambling and your life with tools such as self-exclusion programs from casinos. It’s a means to put some distance between the gambler and the problem so 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 do it.

What Is Self-Exclusion From Gambling?

Being added to a casino’s self-exclusion list 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. 

Self-exclusion periods can encompass anything from a six-month suspension to banning yourself from a casino altogether. Self-exclusion in the U.S. is typically enforced for periods of one year, five years, or a lifetime. During this period, gambling venues and sites will refuse you entry, none of the gambling service providers will contact you, and all marketing databases will remove your name. Moreover, the self-exclusion is fixed; you can’t cancel it before the exclusion period expires. This gives you the chance to remove yourself entirely from environments that may trigger the negative behaviors associated with problem gambling. 

Common Reasons Behind Voluntary Self-Exclusion from Gambling

When someone feels like their gambling is becoming a problem that they may need some help to manage, voluntary self-exclusion from the casinos they frequent is a responsible step to take. 

Here are a few of the reasons why someone might consider self-exclusion:

  • Gambling Isn’t Fun Anymore: In many ways, gambling can be very good for your mental health. But, for some players, negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, or guilt replace the enjoyment they once found with gambling, so they turn to self-exclusion for their mental well-being.
  • Financial Concerns: Losing is a natural part of gambling, and while some can handle it well, there are a few people who chase their losses, spending money intended for something else and, often, losing that too. This vicious cycle, and excessive gambling in general, can lead to financial strain, debt, and other monetary issues. Self-exclusion is a proactive measure some players take to prevent further financial losses.
  • Protecting Their Loved Ones: Problem gambling can have a significant impact on relationships. Someone may choose self-exclusion to protect their family and loved ones from the negative consequences associated with their gambling habits.
  • Recognizing the Need for Change: Choosing self-exclusion is an acknowledgment that there is a need for change. It reflects a person’s willingness to take responsibility for their actions and work towards a healthier lifestyle.
  • Problem Gambling: The most common reason people use self-exclusion programs is that they realize that they may have a gambling problem or addiction, and they’re looking for a way to break their cycle of compulsive gambling.
  • Seeking Help: Building on the previous point, self-exclusion is often part of a broader strategy for seeking help and treatment for gambling addiction. It can be a crucial first step toward accessing support services and counseling. 

By law, all online casino websites must offer a voluntary self-exclusion option to their players. So, if you feel like it may be time to take a break and reassess your relationship with gambling, online casino self-exclusion is an accessible option that can act as a step in the right direction.

With self-exclusion from online casinos, you must also be aware that if you attempt to gamble during your self-exclusion period, casinos and gaming sites will refuse to accept your wagers. Nonetheless, if they catch you gambling again, all your winnings will be forfeited, and you’ll be removed from the gaming floor or website.

Gambling Problem Warning Signs

It’s important to understand the warning signs that it may be time to take a break from gambling, even if it’s just a short one. Self-awareness plays a vital role when it comes to maintaining a healthy balance between gambling and life. It’s essential to check in on yourself from time to time and think about whether you’re really having a fun and healthy 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 in the future.

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. For example, In New Jersey, you must file a form in person at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement office in Atlantic City or visit the New Jersey Racing Commission offices during business hours. You will also need to provide identification and have your photo taken. Once done, you’ll be placed on a casino self-exclusion list distributed to all land-based and online casinos in the state. You can find out the self-exclusion procedure in your state by clicking on the “State Resources” tab on BetMGM’s responsible gaming page.

Self-Care

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 by 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, looking for other rewarding activities that can substitute for gambling is a good idea. Be sure to let family and friends know what you’re going through. 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

Are you 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 gamble responsibly, 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 casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.