(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Ralph R. Caputo, Troy Singleton, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and John J. Burzichelli sponsored to allow individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from gaming activities without citing a gambling problem as the reason for doing so was approved 38-0 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill (A-2444) amends current law to allow a person to be placed on the self-excluded gaming activity list at all New Jersey gaming facilities without first acknowledging having a gambling problem. Under current law, declaring oneself a problem gambler is a prerequisite to appearing on the list.
"Admitting on a document that you are a problem gambler is a step many New Jerseyans may not be ready to make, even if they are confronting their problem," said Caputo (D-Essex). "Many may feel the document is a stigma that can be used against them, but with this option, they are getting some help without having to make that potentially embarrassing admission."
"This is simply another option for those who want to exclude themselves from New Jersey's gaming facilities, but don't want to concede a problem on an official document they fear may come back to haunt them down the road," said Singleton (D-Burlington).
"Gambling addiction is a disease, and if this can help some people overcome their problem, it's a step in the right direction. Let's give someone trying to fight the scourge of problem gambling every option we can to help them recover," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "If allowing them to ban themselves from facilities without admitting a problem on a document can help, then let's give it a try."
"We typically don't make those recovering from substance abuse sign documents admitting their problem, so let's not hold those fighting to recover from gambling addiction to a more difficult standard," said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). "This can help many people get the help they need without embarrassing them."
A requester of voluntary exclusion may choose to be excluded from gaming activities at licensed casinos and simulcasting facilities, including Internet gaming activities, for a minimum of one year or for five years or a lifetime, according to the provisions of the bill. Once an individual is on the list, casinos must stop marketing to the individual. Casino personnel may also refuse to accept wagers or ask the individual to leave a gaming area. If the individual does gamble, he or she would be unable to collect any winnings or recover any losses.
The bill was passed by the Assembly in March.