National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program to Debut This Summer

The United States gaming industry is bigger than ever, and that comes with some societal costs, including problem play. A forthcoming nonprofit program seeks to aid problem gamblers with a one-stop resource to exclude themselves from gambling outlets across the nation.

voluntary self-exclusion problem gambling
The National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program for casinos and online gambling is set to debut in New England this summer. The online tool will allow players to exclude their gaming access in multiple states through a single registration. (Image: NVSEP)

With gaming laws and options varying from state to state, there is presently no unified self-exclusion program in the US. In the coming months, idPair, a gaming analytics firm focused on responsible gaming services, plans to launch the country’s first nationwide voluntary exclusion program.

Dubbed the National Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (NVSEP), the program will allow players to self-exclude from both brick-and-mortar and online casinos in multiple states. While current self-exclusion programs don’t travel, people do, and that can present triggers for those who have prohibited their access to casinos in their home states while venturing out of state.

NVSEP will remedy the task of individuals needing to voluntarily register with multiple state self-exclusion programs to protect themselves from being lured to play. The program is designed to also provide new insights on problem gambling through anonymized data. 

Problem Gaming Gamechanger

Gamblers who become addicted to the rush of betting often struggle to self-register for gaming exclusion. Requiring someone in a state surrounded with gambling options, for instance, a person in Philadelphia who can gamble online and in person in Pennsylvania or take a short drive into New Jersey and do the same, the task of completing multiple self-exclusion forms lengthens the odds of that individual taking the adequate steps to block their access.

A national program has been needed for a long time,” said Marlene Warner, CEO of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. “With NSVEP, individuals will have a unified platform for seeking help and support across the United States. I encourage all state gaming regulators to join this initiative to provide a stronger safety net for consumers.”

Once live, NVSEP will allow individuals to exclude themselves from retail and iGaming in multiple states or the entire country. The program will also offer resources for help and education on gambling. Enrollees will be able to set a duration of their exclusion, including the option of a lifetime ban.

The program will debut in New England, specifically Massachusetts, before expanding into new states as state regulators approve of their participation.

“I am thrilled that New England has the potential to lead the way with this remarkable step forward to a more seamless approach to voluntary self-exclusion,” Warner added.

Simplicity Vital to Self-Exclusion 

Dr. Michelle Malkin, the director of the Gambling Research and Policy Initiative at East Carolina University, says the process of self-excluding can be a labor-intensive and complicated task for many players.

Conducting research on voluntary self-exclusion has shown that the process can be confusing for those seeking help, especially if they are looking to voluntarily self-exclude,” Malkin explained. Malkin believes the simple user interface will help increase self-exclusion.

Behavioral health experts recommend anyone who believes they have a gambling problem not only self-exclude, but also seek help from a support group or therapist. Regardless of how many self-exclusion registrations are made, gambling options will remain, as most offshore, unregulated online gambling websites don’t participate in such exclusion programs.

Gambling advertising, behavioral health experts at Kindbridge say, is everywhere today, which makes disassociating from gambling harder. Kindbridge, a leading behavioral health agency in problem gambling, runs an online support group for problem gamblers. More information can be found by clicking here.

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