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Massachusetts announces voluntary gambling self-exclusion program

Massachusetts Gaming Commission has launched a self exclusion register.

Massachusetts gaming regulators have developed a voluntary self-exclusion register for sports bettors following the state’s legalization of sports wagering earlier this year.  

Massachusetts launched online sports betting on March 10, following a retail wagering launch on January 31 and now they are set to follow in the steps of other regulators and create a tool to help problem gamblers stay safe.  

The Sports Wagering Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (VSE) was created by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health. Gamblers aged 21 and above can contact the MGC to be placed on the self-exclusion list to prevent them from wagering at online betting sites for a predetermined period. 

Those who are on the VSE can be banned from placing wagers in a retail sportsbook or refused access to online sports betting sites regulated by the MGC. They also have the option of dual self-exclusion, denying them access on both fronts. 

Joining the program also means that the gamblers will have to suspend or forfeit all their gaming rewards points and be taken off the operators’ marketing lists.  An individual can select one, three, or five-year terms to be excluded from gaming. The enrollee can get access to a lifetime ban after completing any of the shorter terms. 

After the exclusion period elapses and the individual decides to return to gambling, they are first required to complete a short reinstatement session. Massachusetts betting operators can choose to extend the exclusion of certain players for a number of reasons.

The VSE is regularly updated and shared with Massachusetts’ licensed gaming entities. According to the MGC, the self-exclusion program symbolizes an agreement between itself, the enrollee, and the Massachusetts operators. 

The MGC, which administers the VSE, managed a separate Gaming Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program before sports betting was made legal in Massachusetts. The program runs the same way the VSE operates, prohibiting registered players from accessing registered gaming venues in the state. 

“With the legalization of sports betting this January, Sports Wagering VSE serves as the next natural expansion in the state’s responsible gambling efforts,” the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health said in a statement. 

“The rollout is timed to coincide with both the launch of Massachusetts mobile sports betting and the year’s biggest NCAA event.”

Interested parties have various avenues to enroll in the VSE. These include reaching out to the 24-hour Safer Gaming Education Line and sending a message to GameSense’s 24/7 chat.

Gamblers can also take a more in-person approach to self-exclusion by scheduling an appointment with the MGC via phone or email and visiting its headquarters. They can also drop by any GameSense Info Center without an appointment to place themselves on the list. 

Individuals will need a means of identification with their photo and signature present. They will also be required to sign a voluntary self-exclusion agreement, after which their photo will be taken. A player’s information is entirely confidential, allowing them to sign without fear of leaks. After joining the VSE program, the enrollee is usually linked to a professional who will guide them into making an informed decision.

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