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Massachusetts launches sports betting self-exclusion program

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Last Friday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced it had set up a voluntary self-exclusion list “specifically for sports betting”.

“The MGC announced Friday that a Voluntary Self-Exclusion list has been established specifically for sports wagering. VSE allows those who want to regain control a means to restrict their access to gambling for a pre-determined amount of time,” the regulator tweeted.

Massachusetts launches sports betting on Tuesday, January 31. Persons who have enrolled in the self-exclusion register will be banned from entering gambling facilities or placing wagers with online betting sites for the duration of the time they requested to be excluded.

Prior to the new sports betting self-exclusion program, the state already had a self-exclusion program for casino gaming. This has been the case since 2015, when the first casino in the state was launched. The exemption list for casino gaming has more than 1,300 people on it.

From the previous self-exclusion program with casino gaming, there have been reports from users who have testified that it has helped them to control their addiction and also helped in improving their personal relationships and mental health state.

“VSE programs are proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gambling to manage their own play,” said the Chair of the MGC, Cathy Judd-Stein.

“In light of research we have at our disposal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a range of other resources to help gamblers in the Commonwealth.”

READ: Online gambling in Massachusetts

The gambling regulator announced that persons who wish to register on the self-exclusion list can do so online, or they can visit GameSense Info Centers in any of the three casinos currently in the state: Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield, and the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

The MGC also reminded vulnerable gamblers that they can get further help through treatment and other useful alternatives. Persons on the self-exclusion list can call the Problem Gambling Helpline (800-327-5050) to get information on how to get further help.

“While VSE is one way to help people struggling with a gambling problem, we highly recommend they also seek treatment from a qualified clinician,” stated the MGC’s Director of Research and Responsible Gaming, Mark Vander Linden.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, Marlene Warner, said that the state had done everything possible to protect its citizens from gambling harm.

“Massachusetts has provided innovation and leadership in the realms of problem and responsible gambling,” added Warner.

“This early and comprehensive approach to VSE continues in that tradition. We hope that anyone in need of a conversation and some help with minimizing the impact gambling has on their life will consider this evidence-based program.”

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