Online gaming and sports betting are just two weeks away and while that’s exciting for some, for others like problem gamblers, it creates a sense of dread. That’s why the state is rolling out some new problem gambling tools.
“On Oct. 7, everyone’s going to have a casino in their house,” Diana Goode, executive director of the CT Council on Problem Gambling, said.
That’s when the state lottery and the two tribal casinos will launch their online gaming and sports betting apps.
“We can confidently predict that the rate of addiction for gambling is going to rise in this state,” Declan Hill, an associate professor at the University of New Haven, said.
Hill said it’s like being an alcoholic and “not having to go to a bar, not having to buy a drink, but actually having it constantly on their body. It’s a massive, massive temptation.”
That’s why the state is allowing problem gamblers to self exclude themselves from marketing and any of these new apps through a new website: ct.gov/selfexclusion.
“It’s a way for people who have a problem or realize they are susceptible to having a problem to put themselves on this list and prevent the temptation from the very start,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said.
The information a gambler enters on the self-exclusion website is shared with the tribes and vendors who need that information to keep the problem gamblers off their site.
“You’re going to have to give a fair amount of information. We ask for Social Security, we have to verify it’s you,” Seagull said.
Goode said it’s a good first step.
“Our concern is there is no one-stop shopping package in Connecticut for self-exclusion,” she said.
A gambler still needs to go to both casinos to exclude themselves from gambling in person.
“We would like to see one comprehensive way for people to self-exclude from everything, not just online,” she added.
“The idea that you’re going to have people self-exclude underestimates the power of addiction,” Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, said.
Hwang said more needs to be done to prevent problem gambling.
“The problem with addiction is you don’t think you have a problem. You think that you’ll be a winner next,” he said.
“Are the casinos, are the sportsbook makers going to expressly exclude people that they can recognize as problem gamblers?" Hill said.
Seagull said they can self-exclude themselves from one year, five years, or a lifetime.
“If you set your limit for five years, you couldn’t four years later remove yourself. You have to wait at least those five years,” Seagull said.
The apps will come with other safety measures.
“Anytime you log on or off you should be getting information on how to get help with problem gambling, how to self-exclude or how to impose limits on yourself,” Seagull said.