There are currently over 12,000 people on the Missouri Disassociated Persons List (DAP). These people voluntarily chose to exclude themselves from casinos because in most cases they are compulsive and addicted gamblers. Its obvious these people are unable to simply stop gambling at the casino or they would not have gone through the lengthy and exhaustive process of putting themselves on this self-exclusion list.
This list is enforceable because each patron must show identification and obtain a boarding pass to enter a Missouri casino. If a person is on the DAP, then the computer systems the casinos use to monitor boarding and chip buy-ins will alert casino employees. This system keeps over 12,000 people from entering the casino and gambling.
The Yes for Casino First Initiative, now known as Proposition A, seeks to remove the $500 loss limit and prevent any future identification technologies. Once gamblers are allowed to enter the casino floor and purchase chips without having to show an ID or swipe a boarding pass there will be absolutely no check on the DAP. If the loss limit is removed 12,000 compulsive and problem gamblers will have instant access to the casinos and will relive the tragedies that compulsive gambling brings.
Casino Watch empirically demonstrated this problem when we reported on the situation in Canada. They have a self-ban list but have no means of identifying those on the list other than facial recognition. Their gaming officials said it was impossible to track over a thousand people by remembering their faces alone and they are currently involved in a class-action lawsuit. Missouri has twelve times as many people on our list. Another empirical example comes from WSBT News in Indiana. They are reporting that the Harrison County casino has agreed to pay a fine of $59,000 for allowing a gambler who was on the self-ban list to gamble in the casino. WSBT explains:
The Indiana Gaming Commission said the gambler had signed up for the state’s Voluntary Exclusion Program, which requires the person’s agreement not to wager at casinos. Although Indiana’s casinos are instructed to refuse to allow anyone in the program to gamble, state investigators determined the gambler visited the casino nine times during a two-month period and was provided a free hotel room based on his wagering.
Horseshoe spokeswoman Judy Hess said Friday that casino officials regret the violations and are coaching employees to try to avoid such mistakes in the future. But she said gamblers who sign up for the voluntary exclusion program can sometimes be hard to catch.
She is exactly right. With no system in place beyond attempts to recognize someone’s picture, it’s simply impossible to enforce a self-exclusion list as evidenced by a patron visiting the casino NINE times in two month while receiving comps. Obviously if the loss limit is removed we will lose the ability to track those who so desperately reached out for help.