The Colorado Division of Gaming is playing a part in several efforts to help combat Colorado gambling addiction. For starters, problem gamblers who want to stop may get a simplified way of self-excluding from sports betting statewide.
That would happen via a redesigned Colorado self-exclusion program, which was discussed at an Oct. 17 meeting at division headquarters.
The Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado offers the self-exclusion program in conjunction with the Colorado Gaming Association. With the modified system under consideration, online and retail sportsbooks would redirect players wishing to self-exclude for the 1, 3, or five-year terms offered.
The redirection would take them to a statewide database. That database would get redistributed to all 26 licensed sportsbook operators in Colorado. And those sportsbook operators would then have to cut off those players opting out of gambling access.
Ultimately, this simplifies matters by replacing the current requirement that a problem gambler sign up to self-exclude with each sportsbook they patronize individually. Also, self-excluding gamblers would be told that self-banning could result in exclusion from the same operators in different states.
And as before, self-banned gamblers would:
- No longer receive marketing materials
- Have their slot club memberships canceled
- Lose check-cashing privileges at casinos
CO sportsbooks agree with the proposed modifications
The sports operators at the meeting seemed mostly agreeable to that proposed change. Alana Sacerdote, the senior responsible gaming manager for Penn Entertainment, expressed her appreciation for the suggested modifications.
She spoke favorably about how they would streamline the process. She added, “there are a lot of duplicates and just not very uniform, clean information.” It would make tracking easier, she said.
Kevin Cochran of DraftKings agreed on his company’s behalf. He added that they would also continue their policy of sharing with the division daily updates on DraftKings’ self-excluded gamblers.
However, not every aspect of the proposed new rules met with enthusiastic agreement. As self-exclusion currently stands in the state, people can choose a lifetime ban. But the recent proposal would eliminate that choice.
Instead, a self-excluded gambler could re-up for one of the other shorter self-banning stretches when their chosen term is complete. Or, if they prefer, they could opt for a return to gambling.
Behind the suggested lifetime-ban removal was the notion that someone could regain control over gambling after abstaining. For example, someone who gambles compulsively when young could theoretically have more self-restraint with maturity.
Peggy Brown of the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado had other thoughts, though, about removing lifetime self-exclusion. She feels that a lifetime self-ban can serve as a strong deterrent to someone with a severe gambling addiction. And help someone with a serious commitment to stopping.
Additionally, some of the brick-and-mortar sportsbook operators present at the meeting had a request for the Division of Gaming. They’d like the division to install computers at which people wanting to self-exclude can sign themselves up. Rather than them needing help from casino staff.
Responsible gambling grants for Colorado bettors
Another arrow in the division’s quiver aimed at helping those with compulsive gambling problems is its Responsible Gaming Grants Program. To that end, it has opened its initial round of grant applications for 2022-2023 funds.
The intent of the grants provide meaningful financial support that can help recipient organizations to:
- Encourage prevention
- Provide educational programs
- Strengthen available counseling
- Increase public awareness
- Fund treatment, recovery, data and research
Not-for-profit organizations and state agencies/programs that directly address responsible gambling issues and have adequate staffing may apply. Organizational activities may include:
- Hotline operation
- Support services
More info and grant application forms are available on the division’s website. The application deadline is Dec. 1, 2022, at 5 p.m. Awarding of grants will happen by March 1, 2023.
The Colorado Division of Gaming administers this program on behalf of the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission.
Who needs the Colorado Self-Exclusion Program?
A 2021 article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health stated that “problem gambling is a gambling disorder often described as continued gambling in the face of increasing losses.” Problem gamblers “feel better when they gamble.”
Some of the behaviors and symptoms associated with gambling addiction include:
- Not paying bills
- Accumulating high levels of debt
- Personality changes
- The experience has stopped being fun
- Jeopardizing a job or significant relationship by gambling
- Lying to hide the time or money involved in pursuing gambling
- Exaggerating wins and minimizing losses
- Being preoccupied with gambling