550 Iowans Request to be Removed from Iowa’s Self-Ban on Casinos
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission announced Tuesday that about 550 Iowans submitted paperwork to have their lifetime gambling bans lifted in light of a new law that came into effect back on July 1. Administrator Brian Ohorilko said that the law change now offers the option of a five-year gambling ban in addition to a lifetime ban. People who had previously signed a lifetime ban may now request to be taken off the list.
Anyone that had signed a self-ban is prohibited from entering a gambling floor at an Iowa casino.
Thousands Eligible for Removal
Ohorilko said, “There are approximately 4,000 people who are eligible to be removed — essentially those are all people who had been on for five years or more,” Ohorilko says. Ohorilko says most of those who applied fit the requirements to get off the lifetime ban list. Some of our records showed that people applied maybe more than once or weren’t eligible. But I would say of those 550, we’ve had at least 500 folks who requested to be removed and were eligible to be removed pursuant to that new law.”
Ohorilko added that the state’s gambling regulation board usually requires several days to review the paperwork and determine whether a person is eligible to be removed from the list. It may take several weeks or a full month for all 20 venues participating in the program to remove an individual from their respective databases of banned customers.
Iowa’s original self-exclusion gambling program went into effect back in 2004. It let customers effectively ban themselves for life from casinos and other gambling facilities. They had to put their name on a self-exclusion form that included information about the customers that would only be shared with the casinos that participated in the program.
Earlier this year, Iowa’s House of Representatives penned a new bill that would alter certain aspects of the way people could impose their self-bans. The bill didn’t take long to gain momentum in both chambers of the state’s Legislature, and it was passed almost immediately.
Reasoning for Change
Those that requested to be self-banned from casinos may now apply to be reinstated, but they have to have already been excluded for at least five years to be eligible. People may now choose to self-exclude for a period of five years or a full lifetime, unlike the provisions of the previous program. Organizations that deal with problem gamblers believe the new provisions will result in more people choosing to self-exclude thanks to the new five-year option.
Ohorilko went on to say that most of the requests to have bans lifted came in the first few weeks and months after the law went into effect. The requests have dwindled in numbers in recent weeks, and Ohorilko said that he does not think there will be a dramatic increase in the number of people wishing to lift their self-imposed gambling suspensions.
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