Venues are required to offer a self-exclusion scheme to patrons, on request, and a venue cannot refuse a patrons request for self-exclusion. Any self-exclusion scheme ran by a venue must meet the requirements of the Gaming Machines Regulation.
The Venue must:
- Publicise the availability of the scheme and information on how it operates to patrons of the venue
- Prevent the venue from refusing a participants request
- Allow the participant to specify the part, or parts, of the venue from which they are to be excluded (the participant may choose to be excluded from the entire venue, or just the gaming machine areas or even a total gambling ban)
- Give the participant a written and signed undertaking that he or she will not be allowed to gamble at the venue for a period specified e.g. 6 months to 4 years, and this can be renewed at the end of the period
- Give the participant the opportunity to seek independent legal or other professional advice at his or her own expense as to the meaning and effect of the undertaking before it is given
- Give the participant written information outlining the name and contact details of the gambling-related counselling service the venue has entered into an arrangement with
- Ensure that responsible persons for the venue can readily identify the participant- by means of access to a recent photograph of the participant
- Prevent a participant from withdrawing from the scheme within three months after requesting participation in the scheme
Ok, so they are the facts, what about the process?
If you are looking to self-exclude you will go through a legal process and sign legal deeds stating that YOU will not enter the area of the venue YOU chose to exclude from. It is a promise you are make by YOURSELF to YOURSELF. You are not formally setting out to involve anyone else in this process. The onus is on you to keep your promise to yourself. You can self-exclude at the venue or go to a gambling counsellor.
What about the venues?
Well the venue will ask you to leave if, despite your promise to stay out you enter the gaming area (or area you specified). But the venue is under no legal obligation to help you, more to the point it is VOLUNTEERING to help you. The ability for the venue staff to immediately and accurately identify your whereabouts in the venue is open to human error, and, considering the size of some of the venues, this can be a difficult task! But most venues are vigilant about helping patrons stick with their decision to self-exclude and will ask you to leave if you are found in there. If you refuse to leave when asked the venue may physically escort you out. If you still refuse to leave the police may be called and you could be charge with ‘Failure to leave premises’ which attracts a $550 fine.
For most people that self-exclude, the fear of the embarrassment by being asked to leave is reason enough to not enter that gaming area, but for others the temptation to gamble is just too strong, and they will test the system time and time again. If this continues to happen the venue can elect to exclude you from the entire venue without your permission.
A new Multi Venue Self Exclusion tool is currently being rolled out across the state. This tool allows you to exclude from up to 25 venues in one easy step. This will make self-excluding easier for patrons.
But does it work??
In smaller venues self-exclusion works extremely well, everyone knows everyone and it is easier for staff to identify a self-excluded patron. This can be a little trickier in larger venues, but most are on the ball and will not let you enter once you have self-excluded.
But are we missing the point?
As stated earlier, self-exclusion is a promise you are making to yourself! YOU are responsible to not breech your promise. YOU are responsible for yourself! The venue and the self-exclusion are just there to make it a little easier.
A final note:
Self-exclusion is just one tool problem gamblers can use to help control their gambling. The most proven method to help problem gamblers is counselling. Combine the two….. And your chances of beating your problem increase tenfold. So why not give it a try?