The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Offers Enrollment in Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) and the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling (MCCG) seek to raise awareness about the availability of the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program (VSE) prior to the June 23 opening of Encore Boston Harbor. The statewide VSE program allows individuals to voluntarily exclude from the gaming floor of all Massachusetts casinos for a pre-determined length of time: six months, one year, three years, five years or a lifetime.
“Research has clearly shown that voluntary self-exclusion can effectively help persons struggling to control their gambling. After enrolling, participants have reported reduced gambling-related problems, including improved mental health and relationship quality,” said Mark Vander Linden, MGC’s director of research and responsible gaming. “Although we recognize the decision to limit your gambling can be difficult, enrolling in the program is not. We are steadfast in our commitment to provide the people of Massachusetts with the tools necessary to empower consumer decisions about healthy levels of play, and when it may be time to step away. ”
The VSE program is designed to provide participants maximum flexibility to choose the length of their term of self-exclusion. As a deterrent from continued gambling at Massachusetts casinos, any person on the VSE list identified on the gaming floor will be escorted from the area and must forfeit any money wagered. Currently, there are 485 people currently enrolled in the statewide VSE program.
Information provided by enrollees is private and confidential and will only be shared with Massachusetts gaming establishments and MCCG to help enrollees honor their commitment. Under no circumstances will the information of someone who chooses self-exclusion be shared with a family member, employer, or clinician.
The MGC values the importance of face-to-face interaction and requires in-person enrollment with a trained VSE professional. Trained advisors are available at several convenient locations and will also be able to help enrollees with accessing additional support services.
To enroll in the VSE program:
- Contact the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
- 1.800.426.1234 or 617.485.4034
- For a complete list of drop-in times and locations, click here.
- Contact the Massachusetts Gaming Commission
- Located in Boston and Springfield
- (Off-site location is available under certain circumstances.)
- 617.533.9737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Located in Boston and Springfield
- Speak with a GameSense Advisor at a GameSense Info Center
- Located at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino
Enrollees are required to bring identification and must be prepared to complete an enrollment form. To expedite the process, enrollees may review the form in advance.
“This is an important safety net for those for whom gambling is not a safe or risk-free activity. The MGC has implemented an evidence-based practice, Voluntary Self-Exclusion, and further enhanced it to strengthen its efficacy. The Mass. Council stands ready to provide any additional resources and referrals, in the casino and out in the community, for those enrollees in need,” said Marlene Warner, executive director of MCCG.
Visit the GameSense website to review most Frequently Asked Questions about VSE.
Introduced by BCLC in 2009, GameSense is an innovative, player-focused responsible gambling program that encourages players to adopt behaviors and attitudes that can reduce the risk of developing gambling disorders. This includes setting and sticking to personally-allocated time and monetary limits for gambling, as well as being open and honest with family, friends and oneself when it comes to personal gambling habits. GameSense has earned international recognition such as the World Lottery Association’s Best Overall Responsible Gambling Program (2010), and the U.S. – based National Council on Problem Gambling’s Social Responsibility Award (2015). In addition to being licensed and piloted at MGM Resort International casino properties, the program has been implemented by Connecticut Lottery, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and Canadian provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In Massachusetts, each gaming establishment is required by statute to provide on-site space (the GameSense Info Center) for player education. Massachusetts is the only jurisdiction in the country required by law to offer responsible gaming resources onsite. There, patrons can learn about myths associated with gambling, the odds of the games they are playing, take a break, and seek support from a GameSense Advisor. The GameSense program combines recommendations on responsible gaming techniques with interactive tools and exhibits meant to engage patrons at Massachusetts casino gaming facilities and online at GameSenseMA.com.
The mission of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is to create a fair, transparent, and participatory process for implementing the expanded gaming law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in November 2011. In creating that process, the Commission will strive to ensure that its decision-making and regulatory systems engender the confidence of the public and participants, and that they provide the greatest possible economic development benefits and revenues to the people of the Commonwealth, reduce to the maximum extent possible the potentially negative or unintended consequences of the new legislation, and allow an appropriate return on investment for gaming providers that assures the operation of casino-resorts of the highest quality. For more information on MGC, please visit MassGaming.com or connect and share on Twitter (@MassGamingComm) or Facebook www.facebook.com/MAGamingComm.