Self-Exclusion – How It Works?

Thousand of individuals are treated each year and thousands more become addicted to gambling every year. But unfortunately, these figures may only represent the very beginning of the story. While going to casinos and other places to gamble may be a fun diversion for some, gambling addiction is all too common. Self-exclusion, what it is, and how it works are all topics we'll cover in this essay.

The definition of self-exclusion is as follows: When you enrol in a self-exclusion programme, you agree not to go to any locations where legalised gambling is being conducted. Off-track betting shops, casinos, and racetracks are all examples of this. Self-exclusion programmes do not cover illegal or unregistered types of betting.

Feel the Need for Self-Exclusion

If I Feel the Need for Self-Exclusion, Am I Considered a Problem Gambler?

The self-exclusion programme is in place if you consider yourself a problem gambler. To put it another way, there isn't any predetermined endpoint, definition, or benchmark. Self-exclusion is an option for gamblers concerned that they are gambling more frequently than they should be.

Self-exclusion is, unfortunately, a final choice for some people. Self-exclusion is the last option for compulsive gamblers who have exhausted their cash flow, depleted their savings, and amassed significant debt. Self-exclusion may be an option for those who are in complete financial disaster. However, self-exclusion does not necessitate financial disaster before it is chosen.

Who Is Most Likely to Self-Exclude? Who Needs It?

A study that uses a large enough sample of players does not yet exist. Hence there is no way to tell whether or not this issue can be answered statistically or empirically. However, tiny case studies can give us a sense of the percentage of gamblers who deliberately self-exclude.

In a research of this kind, problem gambling was recently investigated in Ontario, Canada. Self-exclusion programmes were also explored in this study. We may be able to get some vital information from this data. Gambling legalisation has been shown to increase the risk of problem gambling in a community by 1-2% of the general population, according to studies.

As of 2015, there were 17,860 Ontarians taking part in the voluntary self-exclusion programme. Therefore, a demographic sample of the entire population of Ontario may be broken down into the following subgroups:

  • The population of Ontario is 13.6 million people
  • The estimated number of potential problem players in Ontario (1.5% of the population of 13.6 million) is 204,000
  • Volunteers in Ontario's self-exclusion programmes total about 18,000

Based on these figures, we may estimate that around 9% of prospective problem gamblers prefer to self-exclude. Nonetheless, the 9% rate is cautious. This is because, although gambling enterprises are spread across Ontario, the citizens of the towns where these facilities are located will be the most impacted.

Self-Exclude person

Self-Exclusion problem

When It Comes to the Problem of Compulsive Gambling, How Successful Is Self-Exclusion?

Self-exclusion schemes have received very little research attention. In any case, we can find some general themes based on what we have to work with. If self-exclusion were to be banned, that wouldn't be an efficient solution.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) records show that about 1,500 to 2,000 OLG self-exclusion programme members are discovered each year trying to access OLG gaming rooms. An annual self-exclusion agreement violation is attempted by more than 11% of participants. The 11% figure does not reflect the number of people who broke the law but went unpunished. The amount of trespasses a volunteer commits before they are detected does not count.

As a result, a high proportion of trespassing offences may occur in areas where residents have chosen to self-exclude.

signs that you need to Self-Exclude

When Is It Necessary for Me to Self-Exclude, and Why?

Several obvious signs indicate that it is time for you to self-exclude, including the following:

  • When you bet, you aren't having as much fun as you used to
  • Your gambling causes problems with your finances, health, or relationships
  • You have the sense that taking a break would benefit you
  • You or those around you experience an unnecessary amount of stress due to gambling. When the impulse to gamble becomes impossible to resist, you realise it's time to make a change
  • You have the impression that gambling has "taken over" many elements of your life and is causing you to suffer pain on multiple levels, including physically, emotionally, and psychologically
  • You are focused on recouping the money that you have dropped

Specifically, How Is Self-Exclusion Enforced?

How Is Self-Exclusion Enforced

Participating casinos impose self-exclusion rules. The OLG approach involves facial photography and the signing of trespassing agreements. Biometric facial recognition technology is used to identify the faces in the images.

Casinos may use this technology to identify self-exclusion members more easily. Biometric facial recognition systems use the participant's face as a "fingerprint" to identify them. The face recognition software will scan the person's facial characteristics and, if a match is found, will warn the associated casino security officer of the approaching infringement.

The casino's security personnel must then carry out the self-exclusion program's rules and conditions.


Self-exclusion programmes are an essential component of any harm reduction plan that may be provided by a gaming operator or a regulatory authority of a particular jurisdiction.

Even though self-exclusion programmes have been around since 1996, very few in-depth assessment studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of these programmes and the components that need to be incorporated to make the most of the advantages they provide. Some evidence suggests that self-exclusion programmes are typically beneficial for issue gamers in terms of lowering gaming activity and reducing the intensity of problem games. This is even though the existing research severely lacks several essential aspects.

It is necessary to continue creating more successful self-exclusion programmes. It is also essential to examine tailored programmes that are more suited for people and consider factors such as gender, age, and cultural variations. Self-exclusion programmes are something that any jurisdiction that allows the provision of gaming should give serious consideration to fulfil their duty of care to players.

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Michelle Thomas
Former Author
Master of Business and Finance
Expert in:
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Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 17.02.2024

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