ANDERSON — Nearly 4,200 people have asked the Indiana Gaming Commission to bar them from entering casinos across Indiana.
The Herald-Bulletin reports 1,846 Indiana residents and 2,338 from other states have asked to participate in the Voluntary Exclusion Program, which allows people to be barred from casinos for periods ranging from a year to a lifetime.
The program, which began in July 2004, requires those interested to fill out a form in person at a gambling facility. Those who request exclusion for one or five years can request removal from the program when the period expires.
John Shipley, manager of compliance at Hoosier Park in Anderson, says the program can help those who need it. Madison County has 129 people enrolled in the program.
"The last thing we want is to have folks here who have problems," Shipley said. "We are an entertainment venue. Some people go see movies, some go play golf, some go to fancy restaurants, and some like to come to Hoosier Park for a night out. But other folks who have problems, they have the program which is a means by which they can help themselves."
Lake County, which has several riverboat casinos, has the highest number of program participants, with 471. Marion County has 202 residents registered for the program.
Shelby County, where Indiana Live! Casino is located, has just 18 participants in the exclusion program, but most of the casino's clientele is from outside the county, Shipley said.
Shipley said on-site gaming commission representatives can walk those interested in the program through the process and add them to the statewide database. People can also call or visit the gaming commission office in downtown Indianapolis to be added to the list.
Casinos cannot contact people on the exclusion list or send them promotional material.
The names and personal information of people on the list are available at all Indiana casinos. If someone on the list tries to use a player card, employees are notified. Those on the list who try to claim winnings will lose them.
Gamblers Anonymous officials say the list can be a deterrent, but they acknowledge that other types of gambling, including lottery games and bingo, are still available.