State regulators reviewing rules for self gambling bans with pending law change

DES MOINES — The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is reviewing the way lifetime gambling bans are handled as a major change in the law approaches.

Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko says a new law will change the time period available for self-bans on July 1st. “The new law essentially allows individuals to sign up to participate on that list for five years. Currently the only option for folks to sign up to stay out of a casino was for a lifetime ban,” Ohorilko says.

There’s also a provision that will allow those on the lifetime ban list to ask to be removed from the list. Backers of the law believe more people may sign up for the self-ban if there is a shorter term involved for the ban. Ohorilko says the commission had a request to review the impact on casinos.

The Iowa Gaming Association requested that the I-R-G-C look at the policy on what is a violation. He says they also will look at the penalties and whether they are appropriate. Ohorilko says the regulators agreed to take a look. “They decided to form a sub-committee, two commission will take a look at it, meet with some of the operators to determine what is being requested and why,” Ohorilko says. “And then those subcommittee members will make a recommendation to the full commission.”

That recommendation is expected at the July 13th commission meeting. Ohorilko says there are several things right now that are considered a violation by casinos when dealing with someone on the self-ban list. “For example, if a casino were to pay out a jackpot of someone that is on that list, that is a violation. If a casino were to send marketing material to somebody on that list, that is a violation,” Ohorilko explains.

The other part of the review will examine the penalties assessed to casinos. “The penalties associated with those range from three-thousand dollars to 20-thousand dollars — depending on the number of times that any particular casino has had an incident within the past 365 days,” Ohorilko says.

Ohorilko says the Iowa Gaming Association is the custodian of the self-exclusion list for the casinos and the I-G-A is working to update the technology to deal with the new law change.

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