Be careful what you wish for, and be even more careful what you sign up for, says one Illinois casino visitor.
The first adage is well known, and its corollary becomes more important in light of an Illinois proposal to check identification at all casino entrances to prevent entry of problem gamblers.
The Illinois Gaming Board will be holding a special meeting on December 3 to discuss whether to implement a new program that would identify problem gamblers who attempt to play at state casinos by checking Id’s of every patron in order to be sure the problem gamblers do not enter the establishment.
If implemented, individuals who have signed up for the state’s ‘Self Exclusion Program for Problem Gamblers’ will have voluntarily placed themselves under a lifelong ban from gaming establishments. Anyone in the Program found in a location where gambling is allowed may legally be arrested.
Those in the industry consider the state’s idea of checking every customer to be unnecessary, and just plain overkill.
Casinos already check Id’s of those it suspects to be in the program, as well as anyone who they think might be underage.
Illinois casino workers worry that the new proposal could cause lengthy lines to enter casinos, causing irritation to customers, which may result in a great loss of revenue to the casinos.
One player said, “This is just an attempt by the state to create one more difficulty for those who enjoy gambling. Besides, if they have no cause to check my identification, it’s an invasion of privacy.”
Whether the citizens of Illinois find the program inconvenient or not, Casino Gambling Web gaming analyst, Gordon Price, commends the state for at least attempting to help combat problem gambling in the state.
However, Price pointed out that one study from several years ago discovered that the most effective way to prevent problem gambling in areas where casino expansion occurs is to couple the expansion with very strong public awareness programs to warn of the possible dangers of gambling.
Another conclusion of the South African study Price referenced revealed that with the proper awareness programs implemented in casino expansion general gambling numbers actually went down, as well as problem gambling numbers.