Maryland’s Voluntary Exclusion Program Registers 100 Participants


Problem gamblers embrace tool of personal responsibility

Maryland’s Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) hit a milestone this week, registering its 100th participant. Launched in January 2011 to work in conjunction with the state’s casinos, VEP was created to help problem gamblers take control of their lives.

“This is a tool of personal responsibility,” Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said. “It gives individuals the opportunity to control their own behavior – of their own volition. The fact that we have reached 100 participants speaks to its value in curtailing gambling abuses.”

Administered by the Maryland Lottery, the VEP permits individuals with gambling problems to legally ban themselves from entering any Maryland casino.  Participants will also be taken off of all casino mailing lists and will not be eligible for promotions, credit or casino comps. Only the individual being banned can sign up for the program. Participants discovered at a casino are subject to arrest for trespassing and must surrender any winnings.

“Self-exclusion allows problem gamblers to use an external support as they work toward making proactive choices about their time and money,” said Joanna Franklin, president of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling. “This is a valuable service and a responsible way to operate expanded legalized gambling in Maryland.”

Applications for the VEP must be filled out and submitted in person at Maryland Lottery Headquarters or at one of the state’s three casinos, and all information is strictly confidential. Participants may elect to be on the list for life or have the option of a two-year ban after which they must request and meet requirements for removal from the list. The Maryland Lottery makes the final decision as to whether the participant may be removed.

“This is just one of the ways we are working to ensure that players gamble responsibly,” said Jennifer Wetherell, the Lottery’s Responsible Gambling Coordinator. “We also offer a connection to statewide resources through the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling (MARG) and its website, mdgamblinghelp.org.