Self-Exclusions on the Rise for Loto-Québec
Self-exclusion is a tool used by numerous gambling regulators around the world to give casino players and gamblers a way to protect themselves from gambling harm. Loto-Quebec is one of the leading regulators with a self-exclusion program, and has offered the program since 1993.
New numbers revealed by Le Journal de Quebec show that the program is not only working but thriving. In fact, applications for self-exclusion have increased exponentially over the past several years.
What is Self-Exclusion?
Excluding oneself from live gambling establishments enables the staff of those casinos to confront the person and escort them off the premises. This then denyies them the ability to gamble there, per their own wishes.
Persons can also exclude themselves from online gambling. This means that all regulated and/or licensed online gambling and betting operators must deny real-money services to those people on the self-exclusion list.
Self-exclusion can be done for a certain period of time. Most people opt for a period of months or years in order to get their issues under control.
While every regulator’s self-exclusion program can vary, Loto-Quebec has a very transparent and detailed plan. It is also available in English and French, free of charge, and confidential.
Players can deny themselves access to casinos and gaming halls for any period of time from three months to five years. This automatically includes the closure of Espacejeux accounts.
An online gaming exclusion request can be for three months to five years. Players can go to any Loto-Quebec office or customer service centre, any of nearly a dozen designated problem gambling help centers, and numerous health and resource centers listed on the Loto-Quebec website. There are also phone counsellors that will provide information and direction.
There is a self-exclusion fact sheet available with more details. It outlines privacy details, contract renewal information, and the help that is available from counsellors. Any self-exclusion process does involve a contract so as to hold the regulator and customer both responsible. Everything is free of charge, though.
The number of people who participated in self-exclusion in the fiscal year of 2018-2019 was 5,313. The statistics are according to the latest reports obtained under the Access to Information Act. That number was up from 5,111 in the previous year and up significantly from the 4,436 people who self-excluded in 2016-2017. And since the 2012-2013 year, when 3,037 people enrolled, applications in the most recent year have increased 75%.
Per Loto-Quebec, the increase is primarily due to the availability of online gaming and the desire to exclude from those internet options. “The increase in online gaming revenue over the last few years, and thus site traffic, follows a pattern similar to the number of customers who self-exclude from the sites,” reported Loto-Quebec.
That goes along with numbers of people specifically requesting no access be allowed for themselves to Espacejeux’s website. In the 2018-2019 year, that figure was 3,507.
More specifically, these are the numbers for pointed self-exclusion requests in the past year:
- Online gaming sites: 3,507
- Montreal Casino: 1,632
- Lac-Leamy Casino: 1,538
- Charlevoix Casino: 1,428
- Mont-Tremblant Casino: 1,420
- Quebec games rooms: 1,450
- Trois-Rivieres games rooms: 1,430
The report also notes that the majority of players who exclude themselves from one casino or gaming hall also exclude themselves from all of them. Therefore, some of the above numbers include the same players.
More Public Recognition
One of the reasons for a rise in the numbers is the publicity given to these sorts of problem gambling and addiction programs. Over the past years, there has been increased online advertisements on the issue. Furthermore, there has been a greater emphasis on funding from government-sponsored programs. Consequently, the word has subsequently been spreading further.
That availability of online gaming also provides the ability to reach more gamblers with information about self-exclusion and addiction. All regulated sites must provide information and respect self-exclusion contracts.
Per Loto-Quebec spokesperson Renaud Dugas: “The number of clients who take advantage of the self-exclusion program is mainly due to the fact that the program is increasingly well-known and works well.”
Loto-Quebec has also been working with casinos to ensure that they are more aware of customer behaviors and can approach people that may be having gambling difficulties.
As of March 31, 2019, the Loto-Quebec self-exclusion program boasted of 6,030 active persons.