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How Casino Self-Exclusion Works in West Virginia
Since online gambling arrived in West Virginia back in 2019, the industry has undergone a period of rapid growth. For all the many benefits online casinos and sportsbooks bring to the Mountain State courtesy of taxation, there is of course a flip side.
Problem gambling only affects a small percentage of people, while offering the overwhelming majority a harmless and exciting pastime. Nevertheless, it is an issue that exists, and it must be addressed by regulators, both in West Virginia and the wider United States.
One major weapon in the fight against problem gaming is the voluntary self-exclusion program. And in this article, you can check on self-exclusion in West Virginia and learn how such a program works in West Virginia.
Key Highlights of Self-Exclusion in West Virginia
Some particular facts to consider about WV gambling voluntary exclusion:
- Registration requires notarized documents and a detailed physical description;
- Offers indefinite exclusion until a removal request after one year;
- Encompasses online gambling, including online partners;
- Emphasizes severe consequences, with violators facing criminal charges and no right to appeal.
How West Virginia Self-Exclusion Works
If you’d like to add your name to the statewide casino self-exclusion program in WV, here’s what you need to do.
All gambling in the Mountain State is regulated by the West Virginia Lottery. So head over to their website and find the link on the right-hand side marked “Self Exclusion Form”. Click on this link to download the three page registration form and fill it out carefully and accurately.
The self-exclusion request form requires a physical description, including details to help casino staff identify you. This includes things like tattoos, birthmarks and scars, as well as ethnicity, height, weight, and hair color. You’ll also need your SSN and driver’s license to hand in order to complete the form. Finally, you’ll need to acknowledge multiple questions confirming that you fully understand the rights being voluntarily surrendered.
Once you’ve filled out the West Virginia self-exclusion request form, make a copy of any valid photo ID. Have these documents notarized and send them to the West Virginia Lottery by mail to the following address: David Bradley, West Virginia Lottery, 900 Pennsylvania Avenue, Charleston, WV 25302.
WV Self-Exclusion Details
Unlike many other self-exclusion programs in the United States, West Virginia doesn’t let you choose from a range of timeframes. Instead, you will simply be barred from all casinos and racetracks in the Mountain State until you request to be removed.
It’s not possible to submit a self-removal request for one full year from the date of registration.
You may find erroneous information online that implies the Greenbrier Casino is not included in the West Virginia self-exclusion program. However, the form clearly states that your exclusion applies to all casinos and racetracks, including the Greenbrier. It also extends to all online and mobile gambling apps associated with the West Virginia Lottery.
It’s crucial that you understand what self-exclusion in West Virginia really means. Any attempt to enter a racetrack or casino after your registration has been accepted is literally a crime. You will be removed from the premises if caught, with no right to appeal, and subject to prosecution on the grounds of trespassing.
WV Self-Exclusion Online
Online casinos only arrived in the Mountain State in 2020, shortly after the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act passed in March 2019. Nobody can operate an online wagering site unless partnered with one of the five existing land-based casinos.
As such, by self-excluding from physical casinos in West Virginia, you will also be banned from using their associated online products. There is no need to fill in any special forms for online self-exclusion. The aforementioned West Virginia Lottery application is sufficient.
For instance, BetRivers Online Casino and Caesars Online Casino are partnered with Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in West Virginia. By applying for the voluntary self-exclusion in the state, you’d also be banned from their online partners, in this case, BetRivers and Caesars. Overall, your application covers all types of gambling in the state due to the fact that each online sportsbook or casinos is associated with one of the brick-and-mortar casinos in the stat.
How to Get Off the Self-Exclusion List in West Virginia
If you were wondering how you can get off the West Virginia gambling self exclusion list, here is the answer: Once you’ve made the decision to self-exclude in West Virginia, it cannot be reversed. After all, that is very much the point of voluntary self-exclusion. Such hurdles help you to stay away from gambling and enjoy a cooling-off period.
However, you are allowed to request for your name to be removed from the program after one full year. You can find the West Virginia self exclusion removal request form on the West Virginia Lottery website, on the same page as the original application form. Look for the link entitled Self Exclusion Request Form and click on it to start the download.
The West Virginia self-exclusion removal form is also three pages long and must be sent to the same address as the initial application. You will have to acknowledge 13 different statements, all of which confirm that you understand exactly what removal from the self-exclusion list entails.
This form does not need to be notarized, but you will have to submit another copy of a valid photo ID.
Self-Exclusion from Gambling in WV vs. Other States
Self-exclusion programs in West Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all aim to combat problem gambling, but they differ in several aspects:
- Registration Process. WV requires a detailed physical description and notarized documents, while NJ allows direct exclusion requests from operators and government agencies. MI offers separate forms for land-based and online gambling, and PA splits self-exclusion into five parts;
- Duration of Exclusion. WV enforces indefinite exclusion until a removal request after one year, while NJ offers choices from one year to a lifetime ban. MI and PA provide options for one-year and five-year exclusions, with PA also offering permanent bans;
- Online Gambling. WV and NJ include online gambling under the self-exclusion program, covering associated online partners. MI has a dedicated online self-exclusion process, and PA provides an iGaming self-exclusion program;
- Responsibility. All states emphasize individual responsibility, but WV particularly highlights the criminal consequences for self-exclusion violations.
Problem Gambling Facts and Figures
Before looking at exactly how casino self-exclusion functions in West Virginia, it’s important to understand why such programs are necessary. The National Council on Problem Gambling states that as many as six million people across the United States are struggling with addiction. What’s more, up to one-third of those would be classed as “severe” gambling problems.
In West Virginia specifically, the situation is much worse than the national average.
A recent WalletHub study ranked the Mountain State as the eighth-worst in the country in terms of gambling addiction. Rated fourth overall when it comes to ease of access to gambling, no US state sells more lottery tickets per capita than WV. However, one other statistic stands out as particularly concerning.
The Gambling Problem & Treatment metric lists West Virginia at number 40, concerningly low for a state where gambling is so accessible. However, this is disputed by First Choice Services, the organization responsible for the local problem gambling hotline.
Sheila Moran, Director of Communications and Marketing, claims that WalletHub didn’t speak to them while carrying out the study. And if they had, they’d have learned more about the “really robust treatment program” that includes weekend events, wellness calls and online support groups.
However, even if that is true, it seems unlikely that they would suddenly leap from 40th spot into the top 10. There is clearly still some work to be done in this area.
Casino Self-Exclusion in the USA
Something which undoubtedly plays a critical role in helping problem gamblers curtail their wagering in West Virginia, is the state’s casino self-exclusion program. The idea is proven to be a good one, already successfully implemented in many other countries around the world.
In the UK for instance, there is a nationwide self-exclusion scheme known as GAMSTOP. Launched in 2018, the program has been a big success. It was reported in 2021, for example, that nearly 28% of registered players tried to gamble at some point during the year, only to be automatically denied by the GAMSTOP system.
However, in a country the size of the USA, it’s simply impossible to implement a national self-exclusion program. The notion that any single casino in any given state could possibly keep track of every self-excluded gambler in 49 other states is fanciful at best. It’s tough enough to make sure nobody within your own jurisdiction slips through the net.
A more realistic option is for each state to handle its own affairs. West Virginia, like many other states, does indeed operate its own self-exclusion program, which we’ll explain in detail shortly. Anyone struggling with their wagering can also reach out to the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia by calling 1-800-426-2537.
Self-Exclusion in West Virginia: More to Be Done
Independent studies show that gambling in the Mountain State is extremely accessible. And despite protests to the contrary, they also indicate that more could be done to assist those who struggle to control their gambling.
The statewide self-exclusion program in West Virginia is a good start. Although the form is relatively simple to complete, the requirement to have it notarized is somewhat inconvenient. However, the most important thing is that such an option exists in the first place.
If your gambling is getting out of control, seek assistance from the National Problem Gambling Helpline on 1-800-522-4700. Alternatively, you can call 1-800-426-2537 to speak with the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia.
Can I self-exclude from casinos in West Virginia?
Yes. The West Virginia Lottery operates a statewide self-exclusion scheme. Once registered, you will be barred from entering any casino or racetrack in the Mountain State. This also extends to their online casino partners.
How can I block myself from all West Virginia casinos?
Visit the official website of the West Virginia Lottery to download the registration form. Once complete, you’ll need to send it by mail, along with a copy of a valid photo ID. For full details of how to join the self-exclusion program in WV, scroll further up the page.
What will happen if I try to gamble when self-excluded in WV?
If you are caught entering a racetrack or casino in West Virginia while on the self-exclusion list, you are illegally trespassing. First of all, you will be forcibly removed from the premises. Secondly, you will face criminal prosecution. If you manage to gamble, any winnings will be confiscated.
Can I remove my name from the West Virginia self-exclusion list?
During the first year of your self-exclusion, no. However, after completing a full year, you will be able to request removal from the West Virginia Lottery’s self-exclusion list. To find out how to do this, read our guide above.
What is the minimum duration of the West Virginia casino self-exclusion?
When you register for self-exclusion, you commit to being banned from all casinos and racetracks in the state for a period of at least one year. After this initial year, you can request removal from the self-exclusion list if you choose to do so.
Are there any support services available for people struggling with problem gambling during self-exclusion?
Yes, one of these resources is the Problem Gamblers Help Network of West Virginia, which can be reached by calling 1-800-426-2537. This network provides assistance, resources, and guidance to individuals dealing with gambling-related issues, offering a helping hand to those seeking help and support while they are on the self-exclusion list.