The advertisements for gambling addiction hotlines have been almost as ubiquitous as ads for the new Horseshoe Casino in the last two weeks, as have been the news stories about the dangers of a palace of blackjack and slots showing up in town for those that have a wee problem with throwing all their money away on blackjack and slots. Gambling addiction is real and dangerous and outlets for dealing with the problem should be readily available.
What you probably didn't know, lost and distracted in the hoopla of hour-long lines and dazzling 3D light shows and fantabulous buffet, is a provision that allows anybody to ban themselves from all four of Ohio's casinos. Like, actually agreeing it is illegal for them to even walk through the door.
The Akron Beacon Journal found the first guy to ink his name to the deal: 52-year-old Justin Gale from Mayfield Heights.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission launched its “Voluntary Exclusion” program earlier this year, modeling it after other states with similar efforts.
Under the Ohio program, people voluntarily apply through the commission to be banned from the casinos for either a year, five years or life. People who choose the one- or five-year bans can apply to have their names scrubbed from the list after that term is up.
Those who choose the lifetime ban, though, can never be removed.
Gale chose the lifetime ban.
He has proudly framed his letter from the commission notifying him that he’s barred from the casinos. He keeps it next to a photo of his deceased father, who had urged him to stop gambling.
Once you agree to the ban, if you are caught in any of the four casinos, you'll be charged with trespassing and forced to forfeit all winnings.
Gale quit gambling last year. He placed his first bet at the horse track when he was 15. Click on over for the full ABJ story where Gale goes in-depth into what gambling has wrought on his life in the last three decades.