The Legal Effect of Voluntary Self-Exclusion Programs for Problem Gambers

Natalia Antolak-Saper

Abstract


The voluntary self exclusion program has been designed as one attempt to minimise the harm caused by problem gambling and electronic gaming machines. However, the program’s role as a genuine regulatory response is questionable. Few reporting requirements for gaming corporations and a reliance on an unsophisticated method of detecting self-excluded problem gamblers significantly undermine the purpose of the program. This paper considers the liability of gaming venues and corporations in circumstances where a self-excluded problem gambler has not been successfully excluded from the gaming venue. It is suggested that, in entering into the program, a problem gambler may be under a reasonable expectation that the gaming venue will assist in his or her endeavour to control the problematic gambling. Drawing primarily on the laws of Victoria, this article will discuss how the voluntary self-exclusion program is in need of reform so that it can better act as a harm minimisation mechanism. Further, the article will explore possible legal redress in contract, equity and under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), for problem gamblers who have participated in an ineffective voluntary self-exclusion program.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/dlr2010vol15no2art123

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