The Iowa gambling regulator reports that about 550 state residents who have previously opted for a lifetime self-exclusion from gambling have submitted the necessary paperwork to have their ban removed.
This was made possible after Iowa lawmakers introduced and passed a bill earlier this year that amended the self-exclusion law in gambling. The new rules took effect on July 1.
The original self-exclusion program in Iowa was introduced back in 2004. She allowed clients to ban themselves from visiting casinos and other gambling establishments for life. Volunteers only had to sign a self-exclusion form, which contained information about the gambling and casinos that participated in the program.
Earlier this year, the state introduced a bill calling for certain changes in the way gamblers could independently exclude themselves from gambling. The bill quickly gained traction in both chambers of the state legislature and eventually went into effect on July 1.
Under its provisions, players can now apply to have their existing lifetime gambling ban removed. The only requirement is that they must be excluded within five years or more. In addition, players can now independently choose a self-exclusion period of five years or more.
The new law has been welcomed by organizations that treat people with play behavior problems. According to these organizations, more people will now opt for self-exclusion as they will be able to ban themselves from gambling for a shorter period of time.
Local news service Radio Iowa, citing the Iowa Gambling Commission, reported that about 550 residents in the state have applied to lift the lifetime ban. Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the state gambling regulator, told the media that of those who submitted the necessary documents, about 500 people have the right to have their ban lifted.
Mr. Okhorilko explained that the regulator usually takes several days to study the documents and determine whether a person has the right to participate in the gambling or not. The administrator of the state regulator also pointed out that of all persons from the list of self-excluded, about 4,000 people can regain the right to play in the casino.
The list is currently used in 20 different gambling establishments in the state. Mr. Okhorilko said it could take from a week to a full month before all casinos remove a person from their databases.
The representative of the regulator further dwelt on the fact that, in the first months after the entry into force of the new law, more requests were submitted, but in recent weeks the number of those wishing to participate in the self-exclusion program has decreased. According to Brian Okhorilko, there will be a sharp increase in the number of people who would like to lift their ban on gambling.