Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Voluntary Self Exclusion Program

Session Title

Session 2-2-B: Responsible Gambling Intervention in Expanding Markets

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

29-5-2019 12:25 PM

Disciplines

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Other Public Health

Abstract

Abstract: Voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) is a popular intervention that has been implemented by governments and casinos across the globe. VSE programs permit individuals to ban themselves from entering specific casinos for a specified time period or for a lifetime. The purpose of these programs has evolved from its more punitive intervention beginnings (i.e., charging people who violated their VSE contracts with criminal trespass) toward prevention and harm reduction. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the Massachusetts Voluntary Self Exclusion Program (MA-VSEP) and to assess the gambling behaviors, gambling problems, mental health, and well-being of MA-VSEP enrollees across time. Results of both quantitative and qualitative data collected from MA-VSEP enrollees suggest that these enrollees have had positive experiences with the program and demonstrated improvements in their gambling behavior, gambling-related problems, and general well-being in the 6-12 months since enrollment. Though we hypothesized that these positive outcomes would be mediated by increased engagement in treatment, a more complex pattern emerged.

Implications: The current study adds to the small base of literature investigating the effect of voluntary self-exclusion programs longitudinally, examines whether resources and encouragement to seek treatment upon VSEP enrollment can increase treatment-seeking and positive outcomes for VSEP enrollees, and provides recommendations for improving VSE programs based on the study findings.

Keywords

self exclusion, gambling, responsible gambling

Author Bio

Dr. John Kleschinsky is a Project Manager at the Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance, and a research associate at the Harvard Medical School. He also serves as a series editor at The BASIS. Dr. Kleschinsky is an instructor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences. He earned his DrPH in Community Health Sciences from the Boston University School of Public Health in 2018. His research interests include methodologies for following difficult populations, college health with an emphasis on substance use and gambling behavior, and the evaluation of responsible gambling programs.

Funding Sources

This work was supported through a contract with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission collaborated on research design and coordinated review of the final report.

Comments

The Division on Addiction and affiliated faculty have received funding in the past three years from DraftKings, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations via NIH and Indian Health Services (IHS), NIH, the Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which receives funding from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, National Center for Responsible Gaming, the New Mexico Responsible Gaming Association, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, and GVC Services, Ltd.

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May 29th, 11:00 AM May 29th, 12:25 PM

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Voluntary Self Exclusion Program

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract: Voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) is a popular intervention that has been implemented by governments and casinos across the globe. VSE programs permit individuals to ban themselves from entering specific casinos for a specified time period or for a lifetime. The purpose of these programs has evolved from its more punitive intervention beginnings (i.e., charging people who violated their VSE contracts with criminal trespass) toward prevention and harm reduction. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the Massachusetts Voluntary Self Exclusion Program (MA-VSEP) and to assess the gambling behaviors, gambling problems, mental health, and well-being of MA-VSEP enrollees across time. Results of both quantitative and qualitative data collected from MA-VSEP enrollees suggest that these enrollees have had positive experiences with the program and demonstrated improvements in their gambling behavior, gambling-related problems, and general well-being in the 6-12 months since enrollment. Though we hypothesized that these positive outcomes would be mediated by increased engagement in treatment, a more complex pattern emerged.

Implications: The current study adds to the small base of literature investigating the effect of voluntary self-exclusion programs longitudinally, examines whether resources and encouragement to seek treatment upon VSEP enrollment can increase treatment-seeking and positive outcomes for VSEP enrollees, and provides recommendations for improving VSE programs based on the study findings.