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New Jersey legislature OKs no-shame change to casino self-exclusion law; bill goes to Christie


ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey — Gamblers could ban themselves from casinos or gambling websites without having to admit they have a problem, under a bill that received final approval by the New Jersey Legislature on Thursday.

The state's voluntary self-exclusion lists permit people to sign up and request that they not be admitted to casinos or allowed to gamble online. Names on the list are not made public, but the law currently requires people who sign up to attest that they have a gambling problem.

The bill got final approval with a 38-0 vote in the Senate. The measure would let people sign up for the lists without having to admit they are compulsive gamblers. The bill now goes to Gov. Chris Christie.

"Let's give someone trying to fight the scourge of problem gambling every option we can to help them recover," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "If allowing them to ban themselves from facilities without admitting a problem on a document can help, then let's give it a try."

The change would take away some of the stigma of signing up for the list, said Donald Weinbaum, head of the state's Council on Compulsive Gambling.

The state lets people choose whether the bans are for one year, five years or life. Nearly 1,600 names are on two lists, one for casino gambling and the other for Internet gambling.

People wishing to add their names to the list must apply in person at the state Division of Gaming Enforcement offices in Atlantic City or Trenton, or at the offices of the New Jersey Racing Commission in Trenton or the state's horse racing tracks.

Wayne Parry can be reached at

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