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'Temptation is going to be there': Nebraska program allows people to voluntarily ban themselves from casinos

Posted at 6:59 PM, Sep 21, 2022

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — While many Nebraskans are getting ready to head to the soon-to-open casinos in Lincoln, Omaha and elsewhere, for some, casinos in their backyard are bad news.

The state is trying to help these people and now offers the chance for people to exclude themselves from casinos.

It seems like an odd idea: a form that people can fill out that voluntarily bans them from Nebraska-licensed casinos.

But the voluntary self-exclusion program is exactly what the state announced this week.

“So this is an avenue for us in the industry to help individuals who feel they have problems,” said Executive Director for the Racing and Gaming Commission Tom Sage.

He says the program helps problem gamblers help themselves.

Mike Sciandra is already in Iowa's program and is looking for a lifetime self-exclusion from Nebraska casinos. The former addict now helps those dealing with gambling addiction.

“They knew that that temptation is going to be there with the new casinos,” said Sciandra, who is the education and outreach coordinator at Choices Treatment Center. “You’re not going to move away from the gambling so you have to live amongst it.”

Anybody can fill out the form but they will need a signature from a counselor, gaming commission employee or a casino representative.

The form is fairly in-depth and even requires a passport-style photo. That photo is required for a good reason: all Nebraska casinos will have the forms in a database and if you’re in the program and caught, you aren’t allowed to keep any winnings and can even get a trespassing arrest.

“So there’s definitely severe enough consequences for most people,” said Sciandra.

This program could come in handy soon as the Racing and Gaming Commission votes on whether to approve the opening of Warhorse Casino in Lincoln on Friday.

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