(WINDSOR, ONTARIO, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2009) – Casinos should not be financially liable to problem gamblers who violate self-exclusion agreements and enter gaming houses, says a UWindsor law professor.
“A problem gambler can never truly contract out their right to enter a gaming venue, because this is supposedly an incurable impulse we are dealing with,” Emir Mohammed said in a paper recently published in the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues.
In Ontario, gamblers can sign an agreement stating they wish to be indefinitely excluded from all gaming venues under the province’s self-exclusion program. Casinos carry the onus of enforcement.
“Reasonable – not perfect – enforcement is all we can expect of gaming venues,” he said.
Emir Mohammed said problem gambling is a serious mental illness and the suggestion that problem gamblers can voluntarily self-exclude is an affront to the severity of the disorder. He said problem gamblers may lack the full capacity to understand their decision to self-exclude because of their illness.
He said policing problem gamblers is a complex legal policy issue and holding casinos financially liable is neither sound policy, nor sound law.
“The goal should be treatment, not litigation. Responsibility, not liability,” Emir Mohammed said.
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