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Sports Gambling in State Arrives Oct. 7 . . . And So Does the Gaming Self-Exclusion List

Sports betting and online gaming are coming to Connecticut Oct. 7, after the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs gave final approval to revisions to the gaming compacts between the state, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe.

The state had already approved sports betting and online gaming through the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the Mohegan Tribe and the Connecticut Lottery.

The General Assembly has signed off on regulations as proposed by the Department of Consumer Protection and the state and its partners have already reached deals with vendors like Draft Kings and Fan Duel. The federal sign-off was a key step to make the offerings available, which now allows DCP to continue with licensing and to review the certification process.

“This critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online,” the governor tweeted.

But health experts caution that making gambling even more accessible might not be good for everyone.

“Gambling can become a severe problem when the urge becomes uncontrollable. Unlike a casual gambler, a compulsive gambler is unable to stop when they are losing or set limits. They are compelled to keep playing to recover their losses,” said Leah Russack-Baker, Primary Therapist for CarePlus, a Natchaug Hospital program.

The state has launched an online portal (click here) that will allow people to voluntarily exclude themselves from being able to gamble.

“While this may be a form of entertainment many people can enjoy, for others it can be a harmful addiction. The ability to voluntarily exclude yourself from these activities is one of the many tools available to help,” said Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull in a statement.

People can choose to be added to the state’s Gaming Self-Exclusion List for one year, five years or for their lifetime. Names will remain on the list until someone requests to be removed. The website warns that gambling licensees may ban people on the list from land-based properties as well as all of their online gambling, online sportsbooks and any fantasy sports contests, including those in other states.

Peter DeRosa, Lead Primary Therapist at Natchaug Hospital, said many compulsive gamblers have an untreated mental illness such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). There is also a strong link between compulsive gambling and substance use.

Most compulsive gamblers will say that gambling provides excitement — that they get a rush, sometimes referred to as an adrenaline rush. Others gamble to help overcome shyness, deal with isolation, numb unpleasant feelings or escape their problems.

You do not need to gamble every day to be considered a compulsive gambler, so how do you know if you have a problem?

Some signs include:

  • Gambling with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Irritability when attempting to stop gambling.
  • Repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut back or stop.
  • A preoccupation with gambling (persistent thoughts).
  • Gambling when feeling distressed.
  • Borrowing money to gamble or to cover lost money.
  • Continuing to gamble after losing.
  • Lying to conceal the extent of gambling.
  • Losing a job, relationship or career over gambling.
  • Relying on others to provide money to relieve financial problems caused by gambling.

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