As gambling has become easier and more accessible with the increased number of online casinos, sportsbooks, and fantasy sports, states like West Virginia are focusing on providing tools and resources to help players.
These resources are designed for players in West Virginia whose gambling habits are becoming problematic.
If you would like to change your habits and keep in control, read on to learn more about what self-exclusion means, how it works, and what other steps you can take to gamble responsibly.
Gambling should be a fun hobby, and experts agree that when it stops being about entertainment and becomes about money or lifestyle, that might indicate a problem or an addiction.
By law, West Virginia casinos and gaming providers must make responsible gaming tools available for their users, including resources for self-exclusion and self-imposed limits on deposits.
If you or someone you know is struggling to control their gambling habits, voluntary self-exclusion from land-based and online casinos and gambling venues might be the right step to take back control.
What Is Self-Exclusion At A Casino?
Self-exclusion is a way for gamblers to voluntarily ban themselves from participating in any betting activities in the state of West Virginia.
It is usually considered a last resort for players who feel they need help staying away from casinos, racetracks, and sports betting venues.
Because it is a voluntary program, only you and no one else can put your name on the self-exclusion list.
Registering your name for the self-exclusion program is a formal process and a decision that should not be taken lightly.
Once you sign up to the self-exclusion list, you will be effectively banned from all West Virginia casinos, gambling venues, and online betting services like online casinos, sportsbooks, and apps.
Keep in mind that this can also affect your rights to enter casinos, racetracks, or gambling venues in other states if they’re affiliated with an establishment in West Virginia.
Responsible Gambling Steps To Take Before Self-Exclusion
If you’re not sure whether self-exclusion is the right step for you, there are other ways you can regain control over your gambling habits and learn new tools to gamble responsibly.
If you’re thinking of the casino or sportsbook as a side hustle rather than a fun activity, you might want to consider limiting how much time you spend gambling.
Use time limits to help you manage how long you’re logged in and playing for, so you can maintain a better balance of time spent on and offline.
If having compulsive thoughts about gambling and betting more money than you can afford to lose, then use betting limits.
Placing self-imposed betting limits is a practical way to control your spending and not go over budget when playing.
Temporary Time Out
If that’s not enough, you can temporarily exclude yourself from specific online casinos. This is usually called a time out.
All of these limits can be set through your account settings at each casino’s website.
Who Controls The West Virginia Self-Exclusion List?
The West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) is the entity in charge of enforcing rules and regulations in WV regarding gambling, approving licenses, and managing the self-exclusion list.
Once your name is on the self-exclusion list, the WVLC will release your information to all casinos and betting providers in the state to ensure you cannot participate in any gambling activities.
Keep in mind that West Virginia’s self-exclusion list is a legally binding contract.
If you are caught trying to place a bet at a physical gambling venue like a casino or racetrack while you’re on the self-exclusion list, any winnings will be confiscated and you will be removed from the premises. You can also be charged with criminal trespassing.
How To Ban Yourself From Gambling In West Virginia
If you believe that voluntary self-exclusion is the best choice for you, the process for getting your name on the list is relatively straightforward.
Visit the WVLC website, find the customer resources page, and download the self-exclusion form linked on the right side of the screen.
You will need to fill this form out carefully and truthfully with your personal information, including a physical description of yourself.
You must acknowledge that this is a voluntary registration and that you understand it will result in you being banned from all casinos, mobile gaming apps, and gambling venues in West Virginia.
You must then make a copy of your government-issued ID and have it notarized along with the printed copy of your form.
These documents must then be mailed to the West Virginia Lottery Commission. Once your request is approved, your name will be on the self-exclusion list.
Online Casinos Vs. Physical Casinos
It’s important to remember that completing the self-exclusion process will effectively ban you from all gambling activities in the Mountain State.
Because online casinos and sportsbooks must be legally affiliated to a brick-and-mortar casino to operate in West Virginia, adding your name to the self-exclusion list automatically bans you from both land-based gambling venues and online apps and websites.
Since self-exclusion is a completely voluntary step, validating your identity is an important part of the process.
How To Remove Yourself From The Self-Exclusion List In West Virginia
Adding your name to the self-exclusion program is a serious decision, and requesting to have it removed even more so.
If you feel that you have better control over your gambling habits and have the tools to play responsibly, you may ask the Lottery Commission to remove your name from the self-exclusion list.
To request removal from the self-exclusion list in West Virginia, you must wait at least one year from the time your registration was approved.
You then need to go back to the same customer resources page on the WVLC website where you downloaded the registration form and find the removal from self-exclusion form.
Although this form doesn’t need to be notarized, you do need to attach a copy of your government-issued ID and mail the documents to the same address at the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
You must wait until your removal from the list is confirmed before you attempt to use any gambling services in the state.
Online Casinos Vs. Physical Casinos
The steps above apply to both online and physical casinos.
Unlike other states, West Virginia doesn’t allow users to choose how long they want their ban to last when they first register.
Instead, anyone who submits their name for self-exclusion will be kept on the list until they request to be removed. They must wait at least one year after registering before their petition for removal is considered.
Even then, it is at the discretion of the Lottery Commission to decide whether or not a request for removal is approved.
If after your name is removed from the self-exclusion list you decide that the ban is a healthier choice for you, you can ask to be placed back on the list.
Who To Contact In West Virginia If You Have A Gambling Problem
If you feel like gambling has more control over you than you have over it, or are worried that your gambling habits are becoming unhealthy, there is no shame in reaching out for help.
You can call the National Problem Gambling confidential helpline, which is operated by the National Council on Problem Gambling, and also offers information about treatment programs and self-screening tools.
Twelve-step programs like Gamblers Anonymous are helpful for gamblers aiming to keep themselves accountable and socialize with others who can relate to their struggles.
For more information, schedules, and locations, search for meetings in your area.
There are other peer-support forums you can access online that serve the same purpose.
Gam-Anon is a community for friends and family of those struggling with gambling problems.
Remember, the sooner you act, the better– you don’t have to wait until you’re in debt to get help.