In the US state of Pennsylvania, the self-exclusion list from casinos is in place to help those who suffer from a gambling problem to restrict themselves from placing wagers. However, it’s a voluntary program, and as one Easton, PA woman found out this week, once you’re on it, you can’t claim any winnings, even from a slots jackpot.
34 year old Danielle Hoagland had previously put herself on the self-exclusion list for statewide gambling facilities. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop her from entering the Mount Airy Casino in Mt Pocono, PA earlier this week, where she played the slot machines until the wee hours of the morning.
At approximately 2:00am Monday morning, November 16, Ms. Hoagland struck a $3,041 slot jackpots that would normally be a joyous occasion for the typical patron. For her, it was a quick trip to the local police station after being cited for criminal trespassing, where she was forced to forfeit the $3k winnings.
When the not-so-lucky slots player approached the cashier cage to cash in her 4-figure voucher, she was asked to supply identification, as is standard casino practice where large monetary transactions are concerned. It was quickly revealed that Danielle Hoagland was on the list of self-excluded players, therefore Mount Airy refused to honor the slots jackpot.
PA Casino Self-Exclusion Program
According to the Self-Exclusion FAQ Page on the PA State Gaming Control Board website, “Self-Exclusion is a process that allows a person to request to be banned from all legalized gaming activities and to be prohibited from collecting any winnings, recovering any losses or accepting complimentary gifts or services or any other thing of value at any licensed facility.”
Furthermore, the website states that, “After a person is placed on the self-exclusion list, a licensed facility must refuse to accept the person’s wagers, will ask the person to leave the gaming floor and the person may be arrested for trespass.”
The self-exclusion program applies only to gambling facilities licensed in the state of Pennsylvania.
The only way to enter the self-exclusion program is to submit a completed request form, in person, to the PGCB Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling in Harrisburg, PA. When filing for self-exclusion, the individual may choose to be excluded for 1 year, 5 years, or life.
Ms. Hoagland chose the 5-year exclusion, and as per the terms of the program, was forced to forfeit the slots jackpot, as well as any losses incurred at that casino.
As alluded to in the terms of the self-exclusion program, charging a self-excluded player with criminal trespass is an option left to the discretion of the casino. Thus it can be assumed that Ms. Hoagland was mandatorily asked to leave the premises after the payout was denied. If she was less than acquiesce to the gambling establishment’s refusal to pay out the $3,041 slots jackpot, and subsequent request that she leave the premises, police would have to be notified.
A statement from authorities noted that Ms. Hoagland was cited for criminal trespass and released from custody.