There should exist a nationwide (worldwide would be better) database of individuals who are identified as regular gamblers. Every gambling facility (casinos, card clubs, bingo parlors, horse racing tracks, lottery ticket sellers, etc., both physical or on the Internet) should be required to ask all customers for some type of identification and then instantly check this database for an indication that any such customer may be a habitual or potentially addicted gambler prior to that facility’s approval of the gambling transaction with that customer. This database would be required to compile, for each gambling customer, a continuous average monthly gambling expenditure chart with their histories being kept for a maximum of the past 5 calendar years. A national gambling agency would be charged with running this database and this agency would also have the authority to enforce any restriction on gambling activities engaged in by potential problem gamblers. Any person under 15 years of age would be prohibited from participating in any form of gambling.
Any person which this database indicates as having gambling expenditures of less than $200 per month averaged over the last five years or since the beginning of their current gambling phase (a new phase begins after a 24 month period of gambling inactivity), whichever is shorter, would be listed as a safe, no-risk gambler. No restrictions would be placed on these kinds of gamblers until their monthly average rises to exceed $200 per month.
Gambling Restrictions Begin at $200/month Average Expenditures
Gamblers whose monthly average exceeds $200 will be listed as monitored gamblers. People under 20 would be prohibited from continuing to gamble until either their average falls back down to below $200 or until they request and are granted an exemption by the national gambling agency from this rule based on their high income or large individual net worth and with written permission granted by their parents, guardians or other adults with legal authority over them. Such permission would need to be re-granted every 6 months in order to continue gambling. People over 20 years of age who exceed this $200 monthly average would be reminded that they are monitored gamblers prior to every gambling transaction they engage in, unless they have provided proof to this national gambling agency that they have a sufficiently high income, large individual net worth, and are not financially endangering any dependents.
If a gambler’s monthly average rises to above $400 per month, that person would be listed as a habitual gambler and placed under probation. Gamblers under 20 years of age who exceed this limit would be prohibited from further gambling until their monthly average falls to below the $400 mark. Other gamblers who are 20 years old or older and who exceed this $400 limit would be required, in order to continue gambling, to supply proof of a high enough income, large individual net worth, or have otherwise provided proof that such high levels of gambling would not financially hurt him or those for whom he is responsible (i.e. spouse, family, etc.). This national gambling agency may or may not choose to approved continued gambling for this individual until his monthly average falls below the $400 level. Any person who is approved for further gambling must first be required to take and pass a short educational course that explains how the gambling industry works, the principles of mathematical probabilities and statistics, and other simple, relevant topics related to gambling before final approval is granted. These courses could be taken either entirely at an approved educational facility or at home (at the gambler’s leisure) with tests administered at an approved educational facility.
Gamblers whose monthly average rises to over $1,000 would be classified as serious gamblers and would be required, in order to continue gambling above this level, to provide proof to the national gambling agency of a high enough income level or net worth, and proof that continued gambling will not result in the jeopardy of either their own financial well-being or the financial well-being of any dependents such as spouses, children or other individuals. Permission to continue gambling at levels above the $1,000 mark would need to be applied for, reviewed, and re-approved every 12 months.
Gamblers who wish to receive permission to exceed this $1,000 monthly average gambling expenditures would be required to enroll in rather more intensive gambling counseling and educational classes for every year that their total expenditures remain above the $1,000 per month average. These counseling classes should place a heavy emphasis on statistics, probability, and how these games of chance are designed to work. Psychological tests as well as tests measuring a gambler’s understanding of how the gambling industry works should be administered.
While observing all of the rules above, gamblers should be allowed to spike their gambling expenditures up to 5% of their average yearly income or $2,000 per month (whichever is larger) without restrictions. However, to continue gambling beyond these limits, gamblers would be placed on probation and would be required to provide proof to the national gambling agency that they could adequately afford continued losses in order to be allowed to continue gambling.
This gambling agency would have the authority to prevent any person from gambling at any level if the agency has reason to believe that continued gambling would harm the gamblers themselves or the people for whom they are responsible.
This database and each individual gambler’s monthly average would be updated at the end of each day in order to prevent gamblers from gambling a lot of money away at one facility and then going to another facility the next day and gambling away a lot more. However, more frequent updating of the database would be more beneficial in catching people before they have an opportunity to gamble everything away within one day. Monitored and habitual gamblers should be watched for extremely rapid rises in their gambling expenditures.
This entire database and enforcement system would be funded completely internally through fees (a percentage, such as 1% or whatever is necessary for proper funding) levied on all gambling transactions. The gambling industry would be required to pay at least some of the costs associated with rehabilitating problem gamblers. The whole idea is to make the gambling industry check up on and prevent gamblers from gambling beyond their means.
People who have engaged in legal gambling activities, should be required to fulfill all such financial gambling obligations regardless of whether they have later moved into a political jurisdiction which defines such activities as illegal within its borders.
Gambling facilities that knew or should have known about compulsive gamblers going deeper into debt, should be required to forgive the debts of that gambler and pay the equivalent of at least twice as much as that individual’s total lifetime wagering amount to the government as a penalty for not preventing this problem. The onus should be on the gambling facilities to ensure that problem compulsive gamblers are not gambling to a degree that destroys their lives.