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Banned gambler has to give back jackpot

Published:

May 25. 2010 1:15AM

Jackpot winner had banned himself from Erie casino

JOHN GUERRIERO
Times News
A Waterford man won a $2,001 jackpot at Presque Isle Downs & Casino, but his luck ended before he even stepped up to the slot machine. 
 
He never should have been gambling there in the first place.

The man, 55, had banned himself from the state's casinos under a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board self-help program.

Not only does he forfeit his winnings, but he will be facing a summary criminal trespass charge. The Pennsylvania State Police gaming enforcement office did not identify the gambler.

The gaming board, which regulates the state's casino industry, offers the self-exclusion program for people who know they need help. Those who sign up decide whether they want to ban themselves for one or five years, or for life.

The Waterford man gambled at the casino Friday, between 10 a.m. and noon, police said.

He had signed up for the self-exclusion program in April 2009, police said. Police did not say for how long he had signed up.

Jennifer See, the casino's spokeswoman, declined to comment on the incident.

The man is one of 1,351 people across the state, including others from the Erie area, who are currently enrolled in the PGCB's self-exclusion program. As of May 1, there were 700 women and 651 men enrolled in the program.

The total number has grown steadily each year, from 185 at the end of 2007.

The state's first casino, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, near Wilkes-Barre, opened in November 2006, while Presque Isle Downs opened in February 2007. There are now nine casinos.

Self-excluded gamblers can be caught in many ways, including if they try to cash checks or winnings.

Nanette Horner, director of the PGCB's Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, has said that self-exclusion is not a substitute for treatment. "It is a tool to be used by the individual to refrain from the temptations of gambling,'' she told the Times-News in a recent interview.

Through May 1, there have been 169 known violations of the self-imposed bans, the gaming board said.
Entry #2,362

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