Stop Me Before I Gamble Again


The Illinois Gaming Commission may start requiring casinos to card customers and check their names against a list of problem gamblers who have asked to be stopped from betting. People on the list who are caught gambling already can be tossed out, charged with trespassing, and stripped of their winnings, but casinos don't have to do systematic ID checks.

The problem with this policy is not so much that people are being prevented from gambling–they have, after all, volunteered for such paternalistic treatment–but that other people are being forced to do the preventing, which imposes costs on them and (given the bottlenecks that universal ID checks are apt to create) their customers. It's fine if someone wants to sign up for drug treatment or fat camp, in essence paying to put obstacles between themselves and their temptations, but no one should be legally compelled to provide those services. By the logic of the Illinois Gaming Commission, liquor stores, donut shops, and porn purveyors also could be forced to keep track of their customers to make sure none of them is prone to excess and regret.

[Thanks to Mike Alissi for the link.]