MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – After a losing a pile of money at a casino, a man drove directly to the Casino Control Commission and put his name on a list of people banned from the casinos for life.
It's a decision he immediately regretted — even more so when he learned that in this case, what happens in Atlantic City does not stay in Atlantic City.
The state commission, identifying the man by his initials, S.D., on Wednesday rejected his bid to become the first person allowed to gamble in the state again after placing himself on the list.
The self-exclusion list was established in 2001 as a way for compulsive gamblers to avoid the temptation. People can choose to be banned for one year, five years or life. There are about 525 people are on the list now — about half for life.
While the list is not available to the public, casino owners use it to bar those listed from entering casinos they own outside New Jersey. In an industry dominated by a handful of casino owners, there's plenty of sharing.
S.D., who had himself banned in July 2004, is not a compulsive gambler, one of his lawyers said.
"He lost some money that day at one of his casinos," lawyer Gerard Quinn said. "He had some other stresses in his life. He impulsively went and signed up. It took a few minutes."
But within an hour, Quinn said, his client was on the phone trying to have himself taken off. The commission said no.
And Quinn said S.D. received letters from casinos outside Atlantic City telling him he could no longer play there, which ruled out family vacations to Las Vegas.
Quinn and attorney Lloyd Levenson asked the commission Wednesday to take their client off the list, arguing that he did not know that casinos outside New Jersey might use it, too. But the commission rejected his argument in a 4-0 vote, saying the form used to join the list was clear that out-of-state casinos could use the list too.
S.D. may appeal the ruling to a panel of judges, Quinn said.