By Christie Duffy
Jeff Beck says he’s had a problem with gambling since he was 15 years old. He says he gambled every day for 30 years.
When asked what was the one thing that he traded off for the years he spent gambling, Beck said, “Time. More than anything else, time.”
Beck now spends his time helping others to quit gambling. He’s the assistant director for clinical services at the Council on Compulsive Gambling in Hamilton Township. Four years after Beck quit, he added himself to the state’s gambling self exclusion list. He estimates there are close to 2,000 others on it.
The state’s exclusion program allows gamblers to voluntarily ban themselves from the casinos or online gambling. They can’t collect any winnings. And they’re also supposed to be protected from receiving any direct marketing materials from casinos.
But that is exactly what didn’t happen between February and May of this year when Caesars Interactive Entertainment emailed a promotion to over 250 gamblers on the state’s exclusion list.
“Obviously there has been a breakdown,” said New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling Executive Director Donald Weinbaum.
Caesars was fined $10,000 for the breakdown.
“The intent of having the self-exclusion, the voluntary exclusion list in place, is to prevent these kinds of promotions going out to people who wish to put some distance between themselves and the opportunity to gamble,” Weinbaum said.
Beck says the opportunity came for him at an awards banquet with friends.
“They said reach under the table and whoever has the program for today’s event can take home the centerpiece. And I had it. I felt that dopamine rush, the idea of getting something