Despite regulatory mandate, no one is banned from New York casinos

Despite regulatory mandate, no one is banned from New York casinos

As state looks to expand gambling to Manhattan, oversight list remains empty

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

Nobody is banned from casinos in New York, according to the state’s Gaming Commission.

The New York State Gaming Commission is required by state law to keep a list of people “involuntary excluded” from any licensed gambling facility publically available on its website. A Freedom of Information Law request submitted by MuckRock user T. McElwee led to a response from the commission, which said in an appeal letter it has taken no action to exclude anyone from state gambling facilities. As such, the commission had no records to produce and a list is not posted on its website.

“There is no ambiguity in the language provided in the appeal from the Public Records Access Officer,” said Brad Maione, the director of communications at the Gaming Commission. “A review of Commission documents found that no such action has been taken.”

He also clarified that individual casinos are free to ban patrons on their own accord, but the state has not taken action to exclude any person from gambling facilities. The law applies specifically to casinos licensed by the state, whereas Native American casinos operate under separate agreements specific to each tribe. The exclusion process considers whether a person has been banned from racing facilities or Native American casinos.

New Jersey, home to Atlantic City and bordering New York, has excluded 460 people from its 11 casinos. This includes dozens of individuals with New York addresses, and several people connected to New York organized crime. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Gaming Enforcement did not respond to a request for comment.

At least 11 states have involuntary exclusion lists publicly posted online, with names and often photos or location information of people who are connected to crimes or suspicious activities at state casinos. These databases typically include at least ten excluded people, with some states with high casino patronage banning hundreds. Delaware excludes many individuals from its casinos who have been banned in New Jersey but have no documented activity in Delaware.

The involuntary exclusion list is different from the state’s self-exclusion program, which allows for a person to voluntarily ban themselves from all gambling activities in the state, including daily fantasy sports, for a set period of time.

According to a March New York Times report, representatives from gaming companies have met with state lawmakers in a push to open casinos in New York City, in part because of the struggling upstate casinos. The companies argue the move would bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue to the city.

Header image from The Sopranos, created by David Chase.