Massachusetts establishes voluntary self-exclusion program for sports betting

Gillette Stadium
Image: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has established a voluntary self-exclusion (VSE) list, specifically to help sports bettors control their gambling.

With sports betting set to launch in the state on January 31, the MGC is expanding its VSE options beyond the current program for casino players which has been around since the first casino opened in the state in 2015.

The VSE programs are designed to help people regain control by restricting their gambling access for a set time. More than 1,700 people have enrolled in the casino gaming VSE program, with 1,329 people currently signed up.

“VSE programs are proven to be a successful tool for those who need a break from gambling to manage their own play,” said Cathy Judd-Stein, Chair of the MGC.

“In light of research we have at our disposal, the MGC and our licensees are committed to offering these types of programs and a range of other resources to help gamblers in the Commonwealth.”

With sportsbooks on the verge of accepting bets for the first time, Massachusetts residents will have the option to exclude themselves from sports wagering, casino gaming, or both verticals across online and retail.

The MGC noted that the VSE program has already helped enrollees combat their gambling problems and improve their mental health and relationships six months after joining.

Individuals who wish to exclude themselves from retail sportsbook locations or online sports wagering apps can do so over the phone (1.800.GAM.1234), online (, or in-person at a GameSense Info Centers at one of the state’s three casinos.

Those currently on the casino VSE list will continue to be excluded from the casino floor, including their soon-to-be-opened sportsbooks.

“While VSE is one way to help people struggling with a gambling problem, we highly recommend they also seek treatment from a qualified clinician,” stated Mark Vander Linden, MGC Director of Research and Responsible Gaming.

The MGC added the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline (800-327-5050) can provide callers with information about treatment and other resources.

“Massachusetts has provided innovation and leadership in the realms of problem and responsible gambling,” added Marlene Warner, CEO of the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health.

“This early and comprehensive approach to VSE continues in that tradition. We hope that anyone in need of a conversation and some help with minimizing the impact gambling has on their life will consider this evidence-based program.”