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      Problem gamblers

      If you have a gambling problem, you can turn to the Missouri Gaming Commission for help, and join a list of more than 11,000 people who voluntarily ban themselves from Missouri casinos. You're on that list for life. But casinos often spot people trying to sneak back in and they move quickly to keep them from making wagers. If they don't, they can lose big. KRCG's Monica Madeja talks with gaming officals about the price to be paid for allowing the wrong people to play.

      Winning isn't always a good thing. That's what one woman learned when she tried to collect her money at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, using a fake I.D. That's because she put her name on the disassociated persons list, forfeiting the right to enter a casino.

      "It is a program that allows individuals to self-exclude from all of the casinos in the state for the rest of their lives," says Missouri Gaming Commission's Problem Gaming Program Administrator, Melissa Stephens, "It was designed for problem gamblers at the request of a problem gambler."

      The management at the Isle of Capri was unavailable for comment, but I talked with the State Highway Patrol's Gaming Official on the premisses. He explained the establishment's responsibility in preventing disassociated people from entering.

      "It entails them keeping their computer system up to date and making sure if they're downloading the information from Jefferson City to see if they have the most current version of the "DAP" list," says Corporal Kevin Hunter.

      Hunter says a disassociated person, or a "DAP" tries to come into the Isle of Capri Casino at least once a month. And they face criminal charges if they're caught.

      "In the event we get someone that manages to fall through the cracks either by providing a false I.D. or what might be the case. Then we work more of the criminal angle and arrest them for it, which is what they agreed to do," he says.

      But the casino pays too.

      The Gaming Commission says fines can reach up to $250,000. They say the Isle of Capri was fined $5,000 for not closely checking the I.D. of the woman who illegally entered.

      Hunter says being subjected to fines is part of the responsibility of a Class A licensee in Missouri, "they (casino) said they would go by the rules and they would do what they needed to do to comply."

      The Missouri Gaming Commission is currently working with Harvard University on a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the disassociated persons list. If you have a gambling problem, you can call the gaming commission's hotline at (888)"BETS OFF". The commission offers free counseling for problem gamblers and their families.

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