The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee held a hearing on Tuesday, during which testimony was offered on HB 4686. HB 4686 was introduced by Representative Ryan Berman in May 2019 to reform the disassociated persons list by modifying the current lifetime ban. Under current law, a person may voluntarily add himself to the disassociated persons list to ban himself from entry to the Detroit casinos for life. The casinos often share this list with other properties owned by the same parent corporation, effectively banning disassociated persons from entry to casino properties nationwide. While the lifetime ban can be a helpful tool for persons struggling with problem gambling, HB 4686 would offer those persons a second chance.

Under current Michigan law, there is no procedure to remove oneself from the list. HB 4686 allows a person to petition to have his name removed after 5 years have passed on the list. The petition process would be as simple as filling out a form created by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), and would not require any additional showings of rehabilitation. Rep. Berman testified at the hearing that he believes removal from the list should be voluntary since addition to the list is voluntary.

Rep. Berman shared stories of some of his constituents at the hearing. He emphasized that people can change, become rehabilitated, and have different reasons for adding their names to the disassociated persons list in the first place. Current law not only prohibits disassociated persons from visiting the gaming floor, but from anywhere on casino “premises.” Disassociated persons are banned for a lifetime from enjoying other casino amenities, such as dining, hotel, and spa services. Violations under current law bring criminal trespass penalties.

HB 4686 passed 91-1 in the House and has strong bipartisan support. Members of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee from both sides of the aisle voiced their support of the bill during the hearing. The Michigan Association of Problem Gambling (MAPG) is also in support of the bill.

MAPG President Michael Burke testified during the House Regulatory Reform Committee in February that a lifetime ban is a deterrent to someone seeking treatment, while a 5-year period may provide motivation for a problem gambler to get help.

To read the bill as passed by the House, click here.


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