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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Proposal Would Allow Gamblers to Lift Self-Imposed Casino Ban with ‘Good Cause’

By Dana Boone | 02.20.08 | 8:00 am

Gamblers who are banned for life from Iowa casinos could soon hear the dinging of the slot machines again — without having to sneak around.

Gamblers can irrevocably ban themselves for life from Iowa casinos by joining the statewide self-exclusion program, which is mandated by Iowa law. But under the proposed legislation, SF 2062, gamblers would be able to remove themselves from the list by providing “good cause.” Iowa’s ban list contains the names of 2,450 people, a list that is shared among the state’s 17 licensed casinos. Banned gamblers who are caught inside the casinos must forfeit winnings and are subject to arrest.

“It seemed reasonable to me that if there are people out there that made a mistake and have a case to make — that they need some sort of process,” complained Sen. Mary Lundby (R-Marion), who proposed the bill after a resident in her district.

The Iowa Council on Problem Gambling has concerns about the proposal, said John Hostetler, president. He said gambling-treatment providers would face ethical problems should they be asked to determine “good cause” and decide whether a problem gambler is fit to return to gambling.

“It’s hard to tell someone what harm would come to a person who had a problem and wants to go back to gambling,” he said. “People have suicidal ideas and suicide attempts with problem gambling and all that can come back [into] play if that resumes. It seems awful risky to say go ahead and go for it.”

A resident in Lundby’s district, whom she declined to name, asked to her to consider allowing people to revoke their self-imposed ban. She said he told her that he didn’t realize the ban was statewide. He also told her that when he attempted to gamble at a Harrah’s Casino in another state, he was barred because the Iowa ban extends to all casinos operating under the Harrah’s brand name.

Lundby said she is unsure how “good cause” could be determined, but said the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission could be used to determine whether to lift an individual’s ban. The commission plans to ask for an amendment that would allow someone to request removal from the list after five years, she said.

“A person could prove it by seeing a psychologist and having an evaluation,” she said. “I’d put the process into the hands of racing and gaming who could contract with [1-800] Bets Off. I’d allow racing and gaming to set up a process to address it.”

That could pose problems for those who counsel gamblers.

“It’s a very serious disorder and as a treatment provider I don’t know of a situation I’ve encountered working that I would say as a therapist, `You’ve proven good cause, go back to gambling,’” Hostetler said.

People who put themselves on the ban list often sneak back into casinos to gamble without the casinos being aware of it, he and Lundby said. Some gamblers on the list are detected when they win jackpots, which they must forfeit to state gambling treatment programs. Gamblers have forfeited winnings of more than $343,000 in 2005 and 2006, according to a spokesman with the Iowa Gaming Association, a trade group.

“You can go into a casino and waste your money if you’re self-excluded,” Lundby said. “You just can’t win anything.”

The legislature is also considering a bill that would toughen the penalties for people on the ban list. The proposed HF 2051 would make it a misdemeanor if someone on the banned list is caught on casino property.

Hostetler said people place themselves on the list for serious reasons. He said the self-exclusion program is a good tool for problem gamblers. He said he has worked with gamblers who have lost their homes, families and businesses and their lives.

He can’t imagine telling the people who once felt they had enough of a gambling problem to warrant putting themselves on the statewide list to resume gambling.

“This is such a hidden illness. People don’t see it. It’s amazing how devastating it is,” he said. “Somebody walking down the street who is drunk you can kind of see. Somebody with a very serious gambling problem walking down the street — that doesn’t show.”


  • tommy2000

    I think they should be able to lift the ban . i ban my self 10 years ago and have tried to lift it my life is not the same now sometimes people have problems and everyone should be allowed one mistake.When i did it I was not fully aware of what it was in detail i was turned ib for being on the boat by and ex friend i was told i was barred from the president riverboat or anything they owned even the hotel well they dont own it anymore the ban is only a way they get out of paying you they dont even look for banned people they had my ss number wrong dont you think that should have void my ban no its only a mistake when you make one lol iam older now and more responsible and it should be my choice iam an american….

    • CasinoReviews

      Your right

      People make mistakes.. and then grow out of it.

    • Anonymous

      i agree tommy the law didnt go in effect till after i signed myself off that it was for life so i was not explained the circumstances..its so rediculous its been 5 years now and i have to drive to another state if i want to go to a casino. if you are banned in one state thats all you have to do if you want to gamble do they think that will really stop you for life. that is a stupid way of thinking. my family and friends go on the casino boat and i cant go with them. and they come from out of town and want to spend time together. my x husband made me sign myself off there so i didnt spend any of his money. was just going on to get away from my x he was abusive. so now they tell me its for life i live in illiinois this is rediciculous. i think if you sign yourself off you should be allowed to sign yourself back on its your life not theirs.

  • Facelift

    It’s a very serious disorder and as a treatment provider I don’t know of a situation I’ve encountered working that I would say as a therapist, `You’ve proven good cause, go back to gambling

    • Anonymous

      As a treatment providor you should treat a illness, find out the causes and determine if the person’s gambling addiction was fueled by something other. I banned myself ten years ago and can honestly tell you the treatment providors I saw, group meetings etc. thought it was perfectly normal to invest their monies in the stock market, perhaps lose l/2 of their life time savings and not consider that a problem. The state programs to reach out and help individuals and make them sign a paper banning them from a casino will not ban them from other wise decisions in their life. I have seen treatment providors who were total biggits. Who gambled, smoked, and did drugs. You are not all perfect my friend and should realize people actually do overcome addictions, smoking, drinking, gambling, sex, etc. Don’t scar someones life for ever because of a few years they became deperessed.

  • seebs

    i was just released from prison because i stoled money to gamble i was court orderd to ban myself i wish i could tell my story to let people know it can happen i was incarcerated for two yrs i lost our home cars everything we worked so hard for . and now because i am a convicted felon no one will hire me, its very hard to move on any suggestions?

    • Anonymous

      In your situation, the fact you stole money to gamble is different then a person who uses their own money, savings, charge cards and pays their debt back in full. Gambling is a serious disease and there are all kinds of gamblers. I think you will get hired even with a conviction. I think you will be able to build trust in yourself and others. I have started liking myself more then a slot machine. I have control. I do not consider myself a compsulsive gambler I do buy some lotto tickets here and there and in my life I probably spent more on cigarettes and starbucks then I did at any casino. A conviction for felony theft is much different then a person that was an escape gambler or a person who had others influence them. Good luck to you and I will pray that you will find a good job and be loved in every way you deserve.

  • seebs

    i was just released from prison because i stoled money to gamble i was court orderd to ban myself i wish i could tell my story to let people know it can happen i was incarcerated for two yrs i lost our home cars everything we worked so hard for . and now because i am a convicted felon no one will hire me, its very hard to move on any suggestions?

  • rick1067

    I live close to one casino lost some money and signed the form i just wanted off that casino. Now im banded from all of them thats wrong you should be abel to choose the casios you want to be band from.I want to have fun again with freinds. what a mistake i made.

    • Anonymous

      When I first started to gamble I went more then I should of. I was worried and skeptical. I went to GA and then found myself on a bus with ten other woman to a riverboat to ban ourselves for “LIFE”. A big word and no turning back. Never did I realize what I was signing as immature as I was at the time. I think many of the people who self banned themselves do regret it and honestly would like to go with friends and perhaps even see someone get married at a casino in Vegas like myself. I don’t know if you will ever be allowed in a casino again but I do hope that the casino industry realizes the stress that many self banned individuals are going through knowing this was one part of their life that maybe they could of controlled on their own without signing such a horrible affidavit.

  • rick1067

    I live close to one casino lost some money and signed the form i just wanted off that casino. Now im banded from all of them thats wrong you should be abel to choose the casios you want to be band from.I want to have fun again with freinds. what a mistake i made.

  • subee_2

    In 2003 I had myself banned from the casino.When I asked to be banned from there it was not explained to me that it would be for life and that I would not be able to go to any other casinos in Iowa. It was my decision to be banned from their not because I had a problem but because I was scared into believing that I would get a problem. Now my family can go thei for gatherings but i have to be excluded. How fair is that I feel I am a law abiding citizen and a responsible adult and quite capable of making my own decisions. It is uncontitutional in my book I feel my rights as an adult has been violated.Also no one explained to me that this was a state law.

    • Anonymous

      It was never explained to myself as well it would be for “life”. I was young went to a local GA meeting and before I knew it some lady was having me fill out all kinds of papers. I thought I was doing myself a favor. The first year I got caught in a casino. I never knew I couldn’t gamble in a Bally’s operated in another state. They never told me that. I have gone for extensive counseling and the first thing they said is you never should of self-banned yourself. You are labeled for life and also you will never get off the self ban list in Illinois. I went through one year of counseling told Illinois Gaming i didn’t want to be self banned and they told me too bad now we want you to see a second counselor. The fact that in 9 years they never checked on me to see if I actually made a right decision if I had any medical problems was taking any prescription medicine that caused compulsive gambling or if I was in the wrong company or relationships with others who influenced my gambling. I would tell anyone do not self ban yourself. Go to a counselor. Stay clear of people who actually drive you to have yourself self banned and do not fill out any papers and not have a family member look them over. You never know what you are signing and you will never be able to work in a casino in the state you self banned yourself. They do check on that and consider you a risk.

  • RyderChadwick

    What “good causes” can a gambling man have so that the restraint order is lifted? This clause reminds me of the expression “It wasn't me. The devil made me do it”. The truth is the men tried to cheat, they were caught with it and now they miss the “free casino bonuses”. If what John Hostetler says is true, then these people should be happy they were banned.

  • Anonymous

    When I worked for PM casino, I tried working toward a self-ban for just that casino for EMPLOYEES who worked there. It was too much of a temptation on those evenings I had nothing else to do to go out one door and come back in as a guest. But the powers that be wouldn’t consider it. So I did ban myself, and although they did explain about the Iowa casino ban, I didn’t realize it extended out of state to certain casinos. There are reasons someone may want to lift the ban that have nothing to do with a big gambling problem.

  • Anonymous

    Recently signed up for the Az 5 yr ban.
    Regret it now. Would rather take self control classes.
    This would help me in all areas of my life not just gambling.
    I miss the fun. Am fearful of winning big….or big enough that they need id
    & would arrest me…..because I have gambled since the ban.
    Unfortunately I won thousands this week, only to let it go because of the ban I imposed. If the ban is part of your personal plan, with support from GA or councelors it could be the best thing for you.

    • Anonymous

      No it does not. I won a 1000.00 on a scratch ticket. You still can play the lotto. You can also play the horses. Good Luck and remember to always be safe.

    • Anonymous

      No it does not. I won a 1000.00 on a scratch ticket. You still can play the lotto. You can also play the horses. Good Luck and remember to always be safe.

  • Anonymous

    I would tell anyone who is seriously thinking of self banning themself don’t do it. I don’t care what any gambling counselor tells you. It is for life in Illinois and you can not go to Vegas ever again and gamble at any casino owned by Harrahs, or Bally’s or Grand Victoria. I banned myself ten years ago and regret it every day. I had a problem and I was young and stupid dating a compulsive gambler. Illinois should ease up and follow up on people who self banned themselfs. They may find out that the place they went like GA meetings are big on this and also are promoted to do this to people. Today I am grateful that i didn’t destroy my life gambling. But it wasn’t self banning myself that did it. it definately did not help at the time. I had to learn through self control and being honest with myself.

  • Anonymous

    As a person who self banned themself ten years ago, I never thought suicide over any gambling. I had to first admit I had a problem that was due to living 20 minutes from a huge casino. Secondly relationships and company of those who are bust outs, and compuslvie gamblers can result in a honest victim getting caught up. Just like drugs and alcohol. I think it is a good decision and for those over a certain age who have lived their lives, learned from there mistakes, payed their share of property taxes, use taxes, cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes etc etc should be i good sound mind to make their decision to gamble or not. Only convicted felons should remain on a self banned list or those who stole from others, businesses, or casinos. There are no self banning from heroin addicts, rapists, bank robbers etc but prison once they get caught. Compulsive gamblers who have admitted to having a problem have not been saved by anything with this program. I firmly disagree with this program and can honestly say it is a waste of tax payors money. May everyone have a blessed year and may you humbly know when to stop gambling and no your limits. If you have a problem see a counselor and don’t let anyone tell you to self ban yourself. As you get older and have developed a sense of understanding and a financial responsibility you will regret it and wish you never did. As a now senior citizen I wish I could go on those boat trips with others to have a nice brunch and gamble within my means.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think any bill for any self exclusion in any state should be longer then 3 years. A lifetime could be a lifetime of regrets. A person wanting to attend a wedding in a Harrah’s casino where gambling takes place anywhere in the world has to stay away or get caught and pay deep consequences. This program was also made to hurt some of the elderly in there final years of pleasure. I truly believe gambling has been around for millions of years and if we can’t take cigarettes off the street or self ban them selling them please don’t mess with a persons life.

  • Anonymous

    If you have banned yourself from a casino and sneak back in and play, go home and someone who from the casino remembers you. Can they come to your home and arrest you for tresspassing?

  • Anonymous

    I did a self exclusion on the paradise river boat casino in illinois five years ago and now they passed a law saying you cant go in any casinos in il. for the rest of your life i think that is very harsh if i knew that i never would have done it my husband made me do that when we were married and now im divorced and i didnt have a problem gambling he just didnt want me spending his money. it will be 5 years ago next month and i reall dont think this is right at all.

    • Anonymous

      I banned myself 10 years ago, since then they have implemented shorter bans – not fair to the people who only had the “banned for life option”. Also, if you banned yourselft when you were in your early twenties, and now your 40, your not the same person. I used to drink alot when I was in my twenties, now I have a drink or two a couple times a year. You grow, and outgrow alot of your young behavior. Even if I go to Vegas, I cannot play at half of the casinos there, because they’re associated with ones – or owned by ones in Missouri – this is so unconstitutional. Drunk drivers don’t get banned for life from alcohol. Smokers who have emphysema cant ban themselves from purchasing cigarettes. So what’s the message behind banning someone from a casino for life? Money is Everything? I was never diagnosed as a compulsive gambler, signed the ban myself, so I should be able to sign myself off. Ban should be a year at most. And once they implemented shorter bans, lifetime banners should have had a reprieve – “time served”.

  • robert c

    About 10 years ago, I barred myself from the pair a dice river boat casino as well, but I had the option of banning myself from ALL Illinois casinos, ALL casinos everywhere, or just the one in East Peoria…I opted for just the one of course. I have called years later to see what can be done to lift the ban and I was told it was for a lifetime…the only reason I had done it was because my spouse pressured me into doing so.

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