Politicians Want to Protect us From the Evils of On-Line Gambling Part 1

This is part 1 of a multipart series of articles regarding proposed anti-gambling legislation. In this article I discuss the proposed legislation, what the politicians say it does, some facts about the current state of online gambling, and what the bills really propose.

The legislators are trying to protect us from something, or are they? The whole thing seems a little confusing to say the least.

The House, and the Senate, are once again considering the issue of “Online Gambling”. Bills have been submitted by Congressmen Goodlatte and Leach, and also by Senator Kyl.

The bill being put forward by Rep. Goodlatte has the stated intention of updating the Wire Act to outlaw all forms of online gambling, to make it illegal for a gambling business to accept credit and electronic transfers, and to force ISPs and Common Carriers to block access to gambling related sites at the request of law enforcement.

Just as does Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Kyl, in his bill, Prohibition on Funding of Unlawful Internet Gambling, makes it illegal for gambling businesses to accept credit cards, electronic transfers, checks and other forms of payment, but his bill does not address the placement of bets.

The bill submitted by Rep. Leach, The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is basically a copy of the bill submitted by Sen. Kyl. It focuses on preventing gambling businesses from accepting credit cards, electronic transfers, checks, and other payments, and like the Kyl bill makes no changes to what is currently legal.

According to Rep. Goodlatte “While gambling is currently illegal in the United States unless regulated by the states, the development of the Internet has made gambling easily accessible. It is common for illegal gambling businesses to operate freely until law enforcement finds and stops them.”

In fact, American courts have determined that the Wire Act makes only Sports Betting illegal, and even then only across telephone lines. Very few states have laws that make online gambling illegal, some states and Tribes have taken steps to legalize online gambling, and even the Federal government recognizes some forms of online gambling as being legal.

Goodlatte himself says his bill “cracks down on illegal gambling by updating the Wire Act to cover all forms of interstate gambling and account for new technologies. Under current federal law, it is unclear whether using the Internet to operate a gambling business is illegal”.

Goodlatte’s bill however does not “cover all forms of interstate gambling” as he claims, but instead carves out exemptions for several forms of online gambling such as state lotteries, bets on horse racing, and fantasy sports. Even then, his modifications to the Wire Act do not make online gambling illegal, they make it illegal for a gambling business to accept online bets where a person risks something of value “upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game predominantly subject to chance”, except of course if it is a state lottery, horse race, fantasy sports, or one of a few other situations.

The truth of the matter is that most online gambling businesses have located in other countries specifically to avoid the gray area that is the current state of online gambling in the US. As a result, there is little that law enforcement can do to enforce these laws. Trying to make the laws tougher, and providing for stiffer penalties, will not make them easier to enforce.

As well, most, if not all, banks and credit card companies refuse to transfer money to an online gambling business now, as a result of pressure from the federal government. As a result, alternative payment systems sprang up to fill the void.

Senator Kyl is equally misleading in his statements. From his proposed bill, “Internet gambling is primarily funded through personal use of payment system instruments, credit cards, and wire transfers.” But as we already know, most credit cards in the U.S. refuse attempts to fund a gambling account.

Also from the Kyl bill, “Internet gambling is a growing cause of debt collection problems for insured depository institutions and the consumer credit industry.” If the credit card companies and other financial institutions in the U.S are not allowing the funding of gambling, how can it be “a growing cause of debt collection problems”. And since when do we need legislation in order for the financial industry to protect itself from high risk debt. If the financial industry was accepting gambling debts and these gambling charges were a problem for them, wouldn’t they just stop accepting them?

Like Rep. Gooddlatte, Rep. Leach and Senator Kyl carve out exemptions for betting on horse racing, for fantasy sports and for buying and selling securities. Unlike Rep. Goodlatte however, Rep. Leach and Sen. Kyl do not exempt state lotteries from their prohibition of online gambling.

In the next article, I will begin to cover some of the issues raised by politicians who are against online gambling, and provide a different perspective to their rhetoric.

You Need Help To Quit Gambling For Good

Are you worried about the gambling habit of someone in your household? Undoubtedly it is the spouses, family members and loved ones that suffer as a consequence of a gambling addiction. Knowing which course of action to take can prove to be a difficult one. Quit Gambling for Good is a solution that can help the gambler within your family to come to terms with their problem and stop gambling. To the compulsive gambler knowing there is a problem and admitting there is a problem are two different matters. To the rest of the family,they just know there is a problem, a problem that needs to be addressed.

The Quit Gambling for Good guide identifies, discusses and addresses the financial, psychological, physical and emotional impacts of those surrounding problem gamblers (list below).

  • Types Of Gambling
  • Types Of Gamblers
  • Real Life Gambling
  • On line Gambling
  • Why On line Gambling Is Not Good
  • How Gambling Influences On Family/Families
  • Why Should You Stop Gambling
  • Benefits And Advantages Of Stopping Gambling
  • Quit Gambling! Don’t Ruin Your Life!
  • How To Stop On line Gambling
  • Ways To Stop Being Addicted To Gambling!

These adverse effects can also lead to marital disharmony or even divorce and family break ups, maybe you are a victim of these circumstances.

The impact of the on line Poker phenomenon in particular is a major contributing factor causing high levels of out of control gambling. On line poker is rapidly becoming one of the most popular gambling games at on line casinos and gaming websites on the Internet. The main reason for this popularity is the belief that it is a game of skill in which enormous cash prizes can be won. This belief is a fallacy. Skillful play will never help gamblers to win money at on line poker because winning money at on line poker is impossible.

The top poker players in the world do not play poker at gambling websites. Some top poker players may say they do only because of getting paid for endorsements. These top poker players know they can beat the other players, but that they cannot beat the house. There is not anybody on the face of this earth who can make money playing on line poker. Even the world’s best poker player will never be good enough to overcome the “rake” which is the house cut from each pot.

To digress generally, many articles have stated that gambling of which there are many forms, casinos, horse racetracks, sports betting, stock market trading, Internet gambling websites, card games, bingo parlors, gambling machines, lotteries and more is one of the fastest growing worldwide problems.

The gambling industry is out there constantly trying to exploit the weak and vulnerable with influential factors such as government and politician endorsement ,media such as TV, radio, newspapers, books,magazines,sports leagues,movies and TV shows, advertising and the Internet.

DO NOT be a victim seek help, seek out the Quit Gambling for Good [http://re-vue-me.blogspot.com/2009/10/you-need-help-to-quit-gambling-for-good.html] guide. This eBook is a must buy and a must read for every gambler and those surrounding the gambler!

Online Gambling Problems

The advances in broadband and wireless technology have made the world come together closer than never before. Now virtually everything is possible on the net-shopping, clinching business deals, social networking, and even gambling, the ever-favorite pastime of men. Online gambling first emerged in the early part of the 1990s and had become an instant hit, with an estimated 3000 online websites on the net today. It totally radicalized the gambling industry and has seen takers from across age groups. However, just like the land version, even internet gambling is fraught with problems. The addiction problem prevails in the online world as well.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder that leads to major disruptions in all areas of life: psychological, social, vocational or physical. It also includes the stage of ‘pathological’ or ‘compulsive’ gambling. Problem gambling is characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling. They have an urge to bet money more frequently and become restless or irritable, if anyone tries to stop. They usually are aware of the mounting, serious, negative problems but staying off the bet becomes the most difficult thing for them.

Online problem gambling is a manifestation of the aforementioned problems. But a study has shown that people who indulge in online gambling have more serious addiction problems than those who use the lottery or play slot machines. Online gambling problems are on the rise because of the explosive growth of the internet.

Causes leading to Internet Gambling

o The privacy and anonymous nature of the internet space has led to people taking to gambling without any hesitation.

o Easy accessibility of online games in the internet has led to people spending more time on gambling.

o Those who work on the internet most of the time can easily avail of online games. This gradually leads to addiction.

Signs of problem Gambling

o Gambling much longer than intended.

o Gambling until you spend the last penny.

o Using up incomes or even saving to gamble, while bills remain unpaid.

o Borrowing money continuously to finance your gambling needs.

o Neglecting your family and professional responsibilities.

o Stoop to stealing, cheating or selling household stuff to get gambling money.

o Gamble with the hope that it will solve financial woes or even win back losses.

o Relieve feelings of depression.

o They can easily set up a gambling account and there are a variety of forms of gambling – right from traditional betting, to casino gambling, lotteries and bingo. All this makes online gambling tremendously appealing.

o There is no time limit and in the absence of a supervisor, a person can go on gambling for up to 24 hours a day.

o As you play, there is a decreased perception of the value of cash and players frequently forget that they are playing with cash.

Online Gambling and its effects

Though many believe that legalized gambling is just harmless entertainment, but people already affected by it and continuous study results have veered on its deceptive nature. In fact, it is considered to cause even more harm than playing in a live casino building. The health and emotional difficulties associated with gambling disorders includes depression, circulatory disease, substance abuse and even risky sexual behavior. Recent studies have concluded that online gambling comprised basically of unmarried and younger participants over people who never gamble. Contrary to the fact that internet is associated with high education level and higher income strata, the study pointed out that online gambler addicts belong to lower education and income levels. Online gambling is one of the fastest growing addictions to afflict the youth today.

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a study wherein they found that 74% of online gamblers are problematic or pathological gamblers. Among this, the group that is most at risk is the teens. Online problem gamblers spend much more money on the online gambling websites than the amount teenagers spend on drugs. The worse bit of online gambling is its anonymity. Earlier, a person had to go to a gambling house in order to satisfy their urge to gamble and everybody knew how you fare or how much you lost. But now, you just walk into your office or bedroom and there goes your savings in thin air, and not a soul gets a whiff of it. The lenient regulation measures of the online gambling industry have only added on to the problem.

Treatment for Online Problem Gambling

Those addicted to online gambling need to take the following steps to avoid and get over such problems. Its very important to remember the onus of the entire treatment process lies, first and foremost, with you. You should wake up and take control, before you reach the point of no return. The first steps are always the hardest and once you can overcome them; the rest will be a breeze of air.

o Be honest with yourself and accept your problem.

o Manage your money and keep track of the amount you are spending. Gamers should remember to spend only what they can afford to lose. Chasing losses will only lead to a further downward spiral.

o Postpone your gambling urges. Next time you want to play, catch a movie or go out for dinner. Playing sudoku will take off your mind from gambling for a while.

o When you have leisure time, indulge in recreation that has nothing to with gambling.

o Use software to block access to gambling sites and make it password protected. You should not know the password.

o Get professional help as soon as possible.

Online problem gambling may affect anyone. One should be aware of one’s gambling behavior. There are many gory examples of problem gambling which should serve as eye openers for the affected. Any form of addiction is a choice. It becomes a disease because of your loss of control. Speak to your near and dear ones. Help is never far away. One precious lifetime is all you get, and it would be incredibly foolish to attempt to ruin even a second of it by way of unnecessary problems.

Gambling Addiction and Its Behavioral Effects

Gambling addiction is a serious mental health disorder, which can be identified in two ways: a person either a) continuously bet on things using money or objects that hold value even though negative consequences arise as a result, or, b) they cannot stop gambling even if they desired to. People suffering from gambling addiction often display a strong urge to bet on a wide-range of gambling mediums-from sports games to poker, to choosing lottery numbers and throwing dice. And although friends and family members of compulsive gamblers don’t see the symptoms physically, like they often do with alcoholics or drug abusers, the consequences gambling addiction has serious implications on their lives as well as the lives of their friends and families. Not realizing its severity or taking it too lightly can be devastating for the addicted gambler in the long run. Gamblers can reach a point of literally losing everything, from cars, to homes, to businesses, and even respect from those they care about.

It’s well-known that Florida is notorious for providing “the hotspot” for gamblers all over the world, as well as its residents. But how many gamblers actually endure financial problems? A recent survey by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling shed light on card playing, reporting that 70% of these people had trouble paying their bills. But here’s the worst part, which is known to be a side-effect of excessive gambling–1 in 3 of these card players admitted to having participated in illicit activities in order to finance their gambling. Playing cards isn’t as harmless as we thought; criminal activity is still a cause for concern.

Gambling addicts are not always obvious about their situation; sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. They don’t dwell on what has been lost as a result of their destructive activities and behaviors. Instead, compulsive gamblers only focus on the gains, or the supposed investment aspect of the games they play. And unlike drug or alcohol addiction, a person addicted to gambling will not display symptoms such as heavy fatigue, sickness, loss of energy or dizziness; instead, other factors are apparent, such as falling into deep financial trouble, losing quality time with the ones they love, and heightening the chances of entering into drug or alcohol addiction.

It’s difficult to establish who has a gambling problem and who doesn’t. Where is the threshold between social gamblers, and abusive gamblers? Are there any red flags? The answer is yes. Pathological gamblers often display one or more of the following signs: negligent of family get-togethers, acts on criminal behavior in order to acquire more stuff to bet on, would rather gamble then hang out with friends, talk excessively about gambling and winning money, use drugs or alcohol to distract them from wanting to gamble more, become irritated when not gambling, neglect vital responsibilities for gambling time, and lying to family and friends about going out gambling. A combination of these signs should be a red flag when identifying a compulsive gambler. But remember, none of these signs mention the amount of times a person gambles in a period of time. It’s not about “quantity.” A person can gamble every day and it may not affect his life. Also, gambling addiction isn’t OK if you’re wealthy; rich gamblers can still have issues like neglecting their loved ones and other vital responsibilities.

Florida is well-known for its casinos, entertainment arenas and cruise ship gambling. But environmental factors such as these may cause people to be more susceptible to the development of gambling addiction. Gambling addiction isn’t a problem that stands alone-it may lead to criminal behavior, psychological distress and depression, and fuel other more dangerous addictions. As stated earlier, a person may fall into drug or alcohol addiction in order to supplement or replace their gambling behavior. The combination of multiple addictions can be devastating and more difficult to treat; it would be like tangling a web of loose strings and trying to unravel them all at once.

Addiction specialists and counselors use a variety of methods in treating gambling addiction effectively, including: helping the addict understand what drives him or her to gamble, replacing their betting habits with more productive activities, understanding how it affects the people they care about, and finally, strengthening one’s will to live a more productive lifestyle. If you notice warning signs that you or your loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, it is crucial to intervene and find treatment before it is too late. Doctors treat gambling addiction as a serious brain disease, and people suffering from it are also prone to drug addiction. The importance of acquiring immediate treatment can be the difference between losing everything, and saving someone’s life.

Teenage Gambling At Post Prom High School Party

The latest trend to hit high schools is supervised teenage gambling at the Post Prom School Party. Over the past few months I have received numerous emails from parents, students and school faculty expressing concern about the new alternative entertainment. In all cases these people believe it would do more harm then good.

The concept became reality for students once the Post Prom Committee voted to accept this new alternative entertainment.
This Post Prom Committee believes this is safe night party for the High School prom. The students who are taking part are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years old. Each student is able to purchase fake money to gamble with and at the end of the night they can trade this money in for prizes with at the end of the night. Some parents believe this is a safe wonderful event for their children. While others believe this is one area they prefer their kids not be involved with.

One of the emails I received was from a family who home schools their five children. I was surprised since their kids were not involved. She had explained to me that her daughter who is seventeen has friends who attend the public school system. She went on to tell me the negative behavior exhibited by these teens after the event took place. In fact they taught her daughter how to play black jack and poker. This is a good neighborhood that has strong community ties. She also informed me that she not see the difference between using fake money or real money when you still have a chance to win a prize that has value. She believes these teens are being educated on how to gamble, win and take the easy way out.

People in favor of this gambling event, nicely told those who were against it to have their teenager’s stay home. It was my understanding the post prom parties were supposed to be for everyone.

It surprised me that a school district finds gambling night an acceptable behavior for our teenagers.

I have seen first hand the self destruction gambling can do to teenagers and adults. It’s my belief that gambling should be limited to people who are eighteen and over.

Another email was asking me for the specific statistics on the negative impact on a teenager’s who attend a gambling event. General statistics reflect a percentage of those in attendance will develop a compulsive gambling addiction. Some of these same students may become addicted at some point in their life. I have found that addictions to gambling are not age sensitive. People of any age who are gambling for the very first time can develop a gambling addiction. Usually a friend or family member takes them to the gambling establishment. I first found it difficult to understand how a person who is sixty five retired and on a fixed income gets addicted to gambling. The seniors I spoke with were very upset and didn’t understand how this happened to them. The unfortunate part is they lost their pensions and now only have their Social Security to live on. In one case the Grandmother has to move in with her daughter.

There is very little difference between supervised gambling and allowing supervised drinking alcoholic beverages or serving the students there choice of dugs on a silver platter. If a Principal served a student an alcoholic drink he would be arrested. I am trying to understand how school educators and parents can distinguish between alcohol and gambling on school property. How is one more acceptable then the other?

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between alcohol addiction and gambling addiction. The correlation was based on individuals who attend both Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

It would be a shame to find out ten years from now that students who took part in supervised gambling at the High School level their future was compromised by a life of self destruction and low self esteem.

It’s a proven statistics that students who gamble get a similar rush as if they just had an alcoholic beverage. The only difference here they will not wake up with a hang over and the side effects are minimal until it’s too late.

We have now given our students another option in life. The major concern is the student’s will probably like the rush from gambling a lot more then alcohol and or drugs since there is no hang over or smell. Some students are likely to continue gambling. Students with A grades are not exempt from this. Statistics show that compulsive teenage gamblers are also very bright and articulate individuals.

People need to be educated on teenage gambling and its long term affects. It’s illegal to gamble if you are under 18. It’s also illegal to drink if you are under 18 (some places 21) and it’s illegal to smoke cigarettes if you are under 18. These laws were set for a reason. Another email I received wanted to know do these school systems have any respect for the Law?

I emailed each of the people and asked why haven’t they raised their concerns to the school board? They all responded the same. “We are the minority and now we look bad in front of our kids.” This is truly a no win situation.

The parents who are against this sort of entertainment believe; if just one student develops a compulsive gambling addiction that is one too many.

For more information on Stop Teenage Gambling Website [http://www.teenage-gambling-addiction.org] and I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/.