Politicians Want to Protect us From the Evils of On-Line Gambling Part 2

This is part 2 of a multipart series of articles regarding proposed anti-gambling legislation. In this article, I begin discussion of the quoted reasons for this legislation, and the actual facts that exist in the real world.

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

As mentioned in the previous article, 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, The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, 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 for the purpose on placing illegal bets, but his bill does not address those that place 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, or illegal.

So, regardless of whether online gambling is currently legal or not, just what is it that the politicians are trying to protect us from? Why is it so important to make online gambling illegal?

One answer is contained in this quote from Rep. Goodlatte “will keep children from borrowing the family credit card, logging on to the family computer, and losing thousands of dollars all before their parents get home from work”.

I think a fair translation of that quote would be “American parents are incapable of raising their own children so Congress should step in and do it for them’. Because of course we are all aware that the politicians have a much better idea of what is best for us and our children than we do.

And in another quote “In short, the Internet is a challenge to the sovereignty of civilized communities, States, and nations to decide what is appropriate and decent behavior”.

A reasonable translation of this quote would seem to go something like “Individual Americans are not capable of deciding for themselves what behavior is appropriate and decent in their own homes. Fortunately Congress is here to protect them from themselves and legislate morality for them”.

Not only is Congress supposedly responsible for raising the children of America, but in order to do so, and to prevent us from unknowingly doing something indecent, they are going to legislate what we can do with our own money, on our own time, in our own homes. Does this sound like the very model of a free society, or the beginnings of a misguided totalitarian state?

Let’s delve a little deeper into these protections and see just how interested the politicians really are in making sure that our children are safe from the evils of gambling.

Remember, all of these following forms of gambling are either currently legal, or would be made specifically legal in the bill being put forward by Rep. Goodlatte.

First, we have casinos, and race tracks. These little money makers are proliferating all over the country and generate quite a bit of tax revenue for federal and state governments as well as profits for their operators. The people behind the anti-online gambling bills would have you believe that casinos are not an issue when it comes to underage individuals, since casino staff can see the individuals in person and assess their age.

Quite to the contrary however, we have this quote from The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery “Casino kids have been left by themselves at the outer rim of casinos while their parents gamble, according to some casino security officers. In some extreme cases, children are left in the family car in the casino parking lot for hours at a time while their parents gamble inside. Less obviously, children may also spend several hours each week with babysitters while their parents gamble in casinos, bingo halls or card rooms.”

While I certainly wouldn’t try to claim that online gambling is good for the American family, clearly, to the extent that children can relax and play in their own homes, and sleep in their own beds, online gambling presents less of a problem than the current state supported alternative.

Another form of online gambling that the proposed legislation would exempt from illegal status is the sale of lottery tickets by the states over the internet. It is difficult to see how these legislators show deep concern for the children of America based on the following quote from Overcoming Life Digest (July/August, 1998 Issue) “Studies show that lotteries are the favorite legal gambling game for teenagers. Statistically, one of seven who play will become addicted.” And from the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (6 June 2003), “Many regard lotteries as a relatively benign form of gambling. However, 31 percent of callers to the 1-800-GAMBLER national hotline (operated by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey) indicated problems with lottery gambling.”

In yet another example of government raking in cash without regard for the children of America, we have Video Lottery Machines. Video Lottery Machines, or VLTs are nothing more than state sponsored electronic video poker machines. According to David Plotz in Slate.com on Friday December 17th, 1999 “These are the most addictive of any gambling instrument we have today. It is a cinch for kids to play video lottery machines, since they are often found in businesses that kids frequent.” These devices are being licensed for use in grocery stores, convenience stores, bars and markets around the country, where the children of America have easy access.

Clearly, the legislation proposed does not “keep children from borrowing the family credit card, logging on to the family computer, and losing thousands of dollars all before their parents get home from work”, They will be able to buy lottery tickets, bet on horse races, and head down to the local convenience store to play the VLTs.

Gambling Addiction – How it Can Ruin Your Family and Business

It is hard to witness the destruction of a friend and his family as a result of an addiction. It is a helpless feeling. Hopefully, by sharing this story with you, you will be able to help a friend or loved one avoid this road to self destruction.

This friend, let’s call him Gary, enjoyed getting together with his friends on a Saturday night for an evening of playing pool. It seems innocent enough when he decided that we should all play for quarters. We all thought that this would make the game more fun and competitive, which it did.

Gary loved to win. The bigger the pot the bigger the celebration. Little did I know that this was the beginning of his gambling addiction.

You see, gambling addicts experience the same rush as a crack addict. That rush is created when they win. They begin to crave that feeling to the point where it dominates every waking moment.

Next we learned that Gary was skipping the pool games so that he could go to the local Indian casino where he enjoyed playing poker. We stopped getting together on the weekends. I saw Gary less and less. I later learned that Gary had taken to playing poker online every evening in front of his computer drinking and placing online bets.

Is it no surprise that soon Gary’s business was in trouble. He was neglecting his customers and his revenue was dropping. His creditors were calling. His wife couldn’t stand the stress. She left him.

These are the classic signs of a gambling addict. The gambling becomes a compulsion that defies logic and rational thought. The gambler seeks the gambling high at any cost. His or her life is ruined through the destruction of personal relationships and the burden of increasing debt.

I hope that you share this article with any person you think may be suffering from a gambling addiction. It may help them avoid the road to self-destruction. There are many self-help groups available and qualified counselors are willing to help. In fact, many casinos will have a 24 hour gambling addiction hotline available if you ask.

5 Tips to Stop You From a Gambling Addiction Relapse

Gambling addiction relapse is very common, especially during times of stress. There are many things that you can do to prevent yourself from a relapse from your gambling addiction. This list is far from complete, however, I believe that these are five strategies that have personally helped me from going back to the casino and pumping my heart-earned money back into a slot machine.

1. Pick up the phone and call a friend, family member, Gambling Hotline, or Gamblers Anonymous member when the urge hits. Usually when we have an urge to gamble we are really looking for some nurturing from those who love us. Sometimes just a conversation with someone who cares can help your gambling urge pass.

2. Try to find something constructive to do such as taking a walk, creating a new recipe, or even going to the mall or bookstore. Try to do something fun and stimulating since this will be replacing the gambling activity that you are trying to stop yourself from engaging in. Fill the void.. with something to keep you busy.

3. Get out a pencil and paper and write down what it felt like when you were driving home from the casino broke, despondent, angry, and depressed. Describe these feelings in detail. You will start to feel those horrible feelings by just writing these down.

4. Visualize in your mind the drive back from the casino. After writing, use this power of visualization to really experience those feelings. Spend a minute or two doing this. After writing down your thoughts and feelings, and then visualizing these, you will truly experience the physiological feelings of the drive back from the casino or other gambling venue. You will not feel good.. trust me.

5. Reward yourself for not gambling. Buy yourself a small gift or a book. Rent a movie and enjoy your time away from gambling. You will feel uplifted and proud of yourself for not giving into your gambling addiction impulse.

Three Clues That You Have a Gambling Problem

It is difficult to admit that we have faults. It is, at times, the last avenue for us-admittance that we have problems and that we need help. If you believe you have a gambling addiction then your reading of these words is the all important first step. If you don’t think that you have a gambling problem, read on and, then at the end of this article, see if you feel the same way. Think carefully! Do you or someone you love need to overcome the real problem of gambling addiction.

Three Clues

Clue # 1 You think gambling is going to make you rich.

Big mistake! If you have this mentality then you will be spending a long time in the dregs of addiction. Here is a little fact: most professional gamblers are not rich. Sure there are some who are, but the majority just gets by (look this up if you are skeptical). Sure they live off their winnings and don’t have to work a 9-5 job, but they are professionals, they have dedicated their lives to the art of entertainment gambling. And besides, professional gamblers are moderate in that they do not gamble compulsively.

Clue # 2 You think that your gambling will help pay your bills.

Have you ever had a friend who thought that they were going to gamble his/her way back to solvency? I have and it was not a pretty sight. My friend came to me after a weekend in Atlantic City and asked me for a small loan (some friend). If you think that gambling is going to pay your bills then you have a gambling problem. If you think gambling may be able to make you an extra hundred or so bucks then you are realistic in your assessment of what you might make as an entertainment gambler.

Clue # 3 Your loved ones (family, friends, colleagues) are affected by your gambling.

Part of life is giving up what you know you can no longer possess for the benefit of something else you can’t afford to lose. When your family, friends, and/or colleagues are negatively affected by your gambling sprees, it is time to realize that you have a gambling problem and need help to control your addiction. If you have kept your gambling a secret and your loved ones are unaware of your problem then ask yourself this question: Are they being affected by my penchant for gambling. Remember, your loved ones don’t need to be consciously aware of your problem in order to be affected negatively by it.

Life is too wonderful to be enslaved to any addiction. But don’t worry, you are not alone. The first step is to call this free and private hotline 1-800-522-5700, or find a G.A. near you on the web.