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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gambling-Unseen Benefits for All

Gambling has gotten a bad wrap over the years. Many associate this activity with addiction, greed, drug abuse and low self worth. Many gamblers feel they have to keep things secret for fear of ridicule and hatred. Many feel they have a problem even when they simply gamble for fun once in a blue moon.
About 1 percent of American adults are pathological gamblers, and about 3 percent are considered problem gamblers. A pathological gambler is someone who is out right addicted. Many of such people have attempted suicide, are swimming in an ocean of debt, and have depression and low self worth. A problem gambler is one who is developing an addiction and may eventually become pathological. About 33 percent of eighth graders said that they had gambled at least once.
15 percent of college students gamble regularly. About 8 percent of American children who gamble regularly become pathological gamblers. In the United States, the minimum gambling age is 18 in some states and 21 in others. Many states are in the process of raising their ages. Alabama's is set at 19, and the age varies similarly throughout the provinces of Canada. In Europe, the most common age is 18, though some casinos will set their age at 21 by choice. Many youth gamble online, though many become disappointed when they win a large jackpot and the prize money becomes void. Others enjoy informal sports betting, and some sneak a play at the lottery when nobody is supervising the machines.
Disgust and outrage erupted in 2006 when Larry Klatt, a professional poker player tried to host a poker camp for kids 10-18 in British Columbia, Canada. Klatt designed the camp to teach kids the math and analytical skills required in poker, as well as the risks of gambling and how to gamble responsibly. The camp would end in a poker tournament. Parents and government officials were simply disgusted and appalled that one would even think to put kids and gambling together. Many said it was "reprehensible". Klatt and his organizers later decided to shut the camp down, because they knew that the B.C government would eventually shut it down anyway.
Also in 2006, The Oregon state government ordered a review for toy slot machines. The machines caused concern amongst parents because toddlers found joy in playing with them, and the parents thought the children would become life long gamblers because of these toys. The slot machines operated by placing fake money inside and using the lever. The toy slot machines still remain on the market today and have not caused any increase in gambling addiction cases.
Despite the negative stereotypes, gambling does have some benefits that can be enjoyed by children as well and adults if proper precautions are taken.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Economic Benefit: Many people decide to vacation during time off from work and school. With a new demographic, casino cities such as Las Vegas could enjoy more tourists and more money spent, stimulating the economy, and taking one step closer to ending America's economic recession!
  • Good health: With a nice recreational activity to do every once in a while, children would be able to distract their mind from stress.
  • Proficiency in math and analytical skills: If children gambled even occasionally, they will sharpen their math and analytical skills, having to calculate probabilities, and weigh out the fairness of winnings. This would lead to better performance in such areas concerning school.
  • Career Opportunities: Some children may aspire to become professional gamblers, and starting young and being educated properly could lead to a decent paying living later on rather than addiction. Also, having such skills could lead to careers where such math and analytical skills are required.
  • Socialization: If kids were allowed to gamble they would encounter new social opportunities to meet other children and adults.

Gambling addiction is rarer than it is made out to be. Many factors cause such problems, and gambling in a safe environment and knowing when to quit is not detrimental. Kids are neither more or less susceptible to a gambling addiction than adults. Children will often gamble in secrecy, since the activity is frowned upon in their status, and thus they are never educated properly about the activity.
In fact, little evidence supports that gambling is actually harmful to children.
If such an activity was not taboo for children, gambling addiction rates would decrease, meaning children would have access to proper education, and the laws are useless in the first place, seeing that children gamble online, and have figured out ways to play at lottery machines- meaning that they bypass the restrictions anyway. Death rates of children left in  cars by gambling parents would decrease, because children would then be allowed into the casino with their parent, rather than left in a hot or freezing car to die too young. Since 1998 99 percent of monthly deaths caused by children left in cars resulted from the parent forgetting or leaving the child intentionally in the car for some reason.
These rates would sure decrease if children were allowed into the casinos with the parent, and maybe even allowed to gamble with them!
Luckily, some casinos have a children's area which includes restaurants and stores for children to wait while their parents gamble.




  1. I've been gambling since I was 6 years old. All the kids in my neighborhood gambled. It began with baseball cards and eventually progressed to money. I was even a bookie in high school, taking bets on sports events. Later on, in my 30s, I became a professional gambler for a few years, specializing in greyhound racing. I never considered myself to be addicted, it was mostly great fun. I enjoyed the lifestyle. Of course, gambling can be abused, so can love or work or anything else. The idea that gambling is a great evil is absurd, mere hysteria and propaganda. An invention of phony moralists who don't know how to mind their own business.

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