Smart reply against banning online poker

Isn’t it interesting that once something is in your head, you start to see references everywhere! Well, I don’t play poker, but am a “poker widow,” so I’m now somewhat alert to references to poker.

I, myself, have no particular thoughts about if online poker should be banned or not. However, remember the story about the college student who robbed a bank to pay for his online gambling addiction?

Replying to the NY Times Magazine story this spring about it, a Carl Skutsch of NY makes some good analogies. He says that gambling addiction is a tragedy, but “it’s the addictive personality, not the game, that is the real culprit. If we ban online poker, should we ban online shopping to save shopaholics? Online stock trading to rescue day traders? … For most online-poker players, it’s about entertainment.” Smart words, Mr. Skutsch.

Are there any suggestions for a minimum age, like 18, 19 or 21, as there is for alcohol? (Is there a minimum age in Vegas or Atlantic City?)

How about some mechanisms on websites, like a “make this my last hand” button, like there is on Snood. You can override these, but at least it makes you think about if you should continue playing. Or something that prevents play for 5 minutes? 30 minutes? if you lose more than a pre-set amount.

We have to be more creative than just ban or no ban, right?

3 thoughts on “Smart reply against banning online poker

  1. There is a minimum age in AC, Vegas, and all the poker rooms. You might be interested in reading some of my most recent posts about my new strategy for preventing too much playing.

    One thing that I wonder about is what it means to be an addict at poker. I probably play more than I should be playing, but not more than I want to play. I definitely think about playing when I’m not playing. But do these things mean that I’m an addict?

    I have always found this “addict” talk to be extremely hard to pin down. People are good at telling you when you’re an addict (e.g. denial, hiding your activity, doing it a lot), but they’re not so good at telling what it is that you are when you’re an addict.

  2. Yes, our society needs to move away from the simplistic solutions that are epitomized in outright bans. Unfortunately, the black and white approach that we’re being fed by the Bush administration feeds into this addiction to absolutism.

    With all the brain power in the world today, we’ve gotta be able to figure out more sophisticated approaches to the problems we face.

    Of course, I have no solutions, just wishes.

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