Playing Poker for Fun and Money

November 16th, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

Gamblers Anonymous

Seems like our neighbors to the north are taking to poker like a polar bear to water. Welcome to the wonderful world of poker, eh? But an article from the Canadian Press notes that people are at risk of becoming problem gamblers.

Who knew that American Poker could be as addictive as watching television 6 hours a day, everyday?

For those of you who may think your loved one has a problem – answer the 20 Questions provided by Gamblers Anonymous:

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Most compulsive gamblers will answer YES to at least 7 of these questions.

After that, if you think there’s a problem, try talking about it first. And of course, there is always outside help from Gamblers Anonymous.

Play your game. Don’t let the game play you.

Youths at Risk of Becoming Problem Gamblers: Poll

Canadian Press

TORONTO – A growing number of Ontario’s youth are at risk of becoming severe problem gamblers because of the increasing amount of time they spend playing poker online, a new poll released Tuesday suggests.

While fewer people overall are gambling, the poll by Ipsos-Reid for the Responsible Gambling Council indicates more people under the age of 34 are playing poker for money online.

Just over one-third of poll respondents under 34 said they play poker for money, while half of them said they are playing more today than they were two years ago. Almost one-quarter of those said they play at least once a week.

That’s creating a generation of potential problem gamblers, said Jon Kelly, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council.

“Frequency matters — the more you gamble, the more you are at risk,” Kelly said. “We need to get to these people.”

With the rise in celebrity poker tournaments and TV shows, Kelly said young people see poker as a way to make money rather than a harmless game of cards. While Kelly said poker has earned a few people fame and fortune, there are many whose lives are devastated by gambling losses.

“You can become so involved in it, you can lose a great deal of money,” he said. “You can begin to focus your life on gambling. If you’re looking at it as a way to make money . . . you are setting yourself up for a fall.”

The Liberal government recently introduced legislation that would ban ads for online gaming, partly because of a similar study that found young people are flocking to gaming sites.

Minister of Government Services Gerry Phillips compared online gaming sites to crack houses, arguing online gaming is illegal and shouldn’t be advertised.

Jason Wesley, a spokesman for the Ministry of Government Services, said the province expects an advertising ban will keep young people from being lured to online poker sites where they might develop an addiction.

“That would help to protect vulnerable groups,” he said.

The government is also spending $36 million on anti-gambling initatives, including education and treatment, Wesley said.

But critics say the government should be doing much more to prevent a generation of problem gamblers.

New Democrat Peter Kormos said the province opened the floodgates to this problem when it brought in casino gaming in the 1990s. Young people who grew up with video games are naturally attracted to online gambling, Kormos said.

“We shouldn’t be surprised at all by this growing epidemic of gambling addiction,” Kormos said. “We haven’t even begun to see the full impact. The social price that’s going to be paid is going to be tremendous.”

The government should be tackling the problem more aggressively, Kormos said, through better-funded education and gambling treatment programs.

“The government has got to clean up its own backyard first,” he added. “Let’s get some real controls in state-owned and operated gambling joints to ensure problem gamblers are detected and deterred from blowing their pay cheques.”

Young people aren’t the only ones turning to poker, the poll found. One in five respondents said they play poker for money but many are worried about their habit.

The poll suggests 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about online poker, while 18 per cent are worried about how much poker someone close to them is playing.

The poll surveyed some 1,000 people last spring and is considered accurate to within plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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