FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 09, 2006
New Internet gambling law reflects growing concern
Some critics feel the media glamorize gambling. Invite class members to discuss their views and whether newspapers should try to influence social behavior.
Challenge students to look through newspaper issues for activities this week or weekend that are exciting, affordable, social and way less risky than gambling for money.
Internet poker is just one form of gambling. Divide the class into debate teams to present arguments for and against newspaper coverage of lottery jackpots and horse races such as the Kentucky Derby -- both of which involve placing bets.
The spreading popularity of poker tournaments and other wagering among Americans of varied ages – including high school and college students – prompts efforts to outlaw online betting sites. Congress recently banned the use of credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers for Internet gaming. The federal government already had been cracking down on Internet betting on sports, poker and other casino games that it considers illegal.
Passage of the new legislation, which President Bush supports, comes amid nationwide concerns about teens being attracted by gambling on TV and online. Studies indicate that an increasing number of U.S. youths gamble, sometimes compulsively -- a trend fueled partly by the phenomenal popularity of Texas Hold 'Em, a poker game, and frequent broadcasts of celebrity card tournaments.
More than 70 percent of Americans aged 10 to 17 gambled in the past year, up from 45 percent in 1988, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Almost one in three high school students gamble on a regular basis, its research shows.
Educators say: Teens should be taught about gambling risks, just as they learn about drug an alcohol abuse. A new after-school gambling prevention program for Indiana students explains the odds of winning and describes how to recognize addiction.
Congressman says: “If Congress had not acted, gamblers would soon be able to place bets not just from home computers, but from their cell phones . . . or their BlackBerries.” – Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa
Expert warns: “Parents let their kids play Texas Hold 'Em as a recreational activity. For most kids, they aren't going to get into trouble. But for some, it could be a trigger or a gateway activity for a worse problem later on.” -- Linda Graves, problem gambling program manager for Washington State
Front Page Talking Points Archive