|Another week, another expert warns the dangers of online gambling. This time it’s Egan Jones, social worker and online gambling “expert”, speaking at the Louisiana Region 6 Forum on Compulsive Gambling.|
'It's hard when someone can climb out of bed and turn on a computer and start gambling,' Jones said. Apparently, it’s the ease of use of the Internet that’s the problem. Perhaps if home PCs reverted to steam power, it would solve the problem.
'Before the Internet, gambling meant trips to Las Vegas,' Jones said. 'Now, you have immediate access to gaming sites.' Apparently, according to Jones, Internet gambling is three times more profitable than Internet pornography. Jones apparently did not cite statistics correlating increased incidence of blindness with Internet porn use, but you get the picture.
Ten percent of people have the potential to become compulsive gamblers, said Earl Reed, director of the Avoyelles Gambling Recovery Centre, the only public treatment center in the US for compulsive gamblers. It is funded by the state lottery.
The suicide rate for compulsive gamblers is twenty five percent higher than other people, Reed said, adding that they also have a higher rate of divorce and bankruptcy. Rep. Rick Farrar, who helped gain funding for the gambling recovery programs, also addressed the forum. He encouraged attendees to ask those running for office if they would support funding for addiction recovery programs. A noble cause indeed, but a question for other social workers – if the Internet wasn’t around, would these compulsive gamblers revert to being Ned Flanders types? Or would they find one of the more time-honoured ways of having a bet, such as illegal bookmakers or card rooms? Or maybe they would just blow their paycheque on lottery tickets...