The Sheldon Adelson-led Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has a provocative new picture on their Facebook timeline of a young boy (somewhere in the 5 to 8 years old range) sitting in front of a computer accompanied by the following message:
“If we have learned anything about the Internet, it is that kids will find ways to outsmart their parents. Gaming experts say that Internet gambling is in part intended to draw the younger generation into gambling.”
Needless to say the image and message has caught the attention of many online gaming advocates, including Rich Muny, the Vice President of Player Operations for the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), who brought the Facebook post to the attention of the poker community.
Normally I’m of the “just ignore it” mindset, but in this particular case, the message is so disingenuous and misleading that bringing to light the level to which this group is willing to descend to fight this battle is worth giving Adelson’s fight an iota of additional attention.
Thanks to Rich’s efforts in bringing the post to light, the comment section is almost entirely made up of people not only disagreeing with the premise of the post, but people with logical arguments that prove the post is utter nonsense, such as this comment by Maria TPV:
“Typical example of using statements out of context to try to prove an argument. By ‘younger generation’, the gaming sites are referring to 20-somethings, not toddlers. You either know this and are intentionally taking comments out of context, or you’re a dumbass.”
Rich Muny attacked the post from a different angle, implying that the statement is borderline libel.
“So, you are accusing Caesars and the other online providers of intending to draw children of the age shown in this picture to wager on online games?” Muny asked.
When Adelson first announced his efforts to stop online gambling, I thought this was going to be a real fight in which both sides would make their case and the issue would actually get hashed out in the court of public opinion.
I was all for this, as it would bring some exposure to the issue.
Instead the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has been a complete disappointment, like arguing about sports with a drunk in a bar.
First was the abysmal performance by Andrew Abboud in front of Congress, and now we are getting hyperbolic and inflammatory Facebook posts.
Is this really the best they can offer? Is this what Adelson is spending millions of dollars for?
The post is so nonsensical as to be almost absurd.
The implication is that grade-school children are sophisticated enough to thwart their parents’ control, bypass strict player verification methods put in place in regulated markets, and then deposit (their birthday money perhaps?) and play online poker, because gambling online is what every small child wakes up wanting to do in the morning.
Essentially, a 5 to 8 year-old would have to have go completely unsupervised in their home (or maybe take their iPad to Starbucks for a double mocha latte frappuccino), access their parents’ credit card (or perhaps purchase one on the black market at recess time), and then somehow pass a KYC check that involves providing a social security number.
As a parent of two kids in this age group, this sounds completely reasonable to me [eye roll].