Legal Online Games Realizing Fears Of Anti-Gambling Lawmakers
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For the past couple of years, lawmakers opposed to online gambling have pointed to the dangers associated with the leisure activity of playing online poker. Earlier this year, these lawmakers worst fears were realized, only the woman was not gambling online, she was playing legal online games.
Alexandra Tobias, a twenty-two year old mother, was accused of killing her three month old son back in January after the baby’s continual crying interrupted Tobias’ game of FarmVille on Facebook. The woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and now faces life in prison.
“This tragedy is an example of how the government should not be micro-managing the online gambling issue,” said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. “It is impossible to control the actions of every American, and Tobias’ actions show that tragedy can come from all areas of the Internet, not just online gambling.”
Safeguards are put in place for the popular games on Facebook, much like they would be for Internet gambling sites. Unfortunately, millions of people in the US are currently playing online poker with no safeguards due to the government’s insistence on prohibition of the online gambling industry. Offshore companies are free to treat US customers however they feel fit.
During the incident with Tobias and her child, the baby had started crying. Tobias then stopped her FarmVille game and shook the baby. When she turned back around, the baby started to cry again, so Tobias shook the baby some more. This time, however, the baby hit his head, and died shortly after.
Representative Barney Frank has been lobbying for changes to the online gambling laws in the US to prevent these types of tragedies. Frank has proposed legislation that would put safeguards in place to ensure responsible online gaming, with time and monetary limits on play. Gambling addiction is also tackled in the Frank legislation.
Psychologist Ronnie Burak admits that it is not just online gambling where people can develop addictions.
“Anything can be an addiction, absolutely anything,” said Burak, a Jacksonville Beach Clinical Psychologist, as reported by The Florida Times-Union. “If it literally takes over your life and interferes with your ability to carry on, and you can’t take care of responsibilities in the rest of your life, then it has taken you over.”