How far will you go to play online blackjack? Seems some blackjack players will go to great lengths, but a lot of people cease calling them players and call them addicts.
Such is the case with Eamonn McGirr that I saw in my online blackjack news this morning. McGirr has been ordered to serve twenty months in prison and another twelve months on probation for his online blackjack and online gambling addiction.
Why prison? Are they that harsh about gambling in Ireland?
No, they are not as long as you are playing and gambling responsibly. That means not embezzling your employer for the U.S. equivalent of $500,000 over two years.
But the embezzled $500,000 is not all that McGirr has stacked up, although the embezzled money is his only illegal action. Everything else is just pure debt—and I do mean debt: overdrafts on his two bank accounts, a loan for the U.S, equivalent of $6,400 from a credit union, and finally maxing out five credit cards. All on gambling.
I have two responses to this: one about something the judge said and another on online gambling in general.
The judge of the McGirr case was concerned about how a person could gamble away such enormous amounts of money without being checked, and that online gambling companies should take a “look at how they did business.”
First off, it is not the online casinos’ fault that the man got himself jailed. They are a business. They are there to make money. If this judge is saying that online casinos should be called to task because players gamble away too much, then what about all of the designer fashions and expensive electronics and cars that people will put themselves into debt for?
If the judge’s concern is people being wooed into spending more than they reasonably should because of how a company advertises and does business, then all the companies that lure people into racking up debt on credit cards should be put out of business. Shame on them for offering products that cost more than what we are paid. Let’s go back to farming and trading chickens and wearing loincloths—perhaps that is living within our means.
Then there is my response to online gambling. Obviously not every single player puts themselves into debt to play online blackjack and other online casino games.
But there are players who do become addicted to online gambling, and it can be a very serious problem. As McGirr showed us it is possible to hide the problem until someone else catches on that a friend or loved one is addicted. Sometimes the player him or herself knows they are addicted.
This afternoon I will talk about addiction to online gambling.