|People Against a Casino
Gambling "camp" for kids 10 to 18
"Targeting kids as young as 10 years old, I think is reprehensible,
and our government is certainly opposed to minors being targeted this way."
"They want to come in here and get kids involved in poker.
I think their objective is clear, they just want to raise customers for tomorrow.''
First we allow our kids to be exposed to various abuses, and then we scream for justice
when some pervert takes advantage of their vulnerability.
Now we have a gaming business using deceptive techniques based on educational concepts
wishing to turn young, innocent members of society into gamblers.
Shame on Nevada North, and shame on us if we sit back and do nothing about it.
Children's poker workshop panned by solicitor general
May 10, 2006
B.C. Solicitor General John Les says he's appalled that a Vancouver company is planning to teach children how to play Texas Hold'em at a poker workshop next month.
Nevada North Entertainment is putting on the Kids Poker Tour for youngsters ranging in age from 10 to 18 at the end of June. The event's brochure says the workshop will teach better communication and social interaction, good sportsmanship, and math and number skills, among other benefits.
But the solicitor general said those benefits can be achieved in other ways. "There are lots of good ways to learn all of those good things and it doesn't have to be a poker game. "Targeting kids as young as 10 years old, I think is reprehensible, and our government is certainly opposed to minors being targeted this way."
Les plans to watch event 'like a hawk'
For an undisclosed fee, the young people will also be offered a half-day tournament with prizes such as education subsidies and free entry to future events. Les said the tournament and prizes could make the workshop illegal. He added his staff will be watching the event "like a hawk" - and will be ready to shut it down. "The minute they step out of line, I want enforcement action taken."
A spokesperson for Nevada North Entertainment declined an interview request by CBC News.
New gambling larks aimed at women and kids
By Amy Carmichael, Canadian Press
May 11, 2006
VANCOUVER - The gambling industry is focusing on new markets with a poker tour for kids and bookies taking bets on the sex of Britney Spears's next child.
Kids can learn the fundamentals of Texas Hold'em at a two-day event planned for June in Vancouver, and organizers claim math and communications skills are beneficial byproducts. "We're busy trying to keep up with the amount of inquiries,'' says Larry Klatt, a spokesman for Nevada North's Kids Poker Tour, who is based in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the number of women betting on celebrity and pop culture events is spiking, say marketers in Vancouver's tony Yaletown neighbourhood. We've got a whole team dedicated to going through the newspapers and doing their research on pop culture wagers,'' says Mike Foreman, marketing director of betUS.com. Women betting on things like the reaction of Catholics to the Da Vinci Code movie is still a novelty in Canada, says Nigel Turner, a researcher with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. It could take time to see if people will develop addictions to it, he says.
But few seem to be willing to wait and see how kids will handle gambling. B.C.'s Solicitor General John Les says the Kids Poker Tour is unconscionable. "I'd like the whole tour to pass us by. I think this is inappropriate. I think this is targeting a vulnerable population,'' says Les. "They want to come in here and get kids involved in poker. I think their objective is clear, they just want to raise customers for tomorrow.''
The tour, which costs $120 for a day and a half of instruction and a half-day tournament, is being revised to make sure it meets all the requirements under the law. Spokesman Klatt says prizes like educational subsidies and free admission to future tours might be cancelled. "We're not going to step out of bounds. We'll revise this, we're not looking to do anything outside the law,'' says Klatt. "This is more like an educational workshop focusing on skills development." He says the tour teaches important lessons in math, communication, how to perform in adversity, analytical thinking and good sportsmanship. Klatt says a speaker will discuss the pitfalls of gambling and how to avoid them.
Turner says he doubts the tour can achieve this in a weekend. "I would be very cautious sending your kids to this." "It is possible to teach people self-awareness, to recognize when they are losing control, how to stay emotionally in control and to be aware of their own emotions, but it's not easy."
Turner says he's tried to teach kids coping skills and about the nature of random chance. "It's not an easy thing to do,'' he says. He says it will be interesting to see how the pop culture bets play out. "When a new type of gambling comes out, we often see a spike early on. It doesn't always last,'' he says.
Some types of gambling seem to be more problematic for people than others.
Turner says lots of people play the lottery, but few become seriously addicted to the point they're calling help lines. He says most people seek help for problems with slot machines and poker addictions. Foreman, with betUS.com, says there is a lower wager limit for pop culture bets than sports.
"We don't see it as a way we're going to make a ton of money. It's more of an opportunity to acquire new customers and market to some different demographics."
BetUS.com has seen its female customer base jump from two per cent to seven per cent with the recent introduction of pop culture betting. It has gained media attention over some big wins and wild questions. One player won $35,000 US in a wager on the first song the Rolling Stones would sing at the Super Bowl. BetUS.com is proposing new wagers on the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and the next Sopranos cast member to be arrested. Foreman says these kinds of bets are drawing younger demographics. But players need to be 18 to make a bet.
Gambling tour targets children
By Allan Markin is a Penticton freelance writer.
May 26, 2006
The world is full of surprises. Just when I think I've seen everything, something comes along to remind me that around every bend in life's road there are more startling discoveries.
For example, it's not enough that society has to depend on gambling revenues to fund essential services like hospitals and cultural amenities which, under normal circumstances, ought to be funded through regular taxation.
I can't understand why folks who rail against high taxes are willing to lose money through government-approved gaming, which is nothing more than a poorly hidden tax, often exploiting compulsive and delusional tendencies of people who can least afford to lose.
Now we see that exploitation through gambling proposes to target children.
Recently the Nevada North Kid's Poker Tour (which is based in Vancouver) announced a two-day Texas Hold'em poker "camp" for children.
The organizers even had the audacity to declare that the experience will be of educational value to the participants.
Playing poker, they say, will teach the kids math, communications, how to deal with adversity and good sportsmanship. What a crock!
It is true that the skills outlined by the organizers are useful and should be taught. Not through gambling. There is only one real objective in gambling: to win.
Of course, somebody else has to lose. What a way to teach sportsmanship.
Just listen to the pint-sized players as they use poker to practice sportsmanship.
Johnny, a big winner holding another good hand, says in his most sensitive voice: "You know, guys, Cedric hasn't won for a long time. Why don't we all fold our hands and let him win." True sportsmen that they are, all the "guys" are only too glad to agree, throwing in their cards and inviting Cedric to claim the pot.
Cedric, with tears of gratitude in his eyes, says: "Thank you. You will be my friends forever."
The suggestion that you can teach kids good sportsmanship through poker is just a bunch of hooey, pure and simple.
It's a crass attempt to begin creating a new generation of gamblers so that the gambling industry can be assured of more losers in the future.
Another "educational" challenge comes to mind. The Nevada North people aspire to use poker to teach communication skills.
Give me a break. First of all, if you've taken the time to watch poker competitions on TV you will know that, except for some grunting, muttering, and body language, there's not very much communicating going on.
Furthermore, how do you teach effective communications through a game based on secrecy, bluff and deception? And even if you do manage to teach communication skills through poker, they won't be the kind of skills that lead to healthy human interactions in a civil society.
As for math skills, poker is a negative sum game for most players, so the experience might be useful to teach subtraction, how to go from having some money to having none.
Adding up the human damage from gambling is much more difficult, however, but considerably more pernicious.
We all know the terrible effects of gambling: family breakdown and violence, criminal activity and suicide, to name a few.
I don't think that we as responsible adults want to start our children down this road of delusion and despair.
But the organizers say that we shouldn't worry. They promise to provide a speaker who will lecture the little tykes on the subject of problem gambling.
How noble of them. Before making such promises they should spend some time in a few classrooms to see for themselves what they're up against.
At the end of the day, gambling is an emotional activity, concealed though it may be at the poker table. Trying to teach children to be emotionally mature and self-aware is like trying to rationalize with a charging grizzly bear. Good luck.
We've allowed out children to be exploited in a number of ways.
We watch as they are bombarded by junk food promotions.
Later we shake our heads and bemoan ballooning obesity amongst the young.
We allow them to be subjected to violent video games, to internet chat rooms, and to porn sites.
First we allow our kids to be exposed to various abuses, and then we scream for justice when some pervert takes advantage of their vulnerability.
Now we have a gaming business using deceptive techniques based on educational concepts wishing to turn young, innocent members of society into gamblers.
Shame on Nevada North, and shame on us if we sit back and do nothing about it.
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