We Don’t Need to Think of the Children
I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself. Every day, I read and hear all the batshit insane things that Donald Trump and his Band of Buffoons say and do and I want to be put into a medically-induced coma for an indeterminate length of time. So of course, to ease my mood, I start thinking of the more “reasonable” Republicans in Congress, Senator Lindsey Graham, only to be slapped in the face with the realization that he’s as full of shit as anybody. Graham is, after all, the jock carrier for bridge troll Sheldon Adelson and his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). Which gets me to my point: in arguing against online poker, Adelson and his Army of Assholes constantly invoke the old, “won’t anyone think of the children” line.
How about we stop thinking of the children so damn much?
I know. Shocking statement, right? But whenever I hear someone break out the “children” clause of why we shouldn’t be allowed to do something, I just have to roll my eyes.
I’m a father of two elementary school-aged children. They play Minecraft. They play Roblox. They watch stupid YouTube videos. My daughter sometimes shuts herself in her room and watches videos. And you know what? I am not particularly worried that I am going to open my credit card statement (let’s pretend that I still receive my statements in the mail, just for the visual) and see a $10,000 charge at Honest Karl’s Poker & Bingo Emporium.
I’m not perfect and neither are my kids, but because I am their dad and they tend to listen to me as much as an eight and a ten-year old will listen, they understand what they are allowed and not allowed to do. They know, because I have discussed it with them, that they are not to make any online purchases without my permission. They know that if they aren’t sure if a video or a game is appropriate, they should ask me first.
Now, I don’t have any active online poker accounts since I live in the United States, but if I did it would certainly be possible for my kids to get into them and lose a bunch of money. But this isn’t a reason to ban online poker. This is a reason to put reasonable regulations in place and solid account protection and deposit limit options on accounts. That way, we parents have obstacles we can put in place for a “just in case scenario.”
You know how much money my kids could spend making in-game purchases on Roblox or Plants vs. Zombies or some bullshit little mobile game? You know how much money ADULTS drop on that stuff every day? All of that is perfectly legal – you don’t hear Lindsey Graham or Sheldon Adelson thinking about the children with Clash Royale.
The bottom line is that I, as a parent, can properly educate my kids on the ins and outs of the internet and responsibility. I can take my own precautions, like password protecting accounts and not having a credit card linked to their games, just in case my kids still get itchy clicking fingers. Sheldon Adelson doesn’t need to help me with that. And if shit still happens, I’ll deal with it. That’s life.
And besides, Sheldon Adelson doesn’t know fuck-all about internet poker. This is a guy who said to Bloomberg.com, “For instance, here in the land based casinos, we’re required to have the dealers shuffle the cards a certain way. How do you do that on the internet? Here, we’re not supposed to allow under-aged people to gamble. How do you do that on the internet? There’s no technology that a kid can’t get around.”
Maybe he has a point. After Donald Trump did say his son was great at the cyber.
All of this is really just shouting into the wind, anyway, as it’s not like Adelson, Graham, or any of the other pseudo-Puritanic Republicans are really concerned about the well-being of my children and my pocketbook. All they give a shit about is themselves and their own vaults full of gold coins. Lest we forget, the “think of the children” argument is a smoke screen designed to make Adelson’s attempts to stifle competition look like he concerned for all of us people who can’t protect ourselves.
The best part is that Adelson, for all of his riches and supposed smarts, is an idiot when it comes to online poker. He thinks online gambling will hurt his brick-and-mortar gambling businesses (which have gotten fined LOADS of times for allowing underage teens to gamble) when such sites really complement land-based casinos and help develop new customers.
But let’s think of the children.