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Underage Gambling Is A Complex Affair
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Underage Gambling Is A Complex Affair

The issue of underage gambling is an interesting one. On the one hand, many people agree that children should not be allowed to gamble and that steps should be in place to prevent it from happening, especially on online set-ups where it is easy to lie about one’s age. On the other hand, many groups are lobbying for reducing the legal gambling age from 21 to 18 in certain American states. Recently, this issue came into focus when the Foxwoods Resort Casino based in Connecticut considered this matter.

Some Background

Before heading into the Foxwoods issue, it’s important to get a little background on the matter. The Foxwoods Resort Casino is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. However, the tribe has an agreement with the state, which receives 25% of slot machine revenue from it and another Native American casino. The amount that is being made is sizable but off late, these casinos have been making less money. Foxwoods in particular has been losing out to a rival casino called Mohegan Sun casino. However, both these casinos are also losing out because of larger issues, these being that people are wagering less and that other casinos in other states are far more competitive.

One of the competitive advantages that other states like New York have is that the legal gambling age is 18. Rodney Butler, the chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council stated that not only should the legal gambling age be reduced but the time limit for legally selling alcohol at night should also be extended. While this was not a formal announcement, Butler is noted on record as having made this statement. It is called his statement as his own observations and that the tribe had no intention of pursuing the issues.

Loaded Issue

Lowering the gambling age is a loaded issue because 18 is deemed to be a legal age for a number of other activities. For instance, an 18-year old may serve in the military; a choice that most agree as a risky one. People who are 18 years old can also legally marry. So why is it that with gambling, 18 is not considered to be old enough? Those who are in favor of reducing the age limit say that if someone is old enough to die for the country, surely they are old enough to gamble money.

But opponents of this move are not convinced. It must be remembered that money plays a very strong role in gambling and there is a belief that even at 18, a person may not fully appreciate or be aware of how quickly money can come and go in gambling. It is far easier to get addicted at an early age. Apart from that, a youngster is more prone to resort to rash or illegal means to procure money. An older person will think twice before doing so.

Right now, it’s clear that there are no ready and clear solutions to this problem.

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