Online Gambling

See Dick Gamble

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mario1

"Predicting Gambling Behavior From Sixth Grade to Kindergarten Impulsivity: A Tale of Developmental Continuity," is a mouthful. It's also a new report in the Archives of Pediatrics And Adolescent Medicine that links restless elementary school kids to adult gambling problems later in life:

Problematic gambling in adults is associated with substance use, depression and suicide, psychopathology, poor general health and a multitude of family, legal and criminal problems…

Most disconcerting is that young people seem more vulnerable than adults to gambling-related morbidity [illness] and suicidality. Data suggest that in most cases, youthful recreational gambling predates pathological gambling in adulthood.

Maybe there's something to this study, but it seems like a real stretch. Apart from report's hints that gambling is a life-long addiction, the students' dispositions were first marked up like a report card:

At the beginning of the school year, teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire rating their students' inattentiveness, distractibility and hyperactivity on a scale from one to nine (with higher values indicating a higher degree of impulsiveness). After six years, when the children were an average of 11.5 years old, they were interviewed by phone and asked whether and how often they played cards or bingo, bought lottery tickets, played video games or video poker for money or placed bets at sports venues or with friends.

The Annoying Little Brat rating system seems arbitrary and a bit unsettling, seeing that it could be used simply to describe "problem children" as well as providing "evidence" for anti-gambling advocates.

But the dangerous correlation between games of chance and restlessness should not be downplayed.

See, the Winkler Family Patriarch loved to trick his spawn into playing "the quiet game." If the child could sit silent and still for a certain period of time, then he/she got little chocolate bars as winnings. A loss meant the old man had found someone to shave his back, and as the years progressed, the stakes got higher. The patriarch always gave 3-1 odds. And the house always won.

Less weird is this interesting cultural history of America's fascination with chance.

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  1. ” Hi, my name’s Jeff.”

    “I remember my first bet. My friend Timmy double-dog dared me…”

  2. Valentino’s in a cold sweat
    placed all his money on that last bet
    against the odds he smokes another cigarette
    says that it helps him to forget
    that he’s a nervous wreck

  3. I’m not sure I like the modern trend towards pathologizing every behavior we find annoying or distruptive. Where is it written that all social interactions need be harmonious? Friction is part of the fun.

  4. Is the headline a referance to going bareback?

  5. Wouldn’t restlessness and gambling also correlate with other risk taking activity, like starting a buisness, inventing something new, or challenging a government policy? I’ve got a horrible image of teachers demanding ritilan for any student that displaces risk taking behavior.

  6. Younger and younger kids are suffering from depression. They say that more kids are beginning to see the sippy-cup as half-empty.

  7. bought lottery tickets?

    at 11.5 yrs old?

    I can see it now..a pretween walking into a quickie_mart with a fake beard, slapping 2 bucks on the counter asking for a gold scratcher.

  8. Maybe the kids are bored and restless because they have to sit in a chair ALL DAY!!!!

  9. I briefly worked at a convenience store years ago, and a grandmother sent her 7 year old granddaughter into the store with money for the gas just pumped and a lottery ticket.

    Needless to say, I didn’t sell it to her and grandma had to walk 15 ft into the store to buy her own ticket. Not all cashiers would bother, though.

  10. I see where all of this pseudo psychology is going . . .

    “Mr. Speaker, I want to introduce HR8232, the “Protect the Children Once More” act, to keep children from ever entering into games of chance, lest they become pathological gamblers in the future and . . . Why, there is a study that backs up this very concern, so I don’t know what the rest of my colleagues are laughing about!”

  11. What is the mechanism behind gambling addiction?

  12. Gambling is the most degenerate of vices.

  13. You are wrong, SIV.

  14. “Not all cashiers would bother, though.”

    Yep.

  15. God damn it, I’m not even supposed to be here today.

  16. Actually, I completely forgot about that scene in Clerks where Randall sells cigs to a 5 year old but Dante takes the rap. Good call.

  17. I don’t buy it:

    “I can see it now..a pretween walking into a quickie_mart with a fake beard, slapping 2 bucks on the counter asking for a gold scratcher.”

    In Texas at least, you can buy scratch-off tickets out of vending machines.

  18. Here’s a forensic psychologist who has a great read on this study (and a lot of other things):

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/03/impulsivity_in_kindergarten_do.html

    He points out that the sources for the very premise of the study (“Data suggest that in most cases, youthful recreational gambling predates pathological gambling in adulthood. (1,2,8,9)”) are circular, and that those sources use a different definition of ‘gambling’ than the study itself does, and that neither the study or those sources use “gambling” to mean what any of us usually think of “gambling” as. Is playing bingo down at your church gambling? It is, according to this study.

    It’s crap.

  19. I was a restless, impulsive kid that constantly disrupted the class. I also played marbles for keeps and was pretty good at it.

    I can walk past any one-armed bandit without even a sly wink. I can’t remember the last time I gambled, though I enjoy wandering through casinos with a glass of wine in my hand.

    I have gambled and won. My very first time I won $360.00 on a $1.00 bet. You’d think I would have been hooked for life. It was pretty cool. I tried to wire the money home to avoid spending it. In those days that wasn’t possible from Carson City Nevada.

    So, in at least one anecdotal case, mine, the study doesn’t fly.

    On the down side, I do know a few gambling horror stories first hand. Not pretty.

  20. TWC, I, otoh, was a model child. perfect grades, never acted out, sat quietly in class, very attentive. Other than porn, pills, booze and gambling, I have no addictions. I can’t go to casinos. I would sell my ass to OLS for more slots money.

  21. I can’t go to casinos. I would sell my ass to OLS for more slots money.

    Bro, that is just why they keep you in a monastery. 🙂

    As Clint Eastwood once said: A man has to know his own limitations.

    Therefore, it is a virtue that you simply stay out of casinos.

  22. A loss meant the old man had found someone to shave his back, and as the years progressed, the stakes got higher.

    Higher as in height, so you had to shave his head? Or higher as in progressively twisted, so you had to shave his butt?

  23. Brandybuck,

    I was thinking something along those lines as well.

  24. “I would sell my ass to OLS for more slots money.”

    That’s pretty bad. He would probably try to mount it on his border fence as a warning.

    Remember, illegals, that your asses will be mine!

  25. I wouldn’t be surprised if gambling is linked to a gene that makes a person more prone to risky behavior. Risk adverse kids don’t gamble on passing notes, etc. because they fear they’ll get caught. Less risk adverse kids take a shot at misbehaving because they only see the reward.

    All that said, there is no genetic explanation for why people play pachinko.

  26. that scene in Clerks…

    That’s it. I have a nemesis, and thy name is the innominate one.

    To the mattresses!

  27. Winkler is one of those people that loves to divulge too much info about himself too early in the relationship.

  28. See, the Winkler Family Patriarch loved to trick his spawn into playing “the quiet game.”…

    The “good-natured” part of the good-natured ribbing is going to wear off post-haste if this keeps up, Mr Zuckercorn.

  29. Winkler is one of those people that loves to divulge too much info about himself too early in the relationship.

    What do you think we’re going to find out next?

  30. What do you think we’re going to find out next?

    I’m sincerely hoping it’s that the family patriarch is Henry Winkler. You can’t have too many Fonzie jokes, especially regarding shaving backs and whatnot.

    Jump the shark, Jeff! Do it!

  31. The “good-natured” part of the good-natured ribbing is going to wear off post-haste if this keeps up, Mr Zuckercorn.

    Oh, I could kiss you on the nuts!

  32. I’ve been reading Reason for a few months, and this is my first post; glad to contribute to the discourse:

    Ejercito: the mechanism behind gambling addiction is the release of dopamine and endorphines in the brains pleasure pathways, just like with a lot of drug addictions.

    There is a lot of research that links traits when people are younger to the propensity to become gambling addicts, I don’t have the research in front of me but (from memory) some of the traits are:
    -above average intelligence
    -ADD/ADHD
    -entreprenuership
    -social
    -leadership capacity (among peers)

    Of course a lot would also depend on conditioning, with one theory being that people are much more likely to become addicts if durring their first time gambling they expereince a ‘big win’ (multiple months of income) and little chance of addiction if they do not experience a big win near the beginning of their gaming experiences, this theory mostly only holds for men, with women gambling addicts generally stemming from gaming to ease stress or deal with emotional issues.

    There is deffinitely an argument to be made that the propensity to have a gambling addiction is a maladaptive trait that is related to beneficial evolutionary traits.

  33. Gambling is the most degenerate of vices.

    Wanna bet?

  34. FrBunny | March 6, 2009, 8:17am | #
    that scene in Clerks…

    That’s it. I have a nemesis, and thy name is the innominate one.

    To the mattresses!

    no, thanks on the invitation to the matresses. I prefer the ladies.

    or as Jay once said, I’m so straight, I don’t even like to see myself naked.

  35. no, thanks on the invitation to the matresses. I prefer the ladies.

    FrBunny is a lady.

    Gambling is the most degenerate of vices.

    Wanna bet?

    Kent: You’re all a bunch of degenerates.

    Chris Knight: We are? What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of Jell-O?

    Kent: You did not.

    Chris Knight: This is true.

    Kent: Look, it was hot and I was hungry, okay?

  36. What do you think we’re going to find out next?

    I don’t know what will be purposefully revealed, but the really important stuff usually is learned when it’s just you, a scary nurse, and a Qtip.

  37. Epi – really? I assumed Fr was short for father or friar, (friar bunny- heh), not fraulein or frau.

    in any case, I don’t do lagomorphs.

  38. in any case, I don’t do lagomorphs.

    So what you’re saying is that you’re a furry, but you just don’t do chicks in rabbit costumes. Other costumes are fine. Got it.

  39. It’s just as well. My attempts at gangland violence always end up more Spy vs. Spy than Godfather.

    And yep, Fr is Frau. Consider my heart broken.

  40. I’ve been teaching the New World Child to only play games of skill. At the age of 5, the girl is regularly beating her aunts at games like Mancala and Connect-4. She’s also getting good at chess and checkers. I’m also beginning to wonder when she’s going to start beating me. At 13, I could routinely beat my dad at Chess, so that’s kind of my over/under. What I can’t decide is if I should be proud or dismayed when the kid hits that mark…

  41. You should by a corvette, get a divorce, date a 26 year old, be insecure, but happy for her… isn’t that what most dads do?

  42. New World Dan, I find it admirable to teach the NWC how to prevail at games of skill. Chess and checkers are are all well and good, of course, but when do you plan to introduce her to a game of skill that can actually put cash in her pocket? I refer, of course, to poker.

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