Is the news that 60% of young college students play poker and that most of them do it for money really that shocking? The research is based on replies from just 500 young people between 16 and 21 at MBO and HBO colleges in Eindhoven, which is hardly the basis for nationwide crazed-teen headlines.
And even if it is true, is there really cause for concern? These are probably the same children who had frenzied playground fights over ‘rare’ pokemon cards years ago and then switched to whatever craze came next.
At the moment poker is big news. So perhaps it is surprising that last week the national gambling board recommended that the government remove the state-owned Holland Casino’s monopoly on commercial poker and allow clubs and bars to organise their own tournaments – under strict conditions of course.
The goverment likes to keep all gambling under its control. Holland Casino, which is a nice little earner for the treasury, has the sole Dutch gambling licence – officials say this is the best way of curbing addiction.
But surely the best way of stopping teenagers getting addicted to gambling is to demystify it. A
roulette wheel in every playground, a card table in every school canteen. If there ever was a way to kill off a teenage craze, it is to make it completely acceptable to parents and politicians.
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