On the cover of the Aug. 22 issue of Newsweek — once one of the most respected news magazines in the country — is a boy, maybe 10 years old, holding up a tablet with a clip art royal flush sloppily pasted on it. The story attached to it details how the expansion of regulated online gambling in this country is a threat to our children. The headline sets the tone for the article “How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand.”
As soon as the article was published online the poker industry took the magazine, and Leah McGrath Goodman — the writer, to task. The piece lacked some basic research and omitted key stats that would have given Newsweek readers the opportunity to form an opinion of their own rather than having one shoved down their throat. The rhetoric used by the anti-gaming lobby was taken at its word — for instance, the belief that geolocation didn’t work, when in fact regulators feel it has performed up to the required standards.
The most glaring omission is the data from each regulator (Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware) on the number of reported cases of underage online gaming in those states. There are two reasons why McGrath Goodman left that key piece of information out of the story. Either she got lazy and didn’t actually check with the regulatory bodies in those states or she realized that it would hurt her position that children are somehow at risk in a regulated world. Why?
Because Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have a combined ZERO cases of underage gaming reported since games went active in 2013. And those regulators are actively looking for it. In the states where there are no regulations, and offshore operators are still active, who’s preventing kids from the exact thing that McGrath Goodman is concerned about? Nobody.
If McGrath Goodman is as concerned about the safety of children as she claimed on Twitter, she’d have done the necessary research and would instead be pushing for regulation on a federal level.
Editor in Chief