Post Classifieds

Online gambling detracts from student education

On September 14, 2006

  • Oxford citizens meet Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the League of Women Voters candidates forum to discuss issues and candidates' platforms running for various city positions in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.

The kid in class one seat over, folks on library computers and roommates that never leave their desk - online gambling has become a serious hobby for some students on Miami University's campus. Whether for real money or not, the editorial board has noticed the surge in online gambling participants around campus. Due to the illegality of the issue at hand, we believe that Miami would be justified in banning gambling Web sites on-campus.

Technically, online gambling in the United States is illegal under the Wire Act of 1961 which prohibits the use of wire communication to place bets and is said to also extend to online gambling. The illegality of the situation would lend merit to any university decision to cut the wire on students' distraction. A few years ago, a similar situation arose when Miami pulled the plug on all music downloading capabilities on-campus, putting a serious dent in multiplying music collections. Prohibiting online gambling sites that require real bets would be a similar measure to prohibiting illegal online music sharing.

Then, there is the fact that gambling can easily devolve into an addiction. Online gambling is especially predisposed to such compulsion. It is far more personal and anonymous than sitting down with a group of buddies to play poker and it can be done at any time of day. Additionally, users can fly through online gambling games at a much quicker pace than traditional, live methods of gambling. Online gambling is under the radar - only the user is tuned in and no one else is present to judge, participate or otherwise make one feel uncomfortable about playing. Overall, online gambling has the potential to become an addiction, the same as other addictive substances banned on university property.

There are some people of the opinion that Miami is merely a university and its sole responsibility is to educate, not to be the moral backbone or micromanager of its students' lives. Nevertheless, there is an understandable role for the university in student life and Miami in particular has taken on that role for the betterment and increased quality of students' education, health and safety. Why else do we have counseling services, an alcohol task force or other amenities toward reducing risk and heightening students' capacity for learning? For those who believe the university should only be involved with its students' education, the editorial board argues that limiting a student's participation in illegal activities, including online gambling, is a promotion of the student's main objective at this university - to obtain an education.

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