Online Gambling Bankrupts Souls

Poker chips

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By Jaron Zanerhaft

On Friday, the FBI shut down three of the largest internet gambling
sites to cater to US citizens.  Online gambling has been illegal for
years, yet as addicts of any type know, legality is only a speed bump
to accomplishing the goals of an addiction.  And American money is
certainly no exception.  The FBI has issued a lawsuit requiring the
forfeiture of $3 billion among the three websites seized, funds
accumulated by money laundering.

Online gambling does so much more harm than providing all but untraceable means for money laundering.  It harms the soul of the individual participating at least as much as it harms his pocketbook. An isolating, coaxing tunnel towards one of the worst forms of
addiction, online gambling grants only the anonymity of losing oneself.

Strangely, I believe that the anonymity of this digital lawless terrain feeds hungry gambling addictions.  But it is not the same anonymity that the voice of recovery preaches. In cyberspace, you can be someone who is nothing like your real self, you can let go of all the natural inhibitions that hold your conscience in check, but even if you try to be yourself, the limitations of interpersonal contact (no facial expressions, no voice infliction) necessitate at least a minor identity separation.  Still, the anonymity that comes with fraud
does not achieve the purpose of real anonymity.

I think that the value of anonymity comes from shifting the focus from yourself and your reputation to the subjects of your deeds.  When it doesn’t matter that you are the one who did a kind act, only that the act was done, you become grateful for being in a position to help. Even if you commit a harmful act anonymously, knowing that more evil
has been brought into the world because of you wares at your conscience.  Without an ego getting in the way of your decisions, you will easily and gracefully be lead down a decent path.  Do you have the strength to act justly without seeking credit?

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One Response to Online Gambling Bankrupts Souls

  1. Jonathan Stone says:

    I appreciate the message and overall point that you are trying to convey in this article, or atleast the point that gambling can lead one down a dark, terrible path. I met and know many people through my experience at Beit t Shuvah who have fallen and are recovering from gambling addictions.

    I must admit, however, that this article has some very glaring generalizations that I don’t think are fair, or correct. First of all, online poker (the game played on the above mentioned sites) is legal to play. I find it annoying that your entire first paragraph implies that this is not the case.

    Secondly, I think it is ignorant and one-sided to categorize all forms of gambling into one “soul-steeling” act. That is a fair opinion, but when it is stated as fact… well, it exposes a bias that seems to infiltrate every sentence of this article. In many states in fact, poker is considered a game of skill, not chance. Would you consider a “normie” who smokes weed and drinks occassionally to be off of a spiritual path simply because he does these things. If so, fine, but that is not what I have learned in my experience.

    Another point that you stated as fact, is that online gambling for these sites is assuradely a vessel for money laundering. This may be true, but that is not a courts ruling, that is your ruling. The inditement happened Friday, today is Tuesday, and nobody really knows what is going on in terms of whether anything illegal actually occured. You should probably, in fairness and at a minimum, point this out. That is, after all, one of the principles of recovery as I understand it, to withhold judgement until you have a decent set of facts to work with.

    The rest of the article goes on to make a point about the anonymity involved in online gambling, which I suppose is a fair classification, but may be rather irrelavent to some people with real gambling addictions, who perhaps get a high from being in the center of action at the craps table or casino hopping in Vegas.

    Everything I have just stated is my opinion, and I hope it is taken as such.

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