Vice Squad
Monday, May 17, 2004
More College Poker

When did I become a curmudgeon? I find the boom in poker playing among US college students to be disconcerting. I keep seeing tragedy brewing, both in terms of the running up of enormous debts, and in some nasty legal consequences. I have no problem with low stakes, small poker games among friends, but I am worried that college games are becoming too large, too organized, and involve too much money. Here's the latest newspaper account, this time of poker at the University of Georgia.

Update: Will Baude at Crescat Sententia provides a non-curmudgeonly response to this post -- though his list of illegal activities by college students might fan curmudgeonly flames in others: "drinking illegally, buying liquor for those who will drink illegally, not reporting certain kinds of income on their tax form, not filing taxes at all, and consuming and dealing myriad other substances and services whose markets are prohibited by law." (Oh for those days of 'borrowing' the mascot of the rival school!) On the point about whether the college-aged should be allowed to gamble, I agree with Will on the small-stakes stuff; when stakes get large, I would be inclined to support some regulation for the college-aged or older. My concern about legal consequences pertains to the college kids who organize these games, and possibly to the schools that are passive in the face of publicized illegal activity taking place on their campuses. Some prosecutors might feel compelled to go after even small-stakes gambling if it falls within the illegal realm and becomes publicized.

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