Please, stop blaming online gambling for everything!
I would usually just wave away
the normal cheap-shots against online gambling. But the
popularity of what I am about to talk about was the last straw!
In the past week, a medical
article surfaced on the Internet with original title
"Pathological Gambling in Parkinson's' disease" and subtitle
"Reducing or stopping dopamine agonists may help" with most
reprints titled in the sprit of "Online gambling dangerous to
Parkinson's patients" or something very similar. The article was
originally published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
First of all, I want to say to
anyone reprinting the article the wrong way: STOP IT ALREADY!
Obviously there are a lot of folks out there willing to spin
thing around just so they could benefit from it.
Let me set a few things
straight about this "study". I am no doctor, nor I have any
medical degree, but I know how to do my homework, and I set out
to find what lays behind this "new" medical article, because it
instantly rung a bell - why is this article published in the
British Medical Journal during a time when the U.K. is
considering licensing 17 new casinos in the country...
But before I go ahead, I would
like to mention to our readers, that most online portals do not
publish their own news - websites such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL and
many more, which you may be using to read the latest news - all
of them use news agencies, such as the Associated Press and
Reuters. So basically they just copy whatever the news agency is
sending them, usually without even reading it in dept. That
said, I don't blame them for not paying much attention. But our
website is industry focused, so I just had to take a second
As I mentioned earlier, the
publication in the BMJ was published quite conveniently for the
opposition of the U.K.'s gambling expansion.
- First - this is NOT a
study. The authors of the article Sui H Wong and Malcolm J
Staiger did not tell us anything new - all they did was a
compilation of citations from old articles, much like
putting a bunch of old Metallica songs on a CD and calling
it the new Guns N' Roses album.
- Some of those citations
are from studies done as early as the year 2000.
- In the whole article,
there was only one small paragraph, mentioning Internet
gambling. As a matter of fact, here is the whole paragraph I
am talking about, quote:
"About 5.8 million people in the UK—one in 10 internet users—log on to
internet gambling sites each month. This is expected to rise
as more households connect to the internet and as the use of
broadband increases. Many internet gambling companies
actively lure gamblers with pop-ups to place free bets.
This marketing technique is pervasive and can
make it hard for vulnerable people to wean themselves off
The underlined sentence actually references a work in
progress with Mr. Wong as one of the authors, but do you see
the words used: "vulnerable people"? Pretty broad term for a
topical medical article. I cannot wait for Mr. Wong and the
rest of the authors to finish this case study.
- It is true that studies
have been made which link the medicine "Mirapex" (a dopamine
agonist) with pathological gambling behaviors. As a matter
of fact, the whole point of all the quotations in the
article is that the dopamine agonists could increase the
tendencies for pathological gambling in Parkinson's patients
treated with them. READ CAREFUL: THE DRUGS MAY LEAD TO
GAMBLING ADDICTION! Even the subtitle of the article
states it: "Reducing or stopping dopamine agonists may
help". Just because you suffer from Parkinson's disease it
does not mean that you will become compulsive Internet
- There are several lawsuit
filed against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc, the
manufacturer of "Miramex", because it may cause compulsive
behavior. Here is a quote from one of the websites dedicated
to collecting claims against "Miramex":
"The link between Mirapex gambling, sex and eating are
not the only compulsive behaviors being reported. There are
cases where the complainants have painted their homes ten to
fifteen times in the course of two months, and other
idiosyncratic behaviors. In virtually every alleged case,
the person involved had no prior history of obsessive or
- Many other dopamine
agonists, such as "Rotigotine" by Schwarz Pharma AG and "Ropinirole"
by GlaxoSmithKline list the urge to gamble as a side effect
of their drug.
My head already hurts from all
this medical mambo-jambo, so I think this should be enough to
prove my point: Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson's
disease may cause gambling addiction.
Oh, and did I mention that
every person who stopped the dopamine agonist treatment stop
showing any signs of compulsive behavior.
So, to everyone trying to make
an Internet gambling case out of this - CUT IT OFF!!!