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People’s column

Gambling takes

toll on youth

Editor, OBSERVER:

Underage gambling is a growing concern in New York state.

The explosion of internet gambling and gaming opportunities — combined with the inescapable advertising and marketing of gaming and gambling everywhere from television to the corner store — relentlessly expose our children to enticing messages of winning, risk-taking and excitement from a very early age.

Alarming statistics reveal that almost 40 percent of youth ages 12-17 have gambled this past year with in-game items or real money, and 30 percent of these youth state that they began gambling at age 10 or younger.

Youth who gamble are more likely to get lower grades, use tobacco and illegal drugs, get into fights, have mental health issues and become involved in crime. And studies show the earlier a child starts gambling, the more likely they are to have problems due to gambling later in life.

Parents of children as young as six years old can reduce the risk of their kids ending up with a gambling problem by talking with them about gambling. Start by asking questions — and listening. And, help them figure out sensible alternatives to gambling.

To learn helpful tips and view brief educational videos showing real-life scenarios of parents speaking with their children about the possible serious consequences of their gaming and gambling activities, please visit Talk2Kids.org.

JIM MANEY,

executive director,

New York Council on Problem Gambling

Both parties share

blame for our woes

Editor, OBSERVER:

I would like to comment on a recent letter headlined, “Elected officials serve country.”

The author specifically highlights Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress as a whole. How can the blame be put on one person or one party?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is guilty of the same accusations that are thrown at Mitch McConnell. There are numerous bills that she refuses to bring up for a vote in the House. She has also asked her Democratic colleagues to suspend the three day waiting period before voting on a bill and every single House Democrat has fallen in line and voted for suspension of the rule.

The rule is in place so our Representatives have time to actually read the bill before voting. More worrisome is the fact that the bills she wants rushed to a vote are the ones that strip our rights even more.

Where is the outrage? Both sides are corrupt. Both sides have played us for decades. There is no longer any major differences between Republicans and Democrats. They govern from different sides of the same coin. It’s time to get on board with a third party.

JACOB BRUNECZ,

Brocton

COMMENTS