Son Loses £7k Playing Poker on Dad’s CC; Dad Raises Gambling Awareness With Monaco Tournament
The UK mainstream media reported a scary story about 12 year old Declan Hind who lost £7k playing internet poker on his dad’s credit card. The stories all take the line that “something should be done!”
Declan’s dad Keith has decided on action: He is now organizing a €5k buy in event in Monaco.
The story originates 18 months ago when Keith Hind gave his son the use of his credit card to buy Mom an online birthday card. Young Declan had developed a taste for play money online poker using his smartphone with his friends. Seduced by the sudden opportunity provided by possession of his father’s plastic, he apparently used his Dad’s details to set up an online account and play for real.
“It started off in school. My mate got into the poker games, it was free to download, we were all doing it. It was all virtual money but I got really good at it, I was making loads. I went on to one of the poker websites and put all the information in.”
Unfortunately things did not go well:
“I started making a bit, but not as much as I was losing.”
Eventually the credit card bill arrived and Keith discovered that over $10k had been spent at a poker site. One can only imagine the scene in their house as Declan admitted what had happened.
Naturally the mainstream media reports have focused on the ease with which a child could access supposedly age restricted gaming and they’ve added scare stories about gambling addiction in children. They are not wrong to do so, if the online poker industry is to flourish, then serious attention should be paid to ensuring that situations like this are minimized.
The poker forums generally criticize Dad for handing over the credit card, and the credit card companies for not seeking verification for the deposits. Some posters even question the story’s veracity suggesting that the companies such as Visa in the UK automatically have a £2k limit on any deposits to gaming sites. Multiple deposits are routinely questioned if they do not constitute normal card activity.
As these events happened well over a year ago, it could be argued that the current policies of the credit card companies have changed and would make it unlikely for the situation to repeat itself. It is extremely difficult for online sites to verify identity with 100% accuracy, and typically a pre-arranged telephone call is used in cases of doubt.
The reason the story has surfaced after 18 months is because Dad is working with a charity called Prevention Town to organize a live charity poker tournament in Monte Carlo. One third of the €5k buy in No Limit Hold’em event will be used for Prevention Town’s underage gambling prevention program.
The August event is being organized by promotions company Aces Out, and held aboard a luxury yacht in Monaco harbour. The event plans to start with three eight handed tables with six players making the final table. Top three places will pay €50k, €20k and €10k.
Aspirations run higher than this, with a follow up event to be held on the Christina O, the 325 foot yacht formerly owned by Aristotle Onassis. This event expects to award a €1 million first prize and have a €35k buy in.
Prevention Town’s accounts show that it raised a total of £40,987 in 2011, less than two buy ins for the proposed event.
It would be easy to take an uncharitable line and express a certain level of skepticism—and highlight the irony—but consider the positives: Poker is not being demonised in this story. Poker is being put forward as part of the solution. The problems of under age gambling addiction and insecure online poker transactions are problems that affect all poker players and we have as much interest in their solution as the rest of society.
Congratulations to Mr Hind for making poker a leading player in his campaign, and good luck to Prevention Town.