Gambling could easily be considered one of Americaís most prominent entertainment activities. Despite having so many heavy legal restrictions in place, the availability and participation in gambling has been seen an undeniable upsurge in recent years. The internet has enabled both the poker and fantasy football crazes of the last decade. It also makes it possible to play slot and casino games much more easily.
Gamblers may have a problem without spiralling completely out of control but problem gamblers, on the other hand, engage in behaviour that undeniably disrupts their life. The first, and biggest step is simply realizing that one has a problem.
The thing that sets gambling addictions apart from drug addictions is that they have more to do with a lack of impulse control rather than a substance based disorder. Indeed, the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) observed the rising issue of problem gambling in the USA, identifying problem gambling as much more common than alcohol dependence. Throughout the last decade, over 80% of Americans gamble each year and at least 5% of those develop a serious gambling problem. In fact, around 750,000 of U.S. youth between the ages of 14 and 21 struggle with problem gambling.
Based on the study by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the risk of developing a gambling addiction doubles for youths in college settings. Moreover, statistics have shown a link between serious gambling addictions and the probability of engaging in criminal activity. At least 50% of individuals struggling with gambling problems go on to commit crimes to sustain their addiction.
Interestingly, more and more people contacting helplines or seeking treatment have cited EGMs (Electronic Gaming Machines) as their main form of gambling, on an international level. Incidentally, EGMs also happen to be the method most likely to lead to problem gambling over other any other form of gambling.
Understanding the impact of problem gambling
There are countless ways in which gambling problems could harm an individual and their family. Financially speaking, once problem gambling begins to dip into the family’s savings, their belongings and their property are also at risk of being lost simply to support the individualís addiction. This, in turn, could bring about strong feelings of animosity between family members, leading to the emotional turmoil and shame that only worsens the situation. The problem is a lot more difficult to resolve when the individual is completely isolated and is missing the support they desperately need.
It is no surprise, then, that families under such pressure struggle to cope, particularly when children are involved. The child may begin to feel forgotten, angry, and depressed, thinking that they are the root of the problem. Family violence could also arise in light of gambling problems, in the form of physical or emotional abuse towards the partner or their children.
Furthermore, problem gambling has its impact on an even deeper level. The psychiatric co-morbidities involved could include anxiety, depression and potentially any sort of substance dependence. Regrettably, treatment for problem gambling seems to be far less successful than substance abuse treatments, mostly due to the lack of pharmacological treatment to prevent relapses that is available for drug addicts and alcoholics. Without any suitable pharmacological treatment, there is no way to prevent an individual from gambling at online casinos. SaferGaming.com, a new NGO, has been founded to raise more awareness around these issues and therefore, help sufferers.
The main goal of treatment is to get rid of the overpowering craving of wanting to be in a state of gambling trance, ultimately helping the addict regain control over their own emotions and actions to a level of stability.
The race for the presidency has done it’s usual job of highlighting the opinions of candidates on almost every topic imaginable. With a difference.
In recent weeks, we have come to learn of Donald Trump’s financial skills as he became the self-declared “King of Debt”. Though self-praise is usually considered to be no praise at all, in Trump’s case it might well be true. Very few of us have had as much experience with borrowed money as he has, including bankruptcy.
Obviously, much of his experience relates to corporate loans – which, it ought to be pointed out, is different to a national debt – rather than personal debt. Still experience is experience!
The reality for most Americans is that personal debt levels are high, wages have been stuck for what seems like forever, and bills still need to be paid. While boasting about being a billionaire is great, it does not make it obvious that you understand the realities of life faced by the rest of society.
With times and money tight, keeping on top of the monthly finances is a struggle for many families, especially when the impact of not making loan payments is so far reaching. It is well known that a bad credit score can cause problems for years to come.
The risks we each understand about our own ability to borrow could also be equated to Mr Trump’s ideas about restructuring debt or using inflation. Needless to say, this works a little differently when applied to the largest economy in the world than when thinking about the finances of a family.
It is important for individuals and families to keep a close eye on their credit score because should something go wrong, perhaps identity fraud, unpaid payments or a mix up between different people with the same name, the costs to borrow in the future can increase dramatically. In some circumstances it is possible that borrowing becomes almost impossible in the future.
There are a number of services that can be used by families check their credit score for free, such as CafeCredit.com, where the main services are compared. Maintaining a close watch on consumer financial services has proven to be important enough for President Obama to be interested in, so it ought to be important enough for each of us as well.
The ongoing release of leaked documents relating to Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, provides a small but useful window into the world of international business and offshore finance.
While the world’s media has rightly been focusing on the people of wealth, position and power that have been exposed, there are other angles that have received much less attention but also provide lessons. Most of the exposès are of people that have been caught doing things that they should not have been doing, but there are many reasons why international finance is useful.
Firstly, there were relatively few Americans caught in this net. There are many possible reasons for this, including the close proximity of Caribbean Islands, the existence of Delaware and the aggressive stance taken by the IRS against tax evasion. Even though the IRS and American courts are notoriously harsh with tax evaders, there clearly are ways to operate legally, as has been shown by the current presidential candidates.
Additionally, because America is so large, most people can move and change their lives, but stay in the USA. In other locations, such as Europe, moving from one country to another, is much more likely and frequent. Once a person begins to become international, it is much easier to structure finances legally to minimise taxes. Whilst it is very difficult to legally change domicile and many countries use a different country of domicile definition from each other, becoming tax resident in a new country can be surprisingly easy.
While the United States is, by definition, a country based on immigration, and there must be a great many Americans with dual nationality, this is also more likely in Europe. While dual citizenship does not guarantee that a person will pay less taxes, it can provide opportunities to be more selective about how personal finances are structured and therefore how much is paid to whom.
And yet it is the rich, famous and powerful of the world that have mostly been caught in the Panama Papers trap and for good reason. For many of these individuals, the nature of their work or income means that they personally need to be resident in a high tax country. This means that their opportunities to legally reduce their tax burden are limited and using the services of a company based in black-listed Panama is likely to be stepping outside of the bounds of legality. After all, if their structures really were one hundred percent legal, they would not have needed to use a jurisdiction that provides secrecy.
However, while there clearly are many lessons to be learned about personal taxation and international finance, perhaps the most pressing is to only work with law firms that take their data security incredibly seriously.
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party’s front-runner, hits controversy during the latest episode of Meet the Press, after making a remark about abortion that dismayed not just the pro-life, but also the pro-choice, which Clinton is known to be in support of.
The issue circulates around Clinton’s statement when asked whether a fetus has constitutional rights, to which the aspiring next President of the U.S. replied, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”
“Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support,” Clinton added.
Pro-choice activist have long been sensitive about using the terms “person” or “child” to describe the fetus, since using such terminologies imply that it is already “human,” which they firmly believe to not be the case. The group stands by the ideal that a fetus is a form of “life,” but is not yet a “person,” and therefore does not yet have legal rights and statuses. This also means that since it is not yet a “person,” it is not yet protected by the laws against homicide, according to MRC NewsBusters.
To be clear about the sensitive terminologies involved in the issue of abortion, the International Planned Parenthood Federation has created a guideline that discourages the use of abovementioned terms and instead encourages “more accurate/appropriate” alternatives such as “end a pregnancy” or “have an abortion,” something that Clinton failed to remember, thus dubbed being ignorant of her own agenda.
“‘Abort a child’ is medically inaccurate, as the fetus is not yet a child. “’Terminate’ a pregnancy is commonly used, however some people prefer to avoid this as terminate may have negative connotation for some people,” the guide reads, according to Washington Times.
After seemingly realizing her faulty statement and the irony of her use of “person” yet declaring that they do not have constitutional rights, Clinton elaborated her views in hopes to defend her statement.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can, in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support,” Clinton added, according to Live Action News.
“Women have the Constitutional right to make these most intimate and personal and difficult decisions based on their conscience, their faith, their family, their doctor and that it is something that really goes to the core of privacy,” she further explains, according to Daily Mail.
Abortion has been one of the more common topics during the campaign period, thus, Clinton’s gaffe and the attention it is getting from citizens reached unexpected media coverage.
Donald Trump wins Nevada Caucus (Photo: Twitter Photo Section)
Donald Trump just won the Nevada caucuses, making it the businessman’s third caucus win since the nomination started.
Republican voters went to different caucus areas of the fourth nomination contest, lines piling from 8 to 10 p.m. EST. Voters were given paper ballots to casts their votes in and the final announcement was made 12 midnight EST, or 9 p.m. Vegas time, according to NBC News.
With the announcement of Trump’s victory, a crowd of supporters joined the victory party at the Treasure Island hotel. Cheers were loud when the announcement was made and Trump had a lot of things to say about his third consecutive caucus victory.
“If you listen to the pundits, we weren’t expected to win too much — and now we’re winning, winning, winning the country… It’s going to be an amazing two months. We might not even need the two months, folks,” a triumphant Trump declared to the crowd at his victory party, according to The Washington Post.
In previous caucus results, Trump lead an average of 20 percentage points over other candidates like Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz. For the Nevada turnout, Trumps lead was even higher than previous caucus results.
The result greatly increased the billionaire’s morale about his campaign and the strength of his appeal to the American citizens. He has won the primary elections in New England, the South, and the far West. He won over independent voters in New Hampshire and evangelicals in South Carolina, and prevailed in Nevada, where Mormon voters and rural activists wield influence, according to The New York Times.
What Does Trump’s Winnings Mean?
Before the start of the caucuses, the billionaire already has 67 delegates to his side. Nevada has 30 delegates that will be divided to the candidates, depending on the turnout of the caucus. Hence, an additional 13 delegates from the Nevada caucus will be taken by Trump. For the candidate to be the official nominee, they will need to gain 1,237 delegates, and given the streak that Trump is having, the billionaire could be very well on his way to winning the nomination race, according to ATTN.
Nevada was a hard state to predict due to its low turnout, but Trumps win has been half-expected, considering that the billionaire owns a considerable amount of hotels and casinos in the area.
Overall, Trump’s winning streak is a message to everyone that a Trump presidency is something that should be taken as a serious possibility.
President Obama Asks Congress To Allocate Funds For Zika Virus Vaccine (Photo: Twitter/WhiteHouse)
With the growing concern on the explosion of Zika Virus, President Barack Obama has asked the congress to allocate $1.8 billion in emergency funds for research on a cure and a vaccine.
The most affected areas by the virus are South and Central America, and the Caribbean. And although it is not as lethal as other recent viruses (e.g. Ebola), it is gaining attention because it greatly affects pregnant women, with the effects manifesting on the babies upon birth.
Obama made great emphasis on vaccine production, with $200 million of the said Zika emergency fund to be exclusive on the research, development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic test for the virus, In the United States and abroad, according to Reuters.
Even until today, it is still fairly difficult for scientists to make a vaccine good enough to be approved by the different requirements and standards that the government has set. It usually takes several years for a single vaccine to be fully announced effective and safe.
Today, vaccines must meet many more government benchmarks before drug makers bring it to market. It takes several years of lab research for scientists to figure out what the antigen is to stop a disease.
In the case of Zika, it is unlikely the epidemic will be over any time soon so a vaccine can be very helpful. As it spreads explosively all over the southern Americas and all over the world, World Health Organization scientists are projecting that three to four million people will be infected by the virus in America, this year alone.
Zika’s risk seems restrained to pregnant women whose unborn babies develop a birth defect called microcephaly – a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than how it normally should be. Zika is also linked to Gullian-Barre, another neurological disease that results in the paralyses of the affected person. But none of these are conclusive yet, with the relationship based on the increased number of Zika infections and microcephaly cases in Brazil, according to CNN.
“Protecting Americans, particularly children, from communicable diseases is a high priority for everyone,” said McConnell Deputy Chief of Staff Don Stewart. “Congress would consider the emergency funding proposal, but in the context of larger budget and given limited federal resources, we expect the administration will brief Congress on their funding priorities at the briefing,” Stewart added.
Asked how the government would pay for the $1.8 billion plan, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “Those are the kinds of things Congress will have to work out,” USA Today reported.
While people await for a solution to Zika, a lot of issues on travels have been raised, especially with the upcoming Olympic Games that is set to happen in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, which is one of the countries majorly affected by the virus. The United States Olympic Committee has told athletes and staff that they should consider skipping the event if they have health concerns about Zika, according Washington Business Journal.