by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
Although the online casino or poker room has yet to be identified, Cape Breton University (Nova Scotia, Canada) is offering free tuition as the grand prize in an online poker tournament, stirring much controversy within the ranks.
Matt Stewart, president of the Students Union at the University expressed his assent of the tournament, saying, “There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s like a free competition to me. If you are good at it, may the best person win.”
The tournament has been advertised throughout the campus and via messages on Facebook, but the name of the internet gambling establishment has not yet been released. The promotional campaign offers a $5,660 tuition fee to one online gamer per week, among other prizes. Because the students do not have to buy-in to the tournament, Stewart feels that the tournament is as innocent as a raffle or bursary.
“There are so many other resources out there to get people gambling; I don’t think a free tournament is going to do it,” he opined.
There have been several arguments opposing the tournament, however, labeling it problem gambling as the potential outcome. “I would suggest the university not encourage this behavior because it could lead to excessive problems,” claims Jeffrey Devrensky, a psychology professor at McGill University. “I put it in the same realm as drinking on campus; doing drugs on campus.”
The professor’s argument is that because the human brain does not reach its full maturity until the age of 24, the demographic that this tournament is aimed toward is at high risk for developing gaming addictions.
It has not been announced whether the online poker tournaments will continue, or whether the Video Online Lottery Terminators Society will shut the operation down.