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1/21/14 5:30pm

Children At Risk From Online Gambling, Expert Says

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Photo via Shutterstock

Professor Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, recently urged schools to teach students about the dangers of gambling addiction due to increased exposure to online gambling sites.

One of the key risks Griffiths points out is how some sites allow new users to gamble with virtual money or even play for free, which could lead to deeper involvement and addiction once real money becomes involved. “When you start winning, you start thinking that, if I was playing with real money, I could be doing quite well,” Griffiths said in an interview with TES magazine. He went on to stress that this component could be especially dangerous to children. “One of the biggest predictors of whether people become gamblers is the playing of gambling-type games on free-play sites,” he said. “Children who play these free games are more likely to gamble and more likely to develop problem gambling behaviours. These are gateway activities that can lead people down the gambling road.”

Griffiths said that teachers stand to play a vital role in providing students lessons about potential risks and rewards, as well as understanding how gambling inherently creates more losers than winners. “I’ve always said that gambling and gaming is off the radar,” Griffiths said. “But teachers should start talking about these sorts of things. I don’t want to come across as an omen of doom. There’s nothing wrong with kids playing gambling-type games, but you have to accompany it with education.”

Watch an Australian news report on a slots game app popular with children: 

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By Shawn Dwyer

one more time

1/21/14 3:30pm

Lindsay Lohan Announces New Film at Sundance

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Lohan addresses press at Sundance. Photo via

With a camera crew from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN recording her every move for a new reality series, a smiling and upbeat Lindsay Lohan announced her intention to produce and star in the new indie feature Inconceivable. "It's a nice change to be back among people that are in the industry that I've been in since I was a kid," Lohan said in a tightly controlled news conference. 

Lohan chose to go outside the norm and make the announcement for the upcoming film at a presser during the festival, because it was “a special place” to do so, said producer and financier Randall Emmett. "I've never had the honor of coming here before ... to bring something to the table, which is starting fresh for me," Lohan said. "And I'm filming my Oprah docu-series right now, so I get to [reveal] that to the people who have been watching that as well.”

Of course, Lohan is once again trying to overcome her ongoing battles with substance abuse and legal issues. Just last year, she went to rehab for what seemed to be the umpteenth time following her arrest and sentence of probation for lying to police about smashing her Porsche into a truck in 2012. At the time, she was already on probation for her infamous necklace theft in 2011. She completed 90 days of rehab in the summer of 2013 and once again finds herself trying to revamp her career.

"It's therapeutic for me to throw myself into something that really excites me and something that I love to do so much," she said. "There's nothing better than having seen all of your ideas and thoughts that you've been thinking about to come to fruition and to share that with people. I think that's why I've always loved making movies so much. So it's nice to be able to have another position in the film rather than just showing up and being on the set."

Watch Lindsay Lohan's announcement:

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By Shawn Dwyer

the saga continues

1/21/14 1:00pm

LA Sheriff's Department: No Drugs in Bieber's Mansion

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Contrary to what TMZ's sources close to the Bieber estate raid said, an official Los Angeles Sheriff's Department spokesperson now denies that there was a smorgasbord of drugs found in Justin Bieber's Calabasas mansion. TMZ's original claim alleged there were bongs, cookie jars full of marijuana, and codeine for making sizzurp strewn about all over the place, a far cry from the zero drugs that the L.A. Sheriff's Department officially confirmed were in the Bieb's possession. Bieber himself was detained in his own garage while law enforcement searched for video evidence linking him to the $20,000 damage from an egg-throwing incident that they're looking to pin on him. Cops did however arrest Lil' Za, Bieber's live-in BFF for possessing drugs, possibly molly, that were left out in plain view.

Bieber himself was “furious” with the raid, according to Radar Online's sources. “He is obviously upset that cops basically had free rein and are going through his personal belongings in his house,” Radar's source says. So far, no charges have been laid against the 19-year-old in connection to the raid.

Watch TMZ's report on the raid:

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By Bryan Le

changing political winds

1/21/14 10:30am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Now Supports Medical Marijuana

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Photo via

In a surprising move last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid became one of the latest in a series of political figures to show support for medical marijuana. "I think we need to take a real close look at this," he said. "I think that there's some medical reasons for marijuana."

Reid had not supported medical marijuana in the past, but said that recent news reports and personal stories helped sway his opinion. "If you'd asked me this question a dozen years ago, it would have been easy to answer – I would have said no, because [marijuana] leads to other stuff," he said. "But I can't say that anymore." The senator relayed one of the personal stories that helped change his mind, citing the son of an unnamed Las Vegas official who lost both kidneys to kidney failure. “He was so skinny and doing so poorly, and somebody told him and his mom… you should smoke some marijuana, because…you get extremely hungry,” Reid said. “He tried it, and sure enough, he was able to eat for the first time, he got hungry.”

"I guarantee you one thing," Reid said. "We waste a lot of time and law enforcement going after these guys that are smoking marijuana."

Currently, Nevada is one of 20 states that legalized medical marijuana, passing a ballot measure in 2000 with 65 percent of the vote. But while his opinion has changed on medical pot, Reid isn’t as high on recreational use despite successful legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington. “I don’t know about that,” he said. “I just think that we need to look at the medical aspects of it.”

Reid's change in position came just days before President Barack Obama made news for softening his stance on the drug.

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By Shawn Dwyer

drunk punch

1/21/14 8:30am

Australians Seek Heavier Punishment for Drunk One-Punch Killers

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Australian state New South Wales is considering stiffer penalties for drunken one punch killings, including a mandatory minimum of eight years (and a maximum of 25 years) in prison for “coward punch” assaults where drugs or alcohol are a factor. These new law proposals come after the killings of Sydney teenagers Daniel Christie, an 18-year-old who was lethally punched while shielding friends by a man who claimed to be a mixed martial arts fighter on New Year's Eve, and Thomas Kelly, a 19-year-old who died in the hospital after a punch knocked him out causing him to take a serious fall. Premier Barry O'Farrell is keen on targeting crimes committed while intoxicated—currently there is no proposed minimum sentence and a 20 year maximum sentence for sober one-punch killings. Proponents of cracking down on drunken violence in NSW are also calling for 1 am lockouts that would disallow people from entering any bar after 1 am.

O'Farrell met with cabinet officials on Monday to present additional proposals that he hopes will stem drunken violence on the streets, including risk-based liquor licensing that would make it more expensive for establishments which serve alcohol to already-intoxicated patrons, or for those larger venues where it is difficult to keep track of how much each customer has been drinking.  He hasn't said much about his other proposals, but he is confident they will be successful: "I'm confident the package being taken to cabinet this afternoon addresses community concerns and will make a difference," O'Farrell says.

See the victim's families react to the new proposed laws below:

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By Bryan Le

headlines

1/21/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: January 21, 2014

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For the scrap metal, actually. Shutterstock

By Bryan Le

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