Online Blackjack Player Gets 20 Month Sentence
According to a BBC report, a judge sentenced Eamonn McGirr to 20 months behind bars after embezzling £330,000 (approximately $500,000 USD) from his employers at Tyrone Tiling Services. Apparently McGirr used, and subsequently lost, the appropriated funds gambling over the internet.
At 27 years of age, McGirr admitted to the court that he had started out small, placing a few sports bets on football and horse racing events. It wasn’t until he joined an online casino and discovered online blackjack that his hobby spiraled downward into an uncontrollable addiction.
Over a two year stint, McGirr wrote a sum of 170 company checks for a grand total of about £330,000. He devised false invoices to cover his tracks, but when it was discovered that the companies these checks supposedly went to were not actually receiving these payments, nor were they warranted to receive them, an investigation revealed that the money was actually being diverted to Eamonn McGirr’s personal bank account.
As the judge sentenced Eamonn to 20 months in jail, he asserted that online casinos should “take a look at the way they do business”. This stirred up a lot of emotions from both sides of the argument.
Non-gamblers side with the judge, stating that it is the online blackjack provider that it at least partially to blame for making its real money games available to a gambling addict. They seem to believe it is the provider who is at fault for a gambler using their services, which are, pointedly, not illegal to a 27 year old from Tyrone.
At the other end of the rope, you have your casual gamblers, who enjoy their pastime responsibly and believe whole heartedly that the fault lies within the gambler who does not control his own actions.
Can we blame a bank for having so much money on hand that a thief can’t help but commit armed robbery? Should we sue the makers of alcohol every time there is a drunk driving accident? Is it a beautiful woman’s fault for being too attractive if she is raped? Maybe this sounds a bit extreme, but the principal is the same.
Any form of gambling will involve risk, and it is the player’s choice whether to assume that risk or not. In the case of Eamonn McGirr, online blackjack was not his downfall, nor were the online casinos and online sportsbooks that accepted his wagers.
Though each side of the contention is argued by adamant and strong willed voices, one simple fact remains. We must accept responsibility for our own actions. This is what every judicial system is built upon.