One More Thing to Keep your Eyes Away from the Stage

cell-phoneThere should be a federal law to keep smartphones out of entertainment venues. There can be nothing more irritating than trying to enjoy a play or a movie surrounded by people who don’t even have the decency to set their phones on “silent” when sitting down. Phones ring, beep, emit noises and lights when notifications, emails, and calls arrive on them, which annoys those around the “perpetrator” – and when said “perpetrator” acts on the notification (answers the phone, starts typing a reply or – horribile dictu – starts playing a game when in the audience, it may annoy those trying to perform on the stage (at least it doesn’t annoy the actors on the silver screen).

There are so many things already that can keep the smartphone users’ attention away from the world around them. There are texts and calls, social networks, dating apps, websites, blogs, news readers, shopping apps, and the list could go on forever. And soon, another distractive business will likely find its way to these useful yet totally annoying devices: real money online games. Pennsylvania’s government is working on the legalization and regulation of online casino games and poker rooms, which might not be a problem as a whole – but it will add one more thing to the list of annoying deeds people do in the dark.

While people are unlikely to instantly start playing casino games on Wild Jack once the law is pushed through – and it will be, as PA’s state budget plan has already factored in $200 million in online gambling revenues. For one, international operators like the Wild Jack will be shut out of the local market – a policy that may sound restrictive but has been proven by others (namely New Jersey) to work. And it’s also New Jersey’s example that shows that the $200 million target is not as far-fetched as it may sound: NJ’s online gambling tax revenues exceeded $100 million since 2013, not counting the license fees paid by the casinos for the chance to go online.

What does this mean for the gaming community in Pennsylvania? For one, millennials will get a more convenient and easy way to play their favorite games (those with a taste for such a form of entertainment, of course). Unfortunately, though, they will get one more thing to compete for their attention, keeping their eyes on their phones while going out, driving, or watching a play at a local theater, annoying those around them… and perhaps those who try to do their best on the stage.

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