With sports betting at his fingertips and a poker table a mouse click away, it was all too easy for Max Shona to spend hours gambling on the internet. But as hours turned into days and the urge to win bigger began to consume him, the 22-year-old realized he had a problem, reports the Canadian Press. “It was an addiction. I can admit to saying it,” says Shona. “It still haunts me.” The Toronto native is now sharing his experiences in a youth-driven documentary that takes a hard look at the impact and experiences of gambling on his generation—and online betting is an element that features significantly. “Deal Me In” was produced by a group of students out of the Youth Voices Gambling Project at the University of Toronto. Put together last year, the film is rapidly gaining an attentive audience as it appears at film festivals and gambling awareness workshops around the country. While Shona’s gambling began when he was still in high school betting on $5 poker games, the move to cyberspace saw what had begun as a pastime spiral out of control. “I went to online gambling, which is the devil. It’s probably the worst thing in the world,” he says. “It’s so accessible … and you just don’t cash out.” Shona is among a handful of youth who have spoken out on camera as “Deal Me In” tries to bring the story of young gamblers to their peers…

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Maya Prabhu