Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Democrats should support Gambling

Democrats should support the legalization and regulation of many forms of gambling from poker to sports betting. It is a legitimate form of entertainment that shouldn't concern the government.

There are many arguments for the legalization of gambling:

-collect the tax revenue that would be coming in from a legal industry
-eradicate or lessen the impact of organized crime and other criminals to earn a relatively easy living.
-many people enjoy this entertainment and it would make their lives better

There are many arguments against the legalization of gambling:

-increased crime
-it's immoral
-it promotes bad values
-it prey on the poor
-game manipulation (for sports especially)

Though I respect the viewpoint, I disagree with the government "protecting" people from themselves in such a broad manner. I believe in personal freedom as much as possible unless there is a clear danger to society. This can't be defined as the problems that result from extreme people or extreme situations, but rather from the regular use. So for example, if the regular activity of gambling preyed on the poor somehow, or increased crime, or led to addiction, etc. I would be more responsive to some arguments. The truth is millions of people gambling regularly and it is viewed as one of many other entertainment options.

For example:

I could choose to take my family (me + wife, and 2 kids) to a movie. We usually eat during the movie. The total cost is about $75, and that is while being a bit frugal on the food. No one would think doing this twice a month or about 20 times a year would constitute a "problem".


I might also want to rent a movie from the cable system for the family ($5) and take the other $70 I was going to use for entertainment and bet on the football games and try to hit a big parlay.

At the end of that day, assuming I lose my bets, I would have spent $75 either way. It seems to me that it is not anyone else's business whether I chose one of the above or another option that doesn't harm others.

Sure, there are some people, who might bet $700 or $7000 and then not pay their bills.
But there are also some people, who go to the movies and out to clubs, and not pay their bills.

Democrats we should promote freedom as much as possible. We should also warn about the possible dangers and set-up ways to mitigate them.

For example, while I'm not crazy about this idea, it could be a compromise:

Poker players or sports bettors would have to set-up an account with a casino or legal sportsbook that indicated all of their finances. They would then have certain limits placed on them that they couldn't violate.
A man who makes $60,000 and has $200 left over each week after his bills wouldn't be allowed to bet more than $200 per week.

There are ways around the system, but at lease it would be designed to help people set and keep limits.

The most successful argument seems to be that addicted people could quickly lose all their money and ruin their families' lives. Yet this reasoning would apply to many other legal industries; but since they don't win the day in those areas they shouldn't in terms of gambling.

People could get addicted and ruin they and their families lives. True. But not necessarily so.

People can and have gotten addicted to alcohol and ruined lives. Alcohol is legal but regulated. (Too loosely in my mind)

People can and have gotten addicted to shopping and overspending and it has ruined lives.

People can and have gotten addicted to cigarettes and it has ruined lives.

The list is endless and much wider than you may think for example:

People can and have gotten addicted to sex and it has ruined lives. I'm not talking about prostitution, I"m talking about normal sexual relations between people.

President Obama has a chance to bring real change to America due to the perilous economic and foreign policy times we are in.

He should look to find ways to promote law-abiding citizens.
One of those ways is to eradicate laws that many people don't follow.

Gambling is one of them.
Millions and Millions of people gamble "illegally" everyday.
They do it in small and medium sized ways.
They aren't criminal minded and shouldn't be insinuated as such.

Just like we legalized the lotteries all over the U.S.
We should do the same with other forms of gambling.
Except, we shouldn't let the government take it over.

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