Sunday, February 8, 2009

Legalize gambling

As a country we should promote laws that make sense in the public square rather than somem esoteric reason that no one can really defend. In that light, we should eradicate laws that don't serve a good purpose or are being so disregarded that they contribute to the lessening of respect for the rule of law. It is not healthy to have otherwise good citizens disregarding the law and feeling justified in doing so. Ultimately, we are self-governed and our laws need to reflect that.

Sports betting and other forms of gambling like Poker should be legalized because they are an entertainment option for millions of Americans with very little harm to others. In addition, a significant minority if not majority are finding ways to gamble regardless, and this just leaves the states and Federal Government losing out on the potential tax revenue, and increasing the risk/hassle on Americans trying to deal with international companies or illegal outlets.

Of course,gambling addiction is a problem, but it will be whether we legalize or leave sports betting the way it is. We shouldn't make or continue the enforcement of laws based on the hypothetical concerns, especially when there are clearly more dangerous "vices" that are totally legal. I would welcome numerous restrictions with the decriminalization of gambling such as restrictions on advertisement, age restrictions, and even setting limits to curtail the amount of losses an individual could lose in a given period. But fundamentally, we should have a bias towards freedom, and make an effort to fit diferent choices within the American experience.

I am not shy about using the government to establish and pursue moral goals. I think we have to constantly re-evaluate our laws and make new determinations.

My standard is whether something that is morally objectionable to some or many has a public consequence that is unacceptable. I think we should address each topic separately and in a complete manner.

These are subjective judgements with different possible vantage points. For some, they may take account of the damage to the human spirit from a losing gambler that is then spread throughout the community. This is something is not tangible or even evident in a scientific sense, but real nonetheless.

Whereas others might want to take a true cost-benefit analysis and take into account things that can be verified in a factual manner.

I think on balance that we should set up a government structure to tax and regulate gambling. We should set a goal to help problem gamblers, while protecting the enjoyment of those who are responsible.

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