Gambling: What Good Does it Bring?

Although gambling would seem to be anathema to Communist philosophy, representing the worst of capitalist diseases, the communist countries have found lotteries and football pools to be good sources of revenue, much of which is used to sponsor sport.

The reason much gambling is illegal is because it has become associated with crime.

This is inevitable; where vast sums of money change hands on a basis of chance, cheating, confidence trickery, protection, bribery and corruption are sure to arise.

Unfortunately for the proscribers, gambling is too popular to be stopped, and crooks will flourish in an illegal atmosphere. There are obvious parallels with American prohibition.

The naive gambler is unaware of what goes on around him to part him from his cash. He does not suspect that fellow gamblers in casinos or fun fairs may be 'shills', or establishment employees paid to encourage him to gamble more.

Or that the horse he backed may be doped, or that other players in a private game may be 'hustlers', skilled operators getting a living from social gambling gatherings--- or it may be that sharp cards and dice mechanics exist, or that equipment may be rigged in the most expensive and scientific manner.

He will not know that the ownership of casinos in Las Vegas has frequently been decided by ruthless gang warfare and that large sums have been paid to government officials and police chiefs for licenses and protection.

Is gambling itself immoral?

Gamblers would say that betting in moderation harms nobody, that it provides amusement, that all life is a gamble anyway; and that, properly organized, gambling could provide revenue for the state and charities.

Anti-gambling opinion would say that gambling in excess causes misery, both to the gambler and his family; that moreover gambling even in moderation provides revenue for the underworld.

Former late president Kennedy was of the opinion that profits from gambling were directly financing corruption that was, in turn, directly undermining American society.

Christians would argue that life is not a gamble and that the state and charities should not accept money won by individual's misfortunes.

These arguments are about the practical implications of gambling but do not answer the question of whether or not gambling is intrinsically immoral. Both Roman Catholic nor Protestant churches express a firm opinion, and few churchmen state categorically that gambling is ethically wrong.

Indeed, church raffles are not unknown.

The majority of gamblers are not concerned with ethics. They will continue to make their bets, lose a little money, and consider it well spent.