Societies of most countries find gambling to be an awkward issue. There is strong indication of the popularity of gambling, leading some people to believe in an irresistible urge to gamble. Yet, there is also possible evidence that gambling is contrary to the requirements and frame of mind of an industrialized society. In The Theory of Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen argues that gambling encourages a belief and dependence in luck for achieving financial success, rather than dedication, rational thinking and hard work. He goes on to say that gambling teaches people to have faith in the saying “getting something for nothing”, and that this undermines their ability to strive in work and effort, and to have faith in their own future.
Church officials have spoken out against gambling, primarily those of Protestant faith. The grounds for their objection is that gambling encourages a desire for material rewards and winning at the expense of another. They claim that gambling is a human weakness, and that it is a manifestation of peoples thoughts that God will and cannot provide for their needs and wants.
Many nations have shown a concern for the addictive tendencies of gambling. In 1951, the British Royal Commission classified those types of commercialized gambling that they thought were in need of state control or restriction. Their findings reported that those gambling games which encouraged competition and avid participation, used credit betting as opposed to cash betting, and implemented some type of diversion or entertainment were dangerous to a gambler. The commission stated that the temptation to bet excessive amounts of money (money that the bettor may not even have) was induced by the odds of winning and by the pace that bets were made for a particular game. They went on to say that when the odds were low, the temptation to bet was minimized, and that when the odds were high, the temptation was at its highest. The commission felt that after a gambler incurs substantial loss, they are tempted even more to increase their wagers in an effort to regain their losses, which would ultimately lead to even greater forfeiture. They concluded by saying that habitual and addictive gambling was induced by those types of betting that had quick turnovers and low chances of winning.
In the United States, the actions of state and federal government has often been to vanquish gambling establishments entirely. Through the implementation of severely restricting laws, the government has tried to run many online casinos for usa players out of business. However, there are exceptions to this censorship. Horse race betting has been legal in most states since the 1930’s. Although it was originally illegal to make bets outside of the tracks (So states could surmount more taxes from the tracks revenue), off-track betting has gradually grown in popularity, and consequently, become legal in most states – New York and Connecticut were the first states to do so. The state of Nevada has always encouraged gambling, which explains the supreme success of Las Vegas. Atlantic City, NJ also thought that casino gambling was a good idea, and introduced it in 1978. While this was going on, lottery had already started flourishing, and had spread to fourteen states by the early 1980’s.
Although gambling has been declared to be explicitly legal outside of designated areas like Las Vegas, more often than not, people are undeterred from such laws – and gamble anyways. Many underground gambling rings continue to thrive, while police do not do much to keep them from operating. In actuality, the general stance of law enforcement is that antigambling laws are of little importance in comparison to other laws. Police officials are usually not moved to enforce these laws unless urged to do so by the public. There is also a great deal of pressure imposed on public officials in the form of bribes and intimidation, thus giving a criminal nature to some gambling activities. The bottom line is whether citizens should be more concerned about the effects of legalized gambling, or, the conflict and tension created in law enforcement agencies regarding antigambling statutes.
The proponents of legalizing gambling believe that doing so would put gambling under greater and more just public inspection. They believe that if gambling was tolerated and put under tight control, the police corruption and criminal activities associated with gambling would cease. This legalization plan would call for total nationalization (socialization) of gambling. This would mean that state governments would be fully in charge of operating casinos, race tracks and sports betting pools, exactly like the state lottery system. However, non-supporters of the legalization of gambling are quick to bring up that nationalizing gambling would not suffice to end crime and corruption. Even Nevada (although gambling is not run by the state there) has had a difficult time controlling and monitoring casinos and collecting the proper amounts of revenue tax. The other concern against state run gambling is that the costs to operate, license and supervise the casino would be too high and unfair for non-gambling taxpayers.