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Gambling (a Legislative Issue)


Introduction

During our lives, we all take risks with such things as our money, property, reputation, confidence and lives. Investing in the stock market, getting or not getting insurance, asking someone out on a date, sending out a resume, starting a business, buying a house, taking a trip, and a myriad of other activities all contain some element of risk taking. We all need to take some risks in order to have a chance of bettering our lives. In each case, we must compare the possible rewards against the risk of loss. In some of these cases, we may only risk losing a little time or money. In other cases, we may be risking everything that we have or even our lives. When we are not hurting anyone else, we should have the right to take whatever risks that we feel will give us the best shot at bettering our lives.

Gambling is a form of risk taking where someone will risk losing a sum of money in hopes of winning even more money. There are many forms of gambling and many different places where we can gamble. When we think about gambling we usually think about placing bets or wages on the outcome of events or contests, and playing games of chance. These include things such as buying lottery tickets, playing poker, craps or slot machines, betting on the ponies or on the outcome of a sports event, or placing a wager on anything where someone can come up with the odds. Gambling can be done in places such as casinos, race tracks, betting parlors, the office and even from one’s home.

There are some people who would never ever gamble with their money, life or practically anything else. On the other hand, there are people who will gamble on just about anything and everything. Of course, most people fall somewhere in between these two extremes. For most people a bet or wager here or there is fun and is no more harmful to them or others than many other forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who ruin their lives and the lives of others by becoming addicted to gambling and will bet or wager every dime they have or can borrow or steel from friends, family members or strangers.

Gambling Controls

In many cases, gambling is fair and honest, but with vast sums of money at stake there are people who will try to fix the outcome in their favor. People who fix the outcome of events, contests and games in order to profit from gambling and individuals who harm themselves and others by overdoing their gambling give gambling a bad reputation. This is a major reason why many forms of gambling are illegal in many locations. On the other hand, a lot of money can be made by the people running the gambling and the people who win at it. This is the main reason that some forms of gambling are legal in some locations.

Many people enjoy placing an occasional bet or wager, but given the crime and harm that can be caused by gambling it would be unwise to just simply legalize all forms of gambling. On the other hand, there are many people who will always find a way to gamble and will resort to doing it illegally. Therefore, it would be better to make enough forms of gambling legal to satisfy people’s gambling urges, but make sure it is done in a controlled manner. With the proper controls, it should be possible to let people enjoy a little gambling while eliminating most of its harmful aspects.

The first thing we want is for people only to gamble with what they can afford to lose. One way to do this might be to create a gambling debit card that could only be issued to and used by an authorized adult. The card holders would be allowed to have only one card to which they could make weekly, monthly or yearly deposits. These deposits would be limited to some percent of what an individual earned during the appropriate period of time. Money spent on gambling could only come from these cards and overdrafts would not be allowed. Winnings could be added back to the card or placed into a regular bank account.

We also want to prevent people from putting the fix on an event, contest or game. Since it usually costs a fair amount of money to fix an outcome, we could reduce the incentive to do so by reducing the amount that could be won. The best way to do this would be to limit the amount that could be bet or wagered on any given outcome. Since some things are easier to fix than others, we could place a lower limit on things that would be easier to fix and higher limits on things that are harder to fix. For instance a boxing match might be easy to fix, since you just need to get one boxer to throw the match. A football game might be a bit harder to fix, since you would have many more people involved.

For each event, contest and game there would need to be some additional controls to ensure fairness and to prevent cheating. For instance, slot machines would need to be tested to ensure they would give the proper payout and could not be tampered with. In addition, all gambling machines should be made to work only with the new gambling debit cards.

Legal Gambling

With the appropriate controls in place, gambling could be made legal. Since some people are not interested or are even against gambling, gambling would be limited to the places like casinos and betting parlors that had been licensed. These places and all equipment would be required to submit to random inspections to ensure that all controls and safeguards are in place and complied with.

With these changes in place, individuals who make or try to make a living by gambling would find it much more difficult. I do not think this is much of a problem, because, for the most part, these professional gamblers are not making any real contribution to society. It would be better if they found a different line of work and only gambled for fun. The exception might be in some games like poker where people enjoy watching. In these cases, these games could be handled more like golf or bowling tournaments instead of gambling.

There are also many instances where people make private bets and wagers, or play games for money. Anything over a few bucks would be handled through an appropriate licensed gambling establishment. Poker games could be played at poker parlors where the table and chips could be rented. Office pools could be run through an authorized web site that, for a small fee or cut, would keep track of the picks and determine the winner. Participants would be required to use their gambling debit cards and the gambling establishment would handle any problems.

With the ability to gamble legally, there would be much less reason for people to go to an illegal gambling establishment or bookie. With fewer clients, illegal gambling could decline to a point where it might virtually disappear. Of course, there may still be some people, for one reason or another, who want to gamble more than they would be allowed under the law, which could mean putting an undue burden on society. Therefore, the penalties for participating in illegal gambling should be greatly increased.

Next Section

Prostitution - Legalize Prostitution in a way that protects people from desease and crime.

Last Updated:
Sunday, November 26, 2017
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