Why Gambling Should be Illegal | Teen Ink

Why Gambling Should be Illegal

March 18, 2013
By amerten BRONZE, Hopedale, Massachusetts
amerten BRONZE, Hopedale, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Did you know that 40% of all problem gamblers started gambling before they were seventeen? Or that problem gambling causes the most suicides out of all the recognized addictions? Even with these facts, the most startling truth is that not one federal dollar, out of the billions collected in gambling taxes, has been spent to treat or help problem gamblers. Gambling is the activity or practice of playing at a game of chance for money or other stakes. Activities that are considered gambling are sports and race bets, lotteries, games like blackjack and poker, and casino games like slots and roulette. Bingo and raffles are technically gambling, but there are no major concerns about them, so they are not included here. Gambling has been legalized by many states, but just because it is does not make it right. Even though gambling is legal, it should not be because of its harmful economic, governmental, and social effects.

There are many detrimental economic effects of gambling, but there are two major ones: it siphons money from other industries, and states attempt to use lotteries to boost income. Gambling takes money from consumers that would otherwise be spent in an important industry or charity. Instead, it is essentially thrown away in hopes of getting rich quick. The removal of money from other industries often causes businesses to go bankrupt, therefore creating more unemployed people. You could argue that casinos create jobs, but those jobs do not make enough money to really support a family. The other economic problem that gambling creates is the use of lotteries. States typically use lotteries to make more money, but it is nowhere near as effective as other methods that are in use. The state makes 40% of the money that is put into lotteries, while they make 99% of the money that goes into taxes. Also, sources say that since the poor buy so many more lottery tickets than everyone else, the lotteries have become a tax on the poor and economically disadvantaged. The economic effects may be bad, but the governmental and social effects are far more hurtful.

There are a few different damaging effects that gambling has on the government, but they fall into two categories: the government’s role and illegal activity. The government’s role in gambling is not what it should be. Drugs and gambling are both known to be self-destructive, yet drugs are banned and gambling is legalized? To the people that are compulsive gamblers, gambling is a drug to them, so it should be illegal like all other drugs. The other poor role the government has in gambling is that the government gets a cut of the profits from it in the form of taxes. As it was mentioned earlier, the poor and lower-middle class gamble more, so it is essentially a tax on the poor. Illegal activity is another damaging governmental effect of gambling. Since betting on sports and races are legal, it has become far easier for organized crime to make money off of fixed sporting events and racing. From a sports standpoint, it makes “point-shaving” scandals a potentially larger issue, and can take away from the integrity of the game. Additionally, in areas where gambling is legalized, illegal gambling increases. Since people think it is okay to gamble, they now go to an illegal gambling location so that their winnings, if any, are not taxed by the government. The destructive governmental and economical effects of gambling are horrible, but the social effects are the worst of all.

The harmful social effects of gambling are it forces the poor to stay poor, compulsive gamblers bring massive problems, and gambling can ruin lives and families. Gambling at casinos and in lotteries have terrible odds of winning, but the poor, who desperately need the money, try time and time again in hopes of getting lucky to pull out of their economic problems. However, they rarely win, and the amount of money that they pour in forces them stay poor. Even if you are not poor and you start to gamble constantly, you will become poor very quickly. Another harmful social effect of gambling is the presence of compulsive gamblers. Compulsive, or problem, gamblers are people who are addicted to gambling. Gambling is a drug to them, and they cannot stop gambling, no matter the consequences. A study showed that most compulsive gamblers started during their teen years, and that they are in close to $80,000 in debt. Because of the staggering amount of debt they are in, they are a huge burden to their families. The last harmful social effect of gambling is it destroys families. The amount of debt that a compulsive gambler gets into puts way too much strain on the rest of the family to help him or her out of debt. If you are married to a compulsive gambler, it is like being married to a hard-core drug addict, they are forced to throw away money to satisfy their addiction. Unfortunately, sometimes the debt is too much, and the spouse will divorce, shattering the family. The social effects of gambling are the worst, but all the effects of gambling are awful.

Unfortunately for us, gambling is legal in almost every state, allowing these hurtful effects to exist. Even though gambling is legal, it should not be because of its harmful economic, governmental, and social effects. If you are considering gambling sometime, think about what you are supporting, and how it could ruin your life.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jun. 3 2016 at 2:09 am
We should be allowed freely express ourselves not be told what to freely express. Life isn't about becoming the moral police & having low expectations for others as an excuse for total control to what normal conscious human beings do amongst each other.