Gambling is the betting of money on an outcome that is wholly or largely random. From ancient time, throwing a dice has been a form of gambling. There is also gambling at established markets; a cotton market is an example. In modern time, gambling has extended into many fields. For instance, speculation on a soccer game is nothing but gambling. Gambling at horse races is very common and millions of money change hands in a day’s race; and for every one gain there may be thousands of losers. For example, the men and women populate at the storefronts; when the results of a race are announced, there is no cheering. Most of them silently drop their tickets to the floor or ripping them up; a few unenthusiastically shuffle over to the payoff window. It appears to be no fun at all. Gambling maniac has spoiled many families and even affects a whole society. Since gambling has been despised, no sensible man would indulge in it.
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Gambling attracts people with little money who are desperate for a windfall; people do it because a quick profit is expected. Gambling may be defined as taking an artificial risk, hoping for excessive gain far beyond what the investment of time, money, or skill would justify. When a man plays cards by way of gambling, he thinks he can make some quick and easy money. Funfairs are gambling places. People come to make some quick money. Horse racing is a licensed gambling. Thousands of people go to the races and bet their money on this horse or the other. There are race addicts, who come and bet, without even realize that”horse racing is carried out mainly for the delight and profit of fools, ruffians and thieves” (George Gissing 236). These are the people who can least afford to lose money. They should be protected from the temptation to gamble because “Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich something for nothing” (Bernard Shaw).
There are those who try and justify gambling by saying that all of life is a gamble. They claim that the farmer who plants a crop is a gambler, business people who make investments in merchandise are undertaking a gamble, and persons who marry are entering into a relationship which is a gamble. But the farmer, business persons, and marriage partners are not depending on chance. They are using skill, energy, and knowledge to gain success. No other person must suffer loss in order for these people to succeed. In contrast, the gamblers’ success can only occur at the expense and suffering of others – someone else has to lose. It is true that an element of risk exists even in legitimate undertakings; but it is also true that farmers, business persons, and marriage partners do not normally cause others to suffer loss so that they can succeed. They work hard to accomplish their goals.
Gambling is addictive. Unlike drugs, gambling is not physically addictive but psychologically addictive. Many people end up gambling to try to recover money they have already lost. This is known as “chasing losses”. It results in people betting more and more money; most of which they “will lose today, look forward to winning tomorrow, and if they win today, they can expect to lose tomorrow” (Chico Marx). Internet gambling is even more dangerous. Anyone can become addicted very easily – they don’t even need to leave their home. This also means that they are gambling in private. They may therefore be less reluctant to bet on very large sums they cannot afford. It is very hard to know the identity of an online gambler – there have been several cases of people (including children) using stolen credit cards to gamble online. Gambling addicts often turn to crime to feed their addiction. Addiction is highly damaging to families, since gamblers will spend whatever money they can on gambling. People start to gamble without thinking that they will become addicted. As with drugs, it is better to ban gambling to stop people getting started in the first place.
Gambling is often used to raise money for the state and for charity. The major benefits of gambling usually come from profits and tax revenues from the casinos as well as possible price effects such as higher wages or housing prices in the local area. Today, we see increasing acceptance of gambling. The fund-raising through raffles, bingo, and even Las Vegas Nights keeps many churches from openly opposing to gambling; the government can hardly call gambling a social menace because most states run lotteries. It should also be recognized that many communities legalized casinos due to the poor economic conditions that were prevalent in the area and the lack of viable alternatives solution to boost their depressed economy. Consequently, in some of the communities the casinos provided needed jobs, which reduced the unemployment rate that had been an intractable problem; it also reduced the caseload of some social service agencies. However, all of these don’t bear the weight of justification, because “the view is very generally accepted is not a sufficient reason for accepting it as true” (Tom Regan 688). In fact, the economic benefits of casinos are often exaggerated. The problems associated with casinos (e.g. crime, gambling addiction) outweigh the economic benefits. In any case, an immoral industry is not justified by the fact that it creates employment. Jobs could be created through many other industries that cause fewer moral and practical problems (e.g. theme parks). A major source of gambling revenues comes from the “10 percent of the population that gambles most heavily” (Mustard). At least one in five compulsive gamblers file for bankruptcy after they have exhausted multiple credit cards and other lines of credit, often putting their families in jeopardy. Lost productivity from sick days off for gambling is another cost borne by the local economy. Between 21 and 36 percent of compulsive gamblers report losing a job because of their gambling habit, according to information from gambling treatment centers. Casinos are often associated with criminal activity. Drug dealers and prostitutes operate near casinos because they know that there are a large number of potential clients in the area. Casinos can therefore be devastating to neighborhoods. It is immoral for the state or charities to raise money by exploiting people’s stupidity and greed. Taxing gambling is a regressive tax (this means that the poor pay a greater proportion of their income in tax than the rich). This is because poor people are more likely to gamble. Regressive taxation is deeply unfair.
Gambling promotes unhealthy values. It makes people concentrate of winning money. This implies that they should value material goods above other things like friendships and families. It also sends out the message that success should not necessarily be the result of merit and effort. Gambling is not merely a minor vice, but has become a major social evil. The institution of gambling has steadily lost its shock value, and has become accepted as a part of modem life. Gambling involves the willingness to take a risk which is twisted by the desire to get something for nothing. Gambling is rooted in covetousness in which “those who want to be rich fall into temptation” (Timothy 6:9).
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Gambling is wrong because it breaks the laws of God. Even there is no one verse in the Word of God which says, “Thou shalt not gamble” – but the whole thrust of the Bible’s teaching is against gambling. Two of the Ten Commandments have a bearing on the issue of gambling: the eighth, “Do not steal,” and the tenth, “Do not covet” (Exodus 20:15, 17). The bible also taught that the people “who long to be rich soon begin to do all kinds of wrong things” (Timothy 6:9-10). The gambling is even consider as sin because it “does damage to other persons, violating the principle of love” (Romans 13:8) and “disregard the entire principle of stewardship” (Matthew 25:14-30). Possessions and money are not our own, but God’s, and we are trustees who will be judged for the quality of our stewardship.
In conclusion, gambling should be abolished because it leads to addiction, which can cause mental and financial damage. Crimes are often associated with gambling as it is committed by problem gamblers in order to pay off debts, and that they typically reached a severe stage after a few years of playing in casino. In addition to what was mentioned above, casinos are also destroying lives, families and homes. Some people seen it as a form of recreation but it can easily draw you away from the ones you love because you might think to yourself that its just a couple of times a week you go to clear you head and try your luck while your family and home is undone. There are people who think that playing gamble is a way to make money for family; but in fact, it is not because “no wife can endure a gambling husband unless he is a steady winner” (Lord Dewar 222). Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to spiritual life, and destructive of good government. Gambling destroys many people who get entangled in its web before they realize it, just like drug addiction does. We may not be able to eradicate all gambling from our land, because “gambling itself will only end when human nature has changed completely and there are no more bets to win” (Harold Smith 22), but we should be concerned about its effects, and stand up against its expansion. Gambling should be banned, or at least very tightly controlled.
- The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1952.
- Dewar, Lord. The Modern Handbook of Humor. Michigan: 2006.
- Gissing, George. The Gigantic Book of Horse Wisdom. New York: 2007.
- Marx, Chico. “Groucho, Harpo, Chico and sometimes, Zeppo”. The Quotable Gambler,
First Edition. Paul Lyons. NY: The Lyons Press, 1999. 106.
- Regan, Tom. “Religion and Animal Right”. Reading Literature and Writing Argument:
with additional research and documentation materials. Custom Edition for Oklahoma City Community College. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Printing. 688.
- Shaw. Bernard. The Collected Works of Bernard Shaw. Michigan: 1930.
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